This lobster tail pastry, an Italian American pastry, is heavenly! Think of it as a cousin to the sfogliatelle - same crust different filling. It is quite a challenge to make, so much so that many professional bakers do not make these, so make sure you are up for the challenge! Tips and tricks for success included.
500gramsall purpose flour*if using bread flour, add ~90 mls (6 tablespoons) of water
Ingredients to assemble the dough roll
Ingredients for the cream puff dough
230gramsunsalted butter(1 cup; 2 sticks)
240gramsall purpose flour(2 cups)
Ingredients for the whipped cream ricotta filling
750mlheavy whipping cream
½tspcream of tarter
420gramspowdered sugar, divided
2 ¼pounds ricotta cheesedrained if necessary
****Suggested schedule to make lobster tail pastry****
Day 1: Mix dough for lobster tail pastry shell and refrigerate overnight
Day 2: Process the dough into very thin sheets using the pasta machine and roll carefully into log form, grease the outside well, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Prepare cream puff dough, cool, cover and refrigerate.
Day 3: Assemble pastries, make whipped cream ricotta filling, bake and cool pastries, then fill with filling
Day 1, To make the lobster tail pasty dough:
Add dry ingredients of the dough to the bowl of a standing mixer and mix well. Add the water and mix until the dough forms. The dough will be very firm. Mix until well developed and you can pull a windowpane. Place in airtight container or plastic bag and refrigerate overnight.
Day 2, To form the lobster tail shell (rolling and greasing):
Cut the dough into 4 pieces
Roll out each piece until it is almost double in size; flour each side very well
Place each piece through the pasta machine beginning with the setting of 0 and progressing to the setting of 6. Use flour to prevent sticking (see photo)
Use a rolling pin to stage/hold the dough as it is extruded from the pasta machine, but make sure you flour it well or it will stick!
Apply a thin coating of shortening to one side of the dough (I also pulled slightly to make it a bit wider than the standard pasta machine width before applying fat coating) and then roll tightly in jellyroll fashion. Pull toward you every so often as you roll to tighten the roll.
Repeat this process until for each piece of dough and add each piece of thin rolled out, greased dough to the first until you have one big piece of rolled dough
Grease the outside of the dough well with the shortening, wrap, and refrigerate overnight
Day 2, To make the cream puff dough:
Sift flour and salt together in small bowl and set aside
In a medium sized saucepan, melt the butter and water over high heat until the mixture reaches a vigorous boil
Reduce heat to medium low and add flour/salt mixture all at once. Stir until the mixture pulls away from sides of pan and forms a ball
Remove from heat and add eggs one at a time, beating vigorously between additions (I used a hand mixer for this)
Place in bowl or plastic container, cover (airtight), and refrigerate.
Day 3, To make the whipped cream ricotta filling:
In a medium size bowl, combine 1.5 cup heavy cream with 1.5 teaspoon vanilla, ½ teaspoon cream of tarter, 1.5 cup powdered sugar and whip until soft peaks form. Set aside.
In another bowl, mix all remaining ingredients (1.5 cups heavy cream, 1.5 teaspoon vanilla, ~2 cups powdered sugar (scant), and all ricotta.
Combine both mixtures and refrigerate until ready to use.
Day 3, To assemble:
Remove the dough roll from the refrigerator and slice into approximately 14 to 18 pieces (about ½-inch thick slices) (I found this was difficult to slice, so I will try freezing for 20 min to firm up dough next time)
Flatten each slice with the palm of your hand (see before and after photo here) and use just enough flour to prevent sticking but not more than necessary
Form each circle into a cone by pushing down using both thumbs
Fill each cone generously with the cream puff dough (a bit more than shown)(the more filling, the longer they will expand during baking)
Place on baking sheet lined with parchment or silicone baking sheet (do not overcrowd the baking sheet as the pastries will expand during baking; if you run out of room in the oven, place pastries on baking sheet in refrigerator until ready to bake)
Day 3, To bake:
Preheat the oven to Preheat oven to 450 degrees
Bake at 450 for 15 minutes then reduce heat to 350 for an additional 20 minutes
Ensure your pastries are golden brown before turning off oven or they will deflate/fall!
Day 3, To fill the lobster tails with whipped cream ricotta after baking:
Pastries must be cooled before filling otherwise, filling will melt and become runny
Using a knife, make a slit in the bottom of the pastries so that you can insert the pastry bag with filling
Fill each pastry and set aside on a tray
Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired (I skipped this step)
Storage guidelines: Dough cylinders can be chilled up to 2 days or frozen for 1 month; thaw before proceedingCream puff dough can be made up to 2 days ahead (according to Cooks Illustrated)Filled lobster tails: best eaten the day they are made but will keep for a few daysOther filling ideas:
Whipped cream with chocolate and cherries
Tips to prevent falling of cream puffs:
Always start with high heat to get them to puff up and cook long enough (30 min) or I find that they deflate! Also dough must be stiff and not runny. See more info here.
Tips to get a pretty crust:
Must use good flour! All purpose or bread flours such as King Arthur, Gold Medal, or Bob's Red Mill.
Use plenty of flour to prevent the dough from sticking as you run it through the pasta machine and roll it onto a rolling pin
Ensure the dough is rolled thin enough (I process from 0 to 6 and then pull the dough gently to widen it a bit while applying the shortening
Rolls tightly! Pull and roll, pull and roll (tightly)
Bake until deep golden brown
Use the best ricotta you can find. I used BelGioioso and wow it is GOOD. Very creamy, not at all grainy or watery.