These are so good and the second version of the Zeppole. Except this is more of a cream puff. Italians traditionally eat this on Saint Joseph's day, March 19th. We have 2 versions, the fried dough zeppole and these. Another name for them by Sicilians are Sfinge or some say Sfingi. Either way you call them, they are both delicious. I have put a link to my Italian custard in the comments section to use for this recipe. I top this with additional custard and either cherry pie filling or a maraschino cherry or alcohol soaked black cherries. This is a very impressive dessert to impress guests with. The first one I ever had was when I was little in Toronto, Canada while visiting family.
2Place the water, salt, sugar and butter in a 2-quart saucepan and bring to a boil.
3Remove the pan from the heat and dump the flour in all at once, whisking it all in.
4Return to the burner start stirring with a wooden spoon.
5Cook, stirring constantly, until the dough starts to pull easily from the sides of the pan and forms a ball, about 3 minutes.
6Remove from the heat and stir until tepid, 6 to 8 minutes.
7Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring in each one completely before adding the next.
8Stir in the vanilla. Cool completely.
9Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Place the dough into a pastry bag with a 1-inch star tip and pipe 2-inch rings onto the trays, as many as can fit.
10Bake at 400 F for 15 minutes, then at 375 F for 15-20 minutes until evenly browned. Remove and let cool.
11When cool, carefully slice rings in half and scoop out eggy wet dough. Fill with custard and place cap of pastry on top.
12Top each zeppole with custard in middle and top with cherry. Sprinkle Powdered sugar on top.
13NOTE: You can also fry this dough in oil after you pipe them until golden brown and then just fill the middle of the rings with custard and top with a cherry filling, preserved wild cherries or a maraschino cherry.