Sfogliatelle Frolle

“Tender” Sfogliatelle

Sfogliatelle frolle are sold in Naples right beside the flaky variety (see preceding recipe). The name constitutes a contradiction in terms, since sfogliatelle literally means “flaky pastries,” and to prepare them with pasta frolla, which has a tender, cakey texture after it is baked, eliminates all possibility of flakiness. Fortunately, such contradictions are not bothersome to Neapolitans, and another excellent pastry is the result.

Ingredients

    Pasta Frolla

  • 2⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • cup sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold
  • 2 large eggs

    Egg Wash

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • Pinch salt

Method

For the pasta frolla, combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl. Stir well to mix. Remove the butter from the refrigerator, unwrap, and place on a work surface. Pound it gently with a rolling pin or the heel of your hand to make it pliable. After 3 or 4 strokes, the butter should have softened sufficiently. Use a scraper to remove it from the work surface and add it to the bowl with the flour mixture.

Toss the piece of butter to coat it with flour and break it up into 6 or 8 pieces, using your fingertips. Continue breaking the butter into smaller pieces and rubbing it into the flour mixture with your fingertips. At the same time, work the flour mixture upward from the bottom of the bowl so that it mixes evenly with the butter. The whole process should take no more than 2 minutes. Work quickly to ensure that the mixture remains cool and powdery and does not become pasty, which would be a sign that the butter is melting and that the resulting dough will be tough.

Break the 2 eggs into a small bowl or cup, beat them lightly with a fork, and stir into the butter-flour mixture. Continue stirring with the fork until the dough begins to hold together.

Empty the contents of the bowl onto a lightly floured work surface and knead the dough gently until it is smooth, very briefly, without overworking it. Shape the dough into a thick disk, about 4 inches in diameter, and wrap in plastic. Chill until needed. The dough may be prepared up to 3 days ahead.

Prepare the filling and cool it. Whisk the egg, egg yolk, and salt together for the egg wash.

Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and form the pastries: roll out each piece of dough into a 5-inch disk, then trim with a paring knife to an even 5 inches, using a plate or other pattern as a guide. Paint the dough with the egg wash and place 1/12 of the filling in the center. Pull up the circumference of the dough to meet in the center, enclosing the filling, and pinch the edges together firmly. Make sure the pastries are only loosely filled or they will burst while they are baking. As the pastries are formed, invert them, so that the seam is underneath, onto a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan lined with parchment. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.

Chill the sfogliatelle several hours, loosely covered with plastic wrap. Immediately before baking, carefully brush with the egg wash, using a soft brush. Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes, just until the pastry is baked through. Cool the pastries on a rack.

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