Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Buona Festa! Spring Food Holidays, continued

Since 1916, zeppole central
Buona Festa! 

A couple of days ago I posted a photo of something I was making for the Festa di San Giuseppe (St. Joseph's Day). There is a pastry sold in areas with large Italian immigrant populations like NYC and Providence, RI called zeppole. They are rounds of puff pastry (pâte à choux), which most people recognize from eclairs, cream puffs, etc. The can be filled with a custard-type pastry cream or sweetened ricotta cheese, which is the type I make. They are then topped with either cherry filling or a maraschino cherry. 

When we were kids we would go to Scialo Brother's Bakery (recently featured on Lidia's Italy in America) for our zeppole but the drive into Providence for cream pastry is fraught with problems, the least of which is taking a chance on poisoning my friends with pastry that has been rolling around my car for the trip home so now I make my own. Lois Scialo, the owner with her sister, was my 4th grade teacher in elementary school. She was not making the pastry then but when I went in I introduced myself and was not at all surprised to learn she didn't recognize me. Well, it was a very long time ago. Below are some photos of when I last went to Scialo Brother's for zeppole which was in 2011. 

Outside Scialo Brothers... can't wait!
The round glass-fronted bins are full of those wonderful Italian sweets wrapped in cellophane
These are Scialo's zeppole. Perfetto
These are the ones I made last year. I didn't drain the ricotta long enough and the result was a "loose" filling. Not pretty.
This time, two days before I made the zeppole, I put the cheese into a sieve with coffee filters and set it in the fridge to drain
The shells baked up nice and crisp
These are the ones I made this year. Draining the cheese makes all the difference. 
If you would like the recipe ask for it in the comments and I will email it to you. Buona Festa!!

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