Italian Pastry La Sfogliatella (lobster tail)

A question from Ann:
I came across an Italian pastrywhose name meant "lobster tail".It looked more like a clam shellwith its grooves winding around andaround from a apex, spreadingoutward. The texture was crisp,fried not baked. The fillingwas ricotta flavored with orangepeel and citron chunks. Slightlysweetened. Do you know anything about it?

I just recently heard about this pastry. It sounds delicious.

Photo and description from Mike's Pastry.

The history of this extraordinary and popular item dates back to a 16th century convent on the Amalfi Coast near Naples. This original ancestor of the lobstertail was called La Santarosa (named after the convent, now a popular motel, where the owner of Fiat Italy is said to frequent), and its filling was a creamy white, which oozed out of the sides, and was typically served up hot. In Naples coffee shops, this is still something to die for.
La Santarosa gave birth in the 19th century (il "Novecento") to what was then and is now known as La Sfogliatella. The English term for this is Lobstertail, though that is not a literal translation. The structure of it obviously resembles the architecture of a lobster's tail, as its shell is made of layered and crusty baked pastry, interlocking in the way that the parts of a lobster's tail does. How wonderful!

A recipe for this pastry can be found at Uncle Phaedrus's Lost Recipe Finder.


Karan said...

La Sfogliatella....yum...ate one in October....want another someday.

Anonymous said...


melissa said...

my husband and I just recently went to Italy for our honeymoon where we had one of these pastries. it was delicious!

mkdesigns said...

does anyone have a recipe for the ones with the white cream?

mkdesigns said...

And also the pastry? I can't fine one in English.

Josh said...

There is a place in Boston, Ma called Mike's Pastries. It sells these. Delicious. North End. I think they might have a recipe.

Athena said...

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup semolina flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup margarine

1 cup skim milk
1/4 cup semolina flour
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon, zest of
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Change Measurements: US | Metric

Directions:Prep Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 1 hr
1 Combine flours, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Mix well. Add butter, cutting it into the dough until blended. Slowly add water. 2 Knead until firm. 3 Form into a ball, cover, and refrigerate for 2 hours. 4 Place a saucepan over medium heat. Add milk. 5 Bring to a boil and slowly add semolina flour. Stir constantly so as to avoid lumps. 6 Simmer three to four minutes, remove from the heat, pour into a bowl and allow to cool. 7 After five minutes add ricotta (which has been passed through a sieve), egg, sugar, candied fruit, and sugar to semolina. Beat well. Set aside. 8 Remove dough from refrigerator. Divided it into two equal parts. 9 Place on a dusted pastry board and roll with a rolling pin into an 18 inch square. 10 It will become very, very, thin. Brush the thin pastry with butter. 11 Begin at one end and roll it like a jelly roll. Cut the roll into a number of 3-4 inch pieces. 12 Pick up one piece of the dough in your hand. 13 Press your thumb in the center of the pastry and push it down to form a hole like a cup. Fill the cup with 2 tablespoons of filling. Fold the cup until the open edges touch. Gently press the edges together to seal the pastry. 14 Set it inches front of you. Gently pull out the sides of the front to form a shell. Brush the top with beaten egg yolk. Repeat above until all pastry and filling are used. 15 Preheat over to 425 degrees. 16 Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. 17 Place the shells on the paper and bake for 15 minutes or until brown. 18 Let the pastry cool on the cookie sheet for five minutes. It will harden a bit. Then place on a rack. 19 When ready to serve and completely cool, sprinkle with confectioners sugar.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to burst your bubble but this is a very common misconception. The pastry you describe is the sfolgliatelle, which is in fact not even close to a lobster tail pastry. Sfogliatelle are a flaky pastry filled with a ricotta and semolina filing with a doughy cosistancy. They often have citrus peels and cinnamen in them too. Lobster tails are a light crispy pastry filled with a marscipone cream, very different but still tasty. Sorry but it seems everyone (pretty much the average American) gets this wrong.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the anoymous statement. Lobster tails do have marscipone cheese, ricotta cheese and if I'm not mistaking also whipped cream. All 3 are in a lobster tail. Modern Pastery in Boston and also in Medford are fabulous as well as Patsy's Bakery in Somerville, MA.

Anonymous said...

Modern pastry has by far the best "lobster tail" I have been going there for years. The cream filling is to die for!!!! The lines may be a bit long at times,....but the end result is worth it. Enjoy!!!

Tamara Jureidini said...

Currently visiting Vasto, Italy and have had and fallen in love with the White Chocolate sfogliatelle! The pastry counter had a variety of marmalade, dark chocolate, lemon, cherry, apple and tiramisu filled sfogliatelle. Delicious!

Sargent Bean Pot said...

As any local Bostonian knows, skip Mikes and head to Modern. Friendly, knowledgable staff that is there to fresh fill your orders. They have ENORMOUS lobster tails and are just $5 each which is a steal! You can taste the purity of the ingredients in each bite! Yum! They have expanded their store to include a larger side with tables and wait staff and a smaller mainly take out side. Tip: If you're taking your treats to go head to the smaller side for usually faster service.

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