Father’s Day: why are they called St. Joseph’s zeppole?

For Father’s Day le Saint Joseph’s Zeppole are inevitable in Naples, but reflect on Why they are called that is often not immediate. This dessert, now popular throughout Italy, has origins ancient and the connection between the delicious pancakes and the Saint brings together History e legends. The etymology of term zeppola is no less controversial and the gorge remains the only fixed point.

What are St. Joseph’s zeppole?

The zeppole di San Giuseppe are typical sweets of the Neapolitan tradition that have now become a workhorse in all Italia. These look like some kind of cream puffs fried, stuffed with custard, on top of which stands out ablack cherry or a cherry in alcohol. In the original recipe thedough it is prepared with eggs, butter, sugar and flour and the custard is not placed inside the pancakes, but above of them. Frying takes place today in abundance olio of seeds, but in the past they were used burro or other animal fats. Over time the mode of preparation have multiplied. There is no shortage of zeppole cooked al oven or those stuffed with chocolate or pistachio.

Why are they called zeppole di San Giuseppe?

To understand why the zeppole di San Giuseppe are called this way, it is necessary to take a long leap back on the timeline and distinguish between story and history. A first legend refers to Holy Family. It seems, in fact, that, after the flight into Egypt, Joseph, in order to support his wife and son, had found himself forced to work as a fryer itinerant, as well as as a carpenter.

The second hypothesis places the roots of the dessert in the ambit of Roman history. In the Empire March 17 was celebrated i Liberals, rites in honor of Bacchus and Silenus. During this feast libations were the order of the day and wine was accompanied by fritters of wheat, fried in lard, which would be the ancestors of zeppole. With the advent of the emperor Theodosiuswhich forbade pagan cults, the delicacies would simply have been assimilate from Christianity.

A long story

The donuts of San Giuseppe boast a long history. He thought about putting the recipe on paper in the 1837 the cook and intellectual Ippolito Cavalcanti, in his Treatise on Theoretical-Practical Cuisine. The original draft is in Neapolitan. To give the typical shape to the dessert were, instead, the nuns in 1700, but the merits remain disputed between the nuns of the convent of San Gregorio Armeno in Naples and those of the Splendore and the Croce of Lucca.

Understanding why St. Joseph’s pancakes are called zeppole is, then, the same complicated. A first hypothesis looks at the Latin name even, snake, referring to the shape. Other sources connect them, however, to wedgefrom Latin onion, which in Naples indicates the wooden stop for furniture. Further theories state that the word derives from “Uncle Paolo”, the Neapolitan fryer considered the father of zeppole.

Knowing why the zeppole di San Giuseppe are called that helps us to approach this dessert in a more conscious way. Variations today regional of gluttony are many. In Sicily the small donuts have a more citrusy flavour. In Calabriahowever, for example, the filling is based on ricotta cheese, sugar, cinnamon and lemon.

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