Depending on who you ask, this may or may not be the correct kind of zeppole with which to celebrate St. Joseph's Day (March 19th). I've read that traditional zeppole are actually fried dough tossed in cinnamon sugar. Sounds good to me, actually.
But here in Rhode Island, the zeppole we looked forward to are crisp pate a choux puffs usually filled with pastry cream or ricotta cream and topped with powdered sugar and a maraschino cherry.
So that's what I've made. Sorry I'm getting the recipes out so close to the wire. But zeppole taste just as good on March 20th, or any other day of the year.
If you're doing this all in one day, make the pastry cream first so it has time to chill while you bake the pate a choux.
When you have the batter made for the pate a choux, place a large star tip in a piping bag and fill with the batter. Pipe little rosettes on your parchment-lined paper. Keep them level as much as possible, so they puff up evenly.
Here's a quick tutorial on piping rosettes...
Kind of down and around and around....
Once the rosettes are baked (brown on the outside, dry inside), take them out of the oven and allow them to cool completely before you fill them.
Next, fill a piping bag with pastry cream and use a narrow round tip.
(The tip in this photo is too big for the size zeppole I made. Use something smaller.)
Next, make a little hole with the tip and fill the pate a choux with the pastry cream.
(See what I mean? That tip is way too big.) (Sorry.)
To finish - dust with powdered sugar and top with a maraschino cherry.
If you're not going to serve them until later on in the day, refrigerate them.
But, of course, it's important to sample one, at least. You know. To make sure they came out okay.