St. Joseph’s Day Pastry
is traditionally made on March 19 in honor of the Italian feast of San Guiseppe, when translated is the Feast of St. Joseph who is the patron saint of ‘the family’.
There are so many different traditions throughout Italy in honor of St. Joseph but since my family ancestry is Sicilian I’m sharing their legend.
Legend has it that in the Middle Ages the Sicilians prayed to St. Joseph for rain during a drought. It is said that they promised if their prayers were answered they would prepare a feast to honor him – hence the Feast of St. Joseph or in Italian the Feast of San Guiseppe.
Growing up I remember my dad would always bring home St. Joseph’s Day pastry. Way back then pastry was not on my radar, but I do remember how everyone (that would be all the adults) enjoyed the pastries for that one week.
Today you can usually find the St. Joseph pastry throughout the year in many Italian pastry shops. The pastries are sometimes labeled ‘zeppole’ or ‘sfingi’.
So in honor of St. Joseph’s Day and my dad who LUVs St. Joseph’s pastry I tried my hand at making the pastry.
When I googled for a recipe I was surprised to learn that the pastry is a pate choux, or a cream puff pastry which I make all the time. I then needed to figure out what kind of filling I was going to use.
The traditional filling for St. Joseph’s Day pastry is a pastry cream. However since my family prefers cannoli cream filling that’s what I made, you can find my recipe here. I’ve included the pastry cream filling recipe below. I’m sure there are many who enjoy pastry cream – it’s nice to have a choice.
I had to perfect using a pastry bag which I have always shied away from but I was determined. After 2 or 3 tries it was a breeze, anyone can tackle the pastry bag challenge with a little help from good ol’ Martha.
St. Joseph's Pastry
This is a basic puff pastry or pate choux recipe from www.foodnetwork.com I've been using for years. The pastry cream recipe is from marthastewart.com
- 1 cup water
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 1/2 tsp. sugar
- 1 cup AP flour
- 3 large eggs
Pastry Cream Filling
- 2 cups milk
- 1/2 cup sugar (divided into 1/4 cup ea.)
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 2 TBLS. butter cut into cubes
For me cooking and baking is memory making. Often when I remake a recipe from my childhood it sparks a vivid memory.
When I was making this recipe it brought me way back. My dad always brought home St. Joseph’s pastry in March. I could hear my dad’s voice when he came home with the pastry saying “I got the St. Joseph’s, they were just made!”