11 BITES
MORE

guest post: phuoc’n delicious

April 26, 2012

My third and final guest post is by the ever-curious Phuoc from the giggle-worthily named Phuoc’n Delicious!

A therapeutic baker and avid eater, Phuoc’s blog is full of delicious finds and drool worthy recipes.

I’ve read in slight trepidation and significant interest as she’s travelled far and wide, eating local delicacies along the way (snake banquet complete with still beating heart anyone?)

So I hope you’ll make her very welcome as she settles into my little space for today!

******************************************

What an introduction! First up, I would like to thank Shez for giving me the opportunity to feature as a guest blogger on her lovely blog. It took me a while to think of something to make for this post. A while ago, I’ve been told by my supervisor that I couldn’t go to Barcelona, to say that I was devastated is an understatement. So naturally, I researched another holiday destination to make myself feel somewhat better…  You see, I’ve been infected by the travel bug ever since my first overseas holiday to Europe in 2009. My immunisation involves taking a holiday at least once a year.

We spent 6 whole weeks in Europe, travelling through Italy, France, Germany, Holland, Switzerland and UK. There were many fond memories and tasty eats.

One of the cities that I was looking forward to the most was Venice; The Floating City. I was romanticised by the idea of canals filled with gondolas moving stricken lovebirds as they cuddle one another. Sadly, on our gondola ride, my boyfriend and I were slightly sick, had to share the gondola with 2 other couples (from our tour company) and we had miserable, grey weather.

I am obsessed with Venetian masks.

I lost count of all the stores that we had visited, even though most of them sold the same things. However, there was one store that blew me away. From the ceiling to the floor, every nook and cranny was filled with beautiful masks. Across from this store was the workshop of the store. As we walked in, we noticed a large group of young children huddling around the table.

It seemed like there was a demonstration on, with the kids helping the artist decorate a Pinocchio mask by choosing the colours to paint and applying the glitter to the mask. So for some time, we just stood there watching the demonstration; or basically gate-crashing a school excursion. Whoops! I loved how we got to witness this event randomly.

So how does this relate to what I’ve decided to make for this post?

On the first day that we were in Venice, my boyfriend and I were on a walking tour where we came across a patisserie which was filled with many delectable pastries. Not being able to contain my excitement, I purchased a handful of pastries for us to have; they were canoli and sfogliatelle. This was the first time that I’ve had sfogliatelle. I remember the moment I first bit into this pastry. Like leaves crushing underneath your feet during Autumn, the sound was almost ear-shattering. It was hard not to make a mess of myself as flaky pastry crumbs fall with each bite.

Sfogliatelle means many leaves or layers and this dessert is meant to resemble many leaves stacked upon each other.

The process of making sfogliatelle is time-consuming but rewarding. You basically need to make a dough which you would have to stretch out until it is paper thin, slather it in lard and then roll it into a tight log. After it has had some time to rest, discs are cut from the log and carefully shaped into a cone to expose the many layers of the sfogliatelle. Then a filling typically made of ricotta is stuffed and sealed in these cones, which are baked until each individual layer puffs up and separates to form their characteristic ridges.

Although these looked decent, they still weren’t perfect in my eyes. I didn’t find them flaky enough. I’m kicking myself now but the reason for the lack of flakiness was most likely due to me not using lard (I had used butter instead). Don’t get me wrong, there was some crunch but it wasn’t enough for me to be transported back to Venice. So if you’ve worked up the courage or want to challenge yourself to make these, I urge you not to do what I did. To get uber flaky sfogliatelle, use lard; find someone to help you roll the log; and don’t be scared to stretch the dough to paper thin as it is fairly resilient.

Just be sure to enjoy these with a cup of good coffee as well.

Sfogliatelle

Adapted from these two recipes. Makes about 20-25 pastries (depends on how well you roll your dough)

pastry dough

you will need:

500g plain flour
50g caster sugar
1 tsp salt
200mL water
~1/2 cup lard (or shortening), melted

how to do it:

1. Place all the dry ingredients into the bowl of a mixer and combine with a dough hook.

2. Slowly add the water until a firm dough forms.

3. Shape into a ball and set aside to rest for 30 minutes.

4. Working with 1/5 of the dough, roll out the dough using a pasta machine (you may need to lightly flour the dough and roller before you start).

  • To do this, flatten the piece of dough to the same size as a slice of bread. Pass the dough through the highest setting on the machine, fold the rolled out dough onto itself from both ends of the dough along the longest edge (giving the dough three layers). Rotate the folded dough 90° and repeat until the dough is smooth (about 5 times through the machine).

5. Pass the dough through the pasta machine, decreasing the size setting each time until you reach setting #4.

6. Spread a layer of lard over the entire surface of the dough. Gently stretch the dough until you can see your fingers.

7. Starting on the short end, roll the dough into a cigar (it is important that the other end remains taut as you roll – having someone to hold the end helps tremendously).

8. Continue steps 4-7 with the remainder of the dough, rolling the sheets around the one roll so you have one thick roll.

9. Trim the excess ends and cover surface of the roll with lard. Wrap in cling wrap and chill in fridge for at least 1 hour.

ricotta filling

you will need:

1 cup milk
1/4 cup fine semolina flour
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup caster sugar
zest of 1 orange
30g finely grated chocolate
1 tsp ground cinnamon
icing sugar, for dusting

how to do it:

1. Place the milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to boil.

2. Slowly add the semolina flour, stirring continuously until mixture thickens. Transfer to a mixing bowl to cool.

3. Add the remaining ingredients (excluding the icing sugar) to the semolina mixture and mix well until well combined. Set aside.

assembling the sfogliatelle

1. Preheat oven to 180C. Move rack to the middle of the oven.

2. Cut the roll into 1cm-thick disks. Spread some lard on the surface of the disk.

3. Carefully spread the dough with your fingers to form a cone (you do not want the layers to separate).

  • As you work around the cup, pull down with your thumbs and push up with your fingers (this video should help with the shaping).

4. Spoon the filling into the cone and fold over to close.

5. Bake in oven for 20-30 mins or until golden brown.

6. Dust with icing sugar.


  • #1
    April 26th, 2012

    That pastry looks amazing! The layers! Not quite sure I’m up to the task though… :/

  • #2
    April 26th, 2012

    Amazeballs! I’m in awe!

  • #3
    April 26th, 2012

    […] head on over to her blog to check out my post to read a bit about my Venice holiday and how to make sfogliatelle at home. Click here for a […]

  • #4
    April 26th, 2012

    Wow these are so impressive! I could never imagine making these myself…
    You have got me wanting to go to Venice though!

  • #5
    April 26th, 2012

    Ohhh My Gawd!! They look amazing and delicious. My first and last trip to Venice was with an inquisitive 4 year old and a husband that was recovering from a bad bout of tonsillitis. I loved every second 🙂

  • #6
    April 27th, 2012

    Those pastries look gorgeous! One of my favourite things about traveling is coming home and making recipes to remind me of my adventures. These look so lovely!

  • #7
    April 30th, 2012

    Phuoc rocks! You did this pastry proud – the time making this is definitely worthwhile.

  • #8
    May 3rd, 2012

    I’ve always loved the look of these pastries but have been too scared to attempt them!
    I did a ‘Princess Tigerlily’ illustration upon your suggestion, here’s the link if you wanted to have a look: http://alittlepinchoffairydust.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/princess-series-tigerlily.html : )

  • #9
    May 3rd, 2012

    Love sfogliatelle! Or anything with pastry really =p

  • #10
    May 5th, 2012

    Wow, very impressive job, Phuoc! It’s a shame they weren’t as flaky as you would have liked but they still look very good. I’ve also heard that lard is the secret to flaky pastry. Next time I’m baking I’ll give it a go.

  • #11
    May 24th, 2012

    These are some of my favourite pastries (they do amazing ones in famous patisseries in Haberfield & Five Dock). Yours certainly look the part and still look awesome even if you didn’t think they were perfect!

Shez