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A classic Italian pastry, this wooden board with two zeppole pastries filled with almond scented Italian pastry cream and garnished with a syrupy amarena cherry.



Made for the Feast of St. Joseph, these tradtional Italian pastries are the perfect combination of buttery, flaky dough and sweet, almond scented Italian pastry cream.  It’s even topped with a cherry.



For the pastry cream

  • 1 ¼ cups whole milk
  • 1 ¼ cups whipping cream
  • 1 strip of orange zest (scrape off any white pith)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 4 large egg yolks

For the Dough

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup sweet butter (without salt), at room temperature
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature


First, make the pastry cream.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, pour in the milk and cream. Float in the orange zest and bring the mixture to a simmer.  Don’t let the mixture boil.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the sugar until thick and pale in color.  Take your time, this will take about 4-5 minutes. Whisk the flour and the cornstarch into the egg mixture.

When the milk begins to simmer, remove the orange peel.

While whisking the egg mixture, drizzle in a few spoonfuls on the hot cream mixture.  Whisk quickly so the eggs don’t begin to scramble.

Once the eggs are tempered, slowly stream the cream mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly until smooth.

Pour this mixture back into the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, over medium-low heat until the mixture thickens.

Remove from heat and stir in the almond extract.

Spoon the cream into a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  When covering, lay the plastic wrap directly on top of the cream.  Refrigerate until completely cold.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat mat.  Set aside.

Use a large saucepan to make the dough.  Add the water, butter, and salt and bring to a boil.

Use a large spoon to stir in the flour and salt.  Add them all at once.

Cook, stirring constantly, for 3 or 4 minutes.
Carefully add the hot dough to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment and mix long enough to cool off the dough.

Add one egg and mix until incorporated.  Complete the process until all the eggs are incorporated.  Continue mixing until the dough is smooth.  

The dough should resemble a very thick whipped cream, rather than a ‘dough’. It should stretch off of the hook when lifted, and look smooth and glossy. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.

Spoon the dough into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip.
Pipe out 3-inch circles, leaving about a 1-inch hole in the center.  Allow at least 3-inches between the pastries.

Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes until they are deep golden brown.  Try not to open the oven door until you see that they are almost deep, golden brown.  If you open too soon, the moisture inside of the dough may not be cooked enough to hold it’s shape and they will flatten.

To fill.  Spoon the cold pastry cream into a pastry bag that is fitted with the large star tip.  Pipe the cream into the center of the pastry so that it is visible on top.

If desired, dust very lightly with powdered sugar.

Garnish with a maraschino cherry or an amarena cherry.

Serve immediately.

  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Category: Desserts
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: classic Italian pastry, Feast of St. Joseph, desserts, pastries, pastry recipe, filled pastries