Authentic Italian Sfogliatelle Recipe

  • by Nonna Box September 6, 2017
  • |
  • Last Updated on September 7, 2020
Authentic Italian Sfogliatelle recipe

If you have visited the Campania region, then you must have encountered this curious-looking puff pastries called sfogliatelle. And yep, that’s not a typo, no matter how the spellcheck may tell you otherwise.

That is really how it’s spelled. As for how you pronounce it, you read it as sfol-ya-tel-le. And what is it exactly? It’s a puff pastry that has about the same texture as a croissant.

But its shape is that of a shell or a lobster tail.

And it can hold all kinds of yummy filling, such as a simple whipped cream or a special custard mixture with candied peels. Others even have almond paste as filling instead of a creamy custard.

Looking for the Authentic Italian Sfogliatelle Recipe ? Scroll down to the bottom. Or if you are looking for a different Italian dessert, this cannoli recipe might work for you.

Italian Sfogliatelle: The Origin Story

According to visitnaples.eu, the sfogliatella is a symbol of the city of Naples.

The story goes that a nun in a convent somewhere in the Amalfi coast combined some leftover semolina with lemon liqueur, sugar and dried fruit.

Then she took some dough and kneaded them into two sheets, and put the semolina mixture in the center, serving as filling.

And this sweet pastry is called Santarosa, which is a sweet treat still very much popular in Italy today.

It was named after the convent of Santa Rosa, where the first nuns who created it lived. Later in the 19th century, the pastry made its way to the city of Naples.

There, a pastry shop owner named Pasquale Pintauro changed its shape into the triangular lobster tail that it is today.

 

The Many Different Sfogliatelle Today

sfogliatelle

Consistent to most of Italian cuisine, sfogliatella has at least two variations in the Campania region, and another one outside Italy.

The two kinds of sfogliatelle in Campania are sfogliatella riccia and sfogliatella frolla while the one outside Italy is called aragosta or lobster tail. The lobster tail is most popular in the United States.

Fillings may vary from cheese to an almond paste to a creamy custard with candied peels.

First off is the Sfogliatelle Riccia. According to most Italian websites, this should be eaten hot, as in right out of the oven. It’s because like croissants, sfogliatella riccia loses its deliciousness when it becomes cold.

This variation is filled with a custard-like mixture of semolina, sugar, ricotta, eggs, candied citrus peels, with a hint of cinnamon.

And of course, the pastry sports its popular clam shape. The crust is very crunchy and the filling has just the right amount of sweetness, perfect for breakfast, brunch, or afternoon tea.

Now, the other kind you find in Campania is sfogliatella frolla, which is a much simpler version of the pastry. How? Well, it basically has the same yummy filling.

However, it uses a simpler dough called shortcrust, instead of the one with several layers. This type of dough is the one most often used for tarts and pies.

Last is the Americans’ version of this well-loved Italian pastry popularly called Lobster Tail.

It is filled with a whipped cream mixture, which is usually added after baking. Its dough is kind of similar to that of Sfogliatelle Riccia.

The filling is a kind of choux pastry that is injected into the center of the pastry shell, which puffs up the core and lends the pastry its delectable shape.

Sfogliatelle: The Energy Booster

sfogliatelle alla crema

Much more than just a uniquely scrumptious sweet treat, the sfogliatella is also a very good source of instant energy. Yep, you read that right.

This Italian pastry is rich in nutrients such as phosphorous and calcium.

Phosphorous is good for your metabolism, balances your body’s PH levels, and helps maintain your energy levels. Calcium, on the other hand, helps maintain the health of your heart, muscles, and nerves.

And both these nutrients are essential for maintaining strong and healthy bones. Pretty good for a pastry, don’t you think?

However, you have to watch out for the sugar and cheese because they do increase the calorie count.

This is where creating your own variation becomes interesting because you can craft one that will suit your dietary needs.

And without further ado, here’s the sfogliatelle recipe!

Authentic Italian Sfogliatelle recipe

Authentic Italian Sfogliatelle Recipe

Now that you have some idea what a sfogliatella is, the next step, of course, is to know how to make them. Here’s an easy recipe to help you with that.
4.43 from 174 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: lobster tail pastry, napoli, sfogliatella
Prep Time: 3 hours
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 439kcal
Author: Nonna Box

Ingredients

THE DOUGH

  • 500 gr flour
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 175 ml water more if needed
  • 25 gr honey

THE FILLING

  • 450 ml whole milk
  • 100 gr white sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 150 gr semolina flour
  • 500 gr ricotta
  • 1 egg large
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • 50 gr candied orange peel finely chopped

FOR BRUSHING/TOPPING

  • 150 gr unsalted butter or lard
  • Confectioner’s sugar

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Add water and honey, and then mix to create a stiff dough. Then gradually add water.
  • Place the dough on the counter and knead until it’s smooth and supple. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes, split the dough into 4 pieces. Get one piece, then roll through a pasta machine. Roll using the widest setting, then fold in half and roll again. Do the same on each dough. Repeat this process until you create smooth sheets by gradually decreasing the width on each roll.
  • When the sheet is at 1mm thick, lay it on the surface and apply a thin layer of lard or butter. Create thin sheets of the other doughs as well and roll them into similar thin layers.
  • Roll up the first thin sheet to create a tight sausage shape.
  • Next, wrap the next thin dough sheet around the original sausage shape pastry dough, layering up to create one large cylinder. Cover with a saran wrap and chill for 1 to 2 hours for the pastry to firm up.
  • Now, to make the filling. Place the milk, sugar, and salt in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Add the semolina flour until it thickens and becomes smooth. After it has cooled down, transfer to a bowl. Then, add the remaining ingredients, stirring all the while to create a smooth, thick filling. Set aside, preferably inside the fridge.
  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Bring out the pastry roll and cut them into 1 cm-thick pieces. Use your fingers, greased with lard or butter, to make an impression on the center to create a cone shape.
  • Get the filling and scoop a spoonful into the hollow and press the edges of the pastry together to lock. Repeat these for the rest, and line up all pastries on the tray.
  • When you’re done putting filling on all the dough pieces, bake the pastries for about 30 minutes.
  • When done, allow to cool for only a couple of minutes before sprinkling them with confectioner’s sugar. Serve immediately.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 439kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 66mg | Sodium: 158mg | Potassium: 169mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 578IU | Calcium: 142mg | Iron: 3mg
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Ecco, your sfogliatelle is good to go! If you followed this authentic Italian sfogliatelle recipe correctly then you should be enjoying a very delicious batch right now.

Buon appetito!

  • Ann says:

    OMG LOVE LOVE LOVE these, GRAZIE MILLE!!!

  • Mike says:

    mille grazie per la ricetta.

  • Missy says:

    GREAT RECIPE! SPOT ON! USED KITCHENAID PASTA ROLLER

  • Gina says:

    Love sfogliatelle!! My grandma used to make them all the time!! Thank you!

  • crytal says:

    So, I want to surprise dad by serving his favorite sfogliatelle..He loved it, guess I succeeded in surprising him.

  • Doris says:

    This recipe is dead on! My first time making it and nailed it, even with my sub par dough-handling skills. Thank You for sharing this!

  • Jennifer says:

    Should I make my own candied orange or do you suggest I buy it? I’ll guess they’re sold in the raisin section?

    • Nonna Box says:

      Hi Jennifer! I made my own candied orange but you can totally purchase it and I think that’s the right section yes. Thank you!

  • Mara says:

    Oh my! My nonna used to make them all the time, can’t wait to try this recipe!

  • Elaine says:

    Do you wrap the original cigar with the remaining 3 sheets of pastry? I’m confused if it’s the cigar shape with the next thin sheet or keep wrapping all sheets of pastry. I love these and want to attempt them.

  • Guiliana says:

    Since I left NYC, I miss Italian pastry SOOO MUCH! This is one of my favorites. [OK, they’re ALL my favorites, LOL.] Can’t wait to make these over the “winter” – it’s too hot to bake in Florida right now.

    Thanks for the recipe!!!

  • Diane DiPrete says:

    could you do a video making these. thank you

  • Ann Proscia says:

    I am 100 percent italian. Sfogliatells are my favorite pastry. LIVE IN SOUTH THEY DONT HAVE ANY HERE , DESPERATE FOR ONE. Thank yo so much would love that recipe.

  • Laya says:

    Sorry but I don’t quite understand where the dough needs to be rolled with a pasta machine. Can you explain more or send me a video please.

    • Nonna Box says:

      Ciao Laya, thank you for your message and sorry for the late reply. We have just added a video of the recipe. Please let me know if it’s still unclear!

  • Petra says:

    I loved making these! The dough is like silk. I received lots of compliments!!
    Thank you for sharing the recipe.

  • denise says:

    I want to make these, but, instead of using ml, gr, etc can you translate this with cups, teaspoon, tablespoon
    Thank you

    • Nonna Box says:

      Hi Denise, I converted it for you, you just have to click on the conversion link right below the ingredients.Hope it turns out great!

      Using grams is so much easier and more precise, you can get a cheap cooking scale from Amazon ($10) and you won’t have to stress about converting anymore.

    • Sal says:

      This is a recipe which needs a lot of precision because the dough is all about specific ratios and formulas. For this reason I suggest you buy and use a kitchen scale for all future baking. Like Nonna said, it’s cleaner, easier, and honestly quicker to use. Once I started weighing my ingredients, I never used a measuring cup again (this last sentence is overly exaggerated for dramatic effect lol)

      • CLM says:

        Great advice…when it comes to Italian baking, I always use the digital scale all the time…So far I have replaced the batteries twice.

  • Jeff says:

    What is the base flour you’re using? Standard all-purpose flour?

  • Brian Pansari says:

    Sorry, after watching the video I still don’t understand the dough. You make 4 very thin sheets of dough. You roll one up into a sausage shape. Do you then lay that sausage/cylinder on the end of the next piece of dough and roll it up to create a larger cylinder and do that again with the 3rd and 4th piece?

    • Nonna Box says:

      Hi Brian – Yes, that is correct. You will end up rolling all the sheets of dough into one cylinder. I’ll update the recipe instructions as soon as possible to make it clearer. Let me know how it turns out!

  • Sal says:

    Word of advice, watch the video first. This dough is very labor intensive and the last thing you want to do is let all that hard work go to waste because of a silly mistake. The recipe is good, but some of the directions are not very clear, but it is made clear in the video. I spent most of last night making the dough and when I made the filling, I added all the semolina at once and it clumped up so badly. There was no way to fix that mess so I tossed it out and watched the video. In the video, she adds it gradually to prevent lumps, and that honestly was common sense for a baker like me, so It’s more my fault than that of the recipe’s instructions. Anyway I made a new batch of filling today and it looks great, and will fill up the pastry this afternoon. Wish me much luck!

    • Jeanette says:

      Tasted these in a shop in Pompei, but with a creamy pistachio filling. Out of this world good! Not a croissant! Much to my dismay, I haven’t been able to find a pistachio filling recipe anywhere. Any suggestions? I’m going to try these today with the ricotta.

  • mary says:

    Hi, have never made these, but would like to try. Recipe calls for, unsalted butter or lard. Which is best to use, butter or lard or a combination of both? Some recipes use a combination. The shop bought ones are so crisp and light. If I use butter only will I get that crisp?
    The fat puzzles me the most about this type of pastry, also puff pastry too I can never get it just right, again because of the fat. Can you please suggest how to go about this?
    Thank you!

    • Nonna Box says:

      Hi Mary – thank you for stopping by. Lard is probably the best ingredient for this recipe. In Italy we use “strutto”, which is basically rendered lard. In the US is difficult to find rendered lard, you can use lard instead.

  • Question about the preparation of the dough. I have a pasta roller press on my KitchenAid and even at the smallest setting it doesn’t get as paper thin as what I am seeing on other videos. Any suggestions?
    Second: 500 gm will be divided into 4 sections…after you roll out the dough to the thinnest setting, do you continue to roll all of the sections into one big ROLL?

    Very easy to make. I made my own candied orange peel. I was in no rush and with all prep and waiting took about 3 days. Two days to let the orange peel dry.

    • Nonna Box says:

      Ciao Charles – The smallest setting of the KitchenAid pasta roller should work. If you want to make it thinner, you can try using a rolling pin, make sure to spread some lard on it first.

      As per your second question: yes, you want to roll all the 4 sections of dough into one big roll.

      Please send us some pictures of your sfogliatelle!

  • Cathie says:

    HI! Do you have a recipe for the sfogliatella frolla that you could post please?

    • Nonna Box says:

      Hi Cathie! I’ll post it soon. Thank you for stopping by!

      • delphine Guillotin says:

        I tried the recipe and it didn’t work at all. The layers merged and stuck together. Couldn’t make the cone shape as shown in the video. Butter solidifies in the fridge so I’m not even sure how it could work. ended up with no layers.

        • Nonna Box says:

          I am sorry Delphine! Sometimes it takes more than one try to turn out right. Don’t be discouraged though and please keep trying, these sfogliatelle are absolutely amazing!

  • Nicholas L Nasta says:

    As a senior we did not learn this metric system so ounces and pounds would be nice.

  • Theresa says:

    Thank you, i’ve Been searching for real authentic ITALIAN RECIPES!

  • Karen ORourke says:

    I just got back from 2weeks in iItaly and this little gem was my Favorite Pastry by far. Didn’t even know the name. I also just got a pasta maker so I can now make the dough. Will use this recipe.

  • Elaine says:

    I’m racking my brain( what’s left of it) here trying to figure out conversions to US. Can you give me a US version? Gr, is it grams or grains? Quick, I’m pulling ALL my hair out!!!!!

  • Campellone says:

    IMHO sfogliatella are the best! If I had written the line, Clamenza would have said…Leave the gun. Take the sfogliatella. But, being a Sicillian he bought cannolis.

  • Elaine says:

    Should I buy fine semolina flour? or is regular grain ok?

  • PAUL says:

    Love Italian Pastries

  • Liz says:

    Is it possible to use orange zest instead of orange peel?? If so how much would you need to use ? Also can you make the dough a day ahead of time ? Thanks !

    • Nonna Box says:

      Hi LIz – Yes it’s possible, you can use the zest of an orange for the filling. As per the dough, yes you can make the dough one day ahead, you can keep it in the fridge wrapped in plastic wrap.

  • Ivana says:

    Is there anything you can substitute the semolina flour for?

    • Nonna Box says:

      Ciao Ivana – The traditional filling for sfogliatelle includes semolina flour and ricotta. You can try with a pastry cream, but I am not sure how they’ll turn out – I never tried it. If you do, let me know!

  • Vincenzo says:

    I made these today and they came out great. Only thing I would change is reduce amount of salt for the pastry dough to 1.5 or 2 teaspoons. 1 tablespoon is a bit much.

  • Caroline says:

    Is it ok to refrigerate the dough overnight and bake in the morning?

  • Julia says:

    Trying this for the first time next week, Can I refrigerate the pastry rolled overnight or only 1-2 hours?

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