Chef Tim and I are going to make Sfogliatelli tomorrow night with his Professional Class in Westlake Village, CA. When we made plans to make these, neither one of us had ever made them. This was to be a first for both of us, however I decided that it might be prudent if at least one of us had tried it out before the class so I decided to do so. The dough which is made simply from flour, salt and water should be made about two hours ahead of time. The instructions I had said to run the dough through the widest opening of a pasta roller for about 12 – 15 passes. I decided that making the dough in the food processor and running it for 2 minutes instead of the usual 1 minute that the food processor recommends would do the trick. I think it did. Once the dough is made flatten it into a round disk and wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
While the dough is refrigerating, you can make the filling which consists of cooked Semolina (this creates a thick custard that will not run during baking) ricotta cheese, sugar, egg yolks, vanilla, cinnamon and candied orange peel. This is then put into a shallow dish (I used a glass pie plate) and refrigerated until set.
When the dough is firm enough to roll, remove it from the refrigerator, unwrap and flour generously. Then cut it into four pieces. Keep three of the pieces refrigerated while you are rolling out the first piece. The best way to do this is with a pasta roller – running it through every other setting twice. Start with the widest setting, run the dough through twice, then skip to the 3rd one and then run it through twice again. Once you get to the last setting the dough should be thin enough to make the sfogliatelli. Once all the pieces are rolled, then take softened or melted butter and cover the first piece of dough with a thin layer of the butter.
Starting at the narrow end, tightly roll the dough into a cylinder. Brush the next piece with butter and place the first roll on top and then roll it up in the new piece of dough. Continue in this manner until all the dough is used up. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Now you are ready to make the sfogliatelli (clam shells). The cylinder of dough is cut into half inch pieces and then each piece is flattened and then stretched to for a cone. The cone is filled with the custard mixture and then placed on a parchment covered baking sheet. The sfogliatelli are baked at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a deep golden color. The shells are supposed to be brushed with more butter before and during the baking process, but I find that they end up being too greasy with the addition of more butter. There is definitely enough butter that is put between the layers of dough.
The resulting pastry is crispy, buttery and the filling is quite good. A delicious pastry, but alas, filled with many calories. The photos below depictthe different steps in the making of sfogliatelli. I will take more photos tomorrow and we will see if the second try comes out any different than the first one. See the next post for the remaining pictures from this article.