St. Joseph's Day Crispelle Fritta for Carnevale, Doughnuts

Monday, March 19, 2012

For Catholics that means St Joseph's Day on March 19th. In the Catholic religion, St. Joseph was the "Foster Father" of  Jesus, husband of the Virgin Mary. This is primarily an Italian Holiday. If there’s one food St. Joseph’s Day deserves to be as famous for as its Irish counterpart for, it’s zeppole, sometimes spelled zeppoli or called sfinge di San Giuseppe. These small doughnuts are usually dusted with sugar and can be filled with jelly, custard or ricotta cream like the kind in cannoli. See recipe link below
Honey, Cinnamon or Powdered Sugar, serve warm these were grandma's favorite! She called them Crispelles, her Region was Rome, Italy.  A little late since her own traditions with these were always made  on Christmas Eve, but they reminded me of the fried Zeppole for St. Joseph's Day so I wanted to make them in her honor.  Served in paper bags at many feasts and carnevales
by Regions, so many different variations. Hers were made with raisins, pine nuts or plain.
Make a few of each sure to please everyone!
 Grandma's Recipe:

1/2 cup raisins
1/3 cup rum
1 package dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
2 teaspoons sugar plus a pinch
3 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
1 egg
1/2 cup pine nuts
Oil for frying 
Warmed honey
Cinnamon and sugar mixture
Powdered sugar
Soak the raisins in rum overnight
Mix the yeast in the water in a small bowl to proof 10 minutes adding a pinch of sugar and set aside.
Put flour, 2 teaspoons sugar and salt in a large bowl. Stir in the milk, egg and mix well. Add the yeast mixture.  Keep stirring still smooth.

(At this point you can split the dough into half to make some plain)
Stir in the raisins with the rum and pine nuts.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap  and place it in a warm area.
Allow the batter to rise for about 3 hours.

Heat a large deep fry pan with oil around 2 inches deep to 375 degrees or if you have a deep fryer.

Stir in the raisins with the rum and pine nuts.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap  and place it in a warm area.
Allow the batter to rise for about 3 hours.

Using a tablespoon to make these with spoon the batter into hot oil, you may need another spoon to slip the donut easily into the oil. Fry these cripelle until a light golden brown, checking the first one before making the rest so that you know it is cooked all the way through and the oil is at the right temperature. While the fritters are still warm, heat honey in a small saucepan then dip the crispelle into the honey, place on a large dish. For more variations, in a small paper lunch bag add cinnamon and sugar while fritters are  still warm shake in sugar proceed the same way using powdered sugar. Best eaten  while still warm. If you prefer a cream puff baked dough, you can also refer to the link at the bottom below,  that will give you more dough alternatives to make some different style pastry.

MOM's Recipe:
1 1/3 cup flour
1 packet rapid-rise dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/2 cup milk
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla
1/2 cup raisins soaked in rum or brandy for a few hours

For Frying
2 to 3 cups vegetable or canola  oil

Placed  yeast in warmed 1/2 cup milk ( which is warmed up to feel luke warm on the wrist )
Using an electric mixer, beat eggs.
Add sugar and mix well, beat in vanilla.
Add the milk with the yeast and mix well.
Slowly add the flour (The dough should end up having the appearance of a very soft dough, if a touch more flour is needed, add it).
Mix in the drained raisins into the soft dough.
Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and place it in a lightly greased container or bowl (Should be high enough for the dough to rise in, and it should be covered with  plastic wrap, and a wet towel).
 Keep the container in a warm room.
Let the dough rest for about 1 1/2 hours (The dough should double in volume).
Heat up the vegetable oil in a deep frying pan. To find out if it's warm enough for the fritters place a piece of bread in it, if and when it sizzles then it is warm enough.
Take a piece of dough and using a large spoon drop rounded pieces into oil, fry till golden brown then drain on paper towels. Fritters only taste good the same day, freeze some if you won't eat them all before adding the honey.
While fritters are still warm, heat honey till boiling and lemon colored, dip the fritters in the honey.
Place the crispelle in a large bowl  honey  coated  and serve.

  Try these other delicious versions of awesome fritters and fried zeppole doughs for the upcoming St. Joesph's Day in March 19th (mom always use to say:  "Don't forget to wear red!" These below are traditional here in the U.S. They are filled with a ricotta cheese filling like cannoli style and a cream puff style dough. You will require a largest star pastry tip to make the swirling effects on top.

St. Joseph's Day Pastry with Mom's Version with Creamy Cannoli Filling click here

  Click below for even more!
St. Joseph's Day Celebration Treats

+claudia lamascolo  Author


  1. These crispelle are greedy ^_^ I'm mouthwatering! Bye, have a good week

  2. These are picture-perfect as if from a bakery. Longing for them as I still work on losing my "Italy weight." I love how St. Joseph's day is celebrated!

  3. St. Joseph and St. Patrick should combine for one big holiday. That way we could have beer, corned beef, cabbage and crispelle for dessert, but I guess 2 parties are better than one. These look fantastic.

  4. OMG!!! I'm drooling over this, Claudia! I can imagine how delicious they are warm. And I'm trying to lose a few pounds...

  5. come mi piacciono questi! Mmmm...

  6. Oh Dear Claudia, This post just brought back so many good memories. When I read the Italian of the pronunciation I could hear my family.
    These look wonderful. Thank you for sharing. Blessings my dear, Catherine xoxo

  7. Yum! Those are very different from the Crispelli I knew, but they look delicious. Do you know anything about the anchovy Crispellis, Claudia? I'm not a major anchovy fan but I miss the anchovy crispellis.

  8. I've never had this before! But, these look so good!!

  9. OMG! These look like they are straight from the bakery. I love the ones in the last picture with that cannoli filling-yum! You do have some talent when it comes to making these. I have never been able to make decent looking fried donuts. Well done-buzz buzz!

  10. Claudia!
    Happy Belated St. Joseph's Day!
    Did you wear red. Your fried doughnuts look perfect for the Celebration, as well as those cannolis, yum!

  11. Wow, these are beautiful! Ive never heard of them before, but they look delicious.

  12. Wow!! These are really gorgeous and look so appetizing! Wish I could grab one right now!

  13. these look soooo yummy!

    ♥ Shia

  14. Wow these look amazing and I love that you shared both your mom and grandma's recipes! Fantastic! :)

  15. Boy do these look good, quite the indulgence. Honey, cinnamon, and powdered sugar = my fav!

  16. Looks delicious! :) And rum raisins make everything better.

  17. thanks for sharing this, grandma, and mom recipe always taste good, your looks tempting, zeppole with cinnamon & sugar mixture topping looks super delicious on me


  18. these would not last long around our grandchildren, yum!! thank you for sharing co


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