Saturday, March 19, 2011

Zeppoli (or "Sfineg ta San Guzepp")

My first thought, as I woke up this morning was: "I'll make Zeppoli today".

It's my friend J.'s fault. He's been going on and on all week about how he's looking forward to eat Zeppoli. Because today is St. Joseph's feast here in Malta, and it is tradition that on this day, people eat sweetened deep fried pastry balls, filled with Ricotta.

A picture of Sfineg
J. asked me, forced me, threatened me until I accepted to go out and buy them for him... He even called and sent messages in order to remind me. Which I did... I bought a couple for him. But then made some home made ones for the rest of us.

The recipe calls for candied peel and since I did not have any, but did have an orange and some sugar, I started the day by boiling the orange skin in water to make candied orange peel. I added some bay leaves and a handful of spices (cloves, cinnamon, juniper berries) just to make the house smell better.

Homemade candied orange peel
Homemade candied orange peel
I made the filling by mixing ricotta cheese with finely chopped dark chocolate, the orange peel & almonds. To the choux pastry I added grated rind of an orange and a lemon.

In the afternoon I went to see my bro & his friends' mare Lady IV. She's just 9 months old, a real cutie and very sprightly. 

Me & Lady IV

Back from the visit, I finished off the Zeppoli by deep frying the batter and then drenching the pastry with a honey/homemade marmalade mixture and sprinkled them with chopped almonds. Eaten immediately, the outside shell has a nice crunch with a soft, creamy interior. Eaten later, the shell had softened but the chocolate bits and nuts make for a nice bite. YUMMY!
Happy St. Joseph's day! Recipe after the jump... 

Sfinec ta San Guzepp
Sfineg ta' San Guzepp

Zeppoli (or sfineg ta' San Guzepp)

Basic sweet Choux Pastry:

  • 250 ml Water
  • 100 gr Butter
  • 125 gr Flour
  • 2 tsp fine Castor sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 - 3 Eggs
  • Zest of 1 Lemon (Finely chopped)
  • Zest of 1 Orange (Finely chopped)
  • 1 part Honey + 1 part marmalade mixture 
  • Oil for deep frying
  1. In a pan, melt the butter in water together with sugar and salt, on low heat.
  2. When butter is melted, bring mixture to boil.
  3. Remove from heat and add the flour, mixing just enough to incorporate into the liquid.
  5. Return the pan to a low heat and stir gently until the mixture leaves the side of the pan (about 1 minute).
  6. Once again, remove the mixture from heat and allow to cool.
  7. In the mean time lightly beat the egg and add the finely chopped lemon and orange zest.
  8. When mixture is cool enough, slowly incorporate the eggs into the mixture, beating with a wooden spoon. Add enough eggs for the mixture to be glossy and flows back when pushed.
  9. Deep fry spoonfulls of the mixture until evenly browned all over.

Ricotta Mixture:

  • 600g Ricotta
  • 60g chopped dark chocolate
  • 60g chopped candied orange peel
  • 60g + 100g chopped almonds
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 3 tbsp Anisette liquer
  1. Beat the ricotta with the icing sugar and anisette liquer until you have a light creamy mixture.
  2. Add the dark chocolate, 60g of the almonds & candied peel and mix well. Reserve the rest of the almonds 
  1.  Slit the deep fried pastries and coat with honey then dip in the reserved almonds.
  2. Pipe or spoon the ricotta mixture into the pastries and serve while crispy.  


  1. I have just discovered your it! Apart from the fact it makes me hungry :)

  2. @The Fish in Malta Ooh! Sorry about making you hungry! (Well not really... that's the whole point isn't it!:) )

    Hope you get inspired to try something out!


  3. OOOoooh lovely blog u've got here!!! those zeppoli of yours are so mouth-watering...This year I didn't buy any cos my little one was sick but hopefully, next year I'll have my share of these good old pastries.

  4. @Zen Oh! That's a pity! They are really lovely aren't they?!
    Hope your little one's better!

  5. Hey. Thanks for 'following'. I can assure you that I will be an avid fan if you keep on posting lovely dessert recipes. Dessert is my weak spot :)

  6. @Loree Definitely more dessert recipes will be coming your way! :-D

  7. Well done Patz... nice blog :)