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Mar 5, 2012 01:18 PM

Best St. Joseph's Day pastry (sfingi di San Giuseppe) in NYC?

As St. Joseph's Day is coming up in exactly two weeks on March 19th, St. Joseph's Day pastries (sfingi di San Giuseppe) will be available very soon in Sicilian/Italian bakeries around the Tri-State area.

St. Joseph's Day pastries are basically zeppole that are filled with cream or custard. I've only encountered deep-fried versions, but apparently they can be baked as well:

Can anyone recommend bakeries in the five boroughs or even the suburbs which make the best versions of this pastry? If possible, please mention whether they're deep-fried or baked.

Also, are these pastries generally only available on March 19th, or are they sold for a 2-3 week period before and after the 19th? Does it vary from one bakery to the next?

Thanks in advance.

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  1. A few years ago, some friends and I had a sfingi di San Giuseppe taste test, comparing pastries from Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan. It was an epic battle, but the winner was La Guli in Astoria.

    La Guli Pastry Shop
    29-15 Ditmars Blvd, Queens, NY 11105

    4 Replies
    1. re: zeugma

      Thanks - I've heard good things about La Guli's pastries in general.

      1. re: italianices Been going strong for a long time

        Circo's Pastry Shop
        312 Knickerbocker Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11237

          1. re: scunge

            Cool, I've been to Circo's before - I like their cannoli (fresh-filled to order) and cuccidati (Sicilian fig cookies).

            In the facebook link above, am I correct in assuming that the pastries with no orange peel that circle the left, top, and bottom of the plate are zeppole di San Giuseppe, while the pastries on the right side with the orange peels are sfingi di San Giuseppe?

    2. As with many formerly limited-time sppecialities, sfingi and zeppole di san giuseppe (2 different sweets) can often be seen starting in late January. Villabate in Bensonhurst is my first choice and both Montelone and Court St Pasticceria in Carroll Gradens make decent versions, zeppole filled with pastry cream and sfingi, ricotta. I do not know if either place fries/bakes. There's always variation, of course, and I usually find sfingi better made--NY Italian pastry shops seem to have a hard time making the luscious crema pasticcera that, topped with a dark amarena cherry, is the classic zeppole filling.

      F. Monteleone Bakery & Cafe
      355 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

      Court Pastry Shop
      298 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

      Villabate Alba
      7001 18th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11204

      6 Replies
      1. re: bob96

        Thanks for making note of the distinction between sfingi and zeppole di San Giuseppe - this is something that was never clear to me. Just curious: is it possible that some NYC bakeries make only zeppole on St. Joseph's Day but refer to them as sfingi? If so, this is probably why I was confused on the matter.

        I'll definitely check out your suggested places.

        1. re: italianices

          Some might, but at least in the places I've shopped and grown up around, always separate. In fact, I used to get them confused when sent to buy a box for the family. Buona Pasqua!

        2. re: bob96

          Court Pastry is excellent!!! I have not tried the rest.

          1. re: bob96

            Second Villabate in Bensonhurst! Loved their ricotta filled zeppole for Feast of San Giuseppe last year!



            Also love Sal & Dom's in the Bronx -- great, authentic Sicilian bakery...but haven't tried their zeppole. Can only assume good things about them, though. :)

            1. re: CitySpoonful

              Thanks so much. I'm gonna try to hit up as many of these places over the next few days now that I have some free time for myself.

          2. BTW, can anyone recommend some good spots for sfingi and zeppole di San Giuseppe in the Bronx or Staten Island? I have a few places in Brooklyn and Queens besides the ones listed in this thread that sound promising: Mondial Bakery in Bensonhurst, Caffe Capri in Williamsburg, Rose & Joe's in Astoria, D'Aquila Pastry Shop in Bayside, Cascon Cheesecake in Whitestone, and Leo's/Mama's in Corona. But so far, no recommendations from those other two boroughs.

            Is it fair to assume that any Italian/Sicilian bakery which is known for great cannoli such as, say, Madonia Brothers, Conti Pastry Shoppe, Enrico's Pastry Shop, Sal & Dom's, or Pasticceria Bruno would also make great sfingi and zeppole?

            Cascon Cheesecake
            7-04 149th St, Queens, NY 11357

            D'Aquila Pastry Shop
            33-31 Francis Lewis Blvd, Queens, NY 11358

            Madonia Brothers Bakery
            2348 Arthur Ave, Bronx, NY 10458

            Leo's Latticini
            46-02 104th St, Queens, NY 11368

            Enrico's Pastry Shop
            1057 Morris Park Ave, Bronx, NY 10462

            Rose & Joe's
            22-40 31st St, Queens, NY 11105

            Caffe Capri
            427 Graham Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211

            Pasticceria Bruno
            1650 Hylan Blvd, Staten Island, NY 10305

            Sal & Dom's Pastry Shop
            1108 Allerton Ave, Bronx, NY 10469

            Conti's Pastry Shoppe
            786 Morris Park Ave, Bronx, NY 10462

            Pasticceria Bruno
            676 Forest Ave, Staten Island, NY 10310

            Mondial Bakery
            7802 20th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11214

            5 Replies
            1. re: italianices

              I think that you cannot go wrong with Enrico's or Conti's. Maybe try both and report your findings.

              Enrico's Pastry Shop
              1057 Morris Park Ave, Bronx, NY 10462

              Conti's Pastry Shoppe
              786 Morris Park Ave, Bronx, NY 10462

              1. re: italianices

                Madonia is a bread bakery that does have biscotti and cannoli filled to order. I don't recall seeing zeppole di San Giuseppe or sfinge. But that was last year, so it might have changed. One other source that comes to mind is Fortunato Brothers in Willamsburg.

                Fortunato Brothers
                289 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211

                1. re: italianices

                  Palumbo and Artuso, both in the Arthur Ave section of the Bronx, make excellent pastry, including zeppole and sfingi.
                  Sal and Dom's is also very, very good.

                  Sal & Dom's Pastry Shop
                  1108 Allerton Ave, Bronx, NY 10469

                  Artuso Pastry
                  670 E 187th St, Bronx, NY 10458

                  Palombo Pastry Shop
                  601 E 187th St, Bronx, NY 10458

                  1. re: italianices

                    I think I'll have to head out to Mondial next week to see what they have. I mentioned them in a previous post and I suspect that their sfingi, like everything else of theirs I've sampled, will be stellar.

                  2. If you go to Enrico's on Morris Park Ave. in the Bronx, I would be remiss if not letting you know that the lobster tail is unmatched. It is filled with a rum flavored Bavarian cream.

                    Enrico's Pastry Shop
                    1057 Morris Park Ave, Bronx, NY 10462

                    1. Sal and Dom's, on Allerton Avenue in the Bronx. Like no other.