A pasticciotto is a custard-filled pastry, often eaten as a quick breakfast or mid-morning snack.
You can find them all over Puglia, but they are Leccese in origin. You can’t pass a pastry shop or café – of which there are many – in Lecce without seeing rows of these oblong, golden treats displayed behind glass.
I ate far more than I care to count during the month I lived there.
– 1 recipe of our Pastry Cream
– 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour + more for dusting
– 2/3 cup sugar
– 1 stick butter softened to room temperature
– 1 egg + 2 egg yolks, divided
– 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
– 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
– 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
– Zest of 1/2 lemon
1. Place the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat the ingredients until they form an airy light yellow cream.
2. Once you have the creamed the butter and sugar, add the vanilla, egg and 1 egg yolk to the bowl. Using the mixer, beat the ingredients on medium speed until they are combined well.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, lemon zest, baking powder and baking soda.
4. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter, sugar and egg mixture. You can continue to use the electric mixer to combine the flour into the wet ingredients, 1/3 at a time, but you may need to switch to a spatula or your hands to finish incorporating all of the flour.
5. Continue step 4 until all of the flour mixture is combined with the wet mixture.
6. Once you begin to get a shaggy dough, turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and continue to knead the dough until it is smooth yet soft and pliable.
7. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator to rest for at least 1 hour.
8. If you have not already done so, prepare the Pastry Cream. Then set it aside to cool for at least one hour.
9. When you are ready to assemble the pasticciotti, remove the dough from the refrigerator and turn it out onto a floured work surface.
10. Pasticciotti are typically baked in small individual oval baking forms, but you can use a cupcake pan (do not use cupcake papers or foils) or small disposable aluminum ramekins (even the small disposable pie tins will work) if these are not available. Depending on the size of the baking forms, you will need approximately 4 – 6 of them.
11. Roll out the dough so that it is about 1/8 inch thick. Cut pieces of the dough so that they will fit into the baking forms you will be using. There will need to be enough dough to cover the bottom and the sides of the baking forms with enough dough remaining to cut tops for the desserts as well.
12. Place the pieces of dough into the baking forms and press them into place on the bottom and along the sides of the form. Cut off any excess dough and set it to the side.
13. Once the cups of dough have been formed into the baking forms, spoon the pastry cream into each one of the dough cups filling it until the cups are almost full.
14. Reknead your remaining dough, adding in any of the excess you removed from the baking forms. Then roll out your remaining dough and cut pieces large enough to cover each of the filled forms. Place the tops over each one of the filled cups, cut off any excess, and press the edges of the dough on the top and sides to seal the pasticciotti well.
15. After all of the pastries are covered, place the baking forms into the refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours or as long as overnight.
16. When you are ready to bake the pasticciotti, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
17. Remove the prepared pastries from the refrigerator. Beat the remaining egg yolk with a fork or whisk and then brush the beaten yolk over the tops of the pastries.
18. Place the pastries on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until the tops and edges of the pasticciotti are a deep golden brown.
19. At that point, remove the pasticciotti from the oven and allow them to cool for at least 30 minutes prior to serving. They can also be served cold or at room temperature.
– Do not use ceramic or glass baking forms for this recipe. Due to the cooking method, cold ceramic and glass exposed immediately to high heat will break from the extreme differentiation in temperature.
– Refrigerate any leftovers.