Cornetti con Crema di Pistachio & Cornetti Vuoti
For a St. Patrick's Day treat, I tried my hand at cornetti filled with a pistachio cream. A little sweet, a little green.
I've always wanted to make my own cornetti, those pillowy little horns in every Italian corner caffé or bar. I knew they weren't the same as croissants, but I thought I would simply adapt my croissant recipe and see how it went.
I made two versions: Cornetto Vuoto ('empty' or plain), and Cornetto con Crema al Pistachio (with pistachio cream). But they weren't cornetti...at least not the way I remember them from the bar at Corso Trieste, 18 just around the corner from my home in Rome. I'll keep trying.
1 cup milk, warmed slightly (so that it's comfortable to touch, but not steaming)
1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
2 eggs, divided - one for the dough, one for the eggwash
2-3/4 cups flour, divided + more for sprinkling and rolling
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) cold salted butter
organic granulated sugar for sprinkling
Also needed: parchment paper, rolling pin, silicone brush
Combine the milk and yeast in a large mixing bowl. Let stand for 15 minutes for the yeast to bloom. Whisk in one egg. Add 2-1/2 cups of the flour, keeping 1/4 cup for later, and the salt. Stir with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms.
Cover the mixing bowl and let the dough rise until doubled in size, approximately one hour.
Once the dough has doubled, place it in the fridge to chill for at least an hour or as long as overnight. Pound each stick of butter into rectangle. Some people use a ruler and make it very precise. I am less-precise. Wrap the pounded butter in parchment and chill with the dough.
When you're ready, sprinkle a piece of parchment paper with flour and place dough on top. Roll the dough into a rectangle roughly 12"x 20". Remember, I'm less than precise, but it was around that size.
Remove one rectangle of butter from the fridge and lay it in the middle of the dough. Fold the corners of the dough in to form an envelope. It should look like this...
Using the rolling pin, roll it out to 12" x 20" again. Place the second rectangle of butter on the dough and make another envelope. Then roll it out to the 12" x 20" rectangle, but this time, fold one third of the dough over the other third, like folding a letter.
Now you have to turn the dough. Turning the dough, by rolling and folding, creates very thin layers of butter and dough. This recipe needs to be turned 4 times. If the butter pushes through a layer of dough, rub it with a little flour. If the butter seems to be melting, chill the dough between each turn. Keep the parchment, the rolling pin, and the surface of the pastry well-floured.
To turn: Rotate the package of dough and butter so that the narrower, open end is facing you, like the pages of a book. Roll the dough out to a rectangle and fold the top third down and the bottom third up, again like a letter. Rotate the dough 90 degrees so that the open end is again facing you. Repeat. Roll the dough out to a rectangle and fold the top third down and the bottom third up. That's 2 turns. Repeat two more times.
Place the dough in the fridge and let rest for 30 minutes.
Remove the dough from the fridge and roll out to approximately 1/4" thick. Then cut a zigzag pattern to create twelve thin triangles.
For the Cornetto Vuoto, sprinkle a bit of sugar on the triangle. For the Cornetto con Crema al Pistachio, smear a scant tablespoon of cream down the center of the triangle.
Starting at the base of the triangle, roll all the way up and place the cornetti on a baking sheet. Beat the second egg and brush the egg over the top of the cornetti. Let rise for 30 minutes while the oven preheats.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the cornetti in the oven and immediately turn the heat down to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes.
Pastries are finished when the tops are deep golden and the tips look as if they might be just starting to burn.
Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes on the sheet but be sure remove them after that. Transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling completely. Best served the day they are baked.