Sfoliatelle-meaning many leaves/layers (pronun. SFOL YA TELL) My family has been making these longer than I existed even though we are from Bari, Italy. The history is that the pastry was born in Naples, Italy centuries ago and was usually made by nuns in convents, this pastry was made accidently by a nun using leftover ingredients as it was a sin to waste food. The first time I ever had one though was on a trip to get my wedding favors in Windsor, Canada from a Murano Glass Import Shop, in a part that is known as Little Italy. (For some reason I waited that long to eat one, lol.) Across the street there is an Italian bakery and hot table there that we go to every time I take the trip. Windsor is only 3 hours from me so when I go there I make sure to bring these clamshell shaped pastries home with me. Although they are a little work, they are well worth it. You can make them as big and as small as you want and also if you would not want to make the pastry shell yourself, you can use puff pastry dough instead cutting the dough the same way as in the directions. Also with this recipe, the semolina flour is left out because sometimes the semolina flour can provide a "GRAINY" texture that many tend to not like in the filling, I personally do not like it either and can do without. Once you get the hang of it, you can make these with your eyes close, although not recommended...lol. (Photo is a stock photo)
For Filling: Combine ricotta, milk, vanilla, egg, sugar and grated orange peel. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.
For Pastry: Sift together flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Mix in cold butter with fingers or use food processor. Gradually add enough ice water to hold ingredients together. Toss on lightly floured surface and knead for about 8 minutes or until dough is smooth. Cover and store in cool place for 1/2 of an hour.
Divide dough into four equal parts. Roll out each piece with rolling pin on lightly floured surface, making sheets about 20 inches long. Pull and stretch dough if need while rolling to make dough tissue thing and transparent.
Brush each sheet with melted butter and place sheets on top of one another. When four sheets are piled together, brush top with melted butter. Let stand 5 minutes and then roll tightly as you would a jelly roll. Roll in waxed paper and set aside for 30 minutes or more in refrigerator.
With sharp knife, cut roll in 1/2 inch slices which will resemble narrow rolls of ribbon. Place on board or platter, cover with towel and side aside in cool place for 15 minutes.
Place each slice on palm of left hand, with right thumb on center of roll, gently press through slice so that it forms a ribbed cone, make sure that ribs do not become entirely separated or the pastries will be too elongated.
Carefully work around cone with thumb and index finger until it is well shaped. 3 inches across mouth and a 1/2 inch tip (resembling a closed clam V-shaped) Press tip together.
Fill each cone with 1 heaping tablespoon of ricotta filling. Flatten cones gently between palms of hands. Place on lightly buttered parchment lined cookie sheet.
Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes or until pastries are light golden color, crisp and filling is firm. Remove from oven and let cool.