Zeppole are Italian cream puffs traditionally served on St. Joseph’s Day (March 19th). The dough can be fried or baked, I prefer the baked version. Zeppole can be filled with ricotta cream or with a thick, piped custard filling. Below is the recipe for the thick custard filling, adapted from the blog Ciao Chow Linda. My favorite filling is a lighter custard that you can make by preparing the thick custard filling and then folding in a cup of sweetened whipped cream. The photo below has the lightened custard. You will have more custard than you need for the cream puffs. 


Cream Puffs
1 c. water
1/2 c. unsalted butter
1 Tbsp. sugar
pinch of salt
1 c. flour
4 large eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a 2-quart saucepan combine water, butter, sugar and salt. Bring to a rolling boil. Stir in the flour, mixing vigorously over low heat until mixture forms a ball. Remove from heat and add eggs gently, stirring constantly until mixture is smooth. Pipe dough through a pastry bag or drop walnut-size scoops of dough onto the prepared pan. You should have 12 cream puffs. Bake for 25-30 minutes until puffed and golden. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack.

Custard Filling
4 c. whole milk
5 (3 inch long) strips of lemon peel (peeled with a peeler)
1/2 vanilla bean
3/4 c. granulated sugar
8 large egg yolks
1/2 c. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. sweetened whipped cream (optional)
Confectioners sugar for sprinkling

In a 4-quart stockpot combine milk and lemon peel. Scrape vanilla bean and add seeds to the milk as well as the vanilla pod. Turn heat to medium low and bring the milk to a simmer. In a separate bowl whisk together sugar and egg yolks until pale and thick. Add cornstarch and flour to the yolks and whisk until smooth. Add about 1/2 c. of the hot milk mixture to the yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Return the yolk mixture to the hot milk and cook, whisking constantly to prevent burning until the mixture has thickened. It will take 5-7 minutes. Remove custard from heat, then whisk in the butter. Stir until the butter has melted. Let sit 5 minutes, stirring a couple of times to prevent a skin from forming. Strain the thick custard using a spatula to force the custard through the sieve. Then add vanilla extract. Place plastic wrap directly on custard surface and chill until cold, about 4 hours. At this point you can fill a pastry bag with custard and pipe it into a split cream puff, or you can fold the sweetened whipped cream into the thick custard and then spoon it into the cream puff. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar. Serves 12.

This entry was posted in Christmas, Custards, Desserts, Easter. Bookmark the permalink.

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