This filling is mostly used for sfogliatelle riccia, but works nicely as a bake-in filling in other applications. It’s a touch on the fussy side, but the results are worth it. You’ll need:
2 cups whole milk
4.5 ounces (3/4 cup) semolina or 3.5 ounces (1/2 cup) durum flour
7 ounces (1 cup) ricotta cheese
4 ounces (generous 1/2 cup) sugar
2 egg yolks
3 ounces (about 1/2 cup) candied citrus peels or candied cherries, finely chopped
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Crème mousseline — also known as German buttercream — is a silky and decadent combination of pastry cream and butter. It’s often used as a filling, though it works just as well as a frosting, as the “buttercream” moniker implies. The proportions for crème mousseline are 2 cups pastry cream to one cup very soft butter. Yeah, I know. Wow.
This staple Asian pastry filling is best made from scratch, since store bought is not only hard to find, it’s of highly variable consistency, texture, color and sweetness. Make it yourself and you can control all those factors, and it’s not difficult. Think of it as a sweet Asian version of refried beans, though now that I think about it, adzuki paste’s starchy sweetness reminds me more of thick mashed sweet potatoes. Excellent! Begin by soaking about a three cups of dried adzuki beans (available at Asian markets and/or your nearest Whole Foods in the bulk section) in water for about six hours.
Think of chocolate Chantilly cream as a very thin ganache — whipped. Yes, you can make chocolate Chantilly cream with cocoa instead, however the cocoa butter in the chocolate makes a nice stabilizer, helping the whipped cream hold its shape. If you wish to supplement the real chocolate with more cocoa powder to boost the chocolate flavor, you can.
Diplomat cream is what you use when you want the flavor of pastry cream but in a lighter, fluffier package. It makes an outstanding filling for all sorts of things that aren’t baked afterward (or are only finished in the oven or broiler, like brioche polonaise). The whipped cream it contains can’t take heat.
Bake-in chocolate fillings are strange animals because no matter what you do the chocolate is going to seize and go grainy, at least to some extent. Bar chocolate, chocolate sticks, ganache, chocolate chips, chocolate pastry cream…none of them will be the same after all that high oven heat. Which means a bake-in chocolate filling will never be creamy. Assuming you can accept that, and I have a feeling you can, proceed.
I can see the demand for chocolate kringle is high enough that I need to take some action here! Also I don’t have a bake-in chocolate filling on the site anywhere. The time is now! This is basically a chocolate rugelach filling, but use it however you see fit!
6-7 ounces (about a cup) cup finely chopped dark chocolate
4.5 ounces (2/3 cup) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons melted butter, cooled
The method for this extremely sweet, ultra-aromatic filling is a little unorthodox, but if you can suffer through a little stirring, it’s a snap. Start by rehydrating your raisins. Place them in a microwave-safe bowl and pour in water to cover. Zap them for 3-4 minutes until the water boils, then set them aside for half an hour. This, by the way, is a great technique anytime you want to add raisins that can actually be chewed easily to a filling.
This filling is great for kringle, but also a lot of other things. I love cardamom and raisins together. Talk about a classic Scandinavian flavor, this is it!
1 cup golden raisins
4 ounces (1/2 cup) very soft butter
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 tablespoons cream, warm
8 ounces (2 cups) powdered sugar
1/2 cup chopped almonds
For those who aren’t big fans of cream cheese fillings or frostings (I’m one of those), ricotta cream is a terrific alternative. It’s lighter and fresher tasting, especially when you make it with homemade ricotta. Yet it’s utterly delicious. Served with some sort of crisp cookie garnish, it makes a dessert all by itself. And of course it’s the classic filling for cannoli. Start by placing the ricotta in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle (you can do this by hand if you’d rather).