Bignѐ di San Giuseppe
Bignѐ di San Giuseppe are deep-fried choux pastry puffs filled with a silky custard cream and sprinkled with icing sugar. They are typical Roman dessert prepared on March 19th, the feast of St. Joseph, which is also Father's Day.
The preparation will take an effort but you will be rewarded with wonderfully soft, fluffy pastry filled with a thick pastry cream and light dusting of icing sugar.
We suggest you to first prepare the pastry cream as it will need to cool before filling bignѐ. Our version of the pastry cream is made from milk and cream, eggs, sugar and cornstarch. The grated lemon zest adds fresh citrus aroma to the cream.
The bignѐ are made from choux pastry which is really easy to prepare. Although you can bake bigne, they won't be bignѐ di San Giuseppe unless they're fried. The result is a soft and fluffy pastry ideal for pairing with a thick pastry cream.
They final result is not overly sweet and makes just the thing to eat with your morning coffee for a special breakfast treat.
Bignѐ di San Giuseppe
COOKS IN: 1 hours 15 minutes
FOR THE PASTRY CREAM
- 4 medium egg yolks
- 60 g caster sugar
- 30 g cornstarch
- 400 ml milk
- 200 ml cream
- Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
FOR THE BIGNE
- 250 ml water
- 70 g butter
- 30 g caster sugar
- 130 g plain flour
- 4 medium eggs
- Pinch of salt
- Sunflower oil for frying
- Icing sugar for dusting
- For the pastry cream place the milk, cream and peeled lemon zest in a saucepan and bring to the boil. In another saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch until you get a smooth texture (without any lumps).
- When the milk is boiled, remove from the heat and take out lemon peel. Place a one scoop of the milk into the egg mixture and whisk well. Pour the egg mixture into the milk and simmer on the low heat continuously whisking until it thickens (approximately 3 minutes).
- Take it from the heat and remove the lemon peel from it. Place a one scoop of the mill into the egg mixture and whisk well. Now place the egg mixture into the milk and cook on the low heat continuously whisking until it thickens (approximatelly 3 minutes). In the end add a tablespoon of vanilla extract.
- Transfer it to a bowl and let it cool for a while then place some plastic wrap directly on the surface of the cream to prevent a skin from forming as it cools. Refrigerate until cooled.
- For the bignѐ, place the water, butter and sugar in a heavy-based saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and add the flour. Return to the heat and stir continuously until the mixture forms a balll in the centre of the saucepan.
- Remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly, then gradually beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Once all eggs have been added, beat until the paste is smooth and glossy. You can do this by hand or using electric mixer. Let rest for about 30 minutes.
- Now, fill a medium saucepan with enough oil for bigne to float. When the oil is heated, scoop a teaspoon of the batter and using another teaspoon drop it carefully into the hot oil.
- Cook them slowly over low heat, turning them ocassionally, for about 5-6 minutes, or until they are golden and very puffed. If they brown too quickly, the oil is too hot and you need to turn the heat down. During frying they should split partially and begin growing further. Once fried place bignѐ to drain on a kitchen paper and continue frying the rest of the batter.
- Once all bignѐ are fried using a piping bag, fill them with chilled pastry cream. Dust with icing sugar before serving.
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