Friday, March 18, 2011

Carmela Soprano's Cream Puffs / Baked Sfingi and Ricotta Cream Filling

Time flies.  
Last year I posted Carmela's Sfingi recipe since it's traditional to make them for the feast of St. Joseph, March 19, in both Italy and Malta. 

Ahh, Tradition.  
Gotta love it. 

Okay... I'm trying to get through her cookbook, so I'm not going to repeat it here.  
Just click on Sfingi above and you'll see what I wrote.

In The Final Celebration chapter of Carmela's Entertaining with The Sopranos, Carmela prepares Cream Puffs. 
To be honest, it's not much different from Sfingi.
Even uses the same filling.

I'm surprised Carmela got away with printing the recipe again.
I mean, she could've placed a small note at the end of the Puff recipe.
Puffs are baked.
Sfingi are fried.
Oh, well.
Another recipe done.

Cream Puffs are simple to make, yet there's something about them that makes guests think you went to a lot of trouble.
Well, let them.
If they feel guilty enough, they'll make something nice when you go visit them.  

                        Cream Puffs
Makes 1 dozen
Preheat to 400º
Bake 45 minutes
Grease and flour a large baking sheet

In a medium saucepan place
1 Cup water
1 stick (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
Bring to a boil over medium low heat.
Cook until the butter melts.
Remove from heat.
Add all at once
1 Cup flour
Stir well until the flour is completely mixed in.

Return the saucepan to the medium heat.
Cook, stirring constantly for 3 minutes, until the dough
begins to leave a thin film on the bottom of the pan.
Scrape the dough into a large bowl.
With an electric mixer or wooden spoon, beat in
4 large eggs, at room temperature
until thoroughly blended, smooth and shiny.

Scoop a rounded tablespoon of dough and, using another spoon, 
push the dough onto the baking sheet.
Repeat to form 12 mounds, spaced about 3 inches apart.
With moistened finger tips, pat the tops to round them.
Bake until golden brown.

Turn off the oven.
Remove the puffs and, with a skewer or small knife, 
make a small hole in the side of each, so the steam can escape.
Return them to the oven for 10 minutes so the puffs can dry.

Using a serrated knife, slice each puff crosswise partway.
Open and remove the soft dough that's inside.
Place on a wire rack and cool completely.

Spoon the Ricotta Cream Filling into the puffs.
They can be refrigerated up to 3 hours.
Just before serving, dust with
Confectioners' sugar

If using ice cream, fill just before serving
or fill and freeze until ready to serve.

Ricotta Cream Filling

In a medium bowl whisk
15 oz. container ricotta
3/4 Cup Confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Stir in
1/4 Cup mini chocolate chips
1 Tablespoon finely chopped candied citron or orange peel
Cover and refrigerate overnight.

If you're making these Puffs for St. Joseph's Day:
Press into each puff's filling a 
Candied cherry, cut in half
Place them on a platter, sprinkle them with
2 Tablespoons chopped unsalted pistachios
Dust with
Confectioners' sugar 

Hey, some people get agita when they eat fried food.
And the Sfingi should be eaten fresh.

Would I make Cream Puffs again?
And not just for St. Joseph's Day.
I'm thinking summer with whipped cream and fresh berries.
A drizzle of chocolate syrup.
For starters...

Another recipe down.  Twenty-six more to go.

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