Italian Sfogliatelle Recipe

Italian Sfogliatelle Recipe

Italian Sfogliatelle Recipe

Ingredients:
Pastry
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup shortening
½ cup melted shortening
Filling
3 tablespoons minced candied orange and citron peel
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 egg white
1 ½ lbs ricotta cheese
2 eggs
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
8 tablespoons confectioners sugar
melted shortening for brushing
confectioners sugar


Preparation Instructions:
Sift the flour and salt and turn into a bowl. Cut in, shortening with fingers up to a mealy consistency. Add water(approx. 1/2 c) to hold the mixture together. Dough should not be too hard or too soft (similar to egg noodle dough). Knead well for several minutes. Form into a ball and refrigerate for 30 minutes to enable it to lose elasticity and roll out easily. Roll the dough very thin on a lightly floured board into rectangular pieces measuring about 28 x 24 inches. Cut the edges evenly, then cut into 4 pieces lengthwise, 28 x 6 inches. Using a brush, spread melted shortening generously and evenly over one strip. Top it with a second strip and spread with shortening. Repeat with the third and fourth strips, separating each strip by a layer of shortening. Let the shortening cool and set. Using great care, roll four strips together like the jelly roll, starting from the shorter end. Wrap in wax paper and refrigerate for about 15 minutes. Remove the wax paper and cut the ends evenly using a short knife. Cut the roll into 12 1/2 inch pieces (For easier cutting, dip the knife in flour before cutting the dough). Slices will resemble narrow rolls of ribbon. Place them on a lightly floured board and sprinkle with flour. Gently place the rolling pin at the center of the slice and roll out from center towards left. Return rolling pin to center and roll out from center towards the right. The slice, formerly round, will be a large and thin oval shape. Gently roll again from the center towards the top with one stroke and from center towards bottom with one stroke. The oval should measure about 7 1/2 inches at its longest part. Place the prepared oval on a lightly floured board, rolled side down.
Proceed as above with the other pieces, arranging finished ovals on the board, side by side. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Drain the ricotta through cheese cloth until quite dry. Place in bowl, stir in remaining ingredients and blend throroughly. Place a tablespoon or two of ricotta mixture on the lower half of each oval, wet the edges of the dough with a little egg white and fold over filling, bringing narrow edges together to form a shell-like shape. Press edges together tightly to seal in the filling. Brush each shell with melted shortening. Bake for about 15 minutes, then quickly brush more melted shortening over the shells using light, gentle strokes. Close the oven door quickly, lower the heat to 350 and bake for another 20 minutes. Brush once more with shortening. Pastries will puff up and will have a beautiful golden color showing shell-like ribs or lines. Lower the heat to 250 and bake another 5 to 10 minutes. Cool on rack. When it is cold, dust with confectioners sugar.

Photo credit: orchidgalore

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