Dessert

Deep fried Traditional St. Joseph’s Day Cream Puffs – Bignè di San Giuseppe Tradizionali Fritti

Nicoletta March 17, 2018

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Deep fried Traditional St. Joseph’s Day Cream Puffs (Bignè di San Giuseppe Tradizionali Fritti) are deep-fried choux pastry puffs filled with a fragrant pastry cream and then sprinkled with powdered sugar. They are typical of the Roman cuisine. Traditionally, they are prepared on March 19th, St. Joseph’s day, when Italians also celebrate Father’s Day. A pure delight.

Song of the Day: I Want It All – Queen.

Bignè di San Giuseppe Tradizionali Fritti-St. Joseph's Day Traditionl Deep Fried Cream Puffs with lemon custard

A call from my father before going to work, yesterday, requested I made the traditional deep-fried Bignè di San Giuseppe for the approaching Father’s Day (on March 19th). Last year I wasn’t in Italy to celebrate with him, but the year before I was here and made him the oven baked version of these delightful ‘cream puffs’. So I knew, this request was coming, and gladly accepted the challenge.

 

 

Saturday mornings/early afternoons since I’m here are reserved for baking/cooking with my mom and dad. Well, not only Saturdays, because yesterday, Friday night, I was busy making homemade pizza for the whole family, lol. Anyway, since on Saturdays I have more time and hopefully enough light to take some pictures, our Roman kitchen is in bustling activity.

This time of the year there is no Roman pastry shop, café, grocery store, and bakery, that doesn’t have Bignè di San Giuseppe proudly on display. A dazzling array of golden cream puffs, deep fried or baked, with a silky yellow pastry cream peaking through, and the occasional amarena cherry on top of the Neapolitan Zeppole di San Giuseppe.

Bignè di San Giuseppe Tradizionali Fritti-St. Joseph's Day Traditionl Deep Fried Cream Puffs with lemon custardBignè di San Giuseppe Tradizionali Fritti-St. Joseph's Day Traditionl Deep Fried Cream Puffs with lemon custard

My dad said they asked him to pay 2 euros each bignè, so he went home and called me suggesting we made it ourselves. They are a bit laborious: between making the choux pastry, the lemon flavored pastry cream, deep frying the puffs and assembling them, plan to spend some time in the kitchen. They are indeed a labor of love but worth every minute of it.

Bignè di San Giuseppe Tradizionali Fritti-St. Joseph's Day Traditionl Deep Fried Cream Puffs with lemon custard

The recipe for these Deep fried Traditional St. Joseph’s Day Cream Puffs (Bignè di San Giuseppe Tradizionali Fritti) comes from an old cookbook with recipes from the Roman Cuisine. It is a jewel filled with almost lost, traditional regional Italian recipes, exactly my cup of tea. And the recipe for my pastry cream is my go-to, trusted recipe, my mom’s one, made with eggs, sugar, milk, and flour and flavored with a lemon rind. So silky, smooth, fragrant, and absolutely not too thick, just the perfect filling to this puffs.

Bignè di San Giuseppe Tradizionali Fritti-St. Joseph's Day Traditionl Deep Fried Cream Puffs with lemon custard

My dad helped me deep frying the bignè, and if I was home, Loreto would have had this task 🙂 . Hope he was here to taste them!

Bignè di San Giuseppe Tradizionali Fritti-St. Joseph's Day Traditionl Deep Fried Cream Puffs with lemon custard

The Deep fried Traditional St. Joseph’s Day Cream Puffs are soft, surprisingly light in terms of texture and consistency, and not overly sweet. They feel so light and airy inside, that the cream takes the whole space, so when you bite in you are first welcomed by a smooth, velvety, lemony goodness. Then the lightly crispy exterior blends in and you are left with a smile of pure delight. Not at all greasy, absolutely scrumptious, and such a special treat to celebrate all the Fathers out there.

Bignè di San Giuseppe Tradizionali Fritti-St. Joseph's Day Traditionl Deep Fried Cream Puffs with lemon custard

Happy Father’s day to all the amazing fathers, and a special thought to my father in law who is no longer with us.

Song of the Day: I Want It All – Queen.

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Bignè di San Giuseppe Tradizionali Fritti-St. Joseph's Day Traditionl Deep Fried Cream Puffs with lemon custard

Deep fried Traditional St. Joseph’s Day Cream Puffs

  • Author: Nicoletta
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: p medium size cream puffs
  • Category: Sweets
  • Method: Deep frying
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

Deep fried Traditional St. Joseph’s Day Cream Puffs are deep-fried choux pastry puffs filled with a fragrant custard and then sprinkled with powdered sugar. They are typical of the Roman cuisine. Traditionally, they are prepared on March 19th, the feast of St. Joseph, which is also Father’s Day. A pure delight.


Ingredients

For the Bignè:

  • 1 glass water (about 150 ml)
  • 50 g unsalted butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 100 g all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, organic free-range
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 lemons, the zest

For the lemon pastry cream:

  • 3 large organic egg yolks
  • 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour (or potato starch), sifted
  • 3 glasses of milk (about 400 ml)
  • rind of 1 organic lemon

Instructions

  1. In a thick-bottomed saucepan, add the water, butter and the pinch of salt. Bring slowly to a boil, stirring with a wooden spoon. Once the butter has melted and the water is boiling, remove the pan from the heat and pour inside the sifted flour. Return the saucepan on the stove and stir the ingredients with a whisk first and then continue stirring with a wooden spoon until you get a ball shaped dough. You have to keep stirring the mixture until you see a white film form at the bottom of the saucepan (about 5 minutes).
  2. Pour the mixture into a bowl and let it cool. Beat lightly the eggs and the sugar, then add half the mixture to the dough and stir until well incorporated, adding the other half only when the previous has been completely absorbed (you can use a wooden spoon, a handheld mixer, or better yet, a stand mixer). You want to obtain a smooth and homogeneous batter.
  3. Let the mixture rest for 5 minutes.
  4. Heat the vegetable oil in a medium pot. Scoop a heaped tablespoon of the batter, then use another tablespoon (or your finger) to help drop the mixture carefully into the hot oil. Cook just a few at a time since they will get bigger.
  5. Cook the bignè slowly over medium heat, turning them occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until they are golden and puffed, turning the heat up every so slightly towards the end. During frying, they should split partially and begin growing further. If they brown too quickly, the oil is too hot and you need to turn the heat down. When done, leave to drain on a plate lined with paper towel and continue frying the rest of the batter. Let the bignè cool completely.

For the lemon pastry cream:

  1. Heat the milk in a saucepan with the lemon rind; beat the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl, then add the sifted flour. Pour the heated milk mixture slowly, mixing with a whisk. Put back the mixture on the stove and stir constantly until the custard has thickened.
  2. Transfer the custard to a bowl and let it cool with a plastic wrap on top to keep it from drying out.

Assembly the Bignè:

  1. When both the bignè and the cream are cool, with a piping bag, pipe the lemon cream into each bignè until full. Dust with icing sugar before serving. Enjoy!

Notes

  1. Of course, these are best made and eaten on the same day, then they begin to get soggy. You could make the bignè the night before and fill them the next day for serving. The custard keeps well for a few days in the refrigerator.
Bignè di San Giuseppe Tradizionali Fritti-St. Joseph's Day Traditionl Deep Fried Cream Puffs with lemon custard
Post e Ricetta in Italiano

Una telefonata di mio padre prima di andare a lavoro, ieri, mi ha chiesto di preparare i tradizionali Bignè di San Giuseppe fritti per l’approssimarsi della festa del papà (il 19 marzo). L’anno scorso non ero in Italia per festeggiare con lui, ma l’anno prima ero qui e gli ho fatto la versione al forno di questi deliziosi “bignè”. Quindi sapevo che questa richiesta sarebbe arrivata e ho accettato con piacere la sfida.

I sabati mattina, o il primo pomeriggio, da quando sono qui, sono riservati a cucinare con mamma e papà. Beh, non solo i Sabati, perché ieri, Venerdì sera, sono stata impegnata a preparare la pizza fatta in casa per tutta la famiglia. Comunque, dato che di sabato ho più tempo e abbastanza luce per fare qualche foto, la nostra cucina romana è in attività frenetica. In questo periodo dell’anno non esiste una pasticceria romana, un caffè, un negozio di alimentari e un forno, che non abbia in bella mostra i Bignè di San Giuseppe. Uno sfolgorante spiegamento di bignè dorati, fritti o al forno, con la crema pasticcera gialla e vellutata che fa capolino, e l’occasionale amarena sopra le Zeppole napoletane di San Giuseppe.

Mio padre ha detto che gli hanno chiesto di pagare 2 euro ogni bignè, così è andato a casa e mi ha chiamato suggerendomi di farceli da soli. Sono un po’ laboriosi: tra fare la pasta choux, la crema al limone (o crema pasticcera), friggere i bignè e riempirli, state certi di passare un po’ di tempo in cucina. Ne vale, però, ogni minuto.

I bignè sono morbidi, sorprendentemente leggeri in termini di consistenza e non eccessivamente dolci. Sono così leggeri e ariosi all’interno, che la crema pasticcera prende tutto lo spazio, così quando li mordi vieni prima accolto da una delizia vellutata, al delicato sapore di limone. Poi l’esterno leggermente croccante si mescola al ripieno, e ti si stampa sulle labbra un sorriso di puro piacere. Per niente grassi, assolutamente goduriosi, e un regalo speciale per celebrare tutti i Padri là fuori.

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Bignè di San Giuseppe Tradizionali Fritti-St. Joseph's Day Traditionl Deep Fried Cream Puffs with lemon custard

Bignè di San Giuseppe Tradizionali Fritti

  • Author: Nicoletta
  • Prep Time: 40 minuti
  • Cook Time: 30 minuti
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minuti
  • Yield: 9 bignè di media grandezza 1x
  • Category: Dolci
  • Method: Fritti
  • Cuisine: Italiana

Description

I Bignè di San Giuseppe sono dei dolci fritti tipici della cucina romana. Tradizionalmente sono preparati in occasione del 19 marzo, festa di San Giuseppe e anche festa del papà. Sono ripieni di crema pasticcera aromatizzata con una scorza di limone e spolverati di zucchero a velo. Goduriosi.

Ricetta dei bignè da: “La Cucina Romana e del Lazio” – Livio Jannattoni (collezione de Il Messaggero).


Ingredients

  • 1 bicchiere d’acqua (circa 150 ml)
  • 50 g burro
  • 1 pizzico di sale
  • 100 g farina 00, setacciata
  • 2 uova, sbattute con lo zucchero
  • 23 cucchiai di zucchero (io 2)
  • scorza di 1 limone biologico

Per la crema al limone:

  • 3 tuorli di uova, biologiche, da allevamento a terra
  • 3 cucchiai zucchero granulare
  • 3 cucchiai farina (o fecola di patate)
  • 3 bicchieri di latte (circa 450 ml)
  • scorza di 1 limone biologico

Instructions

  1. In un pentolino mettete l’acqua, il burro e il pizzico di sale. Quando inizia a bollire, togliete dal fuoco e versate la farina. Mescolate bene con un cucchiaio di legno.
  2. Riportate il pentolino sul fuoco e continuate a mescolare con il cucchiaio di legno per ottenere una palla compatta. Girate il composto fino a quando vedrete formarsi una patina biancastra sul fondo del pentolino (circa 5 minuti).
  3. Versate l’impasto in una ciotola e lasciatelo intiepidire. Una volta tiepido, unite le uova sbattute con lo zucchero un po’ alla volta, mescolando col cucchiaio di legno e aggiungendo la seguente parte solo quando la precedente è stata completamente assorbita (oltre che con un mestolo di legno, potete compiere questa operazione servendovi delle fruste di uno sbattitore a mano o la foglia di una planetaria). Alla fine dovrete ottenere un composto liscio e omogeneo. Lasciate riposare 5 minuti.
  4. In un pentolino medio mettete abbondante olio (noi di arachide) e quando caldo, fate scivolare gentilmente nell’olio una cucchiaiata di impasto aiutandovi con un altro cucchiaio o un dito. Cuocetene 4-5 alla volta, non di più perchè gonfiano. Inizieranno a gonfiarsi, a spaccarsi un po’ e quando sono ben dorati, togliete dal fuoco e lasciate sgocciolare su un piatto con della carta assorbente. Lasciate raffreddare.

Per la crema al limone:

  1. Riscaldate il latte in un pentolino con la scorza di limone; sbattete in una ciotola, con la frusta, i tuorli e lo zucchero quindi aggiungete la farina setacciata. Versate il latte riscaldato sul composto a filo, amalgamando con la frusta. Riportate il composto sul fuoco e mescolate continuamente fino a che la crema non si sarà addensata.
  2. Trasferite la crema in una ciotola e fatela raffreddare con un foglio di pellicola a contatto per non farla seccare.

Formare i bignè:

  1. Farcite i bignè con la crema, che avrete trasferito in una sac-à-poche con bocchetta piccola.
  2. A piacere cospargeteli con zucchero a velo.

Notes

Conservate i bignè alla crema in frigorifero, coperti, per un paio di giorni. Ovviamente sono ottimi il giorno stesso, poi perdono un po’ della fragranza e si “ammosciano” un po’.

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9 Comments

  • Avatar
    Reply Milena Perrine March 18, 2018 at 9:42 am

    That book of yours full of classic Roman recipes is truly a treasure! What a treat to witness you recreate the traditional bigne. I am so very intrigued that the dough rises and splits while fried. At first, before I read your explanation, I was wondering how you accomplished the shape of the puffs to hold the pastry cream. Pretty amazing. Hope your dad enjoyed them:) And happy St. Joseph’s day to him tomorrow.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta March 18, 2018 at 12:13 pm

      It truly is, Milena! And the bignè are amazing! My dad loved them, as well my mom, me, my brother and girlfriend, my uncle :-). All gone. Thank you!!

  • Avatar
    Reply bergetrk March 18, 2018 at 6:02 pm

    These do look so lovely. I love the history behind the cream puffs and there’s nothing better than a family tradition!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta March 18, 2018 at 11:02 pm

      Thank you, Kathy! They are my dad’s favorite, but everybody enjoyed them 🙂 .

  • Avatar
    Reply Greedyeats -Neha March 18, 2018 at 8:39 pm

    Loving that lemon pastry cream. Cream puffs are on of my all time favorites! Thanks for a scrumptious recipe!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta March 18, 2018 at 11:03 pm

      I used to eat that cream by the spoonful when I was a kid, and still, now, it is my favorite dessert. In these bignè, it is he best part 🙂 . Thank you!!

  • Avatar
    Reply chef mimi March 20, 2018 at 3:35 pm

    Oh my goodness, these are beautiful. So much more appealing than any donut or breakfast pastry. Stunning.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta March 21, 2018 at 1:34 am

      Thank you so much, chef Mimi!! They are indeed scrumptious and my family enjoyed them immensely. They didn’t last the second day, and that is a good thing because as with every deep fried foods, they are at their best when eaten fresh 🙂 . I am going to make them again when back in Canada, for my husband and family there, even though here in Rome you do not eat them after St. Jospeh’s day. I am willing to break the rule, for how amazing they are 😉 .

      • Avatar
        Reply chef mimi March 21, 2018 at 6:03 am

        Sounds like a rule worth breaking!

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