St. Joseph’s Cream Puffs

Sfinge di San Giuseppe

recipe from A Continual Feast by Evelyn Vitz

1 cup water
1/3 cup sweet butter
1 Tablespoon sugar
grated rind of 1 lemon
pinch of salt
1 cup sifted flour
4 large eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla

2 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
2 Tablespoons finely chopped pistachios

1 Tablespoon candied orange peel
Confectioner’s sugar for sprinkling on top

For the cream puffs: Place the water, butter, granulated sugar, lemon rind, and salt in a large saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, and as soon as the butter has melted, remove the pan from heat. Add the flour all at once, stirring constantly and vigorously.

Return the pan to the heat, and stir constantly until the mixture forms a ball and comes away from the sides of the pan. Continue to cook a little longer, until you hear a slight crackling or frying sound. Remove the pan from the heat and cool slightly.

Add the eggs, one at a time. Be sure that each egg is thoroughly blended into the mixture before you add the next. Keep stirring until the dough is smooth and thoroughly blended. Add vanilla. Cover the dough and let stand 15-20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Drop dough by heaping Tablespoonfuls on a buttered cookie sheet, leaving 2 inches between the Sfinge. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until they are golden brown. Remove them from the oven to cool.

For the filling: Mix the ricotta, confectioner’s sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, chocolate and pistachios (and peel, if using). For best results, fill cream puffs just before serving: Cut each cream puff horizontally partway through the middle and fill with the mixture. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar.

Buon Appetito!