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sfogliatelle with powdered sugar
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Neapolitan Sfogliatelle (Sfogliatelle Ricce)

Sfogliatelle are classic Italian (Neapolitan) pastries that are typically served warm. On the outside, there are hundreds of buttery crisp and flaky layers; on the inside, a warm rich citrus and vanilla filling, thickened with semolina and ricotta.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 6 hours
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 6 hours 25 minutes
Servings 16
Calories 341kcal
Author Marie

Equipment

  • Pasta machine required. I also have a motor on mine
  • Rolling Pin
  • Large work surface, 5 to 6 feet in length.

Ingredients

For the shells (dough)

  • 500 grams high-gluten flour (I used Sir Lancet, King Arthur brand, but have also used bread flour at times)
  • 50 grams sugar or honey
  • 10 grams salt
  • 185 grams water up to 200 grams

For the filling

  • 225 mls water
  • 200 grams sugar
  • 5 grams salt
  • 75 grams semolina
  • 350 grams ricotta whole milk, drained overnight or squeezed dry in cheesecloth
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 150 grams citron optional but traditional
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon or 1 tiny drop of cinnamon oil (this stuff is STRONG)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 small orange zest only

For laminating (greasing the dough layers)

  • 100 grams shortening or lard if not using butter, double the shortening.
  • 110 grams unsalted butter (1 stick)

To decorate

  • powdered sugar

Instructions

To Make the Filling

  • In a large pot, add water, salt, and sugar. Bring to a simmer.
  • Sift the semolina over the simmering water and stir (I use a fine mesh strainer). Cook until smooth and thick (about 2 minutes). Reduce heat to low (mixture will bubble and splatter if not).
  • Add ricotta and continue cooking for about 3 more minutes on low heat.
  • Add egg yolks, citron (if using), cinnamon, vanilla, and orange zest and stir until combined and heat for another minute or two.
  • Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. After filling has cooled, store in the refrigerator until needed. The filling will thicken more as it cools.

To Make the Dough

  • Place flour and salt to a medium-sized mixing bowl; in a separate bowl, mix water and honey; then add honey water slowly to the salt-flour to encourage gluten formation.
  • Mix with your hands to form a dough.
  • After mixing dough as best as possible (it will be stiff and dry), rest the dough under a tea towel or cover with a bowl for 30 minutes.
  • After the dough has rested, cut the dough into 6 pieces and then run each piece through the largest setting of your pasta machine about 8 to 10 times, folding the dough after each pass and then re-rolling it. Each piece should be smooth before moving on. Use a very slightly damp towel or plastic wrap to cover the dough pieces so they don't dry out while resting. It is best to let the dough rest covered in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours before the next step.

To Form the Dough Cylinder

  • After you have 6 pieces of smooth dough, you will begin to roll the dough until it is super thin (1 mm).
  • To do this, you will run each piece through the pasta machine on consecutively smaller and smaller settings until the dough is thin. I have gone to smallest setting when I use super strong flour (14%), or setting "6" when using bread flour (13% protein). You may also try using every other setting to save time, so rather than go from 1 to 6, use settings 1, 3, 6, and 8.
  • As you finish each piece, you can consider using a rolling pin to 'stage' the dough as it comes off of the pasta machine. If it's too sticky, you can very very lightly dust with flour.
  • After you finish the first piece, lay it flat on a long work surface. If using butter, whip it with the shortening, and then paint/grease the top of the dough sheet by smearing a thin layer of shortening all over it.
  • After greasing, you will begin to roll it up into a cigar/cylinder shape by tightly rolling it starting from the short end. Gently stretch the width (aim for about 9 to 10 inches in width) and pull tightly as you roll to ensure there are no gaps.
  • After you finish with the first piece, repeat this process with each of the remaining pieces of dough and add to the roll to make one large roll.
  • You will end up with a cylinder that is about 8 to 9 inches long, excluding the pointy ends. The ends will be trimmed off after it has chilled.

To Form the Pastries

  • Slice the dough log/cylinder into ½ inch slices. You should have about 16 to 18 slices.
  • On a clean work surface, flatten each slice by gently pressing from the center outwards, in all directions. You should end up with a circle that is about 4 to 5 inches wide.
  • Take each circle and form a small cone by pressing your thumbs in the center and up around all the sides; you should be gently sliding the layers away from each other.
  • Place filling in a pastry bag with an inch round opening/tip, if desired, or simply spoon it into the cone. You fill the cone to the top.
  • Place the filled pastry on the prepared baking sheet and continue the process with the remaining dough.
  • There is no need to seal the ends of the pastries as the filling should be thick enough not to ooze out during baking.

To Bake the Pastries

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Place the filled pastries on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake them for 10 minutes and then reduce heat to 360F and continue baking until they are a deep gold color (a total of 25 minutes or so). Serve warm and sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.
  • You may baste one or twice with the remaining grease during baking if desired.
  • To reheat place sfogliatelle in a 350 degree oven for about 10 min.

Storage/Make Ahead

  • The rolled dough cylinder can be chilled for 2 days or frozen for 1 month.
  • Filling can be stored for 1 day in refrigerator.
  • Filled and unbaked sfogliatelle can be stored for 1 month frozen or 1 day ahead under refrigeration.

Video

Notes

  • Use bread flour or stronger (13% protein or higher)
  • Let the dough rest if it is too difficult to roll. The gluten will relax as the dough rests making it easier to work.
  • Definitely make this recipe in stages (day 1, day 2 at least); Making the filling is relatively easy as is cutting and filling the pastries. You will need lots of time, patience, and energy to make the cylinder/roll (which involves many many many rounds of running the dough through the pasta machine).
  • Consider using a rolling pin to gather the dough as it comes off of the pasta machine during the thinning stage.
  • Since we cut the dough into 6 pieces, the length of each shouldn't be too too long but it helps to work on a large workspace (5 to 6 feet in length) if possible.
  • You can use a mixture of butter and shortening to add flavor to shell. Others use lard in place of shortening.
  • Make sure the filling is thick like a paste; the thickness is needed to prevent flat pastries. The filling will thicken as it cools, but feel free to add a few tablespoons extra of semolina if the mixture seems too thin.
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Nutrition

Calories: 341kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 386mg | Potassium: 46mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 336IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 57mg | Iron: 1mg