› ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Professional Food Service › Professional Pastry Chefs › Italian Pastry Cream in Zeppole di San Giuseppe
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Italian Pastry Cream in Zeppole di San Giuseppe

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Hi Everyone:
Here is the question. I've been at this for years with no solution in sight. In many Boston area pastry shops and Italian pastry shops in New York and elsewhere ... around the Easter Season a pastry is sold that is called Saint Joseph's Pastry ... or Zeppole di San Giuseppe ... it is a Pate Choux pastry that is formed into rings and is fried then cut in half and filled with Italian Pastry Cream and Amarene Cherries(preserved cherries).

I've obtained some Italian Pastry cream recipes from pastry shops in Boston many years ago and have tried them out recently ... with no success .... I'm beginning to believe the pastry shops get some kind of off the shelf product ... can't reproduce the texture of this Pastry Cream found also in Italian Rum Cakes, Napoleons, Parighini and other Italian Pastry Desserts.

I know they use Roman Punch for the Rum Flavoring and Vanillan for a pure vanilla aroma for the Pastry Cream ... but the texture must involve a recipe not known in the professional circles.

Have any of you worked in Italian Pastry Shops in the Boston area and what are the recipes for the Italian Pastry Cream ... what are they using and how is it made?

I would appreciate any feedback ... this mystery would be a fascinating one to finally solve.:chef:

Gear mentioned in this thread:

post #2 of 25
What is the texture like?
post #3 of 25
Thread Starter 

What is the texture like?

Hi Chef:

The Pastry Cream texture is soft not solid yet pipable and when piped leaves distinct formations ... yet it isn't like many pastry creams that can become rather solid this pastry cream retains its silky softness ... I've not been able to figure out how Italian Pastry Shops are able to produce a pastry cream that is so soft ... yet pipable with tubed formation ... could it be they use water with alittle milk powder in the mix instead of whole milk? ... could the water content be part of the solution?

Here are some photos I've found on the internet ... I'll probably try to purchase some pastries and photograph them to show the pastry cream from some of the better shops in New England area.

I'll have to take my camera out and purchase some of the pastry to show in detail the richness, softness of the pastry cream ... a remarkable accompaniment to this fabulous dessert.
post #4 of 25

Genovese Rum Filling

Greetings John;
Maybe this could be what you are looking for, it is the recipe that we used in my Uncles' restaurant for years for filling for pastry and horns.

1 & 1/2 pints whipping cream
1 & 1/4 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 cup dark Rum

Whip the cream in a large bowl until stiff, then beat in the sugar and then the rum. Place in a bag and pipe into your pastry.

Give it a shot and see if this isn't what you remember.

All the Best
post #5 of 25
hello try here
I have used there products and there verry nice
if you see this brand on the shelf at the market try it .
the yoghurt powder is fab.and the marscapone powder is even better .
thinking there site will give you a good direction .

fabbri1905. look this up .they have all kinds of fun things
post #6 of 25
Zeppole ,At St. Genarros feast in New Yorks Little Italy is simply a pizza dough; fried in oil then put into a paper bag with cinnomin sugar and or 10 x sugar. Cant recall ever seeing fried puff pastry, it would fall apart.
post #7 of 25
Good afternoon John. I firmly believe what you are looking for is "BAVARIAN CREAM". Check this out John. What your description implies is that it is soft cream & yet it can be piped. Insert Gelatin John. You can insert gelatin in the pastry cream as well. John you may have to do some improvising here but I think you can succeed at it. If you need a recipe for this cream post back John.
Good luck John from Las Vegas, NV. Enjoy the rest of the day.

post #8 of 25
post #9 of 25
Thread Starter 

Italian pastry cream in zeppole di san giuseppe

Hi Everyone:
Thank you all for responding to my initial post. I've done alittle more research on the matter of Italian Pastry Cream used in the Italian American Pastry shops in Boston and New York. When I break down the recipes which are geared to large quantities like 40 gallons of milk, etc down to usable quantities of ingredients for the home context ... here is what I get.


2 Quarts of Milk (they ofcourse use water and
milk powder)
2 Quarts of Water
1 cup of milk powder

1 cup of granulated Sugar
1 cup of Cake Flour (all italian american pastry
shops use cake flour rather
than AP flour or cornstarch.
1 cup of whole eggs ( some shops use egg

It is the last ingredient namely vanillan that is the mystery ingredient and it probably can't be used in such small quantities of pastry cream. In a 40 gallon recipe the Vanillian powder will produce an intoxicating flavor with hints of almond flavor/ vanilla and perhaps other flavors that can be difficult to identify ... but in small home recipe versions of this recipe the addition of vanillan could be problematic. Would you use a toothpick and insert it into the vanillan powder and attach a few specks? Or even such a careful and prudent approach is likely to provide too strong a flavor and hence the final result is a bitter tasting Pastry Cream.

The pastry cream in Italian Pastry shops is not a Bavarian Cream nor is it Whipped Cream with Rum and granulated sugar ... it is a true Pastry Cream but it is the careful and skillfull addition of Vanillan that separates the true artist in these Italian Pastry Shops from the novice.

I hope as we get closer to the Feast of St. Joseph's (March 19 2009) perhaps some of the pastry chefs from Italian Pastry Shops across the U.S. will weigh in on this delicate matter.
post #10 of 25
So if this the case what I would do is to make a over powering batch of the Vanillan
with maybe some milk or water then use that to add small amounts to your recipe this way you can have more control over how much you add.

This way your not adding just the Vanillan
to the mix you can have it cut with something first.
post #11 of 25
Thread Starter 

Thank you for your suggestion

Hi there:
That is an excellent suggestion. To place some of the vanillan in a large batch of water or milk to cut it and then add a tiny amount of this mixture to several quarts or a gallon of Italian Pastry Cream. That would be a way to have some control over the overpowering fragrance of this substance by cutting it first with something else.

Thank you so much for your suggestion. This is an excellent suggestion.

During the St. Joseph's Holiday period around March 19th I hope I can upload a complete comprehensive recipe for making Zeppole di San Giuseppe - Italian Pastry Cream - Choux dough recipe plus Assembly.

Fans of Italian American Pastry will love the opportunity to have a recipe for this pastry that comes close to the beautiful creations that are worthy of many of the Italian American Pastry Shops during the 1950s to the present with a few shops still making this pastry in the ole fashion methods of the past.

post #12 of 25
While browsing sites for pastry cream recipes I found Chef Talk and read your posts. I also have been looking for the same results in pastry cream as you are.I have come close to duplicating what I remember from Italian pastry shops in the North East
but there is just that little difference in flavor and texture.Have you had any luck in finding an answer to this? St. Joseph"s Day is coming soon if so would you share your recipe. cookie-Smith new member to site.
post #13 of 25
I do this every year. I haven't mastered the "puff" part yet but this filling is divine and tastes like the Italian bakeries made it.

1/4 cup potato starch or cornstarch
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract

Cream Filling
In a small bowl, mix the potato starch (or cornstarch, if using) and sugar for the filling. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, heat the milk and butter over medium-high heat until the butter melts. Add the starch mixture and cook over medium heat until it starts to thicken, about 2 minutes. Remove the mixture from the heat and slowly add the eggs, beating well. Return the mixture to the heat for just a few seconds to cook the mixture, being careful not to scramble the eggs. Pour the filling into a bowl, add the almond extract, and blend. Cover with buttered waxed paper and refrigerate until ready to use.
post #14 of 25
My uncle worked for an Italian Bakery in a suburb of NYC and he taught all that he learned to all six of his sisters.  They all ended up being great pastry and cake makers.  Our recipe for the pastry cream involves one process which I haven't seen in the posts on your request.  We make the cream ahead of time and refrigerate.  When we are ready to fill the pastry we beat the cream in a mixer until the cream is smooth.  Some of us also fold in whipped cream before filling the pastry.  If you would like to recipe, I will be glad to email it to you.  It's kind of a family secret.

post #15 of 25
This is a very strange thread.

"Italian Pastry Cream," aka crema pasticcera, the same stuff you use for zuppa inglesa, is just plain, old creme patisserie.  You don't need to use powdered milk or fake vanilla.  In fact, you shouldn't.  Use best quality, fresh, whole milk and real vanilla and you'll get a superior creme.  If you want some sort of Italian accent you could slip a little lemon zest into it.

The shells ou're talking about are probably made from frying ordinary choux paste.  (Ed confused one kind of puff pastry -- the millefiuelle kind -- with choux.  I gather the the total effect would be a sort of eclaire in a fried shell.  I'm not Italian, not from the east coast, etc., but the bigne di San Giuseppe I'm familiar with are made with baked shells -- not fried. 

In chemistry, "vanillin" (with an "i") is the molecule in vanilla that has nearly all the vanilla flavor and aroma.  In cooking, "vanillin" is artifical vanilla flavoring made with the chenically synthesized vanllin molecule.  Large bakeries buy it in a nearly pure form.  But you can find it sufficiently diluted for home baking as cheap "vanilla extract" in any super. No better.  No worse.   No Difference.  Alla time same same.

That said, vanillin and real vanilla are not at all the same.  The difference is definite.

Why anyone with the option to use real vanilla would choose artificial is beyond me.  If you think the smell of vanillin is intoxicating you're probably overwhelmed by concentration -- as opposed to quality.  Try getting yourself a paper bag, splitting a couple of quality beans and huffing them (joke only, closed course, trained professional stunt monkeys, kids don't try this at home).   

If someone wants me to post recipes for crema pasticcera and choux paste, I suppose I can.  But there are very good recipes all over the net, and mine are nothing special.

Hope this helps,
Edited by boar_d_laze - 3/21/10 at 7:18am
post #16 of 25

Have you tried this:  add some ricotta and marscapone to your pastry cream and blend it in for a very pleasing result. I add it to the hot pastry cream right off the stove and have been very satified with it.
post #17 of 25
Hi John,

Its like Boar said. What you're looking for is custard, or any of the other names he's listed. And yes, the dough is a fried pate a choux. What you were looking for I believe is not vanillan, its actually vanille vienna, its a powdered product that makes a pouding like custard. Ive used it before. If you want top quality make the custard yourself, its easy anyways. Also, if you want to make ring out of the pate a choux when frying, you'll need to pipe it onto a piece of parchment paper, then remove the paper before flipping it in the oil so it holds its shape. You might also want to try filling one with ricotta if you havent already tried, its much better then one stuffed with pastry cream. Simply beat it and add powdered sugar. Hope this helped you ;)
Edited by CountSpatula - 3/23/10 at 10:04am
post #18 of 25
Hi Count,

Don't you think using powdered sugar (confectioner's?) makes the ricotta too sweet?

post #19 of 25
Well depends how much you put, but I'd have to agree for the most part. I guess I'm just used to doing it that way. I used granulated sugar once and I find you can feel the grains of sugar, however I might have not mixed it long enough?
post #20 of 25
Hi Count and welcome.

As a general rule, powdered sugar works better on top than inside; but you've caught one of the exceptions.  Using it to sweeten ricotta without any other moisture is a good thing because it stays silky even more so than superfine sugar.  

I think honey might be just as good, especially with some crushed pistachios; and I would have nothing against smoothing it out with a little masacarpone either.  But those a different thing.  Not to mention kind of cannoli-esque and less San Giuseppe.

The main thing is your culinary viewpoint which is helpfully demystifying, and quite sane as well.  That we're very close in terms of how we approach the particular pastry means a lot less.  Nice, though. 

post #21 of 25
Thanks? :P
post #22 of 25

I would truely appreciate the recipe if you are still willing to share...San Joseph is my name day and we always buy the zeppoles at the local pastry store...I would love to make them from scratch...thank you very much in advance


post #23 of 25


I have been looking for a real pastry cream recipe. Can you pleasePM meThanking you in advance for the recipe.

post #24 of 25

I m Italian.  My family lives in Texas and cannot buy pastries.  i would love the recipe for' Pastry Cream' so that they can make there own, cream puffs, etc.  Would you be so kind as to share the secret?  Thank you in advance.  


post #25 of 25
I also live in the Boston area and have been trying to master this creme for years...the creme is yellow and translucent. I was told to add rose water....but that did not work either...

I would love to have the recipe if anyone has mastered it.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Professional Pastry Chefs

Gear mentioned in this thread: › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Professional Food Service › Professional Pastry Chefs › Italian Pastry Cream in Zeppole di San Giuseppe