Pasticciotti, one of my all time favorite Italian pastries. This is a very popular Italian Pastry in Sicily and in this country as well. Goes great with an espresso or capuchino. It has a tart like shell with a vanilla creme filling that has a hint of lemon.
You can find this delicious Italian Pastry at any quality Italian bakery along side the cannoli and sfogliatelle. They are hard to come by outside of New York City. That is why I decided to make them myself.
These delicate little pies are filled with Crema Pasticciera(pastry creme) and I have had them in vanilla and chocolate creme. Another popular filling is a sweetened ricotta filling like a cassata. They should be made in scalloped tart shells but can be made in muffin pans as well. They might not look like the classic pasticciotti, but if you are making them at home a muffin pan works good.
Don’t be intimidated by this recipe. You make it in two steps, the pastry and then the creme. With these ingredients you can also make a creme filled fruit tart. Just roll out the pastry to fit your tart pan. Bake the pastry with some dried beans on the bottom to keep the dough from rising and allow to cool. Fill the baked pastry with the creme and then slice some seasonal fruits on top of the creme, overlapping the fruit to make a nice design. Take 1/4 cup apricot preserves and 1 tablespoon of water and bring to a boil. Strain and brush the glaze over the fruit and chill.
- 500 grams of flour
- 250 grams of sugar
- 150 grams of shortening
- 3 eggs
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
In a large mixing bowl add the flour and baking powder and mix well. Add the shortening and cut the shortening into the flour until well incorporated. In another bowl beat together the eggs, vanilla and sugar. Add to the flour mixture and mix till you have a fine dough. Place dough on a floured surface and if dough is too loose add a little flour to work it into a smooth ball.
Form the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator while you make your pastry creme.
For the pastry creme:
- 6 cups whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- the peel of one lemon in one long strip
- 8 egg yolks at room temperature
- 2 1/4 cups of sugar
- 2/3 cups corn starch
Over low heat, slowly bring milk, vanilla and lemon peel to a boil in a heavy bottom sauce pan.
In a medium bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar till they are light and fluffy. Add the cornstarch to the egg yolk mixture and mix well.
Remove the milk from the heat and discard the lemon peel. Beat 3/4 cups of the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture to temper the egg yolks. Slowly pour the hot milk as you stir quickly.
Now slowly stir in the tempered egg yolk mixture into the saucepan of hot milk as you stir constantly.
Return this mixture to high heat, stirring constantly and boil for 2 minutes or until creme thickens.
Roll out half the pastry dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/8 of an inch thick. Cut out circles large enough to fill the tart shell or muffin pan you are using.
Place the pastry dough into the pans to fit the forms you are using.
Fill each shell with the pastry creme almost to the top. Don’t fill to the very top.
Roll out the remainder of the pastry dough to 1/8 inch thick, large enough to cover the shells in the pan. Seal shut by pressing on the edges, bringing the bottom pastry dough together with the top.
Brush with some egg white and bake at 350 degrees for 20-22 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool before removing from the pans. Carefully turn the pan over and gently shake the little cakes out. If you need to, pass a sharp knife around the edges to loosen, they should pull out easily.
Cool completely before you sprinkle with confectioners sugar.