St. Joseph, the husband of Mary and the earthly father of Jesus, is said to be the patron saint of home, family and laborers. His Feast Day is celebrated on his birthday: March 19th. It's a Sicilian tradition to make Fritelles or Fried Dough on that day. Depending on the region of Italy you are from, they may be called zeppole, or sfinges instead. For an interesting picture collage of fried doughs from all over the world, click here.
My Nonna always used her homemade raised bread dough to make Fritelles, as did my Mom, but I've found that the frozen Rhodes bread dough works quite well....and is way easier!
All you do is tear off about 2 inch pieces of the raised, raw dough, and fry them quickly in about a 1/2 inch of hot canola oil. Drain them on paper towels, then roll them in granulated sugar. My Mom often tucked raisins into the raw dough before frying. I make one batch with raisins for the boys, and one plain batch for Jim. One bite into the sugary, doughy delicacy will have you hooked. They rarely have time to cool before they've all disappeared...no matter how many I make!
Whenever I fry them up, I'm transported back into time......standing in my Nonna's or my Mother's kitchen, swinging my tanned legs back-and-forth, long curls flying, licking every last bit of the sugary coating off each of my fingers, begging for "just one more".
I continued the tradition by frying up batches of Fritelles for the boys on Sunday mornings in March before mass all the years they were growing up. It's a tradition that we continue to this day.....whether it's just Jim and I, or the boys, Jackie, and the grandchildren. Fried Memories at their finest~
Buon Giorno di San Giuseppe – Happy St. Joseph’s Day!