Last week I ran a pastry class, teaching the group how to make a choux pastry. The classes are all hands on so everyone gets to make their own pastries and more importantly take a batch home with them. From the choux pastry we made traditional Chocolate Eclairs and Profiteroles but the champion of the evening was certainly these irresistible Italian treats. Sfinci are the Italians answer to doughnuts and they certainly have a way of of making doughnuts rather look clumsy and unrefined. They are made from a choux style pastry, deep fried until they turn golden and puff up into these heavenly feather light balls of crispy dough. They are so light you will be able to fool yourself that they can’t possibly be unhealthy, share them with friends if you feel guilty about eating them all, then everyone including your waistline will be happy!
If you can resist not eating them all before they have a chance to cool down, they really are delectable filled with the ricotta and orange cream.
Some Sfinci are made from a yeast batter but I like this style.
I just know my NZ blogger friends will love them so I have dedicated this post to our monthly blogging event Sweet New Zealand which was created byAlessandra who is Italian, let’s see what she thinks of them! This months event is hosted by After Taste where you will find lots more Kiwi goodness in the next few days.
65ml whole milk
55g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp caster sugar
pinch of fine sea salt
100g plain flour
3 free-range medium eggs, beaten
500 ml vegetable oil
20g orange candied peel
1Tbsp icing sugar
Extra castor sugar to roll the Sfinci in
Put the water, milk, butter, sugar and salt into a saucepan and bring to the boil over a high heat.
Take off the heat, immediately tip in the flour and quickly stir with a wooden spoon until completely smooth.
Return to a medium heat and cook for about 2 minute until the mixture comes away from the side of the pan, the flour needs to be cooked a little.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool, gradually whisk in the beaten eggs until you have a smooth dropping consistency.
Place the vegetable oil into a pan and heat to approx 180C. If you haven’t got a thermometer just test small blobs of the dough, if they start to fry immediately and slowly go golden the temperature is correct. If they brown rapidly then it is too hot.
Spoon rough tablespoons of dough into hot oil in batches and turn occasionally until golden and cooked through (2-3 minutes; be careful as hot oil will spit).
Use a slotted spoon to remove the Sfinci from the pan once cooked and place on a tray with the extra castor sugar and roll them in the sugar to coat.
Once cooled, cut them open and fill them with ricotta cream.
To make the ricotta cream, mix together the ricotta, one tablespoon of icing sugar and orange candied peel.