Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Happy St. Joseph's Day!

Two days after St. Patrick's Day we have St. Joseph's Day.  Did you know that?  If you've read the blog consistently you probably did because we've discussed this before.  For St. Joseph's Day the traditional treat is a Zeppola or plural Zeppoli. These are an Italian pastry consisting of a deep-fried dough ball. This doughnut or fritter is usually topped with powdered sugar, and may be filled with custard, jelly, cannoli-style pastry cream or a butter-and-honey mixture. The consistency ranges from light and puffy, to bread- or pasta-like.  Zeppole are traditionally consumed during La Festa di San Giuseppe (Saint Joseph's Day) celebrated every March 19, when zeppole are sold on many streets and sometimes presented as gifts. The custom was popularized in the early 19th century by Neapolitan baker Pasquale Pintauro.
We hadn't heard of this place!
And look what is in the box!

If it's Zeppoli it must be St. Joseph's Day!
Nice looking treats!

Plenty to go around!
That's real whipped cream!
The cherry is the finishing touch!

This year's selection came from a bakery that was new to us as we had not tried it before.  Can you believe there are still bakeries that we haven't tried yet...after all these years!  The name is certainly Italian enough Zaccagnini's Pastry Shop - http://zaccsri.com/. It is in Cumberland Rhode Island and the Zeppoli certainly looked good! We like the ring of clearly real whipped cream on the top.  Inside was a very fresh pastry creme, as opposed to a custard or ricotta cream, that was lighter than what we have had before.  The pastry, which is described as deep fried above, in this case, we suspect, was baked so it was not at all greasy.  The light coating of powdered sugar was not overwhelming and the cherry was a nice final touch at least for those who are not freaked out about food coloring. These actually reminded a lot of us of the world's greatest pastry, the Paris-Brest, which is made from very similar ingredients.  All in all these were lighter than they looked and not overwhelmingly sweet.  We definitely decided that these from Zaccagnini's were better than ones that we had previously that were heavier and probably laden with more fat.  We are grateful for having been introduced to another good bakery in the Providence area and we look forward to trying a few other things.

These do not look like they were deep fried!

Real Pastry Cream was the filling!
It dawned on us as we were discussing the day that we couldn't think of who St. Joseph was and what he did to be sainted.  We've all heard of St. Patrick and St. Peter but what is up with St. Joseph.  Turns out that he is of all people the father of Jesus...you know the Joseph of Mary and Joseph.  Our bad!  We knew that a Joseph was the father of Jesus but clearly did not know that he was a saint in the Catholic church. That's what happens when you deal with people raised Protestant where you are not even told that there is a pope. Given the play the recent papal conclave got you would think it would be impossible to not know about the pope but after all he's part of the reason people protested and thereby became Protestants. 

Jesus's Dad...we didn't know he was a Saint!
We were very happy to welcome a new member of the center to her first cake hour IHO St. Joseph!  We don't think she had heard of him either as she comes from Turkey where they probably do not celebrate Italian festivals!
Welcome to your first cake hour!

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