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How to Make Italian Inspired Pastries

How to Make Italian-Inspired Pastries

Although Italy is known for its pasta, Italian desserts are also popular and well known throughout the world. Favored Italian desserts include tiramisù, cannolis, panna cotta, torta della nonna, semifreddo, panforte, gelato, and affogato. You can’t go wrong with serving any sweet, Italian-inspired dessert to your friends and family.

One Italian-inspired dessert in particular is trending, and it’s a pastry named sfogliatelle. This satisfying and delicious dessert has layers of thin dough with a filling made of pudding and ricotta cheese. It is a pastry that can be time-consuming to make but instantly worth it once you take a bite. Here are steps that you can take to make sfogliatelle at home—and become an Italian-inspired pastry chef.

Make the dough

When you start to make the dough, combine flour, sea salt, unsalted butter, and water in a mixer with a dough hook. Then, mix on a low speed for 3 minutes until the dough comes together but still looks lumpy. After this, mix for another 3 minutes at a medium speed. The dough should form into a ball.

Roll the dough

Next up, you will roll the dough with a pasta machine. Make sure that you have enough counter space for a long piece of dough—the dough should be divided evenly in half. Use the pasta machine to roll out the dough into a rectangle that is about 5×10 inches. It helps to use your pasta machine in the widest setting. When you put the dough in the machine, fold it in half to make a small rectangular package of dough. Do this process a total of 5 times with the folded dough at the widest setting. Then, use the second piece of dough and do the same process with it. While each dough piece isn’t being used, make sure to wrap it in plastic wrap so the dough doesn’t dry out.

After each piece is rolled 5 times, put the pieces on top of each other and press them together with a rolling pin. Roll it until it’s about ½-inch thick. Once again, put the dough into the pasta machine and fold it in half. Do this 10 times. At the end of the process, fold the dough in half horizontally and then fold in half vertically.

Let the dough rest

During this step, allow the dough to rest and chill. The dough needs to be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated for 1 1/2 hours or longer.

Roll the dough again

Once again, you’ll need to roll the dough. Divide the dough in quarters and wrap all in plastic wrap, besides the piece you’ll be working with. Then, roll out the piece of dough into a rectangle that is 4×7 inches. Put the piece through the pasta machine. Put the dough through the machine again, with it narrower each time. The dough should be 4 feet long now, and almost thin enough to see through. 

Make the dough log

Put the long strip of dough on the counter and stretch it to make it barely wider and thinner. Next, spread butter in a thin layer on the dough and then roll the dough into a spiral. Leave 1 inch of dough unrolled. Cover with plastic wrap. Repeat the process with the rest of the dough.

Now, you’ll need the first dough spiral again. Unwrap it and put the extra 1 inch of dough at the end of the new piece of dough, overlapping it. Roll the spiral with the dough, which should make an even bigger log. The log should now be 2 inches thick and 8 inches long. Lastly, wrap the log in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 2 hours or longer. Do the same process again with the rest of the dough to make another log.

Create the filling

Create the filling by simmering sugar and milk. Take semolina flour and whisk it in with the sugar and milk until it thickens. Then, after the mixture cools, add it to a mixer with a whip attachment. Add the egg yolks and vanilla. Lastly, whip the ricotta cheese into it. The texture should be thick and creamy.

Add filling

Cut each log into 8 pieces, each about 1-inch wide. With each piece, flatten the dough with your fingers. The dough should be thinner around the edges so that it is cone shaped. After there is enough space in the center of each piece, add the filling to each one. Fold the ends of each piece and pinch them to close them.

Bake the pastries

Brush each log with melted butter and bake the pastries at 400° F for about 23-26 minutes. The pastries should look golden brown when done.

Serve to guests

Now, you are ready to show off your creation and serve golden and crispy sfogliatelle to your guests. Serve these delicious Italian pastries with a dusting of powdered sugar and a compatible drink. Your guests will enjoy munching on a fine Italian-inspired delicacy.


Ingredients for the Dough:

3 cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
6 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup room temperature water

Ingredients for Rolling the Dough:

6 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature

Ingredients for the Filling:

1 ½ cups whole milk
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 ¼ cups semolina flour
¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
3 large egg yolks
1 vanilla bean, halved and scraped
2 cups ricotta cheese
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


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