Daring Bakers - Sfogliatelle

Sandie of the lovely blog, Crumbs of Love, was our November hostess. Sandie challenged us to make a traditional Italian dessert, along with its American version – Sfogliatelle (or better known in the US – lobster tails!) The flakey, 1000 layers of super thin dough, shaped into a horn and filled with a scrumptious filling. Così buono!

I wasn't able to make the ricotta cheese and tried for the first time to make candied orange peel. It didn't come out as I was hoping but I'll give it another try someday.

For the filling I used mascarpone with some caster sugar and lemon zest, but in the oven it melted and spread out of the pastry. Then the best option was a store bought gianduia which was a beautiful and tasty combination for this dough.

My version of this recipe needs improving but I loved to bake it. Thanks!!

Sfogliatelle Frolle
Servings: 12 pastries

This is a tender pastries, made with dough similar to pie crust |(and much easier to make). Some of my friends preferred these to the crispy sfogliatelle.
2 1/3 cups (560 ml) (11-1/2 oz) (325 gm) all-purpose (plain) flour
1/3 cup (80 ml) (2-2/3 oz)(75 gm) granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon (3/4 gm) salt
8 tablespoons (4 oz) (115 gm) unsalted butter, cold
2 large eggs, beaten

You can use the Semolina-Ricotta Filling (below)
I used store bought gianduia (mixture of chocolate and hazelnut cream)

Egg Wash
1 large egg yolk
1 large egg
pinch salt

1. By hand: combine the flour, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl. Remove the butter from the fridge and pound it a few times with a rolling pin to make it pliable. Add it to the flour and start rubbing it into the flour mixture with your fingertips, working from the bottom of the bowl upwards. Work quickly so the butter doesn't get warm from your hands. This only takes a minute or two to complete. Add the eggs and stir into the dough with a fork until it starts to hold together. Empty it out onto your workspace and knead it a few times. Shape into a disc, wrap in plastic and chill until firm. The dough can be made up to 3 days in advance.
2. Prepare the filling and chill it. Whisk the egg yolk, egg and salt together for the egg wash.
3. Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces. Roll each piece into 5 inch (12-1/2 cm) rectangle . Place a hefty tablespoon amount of filling on the lower half of the dough and pull the top half over this. Use your hands to press down around the filling and seal the edges together (like making ravioli). Use a 3 inch (75 mm) round cookie cutter (or glass) and cut away any excess dough. 
4. Place the formed frolle on a prepared baking sheet and chill for 2 hours
5. Preheat your oven to moderately hot 375°F/190°C/gas mark 5
6. Brush the frolle with the egg wash and bake approximately 20 minutes, just until the frolle are baked through.
7. Cool briefly on a rack.

Fresh Ricotta Cheese (makes 2 cups) (another option for filling)


8 cups (2 litres) whole milk (or goats milk)
1 cup (250 ml) heavy whipping cream (about 35%)
1/2 teaspoon (3 gm) salt
3 tablespoons (45 ml) fresh lemon juice
1. Line a large colander or strainer with 2 layers of lightly dampened cheesecloth over a large glass; set aside.
2. Pour the whole milk, heavy cream and salt into a large pot and bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking occasionally. Reduce the heat, add the fresh lemon juice and stir/whisk continuously for 2-3 minutes. The mixture will curdle, which is exactly what you want it to do. Pour this into the cheesecloth lined strainer and let it drain for about 1 hour or until it comes to room temperature. At this point you can scrape the ricotta from the cheesecloth into a container and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
3. The liquid in the bowl is the whey, a very nutritious and tasty leftover byproduct from making cheese. It is excellent to use instead of water when baking bread, or added to soup stock. I love the stuff and never discard it.

Semolina-Ricotta Filling
This recipe is used for both the Ricci and the Frolle versions
1 cup (250 ml) milk
1/2 cup (120 ml) (4 oz) (115 gm) granulated sugar
2/3 cup (160 ml) (4 oz) (115 gm) fine semolina or cream of wheat (I have tried both and personally like the semolina version)
1 1/2 cups (360 ml) (13-1/4 oz) (375 gm) whole milk ricotta, preferably fresh (see above)
2 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract (or the seeds of one pod and 1 teaspoon of extract)
1/4 teaspoon (1 gm) ground cinnamon
1/3 cup (80 ml) (2 oz) (60 gm) candied orange peel (commercial or home-made)
zest of 1 lemon
Combine the milk and the sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and slowly add the semolina (or cream of wheat), whisking quickly as to avoid any lumps. Cook, stirring often, until the mixture is smooth and thick, about 2 minutes. Spread the mixture onto a lined baking sheet, about 1/2 inch (15 mm), to cool. When cool, break into pieces and place into the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (or a food processor), and add the ricotta cheese, egg yolks, vanilla and cinnamon. Beat until very smooth and creamy. Stir in the candied orange peel and lemon zest. (Maybe even some mini chocolate chips? Or pistachios?? mmmm...I can't wait to see what you come up with)
Scrape into a container, place plastic wrap directly onto the surface and refrigerate until needed (up to 3 days).

Candied Orange Peel

1.  Cut your peel into thin strips
2. Submerge in a pot of cold water.
3. Bring to a boil
4. Strain and repeat steps two and three two more times times. You will have boiled the peel in fresh, cold water a total of three times. Taste a small piece. If it still tastes overly bitter, boil it one more time. A total of three times is usually enough but every once in a while you need to do an extra boil.
5.  Put  equal amounts fresh water and granulated sugar into your pot. The amount will depend on how much peel you are making. When I make the peel of 2 oranges, I use 1 1/2 c water to 1 1/2 c sugar. You really just want to make sure that the peel is fully submerged. Bring it back up to a boil,  lower the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 45 minutes. Drain* and lay out your peel in a single layer on a cooling rack to dry. After about 2 hours you can gently toss the pieces in some more granulated sugar, if you wish.
You are now done! At this point you can finely chop the peel for bread or cookies, or dip the slices into bittersweet chocolate as a hostess gift the next time you are invited to someones house for dinner. Or, as a gift to yourself.
* You can save the sugar syrup. Cool it , then store in the fridge and use as a simple syrup for various cocktails.

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