The traditional breakfast (colazione) in Italy is simply caffè e latte (hot coffee with milk) or coffee with bread or rolls and butter or jam. If breakfast is eaten in coffee shop, it is composed of cappuccino e
cornetti or espresso and pastry. There are a lot of variations of cornetti, especially in the different regions of Italy. There are the very flaky ones that are more like a pastry and then there are those that have the same shape but are made with more of a bread type dough. Cornetti may be filled with a dollop of chocolate, jam, lemon curd, or Nutella but some regions use them as a form of roll without a sweet filling in the middle. Our cornetti recipe incorporates butter into the dough similar to a puff pastry but the resulting dough is rich and soft like a brioche. They can be filled before baking or simply served with a spread of butter or jam. Cornetti may be made ahead and frozen.
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 (1/4-ounce) envelope dry yeast
4 cups bread flour
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1-1/4 cups filling (chocolate ganache, lemon curd, or jam)
Milk for brushing on top
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Warm milk to 105 - 115 degrees F. Stir in the sugar and yeast.
Allow the mixture to sit for about 10 minutes until it starts to foam.
Put 1 cup of the flour in a large bowl. Stir in the yeast mixture until smooth.
Add the eggs and salt and stir until blended. Add half of the remaining flour and mix until the dough comes together. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough about 3 minutes, adding a little flour at a time.
The dough should be smooth and no longer sticking to your hands.
You should use between 3-1/2 and 4 cups of flour for the total recipe.
Flatten the dough into a rectangular shape. Spread 1/4 of the softened butter over the dough. Fold the dough up and knead it just enough to incorporate the butter. Flatten the dough again and add another1/4 of the butter. Continue this process until all the butter is mixed into the dough. Place the dough in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
Divide the dough in half and place one piece on a lightly floured surface.
Roll the dough into a 15-inch diameter circle. Using a pizza cutter or knife, cut the circle into eight pie-shaped wedges. Add a heaping tablespoon of the filling at the wide end of each wedge. Start from this end to roll each one up. Give the ends of the dough an extra twist to prevent the filling from leaking out.
Curve the rolls into a crescent shape and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the other half of the dough. *
Cover the cornetti with a kitchen towel and allow to rise for 45 to 60 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Brush the tops of the cornetti with milk.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar, if desired. Serve warm.
* Cornetti may be made up to this point and frozen for later use.
Place the cornetti on a baking sheet and put in the freezer for at least 4 hours.
Transfer the frozen cornetti to a freezer bag or container and return to the freezer. Take out the number of cornetti you wish to bake about 8 hours or overnight before you want to serve them. Place the frozen cornetti on a greased or parchment lined baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. The dough will thaw and rise during that time. Proceed with baking as described in the recipe.
Chocolate Ganache Filling
1 cup heavy cream
10 to 12 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Heat the cream until it just comes to a simmer; remove from the heat.
Place the chocolate in a bowl. Pour the cream over the chocolate. Allow to sit for about 30 seconds. Whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. The mixture should be a little thick but still pourable.
Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the chocolate.
Refrigerate until the mixture solidifies to a soft paste, about 2 hours
Active Yeast has coarse granules that should be dissolved in a warm liquid to 'bloom' or activate and get foamy; adding a pinch of sugar with the yeast encourages the blooming process. This takes about 5 to 10 minutes.
Instant Yeast includes bread-machine, rapid-rise and quick rise yeast. They're finer in texture and can be added directly to dry ingredients; no blooming is necessary. Many promise a shorter rising time but that isn't necessarily a good thing because dough develops flavor and texture as it rises.
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