From the first moment I sampled Maria and Nina’s Zeppole, I thought I had died and gone to food-lovers heaven! And I am not the only one in my family who felt the same. After spending the morning filming at Caffe Sicilia where Maria, Nina, and Domenic graciously demonstrated making the special Saint Joseph bread and Zeppole, they very sweetly sent me home with a treasure box full of freshly made Zeppole. My husband and son generally prefer savory to sweet, but now I see I will have to make frequent stops at Caffe Sicilia to pick up Zeppole during Saint Joseph’s feast time!
Maria’s Zeppole pastry is airy and tender and makes a perfect nest for one of three different fillings offered at Caffe Sicilia; a light and fluffy perfectly sweetened ricotta filling, the same ricotta filling, but with tiny chocolate chips added, and the third filling is yellow cream. Honestly, I have never been a tremendous yellow cream filling fan, but that is because I never had Maria’s yellow cream. Hers is neither gluey nor gloppy, but rather a pale buttery yellow sweet and smooth-textured filling of creamy yumminess. Not only were the fillings mouth watering delicious, she also sandwiches a very generous helping of beautiful Amarena cherries between the layers of pastry and filling. Amarena cherries are a favorite of my husband’s and I think that too may be another reason why he fell in love with Maria’s Zeppole.
RUN, don’t walk, to Caffe Sicilia to sample their Zeppole! Although a traditional Saint Joe desert, Maria makes the Zeppole through Easter time as many have given up sweets for Lent. Because the Zeppole fly out the door as quickly as they are made, having the opportunity to try the dessert is rather hit or miss. I strongly advise that you place your order for Zeppole ahead of time. The Zeppole are conveniently available in a large and a smaller size. Call (978) 283-2345 to place your orders.
End Note ~ Amarena cherries are made from a small, bitter dark colored cherry, the amara cherry, which is grown in the Modena and Bologna regions of Italy. Gennaro Fabbri from Bologna developed the Amarena combination of cherries with syrup and it is still a family-owned business that produces a variety of cherry based products, including syrups, beverages, and pastries. Amarena cherries are often used to decorate chocolate desserts.
I typically find Amarena cherries in the pretty blue and white Fabbri jars at William Sonoma, but after looking up the spelling for this post, they are also readily available online.