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Sicilian Sfingi di San Giuseppe

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Created by colletti, Date Added: Sunday, 27 February 2011
Average User Rating (out of 4)vote imagevote imagevote image / 4 9 Users Voted

Sfingi: these are filled cream puffs. Sicilians say Sfingi instead of zeppole but it's basically the same thing. We also use Ricotta Cannoli filling instead of custard. These Sfingi are baked instead of fried and I miss my Nonna every time I make them. Buon Appetito

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Key Ingredients
Recipe Groups
12 Sfingi
  • Sfingi:
  • 1 1/2 Cups water
  • 5 Tbs butter
  • 3/4 Cup flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 Tsp. limoncello
  • 1 Tbs vanilla
  • Ricotta Cannoli Cream:
  • 1 Quart whole milk ricotta
  • 2 Cups powdered sugar
  • 1 Tsp. orange zest
  • 2 Tsp. vanilla extract
  • Custard Cream:
  • 1/3 Cup sugar
  • 2 Tbs Corn starch
  • 1/8 Tsp Salt
  • 2 Egg yolks - Beaten
  • 2 Cups Milk
  • 2 Tsp Vanilla


  1. Sfingi:
  2. In a medium pot, boil water, then remove from heat and add Limoncello, vanilla and then flour all at once.
  3. Stir immediately till smooth. Add butter and bring back to the heat stirring.
  4. The flour should form a dough ball and stick to the pan. Remove from heat and let cool. Add eggs one at a time, stir completely into the dough before adding the next.
  5. Let the dough rest 15 min. Using a soup spoon, place spoonful size of dough on a greased cookie sheet, leaving 2 inches between each sfingi.
  6. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes then reduce to 375 for another 15-20 minutes until golden. They will double in size.
  7. Turn off the heat but let the sfingi cool off in the oven.
  8. Gently slice open and fill with Ricotta cannoli cream, dust with powdered sugar and top with an optional cherry.
  9. Ricotta Cannoli Cream:
  10. Line a colander with cheesecloth, add the ricotta and let drain until dry. Squeeze out any excess moisture.
  11. Place dry ricotta into a bowl and beat with a mixer 5-7 minutes until fluffy.
  12. Add sugar, zest and vanilla, mix on medium until blended. Place the filling into a piping bag and fill the sfingi.
  13. Custard Cream:
  14. In a pot combine cornstarch, salt, milk and sugar, bring to a slow boil for 1 minute.
  15. In a bowl, beat yolks and add 1/2 of the milk mixture from the pot, mix well.
  16. Bring the egg mixture back to the pot combining well with the milk mixture and bring back to a slow boil for 1 minute.
  17. Remove from the heat and add in vanilla extract and butter.
  18. Stir well until blended. Let cool before filling pastry.

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Additional Tips

I like to double the cannoli filling and put a spoonful on top of the pastry. It can be used to fill cannoli shells, eat it just like that with a spoon, or make waffle sandwiches!! Delizioso!

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Review by sanman440 , Thursday, 10 March 2011 vote imagevote imagevote imagevote image
This recipe is worth all the effort. Take it from me Saverio Ricotta
Review by Mwitiuk , Saturday, 16 March 2013 vote imagevote imagevote image
These are not really Sicilian sfingi but close. We do call these zeppole. Sfingi are large fist full pieces of fried pastry with ricotta filling in the hollow middle. At least that the way they are in Palermo.
Review by njgigi , Saturday, 16 March 2013 vote imagevote image
Actually, what you are making is cream puffs. Sicilian sfingi are fried dough.Whatever version you make, they are delicious just because they remind you of Nonna.
Review by Daniellabella , Saturday, 16 March 2013 vote imagevote imagevote image
I have a question about the custard cream. Butter is not listed as an ingredient, but in the recipe it says to add butter. How much butter?
Review by Retired , Sunday, 17 March 2013 vote imagevote imagevote image
Loved these, yes, they were more like a cream puff, but for a beginner on making these pastries, they were pretty close! And they did not need to be fried, which is a plus for me. Made extra filling, just to eat by itself!!
Review by Mariadavola1 , Monday, 18 March 2013 vote imagevote imagevote image
Step 17, how much butter? I'm from Ribera,Sicily, and these are in fact Zeppoli, sfinci is a fried dough, we make it without ricotta or patatoes, it's a softer dough than pizza dough,that is deep fried, at least that's how my mom and dad made them, we used to dip them in granulated suger, used to look forward to my parents making them every easter, I now make both, Zeppoli and sfinci. Making these tomorrow :)
Review by enrica1 , Sunday, 31 March 2013 vote imagevote image
I'm a first generation Italian who'se used to being in the kitchen, having said that, I'm experienced in cooking the old fashioned way. These pastries simply didn't turn out, don't know why. They never doubled in size and stayed small. The only thing that I did that was different was to double the recipe.
Review by lreichert812 , Tuesday, 26 November 2013 vote imagevote imagevote imagevote image
So good, thank you!
Review by newell43 , Friday, 28 March 2014 vote image
Custard came out like water very thin have used king Arthur receipt for pastry cream it is great wasted my time