The Neapolitan sfogliatella is a typical dessert of the city of Naples and one of the most famous Italian desserts. This delicious pastry has a long history and a strong connection with Neapolitan culture and folklore.
The sfogliatella has its origins in ancient monastic pastry shops, where nuns created desserts using few simple ingredients such as flour, sugar, and eggs. The modern version of the sfogliatella, known as the “sfogliatella riccia,” was created in the 1700s by Neapolitan pastry chefs who developed the technique of creating crispy and flaky layers.
The sfogliatella consists of a crispy and flaky shell made of layers of puff pastry, which encloses a creamy and sweet filling made of ricotta cheese, sugar, and spices. There are several variations of the filling, such as the sfogliatella frolla, which has a shortcrust pastry filling, and the sfogliatella Santa Rosa, which has a lemon cream filling.
The sfogliatella has become a symbol of Neapolitan culture and an icon of Italian pastry. It is a dessert traditionally associated with holidays and celebrations, such as Carnival and Christmas. Moreover, the sfogliatella has been included in the list of traditional Italian agri-food products by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.
In Neapolitan folklore, the sfogliatella is also associated with a legend that tells of a young nun who, following a divine vision, would have created this dessert. The legend states that the nun had seen the image of Saint Joseph, the foster father of Jesus, and that this vision had inspired her to create the sfogliatella as a tribute to the saint.
In conclusion, the Neapolitan sfogliatella is a typical and highly appreciated dessert in Italy, with a long history and a strong connection with Neapolitan culture and folklore. If you are a dessert lover or simply looking for an authentic culinary experience, trying a Neapolitan sfogliatella is a must for anyone visiting Naples.
The Neapolitan sfogliatella is a sophisticated dessert, but it is not difficult to prepare if you follow the right steps. Here is a simple recipe for the sfogliatella riccia, which involves using puff pastry and a ricotta filling:
For the puff pastry
500 g flour
250 g cold butter
200 ml cold water
10 g salt
For the filling: 500 g ricotta cheese
250 g sugar
grated zest of one lemon a pinch of cinnamon
Start by preparing the puff pastry. In a bowl, mix the flour and salt. Add the cold butter, cut into cubes. Work the mixture with your hands until it becomes crumbly. Add the cold water and work the mixture until a smooth dough forms. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the filling by mixing the ricotta cheese with sugar, eggs, grated lemon zest, and cinnamon. Mix well until the mixture becomes uniform. Take the puff pastry dough from the fridge and roll it out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle about 35 x 50 cm. Fold the rectangle in half, then fold it in half again, forming three layers. Roll out the puff pastry dough again into a rectangle about 35 x 50 cm. Repeat this folding process three times, then wrap the puff pastry in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Cut the puff pastry into rectangles about 8 x 12 cm and put some ricotta filling on each, leaving the edges free. Roll up each rectangle into a ring, then seal the edges. Place the sfogliatelle on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown. Let the sfogliatelle cool before serving.