On Saturday, my family held its annual St Joseph's Table. We had a nice group of attendees, including a Sister of Saint Joseph.
The altar was constructed with the traditional three tiers. On the first tier was donations fuests generously brought for a local Catholic food pantry. Adorning the altar were two statues of St Joseph, a vigil candle, and holy cards.
I made Sicilian caponata (eggplant relish), ciabatta bread (shaped like St Joseph's slipper), a white bean and tomato salad, spaghetti and meat sauce, and zeppole. The altar was blessed, then we enjoyed dinner at a table decorated with lilies and red, white, and green linens.
Carrying on this tradition is important. One of the most important American developments of the last 60 years is shifting away from ethnic parishes to understanding that the Church is global. At the same time, this should not come at the loss of some forms of popular piety or a sense of forced homogeneity. Just as the Gospel was first given to a small group of people and then spread to all creation, so must certain traditions or they will be lost. The message of the St Joseph's table is universal: thanksgiving for God's providence opens our hearts to recognize our brothers and sisters in need.
1/2 cup butter
1 cup boiling water
1 T sugar
zest of one orange
zest of one lemon
1 t salt
1 cup flour
vanilla instant pudding, prepared with milk and 1 T cognac infused with orange zest
Melt butter in a large, deep pot. Stir in sugar, zests, and water. Stir in all the salt and flour at once. Continue stirring until the mixture forms a ball. Remove from heat and let cool briefly. Add each egg individually, beating well (I used an electric hand-mixer at this point). Let mixture rest 15-20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 450. Pipe pastry onto well buttered baking trays using a pastry bag or cookie press. Bake 20 minutes, or until golden. Loosen from tray; let cool thoroughly.
Immediately prior to serving, slit the puffs open and fill with pudding. Dust the top with powdered sugar and garnish with a small spoon of raspberry jam on top.
Makes twelve 2-1/2" zeppole.