Sunday, 15 October 2017

Sfogliatelle

Sfogliatelle is a challenging Italian bake, also known as Lobster Tails.  Paper thin layers of pastry dough are shaped and filled with a delicious ricotta mixture which is often flavoured with orange & cinnamon.

Homemade Sfogliatelle, also known as Lobster Tails.

GBBO's Italian week, saw the bakers make a batch of sfogliatelle in the tent along with cannoli and a margarita pizza.  Continuing to bake along with the Great Bloggers Bake Off I found homemade pizza, as delicious as it is, a little underwhelming, and cannoli somewhat scary with the thought of creating a makeshift fryer!  And yet strangely enough I was excited to tackle the Sfogliatelle showstopper bake which Mr blue-eyes himself admitted he found difficult.    

Homemade Sfogliatelle, also known as Lobster Tails.

I must either LOVE baking or be an absolute fool to try and make a batch of Sfogliatelle, but I was so captivated by the amazing paper thin layers that were formed, the fun 'lobster tail' shape and of course the delicious ricotta filling!    

How difficult could they be?


Well, as it turns out very difficult.

They take hours to make, home baker Steven told us that his research into the bake taught him that professional bakers take four days to make them and yet they were only given a few hours to complete their bake in 'the tent!'

Homemade Sfogliatelle, also known as Lobster Tails.

In all honesty, the rolling of the dough with the pasta machine and stretching it to be paper thin wasn't overly difficult once I'd got into the swing of it - though I did consign the first portion of dough to the bin because it had become tough with my liberal scattering of flour!  I like to think of it as the sacrifice piece in much the same way as we often do when making pancakes or even Pikelets.

Paper thin laminations rolled before shaping sfogliatelle

At this point, having put our 'sausage' of paper thin layers of dough in the fridge I was feeling confident, albeit exhausted, with the mammoth bake.

Then came the shaping!  Working the discs of  dough into cones without squashing the layers of lamination which had been created over hours of patient meticulous work is no easy task! It was undoubtedly, for me, the most difficult part.  My shaped discs, instead of resembling ice cream cones (as suggested in Steven's recipe) were more akin to the small pinch bowls I had been making earlier in the week in my clay throwing class!   The shaping did become slightly easier as I practised, but the all elusive lobster tail evaded me!   

How to make sfogliatelle at home

But if you fancy trying this challenging bake, here are a few tips when making sfogliatelle at home:

  • Consider making extra dough so you can practise making them, especially if they're for special visitors.  The shaping stage is something which needs practise. 
  • Shape and bake a few of the sfogliatelle before working on the remainder of the dough to see if your technique has been effective.

How to make sfogliatelle at home

There's no getting away from the fact that sfogliatelle are challenging.  And there's no getting away from the fact that they take hours to make.  But they're certainly absolutely delicious!

So, when you next see some for sale in an Italian bakers don't raise your eyebrows at the price if it appears expensive for what may appear to be just a bit of flakey pastry filled with a creamy 'custard'.   Trust me when I say that there is an enormous amount of skill in making sfogliatelle.  And that's even before we think of the number of hours they take to make!



So, here's how to make Sfogliatelle.




print recipe

Sfogliatelle
Sfogliatelle is a challenging Italian bake, also known as Lobster Tails.  Paper thin layers of pastry dough are shaped and filled with a delicious ricotta mixture which is often flavoured with orange & cinnamon.

Specific Equipment
   Pasta Machine
Details
Hands on time: Bake time:     Yield: about 20.
Ingredients
For the Sfogliatelle Dough
  • 500g Strong White Bread Flour
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 225ml Water, at room temperature
  • 125g Vegetable fat (or if not baking for vegetarians use Lard), melted Lard
  • 50g Butter, unsalted & softened
For the Sfogliatelle Filling
  • 250g Ricotta cheese, full fat
  • 250g Whole Milk
  • 100g Caster Sugar
  • pinch of Salt
  • 1 tsp (level) Ground Cinnamon
  • 40g Fine Semolina
  • 2 Egg Yolks
  • 1 Orange, grated zest of
  • Icing Sugar

Method
1. Make the dough. Sift the flour & salt into a good sized bowl. Make a well. Add about 3/4 of the water gradually whilst using your hand with fingers splayed to combine the water with the flour. gradually add the remainder of the water to make a firm dough.2. Knead the dough. Dust the work surface lightly with a little flour. Knead the dough for 3 minutes. Cover the dough with an upturned bowl and allow it to rest for 5 minutes. Repeat kneading and resting process to make a smooth & pliable dough. 3. Chill. Divide the dough into 8 pieces. Wrap each in clingfilm and place into the fridge for about 2 hours. 4. Roll out the dough portions. Set up the pasta machine at one end of a work surface or table where you have plenty of room to work. Remove one portion of dough from the fridge. Knead it briefly and flatten it to a disc. Scatter a little flour over the rollers of the pasta machine. Pass it through the pasta machine on its widest setting. Fold the dough in half and pass it through the machine again. Repeat the folding and rolling about 5 times until the dough is nice and smooth, only adding a little sprinkle of flour if the dough starts to feel sticky. 5. Continue rolling the dough until paper thin. Adjust the width of the pasta to the 2nd widest setting. Pass the pasta through. Continue feeding the dough through the rollers and reducing the setting until it is the narrowest. 6. Stretch the dough. Working from the end furthest from the pasta machine carefully stretch the dough so that it become twice the width that it was. Continue working up the strip of dough until it is all stretched - and it is wider and thinner. (see note b below)7. Roll up the dough into a 'sausage' shape. Using a pastry brush paint the dough with the melted fat. Starting from the end farthest from the pasta machine roll up the dough, gently pulling on the dough as you do so making it thinner and increasing the tension. 8. Repeat. Continue rolling out the bundles of dough, stretching it, and painting with melted fat. Position the 'saudage' of rolled dough at the end of the stretched dough and roll it up. The sausage of dough will increase in width as each piece of dough is added. You will also notice that the ends of the dough are narrower and a little raggid - don't worry about this. 9. Chill. Wrap the sausage in clingfilm and place into the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours, or even overnight. 10. Make the filling. Place the semolina into a small bowl. Add 3 or 4 tablespoons of the measured milk and mix into a smooth paste. Pour the remainder of the milk into a medium pan. Add the sugar, salt and cinnamon. Set over a medium heat and bring almost to the boil. Add the semolina paste to the hot milk and stir constantly with a wooden spoon. Continue cooking and stirring the mixture until it is very thick and starting to pull away from the sides of the pan. Tip into a bowl and cover with clingfilm, ensuring it is in direct contact with the milk mixture to prevent a skin from forming. Set aside to cool. 11. Finish the filling. Break up the thick milk mixture. Beat it with a wooden spoon (or in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment) until smooth. Add the egg yolks and ricotta and mix until well combined. Add the orange zest and mix again. Cover and chill until ready to assemble.12. Prepare a baking sheet(s) by lining them with baking paper. 13. Shape the sfogliatelle. Unwrap the dough. Use a sharp knife to trim off the straggly ends of the 'sausage'. Cut the remaining sausage into 1cm wide discs. Grease your fingers with a little butter. Shape a disc into an ice cream cone shape by holding the disc between your thumb and index finger, pushing the centre and pulling up towards the edge. Gradually rotate the disc as you work. Add some of the ricotta filling with a teaspoon. Close the cone to seal. Place on the prepared baking tray. Repeat with the remaining discs. 14. Chill. Place the tray of shaped Sfogliatta into the fridge for about half an hour.15. Pre-heat the oven to 230c/ 210 fan/ gas 8. 16. Bake. Place the baking tray into the centre of the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the baking tray if necessary and reduce the oven temperature to 220c / 210 Fan / Gas 7 and bake for a further 5 - 8 until they're a good golden colour. 17. Cool. Transfer onto a cooling tray. 18. Enjoy, dusted with a little icing sugar.
Notes: a) You will probably find it easier to stretch and shape the sfogliatelle dough with short finger nails. b) I found it easier to stretch the dough when a small piece of the dough was left in the pasta machine to create a little resistance which helped stretch the dough out.

Recipe adjusted from Steven's Chocolate & Ginger Sfogliatelle








Pin homemade Sfogliatelle for later!

How to make sfogliatelle, also known as Lobster Tails, at home with a delicious ricotta filling flavoured with orange zest & cinnamon





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Useful Baking Equipment when making homemade Sfogliatelle

 


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23 comments:

  1. I'm sooo impressed that you made these, they look SO tough!! x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha, as it turns out they are Jasmin ;-)
      Angela x

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  2. well done Angela they are tricky little blighters to make.I wish I had found that video before making mine so much better than any i found. Definitely worth watching before attempting them.

    And a very good point about being prepared to pay more for something that takes a lot of skill to produce.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aren't they just Jacqui! It was definitely a pretty useful video, and I've since found another great viseo showing the shaping (wish I'd found that before I made them!) which I've just added into the post.
      I must admit that I've never seen sfogliatelle for sale in bakeries where we are, but if ever I do come across some I'd be so happy to pay for them knowing how difficult they are to make.
      Angela x

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  3. well done on giving these a try Angela, there was no way I was going too! I had never even heard of them before watching last weeks GBBO. I think your Sfogliatelles are really good - and brilliant for a first attempt . What a faff though - would you ever make them again?
    thank you for linking to #GBBOBloggers2017 x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd never heard of them either Jenny, but seeing all of that beautiful flaky pastry I just felt the urge to give them a try! Yeah, I have to agree though, they are a faff to make and take blinking ages 9but I did speed up once I'd got into the swing of stretching the dough and the likes), and tbh it's unlikely I'll make them again - I'll just find a really good bakery and buy one from them :-)
      Angela x

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  4. How good do they look? I'd never heard of them either, well done!! #CookBlogShare

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    Replies
    1. Aw you're too kind Donna, they're not quite right but I'm happy with them a first attemp.
      Angela x

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  5. Replies
    1. Aw thankyou Priya, they're not really how they should look to be honest!
      Angela xx

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  6. I am impressed with your pastry skills Angela!! I can't even pronounce the name perfectly ;). These are definitely not easy..they need so much patience and efforts..Yours have turned out so perfect and delicious!!

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    Replies
    1. Hahaha, nor can I Deepika - it took me all my time to try and spell it properly ;-)
      Angela x

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  7. I'm so impressed that you made these Angela, there's no way I'd have the patience. They look really good and sound delicious.

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    Replies
    1. Thankyou Charlotte, to be honest I can't quite believe i had the patience to make them to, though there was one point when I was trying to stretch the dough where I almost called it a day and chucked it in the bin!!! But I persevered. at least I can say I've tried to make them :-)
      Angela x

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  8. Replies
    1. Aw thankyou, be warned they're somewhat time consuming!
      Angela x

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  9. These are so impressive! I love that shot of the icing sugar - it's so pretty!

    BTW, your TV people are misinforming you (the gits!) - a lobster tail is not the same as a sfogliatella! It isn't Italian, it's American (from New York City), and it's filled with a sweet cream, not ricotta.

    Sfogliatelle can also be filled with marzipan... I'm not admitting how many of those I got through when I lived in Pozzuoli!

    I've not made sfogliatelle (yet) but I have made cannoli a few times though... because they're so much easier! Ha ha! I'm looking forward to seeing what else you'll be making in the coming weeks. xx

    #CookBlogShare

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw thankyou Nico I really enjoyed taking that picture and playing with the setting just to get things right - though I did end up with a fair bit of icing sugar everywhere ;-)
      Ooh now that's interesting! I'm fascinated now as to why they referred to them as lobster tails when they aren't! ... I don't think I fell asleep and dreamed it, though anything is possible ;-)
      You say they make them with marzipan in the centre in Pozzuoli?! That is definitely my idea of heaven and I can completely understand why you may have devoured a few of them :-D
      Yes, the cannoli did look sorely tempting but we don't have a deep fat fryer with a temerature control so i though the Sfogliatelli was possibly the better option for us seen as I didn't want to fight with a pan of really hot oil!
      Thanks for your lovely comment Nico x
      Angela x

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  10. wow, hats off to you for making these, they look great! I would definitely not have the patience.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thankyou Helen, though to be honest I almost ran of patience making them!
      Angela x

      Delete
  11. Oh wow! Angela you really do have a talent! I wish I had the time to bake and the patience with pastries. These look amazing, do you do home deliveries?? Thank you for sharing with #CookBlogShare x

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    Replies
    1. Aw thankyou Kirsty, I love working with pastry (it was something Mum & I often made when my brother & I were young ), but I think the knack with these Sfogliatelli is in the shaping - I could have done with an Italian pastry chef at my side ;-)
      Angela xx

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  12. They look great - I will definitely try one if I ever come across them!

    ReplyDelete

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