My sister did a semester abroad in Florence last year, and at the end of her semester my family and I went to visit her and bring her back home. Joanna took us for one of her favorite treats, late night secret bakery. Everyone in Florence eats Cornetti for for breakfast so the bakeries start baking them a little after midnight. If you know the right ally to walk down, and the right unmarked door to knock on, you can buy them super fresh right from the bakers! They come plain, or filled with various fillings like nutella, or blueberry jelly, but my favorite was the ones filled with pastry cream.
Cornetti have been pretty much impossible for us to find, at least where we have looked in Massachusetts, so I decided that they would be a fun cooking project for one day when my sister and I were at my parents for Thanksgiving. I searched for awhile and finally found a recipe I thought would be most like the ones we tried there. I translated it to english and got to work!
Cornetti seem to be confused with french croissants a lot on the internet, and that is one of the reasons it took me awhile to find the right recipe. The italian recipes I found had egg, butter, and lemon zest mixed into the dough. Step 1 is to let the yeast sit with the water and some of the flour for a few hours at room temperature.
Mix the zest with the dough as you knead it. This really perfumes the dough and gives the final cornetto a really nice flavor.
After the dough rises, roll out some butter between two sheets of parchment or wax paper.
Roll out the dough and put the butter on top off to the side. Fold the dough over to cover the butter and seal the dough all around the butter.
Get this thing into the fridge for 15 minutes, then roll it out and fold it into thirds. Back into the fridge and repeat until you do it 5 times total.
Slice the dough into 8 triangles.
Look at the layering on this!
Cut a little triangle out of the bottom to help it roll better.
Perfect rolls. Let these rise again for an hour.
Beat an egg with a splash of water and brush it all over the rolls just before they go into the oven.
After they cool slightly pipe the pastry cream in there. There isn’t a cavity or anything, but if you jam a piping bag in to the center you can really get a lot of cream in. I piped it into each cornetto from 3 or 4 different places.
These are GOOOD. My sister said they weren’t exactly like the ones she ate in Florence, but they were similar in many ways and they were just plain good.
The layers are nice and flakey and the inside is tender and chewy. They are much denser than french croissants, but in a good way.
You would think that these would degrade quickly, but a quick 10 minutes in the oven the next morning and they tasted just as good! Obviously just don’t add the filling until you are ready to eat them.
I used to have a link here to the original recipe I adapted this from, but it is gone from the internet.
Cornetto Con Crema
- 2.5 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup water
- 1 packet yeast
- 2.5 cups cake flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 egg
- 2 sticks cold butter
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
ITALIAN PASTRY CREAM
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Mix the yeast with the water and 1 cup of the flour. Let this sit for a few hours on the counter.
- Mix in the rest of both flours, along with the sugar, lemon zest, melted butter, milk, and egg. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes. The dough should be fairly dry and have a nice smooth solid feel. Cover and let rise at room temperature for an hour, or in the fridge overnight.
- Put the cold butter onto a piece of parchment paper or wax paper and top with another piece. Roll this out very thin, about 18th of an inch. Put it into the fridge.
- Roll the dough out to about double the size of the butter. Put your butter on top of the dough and fold the sides around it so that the butter is fully enclosed in the dough. Seal it out and put it into the fridge for 15 minutes.
- Fold the dough over itself twice and roll it out again. Fold it over iteslf again and put it into the fridge for 15 minutes. Repeat until you have folded it 5 times.
- Cut the dough into 8 triangles. Cut a small triangle out of the middle of the short edge. (see pictures above for visual help). Roll the triangle into the cornetto shape. Place on a baking sheet and repeat with all of the triangles. Cover and allow to rest for 1 hour.
- Bake at 350 for about 15-20 minutes until browned and fully cooked.
- PASTRY CREAM
- Mix the sugar, flour, lemon, and vanilla in a sauce pan. Heat up the milk and pour it over that mixture. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, and cook at a light simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add butter. Pour into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, with the plastic touching the cream. Refrigerate until cooled and thickened.
- Pipe the cream into the cornetti. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve.