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Italian Sfinci with Orange Ricotta Cream

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 water
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
250g ricotta
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.


24 Comments Post a comment
  1. That photo is beautiful, and your Italian Sfinci look fantastic!

    July 31, 2012
  2. Looks really delicious. The Orange ricotta cheese cream reminds me some marvellous sfogliatteles stuffed with orange and ricotta cream I had in Naples. ¡¡Thumbs up!!

    July 31, 2012
    • peasepudding #

      I think I would like them too, the ricotta is nice as it gives a balance between sweet and slightly savoury

      July 31, 2012
  3. OMG, those look so addictive and delicious! That ricotta filling is just the perfect addition.



    July 31, 2012
  4. These look fabulous! I would like to try the ricotta filling with orange. Sounds so delicious!

    July 31, 2012
    • peasepudding #

      I also thought if you can’t get or don’t like candied orange peel you could use orange zest. It’s definitely a filling I will use again.

      July 31, 2012
  5. Wow, what chic doughnuts!

    July 31, 2012
  6. I lived in Italy for nine years and never saw these sfinci but I wish I had. They were probably from a different region. They would be my favourites too.

    July 31, 2012
    • peasepudding #

      I think they may be Sicilian

      August 1, 2012
  7. Just drooling over what I missed. You should move to Port Waikato then I could easily get to your classes!

    August 1, 2012
    • peasepudding #

      I’m looking at doing some in town in future so you never know!

      August 1, 2012
  8. Ricotta and citrus in a puff pastry, definitely never had one of those but sure that looks good!

    August 1, 2012
  9. Oh I am sooooo making these. They are very similar to my Dutch heritage “oliebollen” literately oil balls. 🙂

    August 1, 2012
  10. Wow, those scifinci look good… yummiiiii!

    August 2, 2012
  11. mairi29 #

    OMG…they look amazing & terribly moreish!

    August 3, 2012
  12. I love that picture! It makes me want to make these straight away! 😀 And to answer the question that you left on my blog, alas I don’t really do food tours but it sounds like a fun idea! How did you find Australia?

    August 4, 2012
  13. Gilli #

    Beignets indeed! Looks delicious Ali

    August 4, 2012
  14. Marinos #

    Can you please tell me an online store where I can buy your amazing blue serveware?

    August 9, 2012
    • peasepudding #

      I’m really sorry, I picked it up when travelling in Sydney so I’m not sure. The brand is David Waddell, made in Portugal

      August 9, 2012
  15. Marinos #

    Thanks so much for responding!!

    August 10, 2012
  16. These look like little drops of heavean!

    August 13, 2012
  17. Alli, these look (and sound) SO amazing. I have been meaning to make the doughnuts from Little and Friday but these sound much more manageable. Incredible stuff!

    August 14, 2012
  18. Stunning photo Alli, lovelyness.

    August 20, 2012

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