Culture Dessert Recipes

The Sicilian Bakery in Chicago has zeppole delicious and ready for St. Joseph’s Day

Ready for zeppole? The Sicilian Bakery located at 4632 N. Cumberland Avenue in Chicago, has you covered! Anthony Rubino, a third generation baker at The Sicilian Bakery, said the bakery is currently selling traditional custard and cannoli zeppole for St. Joseph’s Day. The bakery is open Tuesday through Sunday. The zeppole cost $2.50 each. To place an order, please call 773-589-2602. St. Joseph’s Day is March 19.

How many zeppole does the Sicilian Bakery bake during this time?

It’s hard to really keep track. It’s a few thousand. We sell so many zeppole. As it gets closer and closer to March 19, we sell more and more. On St. Joseph’s Day, we can sell 3,000 to 5,000 zeppole.

How do you make the zeppole?

We still make our zeppole by hand. We cook the dough over the stove by hand. We put them into a mixer and we add our eggs. After that is incorporated, we hand pipe them in the deep fryer. After they’re cool from frying, we cut them in half and fill them with traditional, Italian custard or cannoli filling. There’s probably four people making the zeppole. My dad and I fill them and decorate them.

Where did the recipe originate?

The recipe came from my dad’s uncle. He originally owned the bakery. It’s a passed down, family recipe.

When do you start making the zeppole?

We usually start around Valentine’s Day. We keep make them through Easter.

What is a typical St. Joseph’s Day at The Sicilian Bakery? Does it get very busy?

It’s pretty sporadic. When people were going into work, we would be busy in the morning. People would be buying zeppole for their co-workers. Then, it would be busy in the afternoon also because people would be buying zeppole for their families. But, it’s usually pretty steady throughout the day. This year, it might be busier later in the day since many people are working from home.

Do you donate to a lot of St. Joseph’s Day tables?

We donate to St. Eugene and St. Francis Borgia’s St. Joseph’s Day tables.

What do people love about your zeppole?

I think it’s the history of zeppole. People remember eating zeppole at home growing up. People remember purchasing them from their local bakery or nonna making them at home in the basement. There’s just a sentimental feeling when eating zeppole.

What’s your protocol this year with COVID?

We have been following the guidelines. For Christmas, we had a doorman. We were only allowing six people at a time into the store. We will probably be doing the same for the upcoming holidays. We prefer for people to call ahead of time to place their orders. We really hope people will come and support us during these tough times. It’s been a hard year, but we appreciate everyone’s business and customer support. We hope everyone can enjoy the holiday season coming up.

What other pastries do you make this time of year?

For Easter, we make Easter bread with the egg in the middle. We also make an Easter pie.

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