Citrus Sfogliatelle

I love sfogliatelle. They are as crunchy, creamy, and delicious as they are tricky to make. These Italian pastries are made with a copious amount of dough that is quite similar to phyllo in composition, and filled with a mixture of semolina, ricotta, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, and candied orange peel. The filling MIGHT sound a bit unusual on paper, but imagine this thick, custardy filling that is extremely similar to pastry cream or cannoli cream in flavor or consistency. The semolina flour is used to thicken the filling, but give it a more bake-able composition so that the eggs in the filling don’t run the risk of scrambling while the pastries are in the oven. The ricotta, cinnamon, sugar, and orange peel just bring in more creaminess and flavor in general to make the filling really tasty. As for the dough, it is quite similar to phyllo in that it is made with just flour, water, and salt, then rolled super thin. I used a pasta roller for mine, but a rolling pin and dividing the dough into smaller batches works as well! For this particular recipe, I used orange peel, which is more traditional, but you can get creative with the fillings if you want as well!

For the filling:
1/3 cup semolina flour
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
a pinch of salt
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup finely chopped candied orange peel
a pinch of cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a pot, whisk together semolina flour with milk on high heat until combined and thickened considerably – you want the mixture to be as thick as oatmeal! It should be at least 5 minutes of whisking in total. Take off heat and stir in the other ingredients to form your filling. Allow that to cool down before using.

For the dough:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup water
a pinch of salt

Mix together to form a dough. Allow the dough to rest before dividing into 4 pieces. Roll each out piece to the thinnest setting on a pasta roller, dusting each sheet with flour to prevent the dough from sticking to itself.

For assembly:
1 stick unsalted butter or 1/2 cup lard, fully melted
confectioner’s sugar

Brush the surface of the doughs with butter or lard and roll into a thick scroll, wrapping the additional pieces of dough around until all of the dough is used up. Chill down the dough for 10 minutes first. Then slice along the grain, forming 8 disks of dough. Gently press and flatten out the dough into a cup shape, and then add in about 3 tbsp of filling inside of the cone-cup-thing. Pinch the open side to seal the dough. Bake these pastries on a lined sheet tray, spaced 1-2 inches apart, at 400 degrees F for 25 minutes. Allow them to cool slightly before finishing with confectioner’s sugar to serve!

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