Zeppole Di San Guiseppe- For Father’s Day



Don’t get scared reading the title of today’s post. Zeppole is an Italian pastry and this specific zeppole is made on the Feast of St Joseph on March 19 which is also Father’s Day in Italy. So it being Father’s Day here in the US and Feast Day for my husband’s family namesake I am making Zeppole Di San Guiseppe.

I am partial to Italian pastries, especially growing up on the east coast. In the town where I grew up there is an excellent Italian bakery—Di Mare’s Pastry Shop. (www.dimarepastry.com) Any birthday without a Di Mare cake would not be a birthday. It has been there since we moved to Old Greenwich, CT in the 70’s. This bakery is still going strong and always a destination when we visit home. Sometimes my kids and niece and nephew would visit there everyday during our stay for some of their specialties- Tiramisu cake, strawberry shortcake, Italian butter cookies, sfogliatelle, napoleons, pastries, etc. We would even try to bring back a box of their delicacies.

These Zeppole pastries are really a fritter of Pate a choux dough (used to make cream puffs) topped with a vanilla bean and lemony custard. There is nothing like a custard made with real vanilla beans. Splurge and get some, they will keep in your pantry for a long time. Many of you may not attempt this recipe but save the recipe for the custard—it is great! This basic custard can be used for other purposes like fruit salad, as a cake filling etc. or just by itself.

Zeppole di San Guiseppe


For the Dough:

4 tbs unsalted butter

3 tbs sugar

Pinch of salt

250 ml water

1 1/4 cup flour

6 eggs

Maraschino cherry- garnish

For the Lemon Vanilla Custard:

1 cup milk

1 cup cream

1 vanilla bean

Zest from one lemon

6 egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup flour


Make Custard:

In a sauce pan combine milk, cream, split vanilla bean an lemon zest. Bring to a boil. Remove the vanilla beans and scrape all the seeds into the milk and discard the pod. Set aside for 10 minutes.

Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a separate bowl until light and yellow. Add the flour and combine well. Take a cup of the hot milk mixture and whisk into egg mixture ( called tempering) then add all the egg mixture into the sauce pan with the milk. Return to stove and while continuously whisking, heat gently until thick. About 3-4 mts. Remove from heat and cover surface with plastic wrap so a skin doesn’t form and refrigerate.


Now make the Dough:

Combine the Water, butter, sugar, salt in a sauce pan and allow to boil. Sprinkle in the flour and get ready to mix well until it forms a smooth ball and comes away from the pan.Remove from stove and with a hand or stand mixer, add one egg at a time incorporating into flour dough. Will be a thickish mixture. Ensure to beat out any lumps. Put into a piping bag and let sit for 15-2o mts.

Cut pieces of foil and grease lightly with oil. Using a star tip, pipe out circular mounds approximately 3-4 inches. Heat oil in a frying pan and when hot add the piped dough with the aluminum foil. Gently pull out the foil as it fries. Fry until golden and drain on a paper towel. Take this fritter and top with the cooled custard and garnish with a maraschino cherry.


They look perfect!


Unni Appam, A Tea Time Snack



This snack is one of my daughters favorites. Unni appam ( means little appam) is a very traditional Keralean tea time snack. It is also made for special Hindu festivals.It requires a special pan with multiple round wells. I had one from India but the batter kept getting stuck to the bottom so found a non stick Ebleskiver pan. (Ebelskiver is a Danish round pancake.) It works perfectly.

Though traditionally made with rice soaked for a few hours and then ground, this entailed an extra step and more time than I had so used plain rice flour. It came out well.

Unni Appam
2.5 cups rice flour
1.5 cups powdery jaggery (type of brown sugar)
1/4 cup water
2 tsp cardamom powder
2 tbsp Sliced coconut, diced ( or toasted coconut flakes)
2 tsp ghee
1 banana, mashed
Pinch of salt
Sugar as needed if you like it sweeter
1 tsp baking powder dissolved in little water

Oil as needed


Step 1:
In a small frying pan, add ghee and add sliced coconut. Brown well. Alternatively could substitute with toasted coconut flakes
Set aside.

Step 2:

Heat water and add jaggery to make a syrup. Allow to boil. Set aside to cool.

Step 3:
Combine rice flour, salt, cardamom pdr, cooled sugar syrup and toasted coconut. Add mashed banana and whisk thoroughly. Add little water to make a thick batter. Cover and set aside to ferment for 2-3 hrs.

Step 4:
Dissolve baking pdr in water and add to thick batter. Mix well. Heat ebelskiver pan and add oil half way up the wells. Heat at medium heat. Drop spoonfuls of batter into wells. Use a skewer or spoon to turn over the appams when they start turning brown. Drain on paper towel and serve with tea while warm. Store in a closed container.




~Instead of rice flour you can soak rice in water  for a few hours and then grind into a batter.
~When mixing batter, whisk well until somewhat light and frothy.
~Keep heat on medium or else the appams will brown too quickly and not cook in the center
~You can add black sesame seeds to batter as well.