Next Up: Sfogliatelle

I’ve been traveling on business the last couple of days, not so much because I need to keep the mortgage paid but because I’m trying to avoid doing these. They scare me. But I’ve been promising them to various readers for a while, and what is life without adventure, eh? Let’s get after ’em!

42 thoughts on “Next Up: Sfogliatelle”

    1. Wow…thanks, Alyssa! I shall do everything I can to deliver!


      – Joe

  1. Oh I can’t wait. Someone tried that on The Great British Bake Off. This is gonna be great.

    1. I heard about that from another reader while I was away, Izzy. I’ll see if they have any tips! 😉

      – Joe

      1. Hey Joseph. I see you are still pushing the culinary envelope and preparing interesting classic dishes.
        I sent you three recipes for Sfogliatelle to your email.
        The pastry shells are a bit tricky but if the pastry is well buttered/larded, before you roll it up, that really helps to push the shells out.
        The cream is really nice. I hated semolina at boarding school, but use it in Italian breads, pizza and pasta recipes. I used 50/50 Ricotta and Mascarpone with Orange zest. It was a little grainy in texture, so I’ll pass it through a fine sieve next time. But Sfogliatelle is fun to prepare and looks and tastes amazing. Well worth the effort!
        Keep at it and have fun!

        1. Hey Ian!

          I was thinking about you a few weeks ago, still feeling guilty I haven’t penned an epic response to your delightfully lengthy email. Thanks for not holding it against me and coming back to see me! Those are some great tips and I shall use them!


          – Joe

  2. Ooh, I made these once! There’s a really good recipe in the book “Naples at Table.” The shaping seems a bear at first but it’s actually pretty easy provided you buttered your dough enough–the layers just slide into place like you’re un-collapsing one of those kids’ cup things. Provided, of course, you’re making sfogliatelle ricce…

    1. I love working with laminated dough but I confess this one has me a little intimidated. I’ll look for that recipe though. Thanks!

      – Joe

  3. Looking forward to this. Have been interested in trying these but the recipe/directions seemed daunting to say the least.

  4. I completely understand the fear…they are quite fickle….Whenever you are ready we are around to cheer you on your brave journey….*pulls out the giant pom poms and mini skirt from cold storage*!

    1. That’s the ticket, Malini!

      “Joe! Joe! He’s our man!…”

      lol…thanks for the chuckle, Malini!

      – J

  5. Ooohh! This is one of my biggest pastry fails ever! They were supposed to be a gift, too. I’m looking forward to seeing you tackle them.

  6. Yay! I’m one of those people!

    Nick maglieri’s recipe is good. I tried once using filo dough and they were very very close.

  7. Very daring… I’ve looked into making those several times and chickened out every time. I hope you will also address “lobster tails” too.

    1. That’s another step beyond (pâte a choux plus this tricky Italian rolled dough). If my blood pressure isn’t too elevated when I finally get these done I may go there. No promises!

      – Joe

  8. I learned about these in Baltimore, where the local Italian bakeries sell them, and have made them successfully with commercial phyllo dough and lotsa butter; they weren’t real tough once I got the roll of phyllo leaves the correct snugness. Looking forward to how you handle them, Joe.

    – Lynn

    1. Hey Lynn!

      I’ve seen that technique, though I’ll probably have to do the scratch dough…it’s sorta my “brand” as it were. Hope I stay sane!


      – J

  9. So so excited to see you make these! After my lobster tail pastry fail last week, I can’t wait to get your expert input and go for another attempt. I have no doubts you’ll succeed, Joe! (I did attempt to fill mine with pate a choux, which stayed eggy, flat, and barely cooked inside, and my pastry cream didn’t set up fully, to boot. Sigh.)

    1. Ouch, that hurts. But I sure know the feeling!

      We’ll see what happens. I expect there are going to be a few bumps along the road!


      – Jim

  10. I saw these made on a TV show, Food Network perhaps, and they used gobs and gobs of lard (maybe, vegetable shortening) to make the layers, but also heard that some folks use butter. The one’s I’ve eaten (twice at the same bakery in Vegas) taste more like a neutral shortening was used. Which fat will you be promoting? As for me, the fat I’m promoting seems to be around the waist. Ha ha ha.

    1. That’s a good question. The recipes I’ve looked at so far, the ones that seem to be the most traditional, use lard. My guess is there are a couple of reasons for that. First, because it was a handy fat back in the day and so it was cheap. Second, because there’s a functional advantage to lard in that it has no moisture (butter is about 15% water), and that can make very thin dough layers stick together. Some recipes call for a combo of both. I might do that, but I definitely lean toward the lard. Shortening is another possibility and is probably used in some quarters, but since it leaves a greasy feeling in the mouth I doubt I’ll do it.

      Don’t hold me to anything at this point though, I’m just jawin’!

      – Joe

      1. Would ghee work? The two videos I’ve watched of them being made used melted lard and butter to coat the dough, so the liquid state of the ghee might not be a problem. One video used a pasta machine, then stretched the resulting strip, and proceeded from there. The other slowly stretched the dough over a table like a strudel dough. I’m excited to see how you’re going to make it. Thanks for your courage, brave kitchen adventurer!

        1. I think the consistency needs to be somewhere between liquid and solid for the baking step, Jeannine, so I think ghee would be a problem. However I have seen some of those pasta machine videos, and I like the technique. I’ll probably still do a hand-stretching method since I don’t want readers to feel they can’t try this if they don’t own a pasta machine, but thanks for the tip!

          But don’t call me courageous until I actually get up the nerve to do them. I’ve been procrastinating (and sledding) for days now! 😉

          – Joe

  11. Wow! I am looking forward to this! It’s taken me years to pronounce sfogliatelle correctly. I find it even a challenge to describe them to anyone who has never seen them. My favorite bakery in Cleveland, Prestis, is always a must-stop on our drive to parts north and east to indulge in a few. I looked up videos of how to make them a few years ago because I just couldn’t imagine how one might proceed. I am thrilled that you are really upping the ante here, Joe! Can’t wait for these. (Am hoping to bake some bialys soon, too. )

    1. Let me know on the bialys for sure…and I’ll get started on these as soon as I can — promise!

      – Joe

  12. I had to google these to see what they are.

    I’ll be watching from the sidelines, cheering you on.

  13. Now *this* is good news! Always loved sfogliatelle in Little Italy, and have never been bold enough to try to make them, but I’m sure, with your help, they’ll be a great new addition to my repertoire!

    1. Let’s hope so, James! I’m finding all sorts of reasons to put this off, but sooner or later I gotta start rolling!


      – Joe

  14. This has me excited too. I’ve tried to make lobster tails a couple of times, with limited success. The sfogliatelle part is a little complicated but not actually too hard in my humble opinion, particularly if you use a pasta machine to roll out the dough. Adding choux into the process was always my downfall. Good luck!

    1. If I get through the rolling I may or may not have the fortitude to do the lobster tails as well, but who knows? I appreciate the encouragement!


      – Joe

  15. Hi Joe, here is a link with the recipe(s) of the sfogliatelle by one of the best pastry shops in Naples, pasticceria Scaturchio. It’s in italian but if you like I can try to help with the translation
    There are two kinds of sfogliatelle: the ricce – “curly”, made with a sort of puff pastry, and the frolle – “sweet dough/shortbread”. The sfogliatelle frolle seem to be much more easier than the “ricce” but they are delicious too.
    And the South of Italy lard is used instead of butter

    1. Hello Federica!

      Thank you very much for this. I shall be attempting the ricce for sure, since they are the more common of the two in America, at least in places where they are still made. I may call on you for help depending on how things go, so thank you very much!

      – Joe

  16. Grew up eating these as a kid in Jersey. My Nonna would buy them on special occasions. But now that I live south of even Giuseppe Pastry, there’s not an ethnic bakery to be found. Nothing but mushy white bread and Q as far as the eye can seem.

    Joe, if you can pull these off I’ll make them for sure. My kids need to know what they are before they leave the nest.

    1. I’ll get’em licked, Lisa, don’t worry. I just need to quit sledding and get serious! 😉

      – Joe

  17. There are many reasons I love reading Joe Pastry, interesting non-food posts, I know I can trust the recipes, It reminds me of things I have not made in years, if at all by myself. But the other thing is you make stuff I have never run into before, like sfogliatelle. Had to google it, never heard of it but am now looking forward to it.

    1. Hey Frankly!

      I’m slowly warming up to it, but will accelerate the process now thanks to your delightful comment!


      – Joe

  18. I have tried sfogliatelle before (Alex Guarnaschelli from foodtv recipe) and they did not turn out well at all. I suspect her recipe was somewhat not right. Would like to try them again!

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