Sfinci di San Giuseppe


Saint Joseph (San Giuseppe) is not only the patron saint of Sicily, but he is also the patron saint of pastry cooks.

The Feast of San Giuseppe (March 19th) is celebrated all throughout Sicily and in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Of course, as is with all holidays, there is a whole lot of eating with family and friends. Traditional dishes include Pasta con le Sarde and Pasta Milanese with Saint Joseph’s Sawdust.

To show our devotion to our beloved “sweet” saint, we eat sfinci, creamy ricotta-filled, fried puffs of pastry. There are so very many feast days to celebrate during any given year, each with it’s own special food(s) associated with the occasion … this is one of my favorites.


  • Cannoli Cream (see recipe)
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup butter, unsalted
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 3-4 cups olive oil (for frying)
  • Confectioner’s sugar, dusting
  1. Make the cannoli cream, refrigerate until needed (can be made the day before).
  2. In a saucepan, add the water, butter and salt, heat until butter has melted.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil, add the flour all at once. Reduce the heat, stirring until the pastry is smooth (it will pull away from the sides of the pan and cling to the spoon). Transfer the dough to a mixing bowl, let cool.
  4. Beat in the eggs (it is important to add only one egg at a time). The pastry will be soft.
  5. Using a deep-sided heavy pan, heat the oil to 350* (A candy thermometer really helps). Set up a platter with paper towels for puffs to drain.
  6. Using a tablespoon, scoop up some dough and use another spoon to scrape the dough off, dropping it into the heated oil. The dough will puff up to nearly triple it’s original size. Working in small batches will keep the temperature of the oil constant so don’t cook to many at a time. It takes 6-7 minutes for each batch. Keep an eye on the thermometer that it hovers at 350″ The puffs will be golden brown when done, remove with slotted spoon, drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  7. To serve, cut each puff in half, fill with cannoli cream. Dust sfinci with confectioner’s sugar.
Pasta con le Sarde
Almond Cookies