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glass plate piled with zeppole with ricotta filling and cherry on top

Baked Zeppole with Ricotta Filling for St-Joseph's Day

Baked Zeppole with Ricotta Filling for St-Joseph's Day as enjoyed by Italians each year on March 19th. My lightened up zeppole are baked instead of fried but have all the flavors of traditional zeppole with a sweet creamy ricotta filling! 
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Keyword St-Joseph's day dessert, Italian dessert, Zeppole with ricotta, baked zeppole
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 24 zeppole
Calories 180kcal


For the pate à choux:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup all -purpose flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs

For the ricotta filling:

  • 5 cups whole milk ricotta
  • 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar or more if you prefer a sweeter filling

For serving:

  • powdered sugar for dusting on


Prepare the choux pastry

  • Preheat oven to 425°F. In a medium sized sauce pan, combine the butter and water. Bring to a boil. Meanwhile, sift together the flour, salt and sugar.
  • When the butter and water come to a rolling boil, remove the pan from the heat and dump the flour mixture in all at once, stirring with a wooden spoon until the flour is well incorporated.
  • Return the pan to the heat and cook while stirring, for 1 minute. The mixture will form a ball and coat the pan with a thin film.
  • Transfer the mixture to a stand mixer equipped with the paddle attachment. Let cool for a few minutes.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, completely incorporating each one before adding the next. Beat until the dough is smooth.
  • Transfer the dough to a pastry bag fitted with a star tip. Alternately, place in a medium sized freezer bag with the tip cut off.
  • Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and anchor to the tray by dabbing a little of the dough in each corner. Pipe a 3 inch diameter circle onto the parchment paper and go over the circle with a second layer of dough.
  • Bake for about 15 minutes, until golden and puffed. Reduce the heat to 350ºF and bake for another 10 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave the choux to dry for another 10 minutes with the oven door ajar. Let cool.

Fill the choux

  • To prepare filling, whisk ricotta with powdered sugar until smooth. Set aside
  • When the choux are cooled, use a sharp knife and carefully slice in half. Pipe with the ricotta mixture, place the top half over the filling and, if desired, pipe more ricotta mixture in the center.
  • Dust with powdered sugar before serving and place a maraschino or amarena cherry in the center.


  • I pipe my choux pastry into doughnut like shapes as I am used to finding in local Montreal bakeries. However, you may also pipe the dough as for a cream puff, that is without the hole in the center. To fill, simply make a hole at the base of the pastry with the tip of your pastry bag. Pipe cream directly into the middle hollowed section.
  • Filled zeppole are best the day they are prepared. Although you can keep leftovers refrigerated for a few days, the filled choux pastry tends to soften up.
  • Store unfilled choux pastry in an airtight container at room temperature. However, they do tend to soften up the next day. Therefore, when you wish to fill your choux, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, turn it off and place the choux on a baking sheet in the oven with the door slightly ajar for 10 minutes. This will allow the choux to crisp up again. Let cool and fill with ricotta or pastry cream as desired.
  • If you don't have a stand mixer, use a whisk to fully incorporate your eggs to the pastry dough, one at a time.
  • If you prefer a creamier, richer ricotta filling you add some whipping cream to the mixture. Adjust the amount of sugar added according to your taste.
  • Ricotta cream is my filling of choice for zeppole, however they can be filled with pastry cream. Click here for my pastry cream recipe found within my Pineapple Layer Cake with Pastry Cream post.
  • Other possible add-ins to your filling include grated chocolate, cinnamon, lemon zest or even candied fruit.
  • Please note that the nutritional information provided may vary according to exact portion size.


Calories: 180kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 67mg | Sodium: 101mg | Potassium: 72mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 391IU | Calcium: 113mg | Iron: 1mg