Sfogliatelle

AT A GLANCE

  • Serves 15 people

Pastry chef extraordinaire Alistair Wise of Hobart's Sweet Envy demystifies the making of these revered Italian pastries, his favourite Easter treat.

  • 500 gm (3 cups) baker’s flour
  • 30 gm honey
  • 200 gm butter, very soft
  • For dusting: icing sugar
  • For dipping: melted chocolate (optional)
  •  
  • Chocolate-semolina filling
  • 100 gm cocoa, sieved
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 90 gm white semolina
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 150 gm caster sugar
  • 300 gm ricotta
  • 100 gm dried pear, finely diced
  • Splash of amaretto to taste
01   Knead flour, honey, 7gm fine salt and 175ml water in an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook on low speed until smooth, shiny and elastic (7-8 minutes). Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour to rest.
02   Roll out dough on a lightly floured work surface as thinly as possible (about 2mm thick), then fold into quarters.
03   Place a clean old sheet or tablecloth over a large central work surface, dust lightly with flour, then place dough on the cloth and unfold. Gently lift, pull and stretch the dough, using the palms of your hands facing upwards. Start at one edge and work your way around, pulling and stretching the dough into a paper-thin square that is evenly translucent enough to read through.
04   Smear half the dough with butter, fold the unbuttered dough over the top, then butter the top of the dough.
05   With the shortest side facing you, roll dough into a tight cylinder, using the cloth to help if needed, place on a tray, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled and firm (about 2 hours), then slice into 5mm-thick rounds.
06   Meanwhile, for chocolate-semolina filling, whisk cocoa, cinnamon, 300ml water and a pinch of salt in a saucepan until smooth and combined, bring to the boil over medium-high heat, add semolina and whisk continuously until mixture is thick and no longer grainy (4-5 minutes). Remove from heat, whisk in eggs and sugar, then fold in ricotta, dried pear and amaretto, cover directly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cooled (about an hour). Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a 1cm plain nozzle.
07   Preheat oven to 180C. Working with a round of dough at a time (keep the others refrigerated), push your thumb into the centre of the round and work around the sides, lightly pressing with your thumb and forefinger to form a funnel shape and thin the dough to about 4mm thick.
08   Pipe a little filling into the funnel, leaving about a 1cm space at the top, pinch edges together and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper and repeat with remaining pastry and filling. Bake, swapping and turning trays during cooking, until golden and crisp (12-15 minutes). Cool on trays for 5 minutes, then serve warm dusted with icing sugar and with melted chocolate for dipping.
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