Beloved Sfinci di San Giuseppe


Probably the most famous food associated with Saint Joseph’s Day, which is March 19, are Sfinci di San Giuseppe. I photographed these in Sicily–not an easy item to find if they aren’t “in season.” Sfinci are fried cream puffs, served hot with a dusting of cinnamon, confectioner’s sugar, and honey, or cold and open-faced with a smear of cannoli cream and decorated with candied orange and a cherry.

The word “sfince” (singular of sfinci) means sponge. And the pastry resembles one. Meanwhile, I’d like to remind you that it’s the planting season and Sicilian pastry usually has a cheeky double-entendre (Wink! Wink!).

Depending on the region of Italy, sfinci may have a different appearance and different ingredients. In Naples, for example, they even have a different name: le zèppole. And in Rome, they are called Bignè di San Giuseppe.

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