Sandie of the lovely blog, Crumbs of Love, was our November hostess. She challenged us to make a traditional Italian dessert, along with its American version – Sfogliatelle (or better known in the US as lobster tails). The flakey, 1000 layers of super thin dough, shaped into a horn and filled with a scrumptious filling of semolina and ricotta mixture with candied orange peel and a touch of cinnamon. There are two main Italian versions of sfogliatelle. The first is sfogliatelle ricci (or Napoletane) and this is the crispy multilayered version. The second is sfogliatelle frolle, a tender almost cakey version covered in a soft pie crust-like shell. It was mandatory, for the challenge, to make the homemade cheese or the candied peel and at least one version of the sfogliatelle.


For the Fresh Ricotta Cheese

8 cups (2 litres) whole milk (or goats milk)

1 cup (250 ml) heavy whipping cream (about 35%)

3 tablespoons (45 ml) fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon (3 gm) salt

For the Dough

2 1/3 cups (560 ml) (11-1/2 oz) (325 gm) all-purpose flour

1/3 cup (80 ml) (2-2/3 oz)(75 gm) granulated sugar

1/8 teaspoon (3/4 gm) table salt

8 tablespoons (4 oz) (115 gm) unsalted butter, cold

2 large eggs, room temperature, beaten

For the Semolina Ricotta Filling

1 cup (250 ml) milk

1/2 cup (120 ml) (4 oz) (115 gm) granulated sugar

2/3 cup (160 ml) (4 oz) (115 gm) fine semolina or cream of wheat

1 1/2 cups (360 ml) (13-1/4 oz) (375 gm) fresh whole milk ricotta cheese

2 large egg yolks, room temperature

2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon (1 gm) ground cinnamon

1/3 cup (80 ml) (2 oz) (60 gm) candied orange peel

Zest of 1 lemon

For the Egg Wash

1 large egg yolk

1 large egg


  • For the fresh ricotta, line a large colander or strainer with 2 layers of lightly dampened cheesecloth; set aside.
  • Pour whole milk, heavy cream and salt into a large pot and bring to a boil over medium heat, whisk occasionally.

  • Reduce the heat, add the fresh lemon juice and stir/whisk continuously for 2-3 minutes. The mixture will curdle.
  • Pour this into the cheesecloth lined strainer and let it drain for about 1 hour or until it comes to room temperature.

  • Scrape the ricotta from the cheesecloth into a container and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Makes 2 cups of ricotta.
  • For the dough, combine the flour, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl by hand. Remove the butter from the fridge.

  • Pound it a few times with a rolling pin to make it pliable. Add to the flour and start rubbing it into the mixture.
  • Work with your fingertips, from the bottom of the bowl upwards, quickly so that the butter does not get warm.

  • This only takes a minute or two to complete. Add eggs and stir dough with a fork until it starts to hold together.
  • Empty it out onto your workspace and knead a few times. Shape into a disc, wrap in plastic and chill until firm.

  • Meanwhile, prepare the semolina ricotta filling. For the egg wash, whisk  together the egg yolk and the egg.
  • Combine the milk and the sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat.

  • Slowly add the semolina (or cream of wheat), whisking quickly as to avoid any lumps. Cook, stirring often.
  • Mixture will be smooth and thick after about 2 minutes. Spread the mixture onto a lined baking sheet to cool.

  • When cool, break into pieces and place into the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment.
  • Add ricotta cheese, yolks, vanilla and cinnamon. Beat until very smooth. Stir in candied peel and lemon zest.

  • Scrape into a container, place plastic wrap directly onto the surface. Refrigerate until needed for up to 3 days.
  • Remove dough from refrigerator and divide into 10 equal pieces. Roll each into a 5 inch (12-1/2 cm) rectangle.

  • Place a hefty tablespoon amount of filling on the lower half of each piece of  dough and pull the top half over this.
  • Press down around filling and seal edges together. Use a 3-inch round cookie cutter to cut away any excess dough.

  • Place on a prepared baking sheet and chill for 2 hours. Preheat oven to moderately hot 375°F/190°C/gas mark 5.
  • Brush with egg wash and bake for about 20 minutes, just until golden. Cool briefly on a rack. Makes 12 pieces.