Sunday, March 19, 2017


By Bridgy Mayfield from the Read ’Em and Eat Mysteries by Terrie Farley Moran

Happy Feast of St. Joseph to everyone! St. Joseph’s Day arrives hot on the heels of St. Patrick’s Day (March 17th) so when Sassy and I were children in Brooklyn we’d barely finished the last bite of Irish Soda Bread slathered with butter when our mothers began baking Pan di San Giuseppe (St. Joseph’s Bread) which we ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Dessert, of course, was Sfingi di San Giuseppe (St. Joseph's Cream Puffs) 

Last year Sassy gave you a fabulous recipe for Pan di San Giuseppe and today I am here to share the easiest recipe I have ever seen for Sfingi di San Giuseppe. I found it a few years ago in The Washington Post and it has been my go-to recipe ever since.

  • For the sfingi
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • For the filling and assembly
  • 16 ounces fresh ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon rum or rum extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons mini semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup whole or low-fat milk, or as needed
  • 16 raspberries or strawberry halves, for garnish

For the sfingi: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Use cooking oil spray to grease 16 muffin tin wells.
Combine the flour and salt in a medium bowl.
Heat the water and butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Once it comes to a boil, add the flour mixture; immediately reduce the heat to medium-low and stir vigorously, scraping the sides and bottom of the saucepan, until the dough comes together in a cohesive ball that appears fairly dry. Remove from the heat; cool for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the eggs one at a time, thoroughly incorporating each one into the dough before adding the next. The dough will appear wet at first, but keep stirring, and it will absorb the egg. Fold in the sugar and the orange and lemon zests.
Use a large spoon to portion the dough evenly among the 16 muffin pan wells. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the sfingi are a light golden brown, then rotate the pan(s) front to back, reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for about 30 minutes or until they are nicely puffed and golden brown. Turn out the sfingi onto a rack to cool completely.
For the filling and assembly: Combine the ricotta, sugar, almond extract, rum, cinnamon, orange zest and chocolate chips in a mixing bowl. If the filling is stiff, gradually stir in milk as needed to form a smooth but fairly firm filling. (Don't add too much, or the filling will be runny.)
Slice the tops from the cooled sfingi. (The tops make a great snack!) Spoon filling into each of the sfingi, mounding it slightly.
Although the photograph shows a maraschino cherry atop each sfingi, I prefer the fresh fruit as I indicated in the recipe. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and serve chilled.
Have a fabulous day and if you feel like baking....


  1. Replies
    1. I know, right? And this pastry is much easier than other puffed pastry I have tried.

  2. Can't wait to try this recipe! Thanks for another great one.

  3. Sounds delightful! So perfect for a feast.

  4. Oh boy, does this bring back memories. We always got our St. Joseph bread and I miss that now. catwoman-1(at)comcast(dot)net