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BIGNÈ DI SAN GIUSEPPE

You can find these extremely light pastry puffs filled with pastry cream and sprinkled with powdered sugar in every traditional pastry shop in Rome, but you will see it in all bars and all pastry shops a few weeks before March 19, the day of the Feast of St. Joseph. Deep fried, sometimes called St. Joseph's cakes, they are related to Zeppole, they are their fluffy super-light cousins. According to some cookbooks, an Italian chef by the name of Pantarelli or Pantanelli invented the dough later called choux pastry to make cream puffs in 1540, seven years after he left Florence, along with Caterina de' Medici and her court. Neapolitans and Romans are both masters at bignè making and just like the case for pizza romana versus pizza napoletana, it is difficult to pick one over the other.  

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