Desserts/ Holiday Treats

Italian Cream Puffs for St. Joseph’s Day

Italian Cream Puffs for St. Joseph's Day by 2sistersrecipes.com

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Italian Cream Puffs are always made around this time of year and especially on the day, March 19th to celebrate the Feast of San Giuseppe, St. Joseph’s Day.  If you’ve never had a San Giuseppe cream puff before, you’re in for a real treat!  These cream puffs are light buttery pastries baked then filled with luscious cream and topped with a cherry and some powdered sugar. Yum!

 

Italian Cream Puffs for St. Joseph’s Day can be filled with 2 different types of cream fillings.  

One cream puff is filled with a traditional vanilla custard (the Neapolitan version, known as the zeppola or zeppoli) and the other cream filling is made with a rich-cannoli cream, the Sicilian version traditionally known as the Sfinge. 

Each one is topped with a cherry and some powdered sugar, making these look as if a professional baker made them.  And, they are SO amazingly delicious!! 

We always look forward to these wonderful treats every year!

 

 
ITalian Cream Puffs for St. Joseph's Day by 2sistersrecipes.com

 

What is a Sfinge? 

The Sfinge is a very popular Sicilian treat, always made on March 19th, the Feast of San Giuseppe. The feast honors the patron saint of all fathers, and since my husband’s name is Joseph (and born near Palermo, Sicily), I wanted to surprise him with his childhood favorite pastry – the Sfinge.

My sister and I also grew up with these gems, but they have a special meaning to my husband.  They were always consumed on his Name Day; which in Italy, it is a celebration that is larger than one’s own birthday.

The Sfinge is traditionally a deep-fried pastry filled with candied citrus and rich ricotta cream.

While they are consumed primarily on St. Joseph’s Day, they are now made all year-round in Sicily and can be found in every pastry shop all over Italy and here too in the states as well.

 

 
A white platter filled with cream puffs and each topped with a cherry. by 2sistersrecipes.com

 

A classic cream puff pastry filled with luscious cream. Italian Cream Puffs for St. Joseph’s Day are relatively easy to make. You only need a little time and patience.

1.  First,  staple ingredients are used to make these delicious pastries: butter, eggs, and flour.  Then, I decided to bake them instead of deep-frying.  Yes, of course.

Baked = easier, healthier, and lighter texture in the pastry!!

2.  Next, I made both cream fillings (recipes for both are at the bottom of this post).

        a.  The cannoli-cream filling:  is made with whole milk ricotta, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract, lemon zest, cinnamon, and mini chocolate chips. 

        b.  And the Neapolitan vanilla custard cream:  is filled with a simple mixture of vanilla pudding mixed with whipped cream.

Super easy!

 

St. Joseph's Cream Puffs by 2sistersrecipes.com

 

These Italian Cream Puffs for St. Joseph’s Day are very light, airy, and filled with a luscious creamy filling. 

So addicting, everyone will want to taste both cream puffs.

This recipe makes about 20 cream puffs, enough to share with everyone.

Whether you choose the Neapolitan or Sicilian version of this recipe, the recipe won’t disappoint!!  And you will honor St. Joseph Day!

To all our family, friends, and loyal followers who are named Joseph and Josephine, we wish you a Happy Name Day on St. Joseph’s Day!!

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Don’t forget to PIN it!!

Italian Cream Puffs for St. Joseph's Day by 2sistersrecipes.com

 

How to Make Italian Cream Puffs for St. Joseph’s Day…

*Follow along with our step-by-step directions, or jump down to the bottom for our full recipe card.

Ingredients needed to make the pastry…

  • 6 Tbsp. (3/4 of a stick) unsalted butter

  • 3/4 cup (177g) water

  • 1/4 tsp. salt

  • 3/4 cup (96g)  sifted all-purpose flour

  • 3 large eggs

 

Directions to Make and Bake the Pastries:

1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (218C).
Prepare 2 cooking sheets for baking.  Lightly spray with cooking spray, or use silicone mats for baking or parchment paper.   Sift the flour onto a sheet of wax paper. 

Italian Cream Puffs for St. Joseph's Day by 2sistersrecipes.com

2.  In a medium saucepot, heat butter with water and salt over high heat.  Stirring until butter is completed melted.

3.  Reduce the heat to low, add sifted flour – all at once – and with a fork or wooden spoon, stir vigorously, until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan and forms a smooth ball.

4.  Remove from heat, transfer the dough into a mixing bowl to cool, about 1 to 2 minutes.  Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring vigorously (with a wooden spoon) after each addition until it comes to a smooth and creamy texture.  The soft mixture should have a satin-like sheen to it.

 

 

5.  Drop by tablespoon (I used 2 spoons to help me scoop and drop the dough onto the baking sheet), about 3-inches apart onto each baking sheet. Shaping each round with points up in the center.

 

6.  BAKE for 18 to 20 minutes for 18 medium size pastries.

7.  Remove and poke each pastry on top with a skewer.  This will allow the steam inside to escape. Then return to the oven for 2 to 3 minutes more.  Pastries should be firm to the touch.

 

8.  Remove and set aside to cool completely before filling.  Once they are completely cooled, fill them with either cream, top each with a cherry and refrigerate for at least 1 to 2 hours before serving.

Yields: 18 to 20 Italian pastries/cream puffs

 

Ingredients for Ricotta Cream Filling:

  • 3 + 1/2 cups (875g) whole milk ricotta cheese (I used Galbani), drain any liquid

  • 1 cup (130g) confectioners sugar, and extra for garnish

  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

  • 1 tsp. lemon zest

  • 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon

  • 2 to 3 Tbsp. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

  • small jar of maraschino cherries, rinse and pat dry

  • Optional: candied citrus to garnish

In a mixing bowl, gently stir ricotta, powdered sugar, vanilla, lemon zest, and cinnamon until well combined.  Stir in mini chocolate chips, or more to your liking.  Refrigerate for about 2 hours, or chill overnight before filling the pastries.

When ready, slice each pastry in half.  Fill each one with ricotta cream and close the tops.  Garnish with an extra teaspoon of ricotta cream on top, and add one maraschino cherry on top.  Optional: also add a piece of candied citrus on top.  Lightly sprinkle with powdered sugar over them and serve.

Yields: 3.5 cups of ricotta cream

 

Ingredients for Vanilla Custard Filling:

  • 1 box (3.4 ounces) instant vanilla pudding

  • 1 cup (240g) milk

  • 1 cup (231g) heavy cream

  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

  • 1 Tbsp. confectioners sugar, and extra to garnish

  • maraschino cherries, to garnish

In a blender, blend on low speed, 1 cup of milk with 1 package of instant vanilla pudding. Set aside.

In a small bowl, beat heavy cream and vanilla extract for 2 to 3 minutes, until it forms peaks, add in powdered sugar and beat for 1 to 2 minutes more.  Fold in the vanilla pudding. Chill for 2 hours or overnight.

When ready to serve, fill cream puffs, close with tops.  Add a teaspoon more of vanilla custard on top. Top each with a maraschino cherry and sprinkle with some powdered sugar.  Serve.

Yields: 3.5 cups of custard

 

 

More Delicious and Festive Desserts! 

 

Yield: 18 to 20 cream puffs

Italian Cream Puffs for St. Joseph's Day

Italian Cream Puffs for St. Joseph's Day

Italian Cream Puffs ~ are always made around this time of year and especially on March 19th, the Feast of San Giuseppe, St. Joseph's Day. These delicate Italian Cream Puffs are baked - NOT FRIED - then filled with luscious cream. Yum!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

Ingredients To Make the Pastry for the Cream Puffs:

  • 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup ( 177grams) water
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup ( 96grams) sifted all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs

Ingredients For Ricotta Filling:

  • 3 + 1/2 cups (875grams) whole milk ricotta cheese (I used Galbani), drain any liquid
  • 1 cup (130grams) confectioners sugar, and extra for garnish
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • small jar of maraschino cherries, rinse and pat dry
  • Optional: candied citrus to garnish

Ingredients For the Vanilla Custard Filling:

  • 1 box (3.4 ounces) instant vanilla pudding
  • 1 cup (240grams) milk
  • 1 cup (231grams) heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp. confectioners sugar, and extra to garnish
  • maraschino cherries, to garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (218C).
  2. Prepare 2 cooking sheets for baking. Lightly spray with cooking spray, or use silicone mats for baking or parchment paper.
  3. In a medium saucepot, heat butter with water and salt over high heat.
  4. Stirring until butter is completed melted.
  5. Reduce the heat to low, add sifted flour - all at once - and with a fork or wooden spoon, stir vigorously, until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan and forms a smooth ball.
  6. Remove from heat, transfer the dough into a mixing bowl to cool, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring vigorously (with a wooden spoon) after each addition until it comes to a smooth and creamy texture. The soft mixture should have a satin-like sheen to it.
  7. Drop by tablespoon (I used 2 spoons to help me scoop and drop the dough onto the baking sheet), about 3-inches apart onto each baking sheet. Shaping each one round with points up in the center.
  8. BAKE for 18 to 20 minutes for 18 medium size pastries.
  9. Remove and prick each pastry on top with a skewer. This will allow the steam inside to escape. Then return to the oven for 2 to 3 minutes more. Pastries should be firm to the touch.
  10. Remove and set aside to cool completely before filling. Once they are completely cooled, fill them with the cream, top each with a cherry and refrigerate for at least 1 to 2 hours before serving.
  11. Yields: 18 to 20 Italian pastries/cream puffs

For Ricotta Cream Filling:

  1. In a mixing bowl, gently stir ricotta, powdered sugar, vanilla, lemon zest, and cinnamon until well combined. Stir in mini chocolate chips, or more to your liking. Refrigerate for about 2 hours,
  2. or chill overnight before filling the pastries.
  3. When ready, slice each pastry in half. Fill each one with ricotta cream and close the tops. Garnish with an extra teaspoon of ricotta cream on top, and add one maraschino cherry on top. Optional: also add a piece of candied citrus on top. Lightly sprinkle with powdered sugar over them and serve.
  4. Yields: 3.5 cups

For Vanilla Custard Filling:

  1. In a blender, blend on low speed, 1 cup of milk with 1 package of instant vanilla pudding. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, beat heavy cream and vanilla for 2 to 3 minutes, until it forms peaks, add in powdered sugar and beat for 1 to 2 minutes more. Fold in the vanilla pudding. Chill for 2 hours or overnight.
  3. When ready to serve, slice each pastry in half, fill cream puffs, close with tops. Add a teaspoon more of vanilla custard on top. Top each with a maraschino cherry and sprinkle with some powdered sugar. Serve.
  4. Yields: 3.5 cups

Notes

You can make the ricotta cream or vanilla custard fillings one day ahead and then fill each pastry and chill before serving. Cream puffs stay fresh, refrigerated up to 3 days.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

20 cream puffs

Serving Size:

1 Cream Puff

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 108Total Fat: 5.8gCarbohydrates: 10.7gProtein: 3.6g

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Hi friends! Are you baking with us?  If you make these delicious Italian cream puffs for St. Joseph’s Day, let us know and leave a comment and a star rating!  

Have fun and snap a photo and hashtag it on Instagram and on Pinterest.  We’d love to see what you bake!

Happy Baking!  ๐Ÿ™‚ 

Thanks for stopping by!

 xo Anna and Liz

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1 cream puff
Servings: 20
Amount per serving  
Calories 108
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5.8g 7%
Saturated Fat 3.4g 17%
Cholesterol 43mg 14%
Sodium 90mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate 10.7g 4%
Dietary Fiber 0.1g 1%
Total Sugars 6.1g  
Protein 3.6g  
Vitamin D 5mcg 25%
Calcium 57mg 4%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 40mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a

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19 Comments

  • Reply
    Michele
    March 19, 2021 at 12:45 pm

    Had some wonderful croissants w/creme filling in Italy….and am hoping one of the two fillings are as good. Waiting till after Lent to try these…but what a temptation!! Happy St. Joseph’s Day!

    • Reply
      by Anna and Liz
      March 19, 2021 at 1:19 pm

      Thank you, Michele! And welcome to our recipe blog, it’s so nice to meet you! ๐Ÿ™‚ Enjoy and Have a safe and delicious St. Joseph’s Day!

  • Reply
    sherry
    March 16, 2021 at 4:56 am

    gotta love a choux pastry! i love cream puffs.

    • Reply
      by Anna and Liz
      March 16, 2021 at 6:03 pm

      We do too! Thanks so much, Sherry. Hope you will try our recipe soon. Have a great day!

  • Reply
    Liz
    March 14, 2021 at 8:52 pm

    Cream puffs always remind me of my mom. We loved when she made them and I’m sure if she knew they were traditional for St. Joseph’s Day, she would have made them for us on his feast day! Your fillings sound terrific!

    • Reply
      by Anna and Liz
      March 15, 2021 at 7:59 am

      Thanks so much, Liz! I’m so glad these cream puffs bring happy thoughts and memories of your mom. The fillings are simple, yet perfect for these cream puffs. Enjoy!

  • Reply
    Roz | La Bella Vita Cucina
    March 21, 2020 at 9:54 pm

    I love all of the special Italian sweets for St. Joseph’s Day. In the midst of everything going on right now, I failed to prepare anything. I do hope and pray for your well-being and safety my bella amici!
    Ciao,
    roz

    • Reply
      2 Sisters Recipes
      March 22, 2020 at 2:17 pm

      Thank you Roz for all your good wishes and prayers!! We all need them now more than ever. Wishing the same for you and your beautiful family, be well and safe! Xo

    • Reply
      by Anna and Liz
      March 23, 2020 at 7:04 am

      Thank you Roz! We wish you and your beautiful family well and safe! Have a great weeK!

  • Reply
    Sandra Favre-Byles
    March 22, 2018 at 11:40 am

    What wonderful cream puffs!

    • Reply
      by Anna and Liz
      March 22, 2018 at 5:28 pm

      Thanks so much Sandra!

  • Reply
    Karen (Back Road Journal)
    March 19, 2017 at 1:36 pm

    These look so yummyโ€ฆnow if only my name was Joseph so that I could eat lots of them. ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Reply
      annaliz
      March 19, 2017 at 2:06 pm

      Haha, sadly we don't have an Italian bakery here in Charleston that makes them. But in NY you can enjoy these creme puffs all year long. Have a great weekend!

  • Reply
    SavoringTime in the Kitchen
    March 21, 2015 at 7:08 pm

    You are such a good wife to make this special treat for your husband! They look so good and the ricotta cream sounds especially delicious.

    • Reply
      annaliz
      March 24, 2015 at 1:57 am

      Thanks Sue! I made him very happy especially since we can't find a bakery in Charleston that makes these cannoli-cream filled Sfinges.

  • Reply
    Betty
    March 21, 2015 at 3:12 am

    I know I would love both versions of these cream puffs! They are gorgeous and worthy of any special celebration. I love how certain foods can bring back childhood memories- they are the best! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Reply
      annaliz
      March 24, 2015 at 1:54 am

      Thank you Betty! Hope you had a nice weekend!

  • Reply
    Tricia Buice
    March 19, 2015 at 11:52 pm

    Look at you! These are gorgeous!! I've always wanted to make cream puffs but can't tell you why I still haven't. Amazing and beautiful and I bet they taste fantastic. Bravo!!! Have a wonderful weekend ladies ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Reply
      annaliz
      March 21, 2015 at 12:26 am

      Thank you Tricia! You are so sweet! Making these cream puffs are so easy, you 'll see- I promise. Have a wonderful weekend. ๐Ÿ™‚

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