Last updated on February 27th, 2024.

Nestled within the rich tapestry of Italian pastry traditions, these Italian cream puffs wonders are a testament to the artistry of sweet indulgence. Join us as we uncover the secrets behind their exquisite allure and explore why they hold a special place in the hearts of dessert lovers worldwide.

italian cream puffs dusted with powdered sugar.

What are Italian Cream Bignè di San Giuseppe? 

Italian cuisine is renowned for its rich flavors and delectable desserts. We’ve already baked some Cornetti Italian Croissants, Maritozzo, Torta Della Nonna, and these delicious Zeppole Donuts, but one sweet treat that never fails to impress is the Bignè di San Giuseppe, also known as Italian Cream Puffs. These delightful pastries feature a light, airy choux pastry with creamy custard or ricotta filling. They are often garnished with candied fruits or powdered sugar, making them the perfect indulgence for any occasion.

Bignè di San Giuseppe, also known as Saint Joseph’s cream puffs, are traditionally associated with Naples in the Campania region of southern Italy. They are a classic Italian pastry served on St. Joseph’s day, which falls on March 19th each year. Celebrating Saint Joseph’s Day is an essential part of Neapolitan culture. Bignè di San Giuseppe is a cherished treat both locals and visitors enjoy during this festive occasion.

italian cream puffs filled with cream.


For the choux pastry

Before baking, make sure to bring the ingredients to room temperature, and if you can, please take a moment to read my complete post about How To Make Choux Pastry with all the tips and troubleshooting. 

  • water
  • Unsalted butter
  • Bread or all-purpose flour
  • Granulated sugar
  • Salt
  • Large eggs 

For the Italian pastry cream with ricotta

Just like the choux paste, make sure that the ingredients are at room temperature, and please take a moment to read my step-by-step guide on how to make Pastry Cream or How To Make Crema-Pasticcera (Italian Pastry Cream).

  • Whole milk
  • Granulated sugar
  • Cornstarch
  • Large egg yolks
  • Heavy whipping cream – You can take an extra step and make a stabilized heavy cream. And consider adding a tablespoon of Brown Milk Powder for an intense brown butter flavor.
  • Vanilla extract
  • Ricotta cheese

How to Make Italian Cream Puffs

Make the choux pastry

To make this recipe, you can use a stand mixer, an electric mixer, a hand mixer, or a large bowl with a whisk.

  1. Combine water, butter, sugar, and salt and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat in a saucepan.
  2. Add the flour all at once and stir vigorously until the mixture forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the pan.
  3. Transfer the dough to a mixing bowl and let it cool, or use the paddle attachment to beat on medium-low speed for a few minutes until the dough is cool to the touch.
  4. Beat in the eggs one at a time, incorporating each egg fully before adding the next.  
how to make Bignè di San Giuseppe dough.
Piping, baking and frying italian choux paste.


 Bignè di San Giuseppe is traditionally fried and filled (close to the classic Chouxnut). But you can also bake it like any French Choux A La Creme, or Choux Au Craquelin, then fill it. Below is the instruction to do both.

  1. Using a piping bag fitted with a large round tip, pipe the choux pastry onto the prepared baking sheet lined with parchment paper in mounds, about 1.5 inches in diameter, leaving space between each puff.
  2. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until the puffs are golden brown and puffed up. Avoid opening the oven door during baking, as it may cause the puffs to collapse.


  1. Use a small cookie scoop to drop the paste into a deep saucepan filled with oil at 350F (180C). 
  2. Drain excess oil on paper towels.
Bignè di San Giuseppe.

Make the cream

  1. Whisk together a 1/4 cup of the milk, cornstarch, and egg yolks in a separate bowl until well combined. Heat the rest of the milk, vanilla, and sugar over medium heat in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Gradually pour six tablespoons of the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly.
  3. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the cream thickens and reaches a custard-like consistency.
  4. Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla extract, place a plastic wrap over the cream, and let it cool completely.
  5. Strain the Ricotta using a sieve, then mix it into the cool pastry cream.
  6. Whip the heavy cream, then fold it into the cream.
How to make italian pastry cream.
adding ricotta to a pastry cream.


  1. Once the choux puffs and cream are cooled, poke the bottom of the pastry with a sharp knife or the filling tip (Affiliate).
  2. Fill a pastry bag with the filling tip with the cooled cream and pipe it onto the pastry. 
  3. Dust the assembled puffs with powdered sugar for a finishing touch. 
how to fill st.joseph's cream puffs.


  • When making the cream, use a wooden spoon, an aluminum tool will give the custard and the pan a greenish-grayish color. 
  • Do not open the door during baking, and allow the pastry to cool in the oven; the door shut for about 20 minutes.
  • Be patient when adding the eggs to the pastry dough; this step is crucial for the perfect texture. At first, it will look like a big mess, but keep mixing; it will come together to a smooth paste.
  • Mix the pastry cream to the bottom of the pan to prevent the cream from burning.
  • If you’re short on time, you can use whipped cream instead of custard cream for a quick and delicious alternative.
  • Instead of a pastry bag, use the corner of a large plastic bag to fill the pastries.
  • though it is not traditional, consider topping the war dough with some pearl sugar for some sweetness and texture like in this Chouquetts recipe.
  • Make some Cannoncini (cream horns) if you have any leftover pastry cream.


The cream puff shells should be filled in the refrigerator for up to three days (from the day the cream was made). The pâte à choux can be made the night before and baked up to three days in advance. Empty shells should be stored in an airtight container for three days or frozen for up to four weeks.

The pastry cream should be refrigerated for up to three days.


Can I make the cream in advance?

Yes, you can prepare the cream a day ahead and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Can I fill the pastry puff with other fillings?

Yes, you can fill the pastries with any of your favorite fillings like Creame legere, Creme Mousseline, Creme Chiboust, Ganache, ice cream, or even savory fillings.

fried italian cream puffed filled with ricotta cream.

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Don’t forget to leave a comment and tag me on Instagram when you make one of my recipes.

Italian Cream Puffs Recipe

Baked or fried choux pastry filled with ricotta pastry crea,

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 36 small puffs
Author Dikla


For the Cream Puffs

  • 1 Cup Water (240ml)
  • 1/2 Cup Unsalted butter cut into 1-inch pieces. (113g)
  • 1 Cup Bread or all-purpose flour (120g)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon Sugar (15g)
  • 4 Large Eggs

Italian Ricotta Pastry Cream

  • 1 Batch Pastry Cream
  • 1/3 Cup Ricotta Cheese (80g)
  • 1 Cup Heavy Cream (240ml)
  • 1/4 Cup Powdered sugar for dusting (30g)


Make the cream puffs

  1. Place the water and cream puffs in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.

  2. Mix the flour and salt and add it to the water once the butter has melted and the water is starting to boil.

  3. Using a wooden spoon, vigorously mix the flour and water over medium heat until you have a smooth ball that separates it se;f from the sides and bottom of the pan. Remove from the heat and place in a large bowl or a bowl of a standing mixer.

  4. Using the paddle attachment (or a whisk) mix on medium speed to cool the dough, for about 4 minutes.

  5. Add the eggs one at a time and mix until you have a smooth paste that creates a "V" shape when you bring your spatula up.

  6. To bake: fill a pastry bag and pipe the dough over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Make sure to leave space between each dollop.

    Bake at 400F (200C) for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 (185C) and bake for additional 12 minutes.

  7. To Fry: In a medium deep saucepan, heat vegetable oil to 350F (180C). Using a small cookie scoop (or two small spoons), drop the paste into the hot oil and fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from the oil onto a wire rack.

Make the Ricotta Pastry Cream

  1. Remove the pastry cream from the refrigerator and use a fork to smooth it.

  2. Mix in the ricotta cheese.

  3. Whip the heavy cream to a stiff pick and fold it into the ricotta cream.


  1. Fill a piping bag fitted with the filling tip.

  2. Use a sharp knife (or the tip) to poke each pastry at the bottom, then fill it with the cream.

  3. Dust with powdered sugar and serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

  • Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to two days. Empty shells can be stored at room temperature for up to three days. The pastry cream is suitable for up to three days refrigerated. 
  • Do not open the oven door during baking, and if you can, turn it off and leave the pastries in the oven, door shut about 30 minutes after baking.
  • When adding the eggs to the dough, it will first look like a big mess, but keep mixing; it will come together to a smooth paste.
  • Instead of a pastry bag, use the corner of a large plastic bag to fill the pastries.

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