In the donut capital of Canada, it’s amazing how little Niagarians know about pastries.
Zeppola are tiny (about 2-inches), fluffy and rolled in granulated sugar. Commonly deep-fried, these dough balls may be filled with custard, cannoli-style cream or a butter-and-honey mixture. Their consistency ranges from light and puffy to bread-like. They’re delicious, addictive and warming.
Zeppola are the pastry of La Festa di San Giuseppe (Saint Joseph’s Day, March 19). So from now, through to the patron saint’s day and the Easter weekend, this is the season to find these delicious little pastries.
In Niagara Falls, the famous Criveller Cakes & Pastries (4435 Portage Rd) keeps with tradition, but pastry master Giovanni Priore (the man responsible for all their heavenly pastries) creates his own exquisite versions of zeppola.
Crivelliers Zeppola de St. Giuseppe are baked cream puffs made from choux pastry. The airy little puffballs are filled with Zabaione cream (a frothy cream made by cooking egg yolks with sugar and spiked with marsala). They’re not quite small enough to pop into your mouth so you have to bite it in half; the Zabaione cream oozes over my fingers. The pastry is ultra light with a dreamy, sweet, airiness about it, very moist, light and elegant. As it sweetly floats in my mouth, I try to get it between my teeth and the rich, cream slides across the layers of sugar dusted pastry. Oh yum, ok these are the best zeppola I’ve ever tasted!
I can’t explain how donut hungry Niagarians have missed out on the most decadent, elegant, upscale, delicious pastry donuts in the world, but that just means there are plenty more for those of us who know where to find the best food Niagara has to offer – it’s the season for zeppola, enjoy.