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The 'F'ects of Italian Cooking

Updated on June 7, 2011

The 'F'ects of Italian cooking are so gratifying. Even the small, tucked away regions of Italy have much to offer. One can never get enough of learning what delight can come from anything, and I love discovering new finds through the regions of Italy......sometimes I am so enticed by what a region has to offer, I feel like I'm there or at home, enticed by the tantalizing smells of the offering. So I hope you get into what can be a new delight in your household offered through the 'f'ects of the letter


fagottino ( ~ 'little bundle.' A pastry from Venice also known as a Venetian pastry.

filanti (fee.lahn.tee) ~ From filo, 'thread.' Streaming having threads. These are rolled sheets of pastry. You'll also see filo spelled phyllo and fillo. The history of this dough and a tasty dessert recipe can be found below.

fontina (fun.tee.nah) ~ a soft cheese that comes from the smallest region of Italy, mountainous Valle d’Aosta.

(Fra) Diavolo (frah dyah.vo.lo) ~ 'brother devil.'Fra Diavolo was an Italian bandit who stole from the rich and gave to the poor with keeping some for himself. He and his group often disguised themselves as monks (brother) which means 'Fra'.

fritto misto (free.toe mees.toe) ~ mixed fry.

fritto misto di pesce ( ~ mixed fish fry.

frittura piccata (free. too.rah peek.kah.tah) ~ a veal fry.

TIDBITS of FILO/PHYLLO/FILLO History and Sfogliatelle Pastry Horn Recipe:

"sfogliatelle" (sofol.jah.TEL.e) uses the phyllo dough, often called "millefoglie'" ("a thousand leaves") in Italy. The traditional sfogliatelle pastries are made with layers of phyllo. The pastries come shaped like shells or cones and are generally filled with citrus-flavored ricotta. Sfogliatelle pastries are possibly Italy's most famous dolce.

So here is a Sfogliatelle recipe for you to try using filo/phyllo/fillo dough. You will not get the true clam shell 'F'ect from this recipe but the NEAPOLITAN PASTRY HORN SFOGLIATELLE is much easier for a beginner/intermediate and tastes so good.


What You Will Need:

2/3 cup ricotta

1/2 cup candied citrus zest - recipe below

2 large egg yolks

2/3 cup confectioners' sugar

Filo dough - 6 large or 12 small sheets of dough (usually found in the market)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.


What You Will Need:

8 cups sugar

5 cups water

4 oranges OR 3 grapefruits OR 8 lemons, zest cut in 1/2-inch strips

fine sugar, for sprinkling.


In a 2-quart saucepan, combine the sugar and the water (wooden spoon :)and bring to a boil. Make sure all the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat.

In a large saucepan, combine the zest and enough cold water to cover the zest. Bring to a boil. Remove the zest, rinse the zest with cold water and repeat the process two more times.

Place the blanched zest in a saucepan and pour the syrup over the zest. Add about an extra inch of syrup to cover the zest. Bring it to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until the zest is translucent and tender. Remove from heat and cool. Drain the syrup and lay the zest out on a rack to cool. Toss in sugar. Store in an airtight container.


In a mixing bowl, combine the ricotta, 3/4 of the sugar, one egg yolk and the candied citrus zest and mix, using a wooden spoon, (of course), until well combined. Using a tablespoon, divide the filling amongst three dough rectangles. Place the filling in the very center of each rectangle. Cover each topped rectangle with an unused piece of dough, using your thumb and forefinger to gently pinch together the two pieces of dough all around the border. In a small bowl, beat the remaining egg yolk with a touch of water. Brush the egg wash lightly over the top of each pocket of dough.

Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Sprinkle the tops of the dough pockets with the remaining confectioners' sugar and return to the oven to cook until the sugar is caramelized, about 10 minutes more. Garnish with citrus zest.

This takes some time but I hope you agree it is time well spent. Who knows, maybe you can someday master the clam shell F'ect using filo dough!!


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