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+ servings
A cream puff topped with pastry cream and a maraschino cherry dusted with powdered sugar on a white plate.

Zeppole di San Giuseppe

3.42 from 12 votes
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 30 mins
Cooling time 3 hrs
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian, Italian-American
Servings 8
Calories 398 kcal


  • oven
  • hand mixer
  • piping bag with a 1M tip (optional)


Custard Cream

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 C. granulated sugar
  • 2 C. whole milk
  • 1 lemon peel 1/2" x 2" slice
  • 3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. corn starch
  • a pinch Kosher salt 

Pastry Dough

  • 1 C. water
  • 1/2 C. butter, salted cut into 1" pats
  • 1 C. all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs
  • a pinch Kosher salt 
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract


  • 8 maraschino cherries
  • powdered sugar


Custard Cream

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until pale yellow in color. Add flour and corn starch whisk to combine.
  • In a medium saucepan add milk and lemon peel and heat on medium until it just about boils. Turn off heat.
  • Ladle the hot milk into the egg mixture a ladle at a time, whisking well with each addition.
  • When all the of the milk is combined, return the egg/milk mixture to the saucepan. Whisk continuously on medium heat until the mixture is thicken and reaches 180°F/82°C.
  • Remove from heat and pour the custard onto a baking tray to cool. Press a layer of plastic wrap over the surface of the cream. Cool to room temperature before chilling in the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours.

Pastry Dough

  • Preheat oven to 400°F/190°C or 375°F for a convection oven.
  • In a medium saucepan add water and butter. Bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and pour in the flour. Mix to form a dough. Return to medium heat and stir continuously for 3 minutes. The dough should pull away from the sides of the pan and form a ball of dough.
  • Transfer the dough to a large bowl. Use a hand mixer on low, to mix the dough for 2 minutes to speed up cooling. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well with each addition. Finish with a quick mix on high speed.
  • Use a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and pipe a disc of dough 3"-4" across, followed by an additional circle of dough on top to create a space for the custard, or simple mound the dough with a spoon. Make 8-10 mounds.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes. Do not open the oven before 25 minutes or the cream puffs will collapse. After 25 minutes take a toothpick and pierce a hole to allow excess steam to escape and bake for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Remove the cream puffs from the oven and cool completely before filling.
  • Use a paring knife and cut the pastries in half. Pipe or spoon a ring of cooled pastry cream inside, cover with the top half. Add a dollop of pastry cream on top and a maraschino cherry. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.


  • In my opinion, zeppole are best eaten soon after assembly, so if you're planning on serving them at a later time, keep the pastry cream and cream puffs separate and assemble right before serving. 


Calories: 398kcalCarbohydrates: 49gProtein: 9gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 193mgSodium: 168mgPotassium: 160mgFiber: 1gSugar: 20gVitamin A: 684IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 102mgIron: 2mg
Keyword cream puff, custard cream, San Guiseppe, St. Joseph's Day, zeppole
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