Sfinge di San Giuseppe
(St. Joseph's Cream Puffs)
Feast day of St. Joseph, husband of Virgin Mary, March 19
- 1 cup water
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Grated rind of 1 lemon
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup sifted flour
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon Cognac or vanilla extract
- 2 cups ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/3 cup grated dark chocolate
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped pistachios
- Powdered sugar
- Lemon rind
- Put water, butter, granulated sugar, lemon rind and salt into a large saucepan.
Bring to a boil, and as soon as the butter has melted, remove from heat.
- Add the flour all at once, stirring constantly and with vigor.
- Return the pan to the heat, and stir constantly until the mixture forms a ball
and comes away from the sides of the pan. Cook just a little longer, until you hear
a slight crackling, 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. Stir until smooth and thoroughly blended .
Add the Cognac or vanilla extract.
- Cover the dough and let it stand for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Drop the dough by heaping tablespoonsful on a buttered cookie sheet or onto parchment-lined
sheet (better!), leaving 2 inches between the sfinge.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool.
- Filling: Mix the ricotta, confectioners' sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon,
chocolate, and pistachios.
- Just before serving (so they don't get soggy!), cut off the tops of the sfinge
and fill; place top back on after filling.
- Arrange on platter, sprinkle with powdered sugar to make them pretty, and garnish
platter with lemon rind.