St. Joseph's Day At Allegretti's
According to legend, when a severe drought struck western Sicily in the Middle Ages, the people of that area prayed to St. Joseph asking him to intercede for them to God. It seemed that all their crops would be destroyed and they would starve unless God helped them. They promised to honor St. Joseph perpetually if God would send rain.
The rain fell, the land turned green and food was once again abundant. These poor farmers and fishermen wanted to pay homage to St. Joseph for answering their prayers. An altar was constructed and precious foods that were common to them became elaborately decorated feasts.
From that day on, they kept their promise by honoring St. Joseph on his feast day and by helping the needy in their community. According to tradition, no meat is served at a St. Joseph Table. Instead, vegetables, fruits, breads, pastas, fish, and all types of dried beans and pastries are enjoyed.
Zeppole are deep-fried dough balls, typical of Southern Italy. They might have originated in Ancient Rome, in the guise of fritters, decorated with sugar or cinnamon. The present-day zeppola was created in the eighteenth century and is filled with choux cream (or chocolate), decorated with confectioners’ sugar and preserved sour cherries. The main ingredients are flour, eggs, butter and olive oil. They were created to celebrate Father’s Day, which occurs on 19 March in the Roman Catholic Church, on Saint Joseph’s Day, who, in addition to being a carpenter, allegedly mastered the art of frying. In Northern and Central Italy, they became one of the most popular Carnival desserts.
Here at Allegretti's we serve our Zeppole every weekend (Saturday and Sunday) in February and start serving them everyday March 2nd. We offer them in many different flavors, the traditional Cherry-Custard, our Chocolate-Custard, Plain Custard, Cannoli, and Strawberry-Custard.
Pączki are deep-fried pieces of dough shaped into spheres and filled with confiture or other sweet filling. Pączki are usually covered with powdered sugar, icing, glaze or bits of dried orange zest. A small amount of grain alcohol (traditionally rectified spirit) is added to the dough before cooking; as it evaporates, it prevents the absorption of oil deep into the dough. Pączki are commonly thought of as fluffy but somewhat collapsed, with a bright stripe around them; these features are seen as evidence that the dough was fried in fresh oil.
Although Paczki isn't considered a St. Joseph's day treat it is a very popular dessert that is served around the same time. Here at Allegretti's we sell Paczki's on Paczki Day (March 1st), also known as Fat Tuesday. On Fat Tuesday we sell all different flavors of Paczki along with King Cakes. Our Paczki flavors are as follows. Peach, Apricot, Apple, Cherry, Prune, Lemon, Blueberry, Raspberry, Pineapple, Cheese, Chocolate Custard, Whipped Cream, Custard (with chocolate topping or powdered sugar topping), Cannoli, Strawberry (Plain, Whip Cream Topping, or Cheesecake Topping).