Zeppole are traditionally consumed on La Festa di San Giuseppe (Saint Joseph's Day), March 19. The day is a day of generosity and kindness. Some say that the tradition of St. Joseph’s Day began in Sicily, during the Middle Ages. There was a severe drought. The people prayed for St. Joseph, their patron saint, to intervene. They promised him that, if he answered their prayers and brought rain, they would prepare a big feast in his honor.
Their prayers were answered and the rains came. True to their word, the people of Sicily prepared a huge banquet for the poor of the town.
In a large saucepan, combine the water and butter, and bring to a boil. Add the salt and flour, stirring constantly until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan to form a ball in the center. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating them in completely. Add the sugar, lemon rind, and orange rind. Mix well.
Drop by the tablespoon onto a baking sheet, placing the puffs three inches apart, or use muffin cups. Bake for ten minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for thirty minutes or until light brown.
Remove the puffs from the oven. Open the puffs immediately to allow steam to escape. Cool.
In a bowl combine all ingredients, adding only enough of the milk to make a smooth custardlike mixture. Refrigerate until needed.
Fill the puffs with Ricotta cream, custard cream, or whipped cream. Top with a cherry.
NOTE: Any leftover filling will keep in the refrigerator for two or three days, or it can be used as a filling when making crepes, pancakes, or French toast.