Imagine for a moment that you spot an unusual little treat in an Italian bakery. Its shape resembles a ridged sea shell or lobster tail. You are told that it is a tasty little treat named Sfogliatella (and no, I don't profess to be able to pronounce it correctly either). So you purchase this little gem that fits into the palm of your hand, and your taste buds first discover the delicately sprinkled powdered sugar. This sweetness is then followed by a crisp flaky melt in your mouth bite of pastry, ending with a creamy citrus center. Yum.
You see, what you have just discovered is a special Italian pastry dating back to the 17th century. And while its origins are controversial, Sfogliatella is thought to be native to Campania coming from a monastery, while others will claim that perhaps it is actually from Naples.
Of course over the years the original recipe has developed into different creative versions (both sweet and savory), but those sticking closest to the original recipe will make fillings such as lemon or orange, with ricotta or almond paste.
So, sound intriguing and delicious? Well I thought so too, which is why after sampling one . . . or two, I placed mention of these little darlings in my book. Now, perhaps you too should venture on over to your nearest Italian bakery for a little shell shaped treat, and by all means, let me know the results of your taste test!