Buona Festa di San Giuseppe e Buona Pasqua!

March 22nd, 2008

St. Joseph’s Day or La Festa di San Giuseppe is an important day to my family. We come from a small town near Messina in Sicily. I love this day because it is one of the strongest traditions we have in my family. Susan from Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy and Michelle of Bleeding Espresso both had beautiful posts recently about their family traditions and the treat Zeppole. I wanted to share my family’s tradition. We make Giusppetti, which are fried pieces of dough, stuffed with raisins and rolled in sugar.

Growing up in NC, away from our family, we continued the tradition. St. Joseph’s Day turned into a huge party, where friends and neighbors would join us in eating Giusppetti and welcoming Spring. My mother would man the deep fryer, often frying up five batches of dough. It was my job to roll them in sugar and then put them in baskets for my brother and sister to pass out among our guests. We always had a large spread of fruit, cheeses and meats. I loved these days and maybe it is where I first began to cultivate my love of feeding all my friends.

This weekend, my family and I made Giusppetti together on the back porch. Our recipe is something my mother adapted because the original recipe has disappeared or possibly never existed. Many poorer Italians would use leftover scraps of dough when making these, so the exact dough recipe is unknown. Regardless, we try to maintain the intent of the tradition, turning it into a day of celebrating and friendship. This may have been the hardest photo shoot as my family members are not as polite as my roommates and just ate my models. I was trying to pile them on a plate to look nice but everyone kept grabbing them and eating them. They were also quite opinionated about how we should be photographing the few left. Check out my sister’s flickr account to see the full series of pictures and our “artist” stylings. Also, my brother decided to eat them over my head so I ended up covered in sugar. It was fun! They are very delicious!

St. Joseph’s Day Giuspetti
(adapted by my mother from the Fleishman’s yeast book)

3-3 1/2 cups flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 package yeast
1 cup milk
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons margarine
2 eggs at room temperature
1 cup raisins
1 cup sugar (for rolling)

1. In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly mix 1 1/2 cup flour, sugar, salt and undissolved yeast.
2. Combine milk, 1/4 cup water and margarine in a saucepan.
3. Heat over low heat until liquids are very warm (120-130 degrees F). Margarine does not have to melt.
4. Gradually add to dry ingredients and beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally.
5. Add egg and 1/2 cup flour.
6. Beat at high speed, 2 minutes, scraping bowl.
7. Stir in enough additional flour to make a stiff batter and stir the raisins about 1 cup or to taste.
8. Cover bowl and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about hour.

9. Stir batter down.
10. Drop by rounded soup spoon into hot oil (I use Canola oil and solid Crico in the fryer about half and half).

11. Drain on paper towels.

12. Roll in sugar.

P.S. Happy Easter!!!!

17 Responses to “Buona Festa di San Giuseppe e Buona Pasqua!”

  1. bleeding espresso on March 23, 2008 3:29 am

    These look fabulous and quite similar to doughnuts my grandmother made; I’ll have to give these a try…especially now that you have me craving doughnuts ;)

    Buona Pasqua!

  2. Manggy on March 23, 2008 4:40 am

    Happy Easter Ginny! Those look totally moreish, I just can’t have too many haha! :)

  3. Ivy on March 23, 2008 9:01 am

    Happy Easter Ginny to you and to your family. It’s great to keep our traditions and your giuspetti sound delicious.

  4. Kevin on March 23, 2008 9:02 am

    Happy Easter! Those look good. I had some leftover dough the other day and I made balls and fried them and rolled them in sugar and cinnamon.

  5. Sylvie on March 23, 2008 9:34 am

    I bet those are tasty and good on you to keep your family traditions alive.

  6. Eric on March 23, 2008 12:11 pm

    I have had the distinct honor of consuming these before.

  7. Sylvia on March 24, 2008 6:22 am

    Thanks for your visit.These looks delicious You make me crave for one :)
    I like and enjoy my visit at your blog is so nice and yummy

  8. amandalwh on March 24, 2008 5:00 pm

    Yum Yum! Those seems so light and delicious! :D Thanks for the post! and Happy Easter!

  9. StickyGooeyCreamyChewy on March 24, 2008 10:35 pm

    Ginny, these look so great! I love the addition of raisins. My grandmother used to make something like this. I think she called them sfingi. I have GOT to try these soon!

  10. Maya on March 25, 2008 6:41 am

    Deep fried balls of heaven!!

  11. Emiline on March 25, 2008 10:23 am

    Well, I’m quite sure I would eat a dozen of these.

  12. Ginny on March 25, 2008 3:35 pm

    Hey! I hope everyone had a happy Easter/great weekend. I’m housesitting so the checking of blog much slower.

    Michelle- thanks for sharing your traditions! I’m glad you like mine.

    Manggy- Welcome Back! I had way too many.

    ivy- thank you! they are addictive!

    kevin- were they leftovers from the fried curry you made? I think I just got even more jealous of you!

    sylvie- thanks!

    eric- :) you remembered!

    sylvia- thank you for visiting! i often spend time craving the food on your blog, too!

    amandalwh- thanks! They are surprising light (as in weight) so you can eat a ton!

    susan- thanks for getting me started…we have a number of different names in our family but settled on giuspetti.

    maya- you said it! :)

    Emiline- oh, I did, at least! I hear the gym calling my name!

  13. Tartelette on March 25, 2008 9:36 pm

    These are just making me hungry again!!

  14. LyB on March 26, 2008 7:53 am

    Oooh, I made something similar for Time To Make The Doughnuts a while back but they had apples in them as well as raisins. Those look delicious Ginny!

  15. nicisme on March 26, 2008 8:23 am

    What fabulous treats you made, hope you had a lovely Easter Ginny.

  16. JennDZ - The Leftover Queen on March 27, 2008 9:23 am

    This is a wonderful tradition! I love how it used to bring your family, friends and neighbors together. My family got the date wrong. We used to make these on Christmas Eve, for the feast of the seven fishes – ours were savory and had anchovies, and also sweet ones with honey. My uncle, who made them, always put some in a brown paper bag for us. They were amazing!

  17. Ginny on March 30, 2008 8:05 am

    tartelette- now yo know how I feel when I read your blog! :)

    lyb- I almost did the same but decided to wait until around St. Joseph’s Day. They are so good!

    nicisme- thank you! my Easter was great- very nice to be with my family. I hope yours was good!

    jenn- thanks for sharing your tradition. Sounds good. Anchovies have been growing on me as of late.

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