EASY RICOTTA HAZELNUT STRUDEL BITES

 

March 13, 2016

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So picture this. I'm sitting all day at a Food Bloggers Conference. After the break, I sat on the other side of the room - just to meet someone new. The woman next to me introduced herself as Maria from She Loves Biscotti. She Loves Biscotti? I love her website! And she loved my site too. We laughed at the serendipity. Such a random set of decisions that afternoon that brought us together!

Naturally, we wanted to work together - something for Easter makes sense. Maria chose to make a traditional Italian Easter Ricotta Strudel with Hazelnuts and Lemon, and I decided to create a bite sized Ricotta filled Easter Bite using phyllo dough. The results were wonderful. Maria's strudel has a flakey, tender pastry; with a lemony filling, and roasted chopped hazelnuts. My cups hold whole hazelnuts in a crispy phyllo dough. Grappa and white pepper highlight both strudels. Go see Maria's Simple Italian Ricotta Cheese Strudel at She Loves Biscotti. She is skilled and talented in the kitchen and I've learned so much from her. You must read through her post on how to make the classic Italian Ricotta Cheese Strudel.

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Ingredients

Makes 12 bites

Grams

Ounces

Volume

ITALIAN EASTER STRUDEL BITES WITH RICOTTA HAZELNUT FILLING

  • 680 grams ricotta cheese filling (recipe below)
  • 6-9 sheets of phyllo dough
  • hazelnut praline powder

RICOTTA FILLING

  • 212 grams whole hazelnuts
  • 2 tablespoons grappa
  • 510 grams ricotta cheese store bought or homemade
  • 50 grams super fine granulated white sugar
  • 14 grams large egg yolk
  • 1 large lemon rind grated finely
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 large pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of salt

RICOTTA CHEESE INGREDIENTS

  • 2,268 grams whole milk (not ultra pasteurized or ultra filtered
  • 74 grams fresh lemon juice. bottled lemon juice will make the cheese sour. fresh lemon juice will produce a fresher flavour.
  •  teaspoon salt

TOASTING THE HAZELNUTS

  • 680 grams water
  • ¼ cup baking soda
  • 425 whole hazelnuts (212.50 grams for the strudel bites and 212.50 grams for the praline powder)

HAZELNUT PRALINE POWDER

  • 198 grams of whole toasted hazelnuts
  • 65 grams white granulated sugar
  • 85 grams water

ITALIAN EASTER STRUDEL BITES WITH RICOTTA HAZELNUT FILLING

  • 24 ounces ricotta cheese filling (recipe below)
  • 6-9 sheets of phyllo dough
  • hazelnut praline powder

RICOTTA FILLING

  • 7.5 ounces whole hazelnuts
  • 2 tablespoons grappa
  • 18 ounces ricotta cheese store bought or homemade
  • 1.75 ounces super fine granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 ounce (1 large) egg yolk
  • 1 large lemon rind grated finely
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 large pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of salt

RICOTTA CHEESE INGREDIENTS

  • 80 ounces whole milk (not ultra pasteurized or ultra filtered)
  • 2.6 ounces fresh lemon juice. bottled lemon juice will make the cheese sour. fresh lemon juice will produce a fresher flavour.
  •  teaspoon salt

TOASTING THE HAZELNUTS

  • 24 ounces water
  • ¼ cup baking soda
  • 15 ounces whole hazelnuts (7.5 ounces for the strudel bites and 7.5 ounces for the praline powder)

HAZELNUT PRALINE POWDER

  • 7 ounces of whole toasted hazelnuts
  • 2.3 ounces white granulated sugar
  • 3 ounces water

ITALIAN EASTER STRUDEL BITES WITH RICOTTA HAZELNUT FILLING

  • 3 cups ricotta cheese filling (recipe below)
  • 6-9 sheets of phyllo dough
  • hazelnut praline powder

RICOTTA FILLING

  • 1 ½ cups whole hazelnuts
  • 2 tablespoons grappa
  • 2 1/4 cup ricotta cheese store bought or homemade
  • ¼ cup super fine granulated white sugar
  • large egg yolk
  • 1 large lemon rind grated finely
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 large pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of salt

RICOTTA CHEESE INGREDIENTS

  • 2 ½ quarts whole milk (not ultra pasteurized or ultra filtered
  • 5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice. bottled lemon juice will make the cheese sour. fresh lemon juice will produce a fresher flavour.
  •  teaspoon salt

TOASTING THE HAZELNUTS

  • 3 cups water
  • ¼ cup baking soda
  • 3 cups whole hazelnuts (1.5 cups for the strudel bites and 1.5 cups for the praline powder)

HAZELNUT PRALINE POWDER

  • 1 ½ cups of whole toasted hazelnuts
  •  cup white granulated sugar
  •  cup water

Instructions

MAKE THE RICOTTA FILLING

  • Combine the cheese, grappa, sugar, egg yolk, lemon rind, white pepper, nutmeg, and salt. The mixture will be be loose, but not runny.
  • Set aside.

Grappa highlights the lemon in the ricotta filling.
Grappa highlights the lemon in the ricotta filling.Zest a lemon.
Zest a lemon.

Toasted whole hazelnuts. So delicious when they’re dry.
Toasted whole hazelnuts. So delicious when they’re dry.Ricotta filling for the strudel.
Ricotta filling for the strudel.

ASSEMBLE THE STRUDEL BITES

  • Brush the muffin pan with olive oil. The muffin pan should have tiny cups about 1 ½ at the bottom of the cup and 1 ¾ at the top (24 up). If the cups are too big they will be difficult to eat.
  • Lay one sheet of phyllo dough on the counter and brush it with olive oil. Lay a second sheet of phyllo directly on top and brush it as well. Lay the third sheet of phyllo over the first two and brush it with olive oil.

Brushing phyllo dough with olive oil.
Brushing phyllo dough with olive oil.Cut the phyllo dough in 4″ squares.
Cut the phyllo dough in 4″ squares.

  • Tamp down the phyllo with a wooden muddler, being careful not to rip the dough. If it tears, take another piece because a torn phyllo cup will leak and be difficult to remove from the pan.

Fill the cups with phyllo.
Fill the cups with phyllo.
Fill the cups with phyllo dough.
Fill the cups with phyllo dough.

  • Using two tiny spatulas or two small spoons, fill each cup with 1 tablespoon of filling and then drop 3-4 whole hazelnuts over the filling

Fill the phyllo with ricotta filling.
Fill the phyllo with ricotta filling.

FINISHING THE CUPS

  • Fold the phyllo dough over itself and close by gently pushing to get the dough to stick to itself.
  • Brush the top with olive oil.

Close the strudel bites.
Close the strudel bites.
Finish the strudel cups.
Finish the strudel cups.
Brush the closed strudel bites.
Brush the closed strudel bites.

  • Sprinkle with Praline Powder (see recipe below).

Sprinkling praline powder on the strudel.
Sprinkling praline powder on the strudel.

BAKING THE STRUDEL BITES

  • Bake in a 350ºF oven for about 25-30 minutes until puffed and golden.

Baked strudel cups.
Baked strudel cups.

  • If you’d like more crunch in your Bites, remove them from the muffin pan and set them on a tray.
  • Bake again for 10-15 minutes. The cups will become crispy throughout
  • Must be served warm
  • If serving later, rewarm before serving.

Italian Easter Strudel Bites with Ricotta Hazelnut Filling, The Finer Cookie.
Italian Easter Strudel Bites with Ricotta Hazelnut Filling, The Finer Cookie.

MIS-EN-PLACE THE RICOTTA CHEESE

  • Measure the milk into a large pot
  • Stir together all the ingredients.
  • Cut two layers of dampened cheesecloth and lay into a colander. If you like,clip the cheesecloth in four spots with small bull clips to keep it in place while you pour the cheese into the colander.
  • Ready an instant read thermometer.

COOK THE MILK INTO RICOTTA CHEESE

  • Starting slowly on very low heat, let the temperature of the milk come to 170º F degrees. To get a proper large curd, this should take about 45 minutes. Stir 2-3 times to keep the curd large. If you heat the milk faster, the curds will be smaller, so it’s best to take your time here.
  • As the temperature rises, you will see the clear whey separating from the milk curds. As the milk reaches temperature, the curds will become larger.
  • Once the temperature reaches 170º degrees, stop stirring and raise the heat to medium. You will want the temperature to reach 205º-208º F degrees. Test the temperature in the centre of the pot. At 205º, the curd will be large, white and will very softly mound on the spatula. The whey will become clearer and mixture will start to heave as though at any moment, it will burst into a raging boil. Don’t let it. Turn off the heat and let it sit for 10 minutes.

DRAINING THE CHEESE

  • Turn the cheese into the cheesecloth lined colander and let it drain for 15 minutes. Add the salt if desired.
  • For a very dry, dense cheese let it drain longer.
  • For a moist ricotta, let it drain less.

STORING THE RICOTTA

  • Roll the ricotta into an airtight container and refrigerate it for future use. It can be used for any application, and in place of store bought ricotta.

REMOVE THE HAZELNUT SKINS

  • Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan and remove from the heat.
  • Slowly add the baking soda, being careful not to let it boil over.
  • Add the hazelnuts and simmer for 3-4 minutes.

Whole hazelnuts.
Whole hazelnuts.

  • Test the nuts to see if the skins are loosened. They should slide off easily effort. If not, simmer for a minute or two more.
  • Pour the nuts into a colander and rinse with cold water.
  • Slide the skins off in a bowl of cool water, or under a thin stream of running water and dry the skinned nuts on a dry tea towel.

Skinned hazelnuts.
Skinned hazelnuts.

TOAST THE HAZELNUTS

  • Set all 3 cups of hazelnuts on a tray, preferably a perforated tray and set in a 350º degree oven for about 20 minutes. You’ll want the nuts to be toasted through to centre and thoroughly dry. They will taste crisp and be delicious when toasted thoroughly.

Toasted hazelnuts.
Toasted hazelnuts.

METHOD FOR THE HAZELNUT PRALINE POWDER

  • Prepare a tray with a Silpatmat or other non-stick surface.
  • Measure the whole, toasted hazelnuts and pile them as tightly as possible on the tray, and set aside.
  • Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until all the sugar is dissolved. Bring the mixture to a boil and without stirring, bring the temperature to 370F/188C. The syrup will caramelize into a deep amber color.
  • Once the sugar comes to temperature, pour it directly on the hazelnuts and let cool and harden completely—about 15-20 minutes. The syrup won’t cover all the hazelnuts.

Whole toasted hazelnuts with hot caramel.
Whole toasted hazelnuts with hot caramel.

FINISH THE PRALINE POWDER

  • Peel off the hazelnuts and hardened caramel and break it into pieces into a food processor.
  • Pulse until it is a medium fine powder. Over processing will bring out the oils and make it somewhat pasty. You’ll want to keep some texture and keep it a bit loose.

Hazelnut praline.
Hazelnut praline.
Hazelnut praline powder.
Hazelnut praline powder.

  • I learned about this Praline Powder recipe from Rose Levy Beranbaum's excellent book: The Baking Bible.

Italian Easter Strudel Bites with Ricotta Hazelnut Filling, The Finer Cookie.
Italian Easter Strudel Bites with Ricotta Hazelnut Filling, The Finer Cookie.

  • NOTES: Careful not to overfill the cups, as the filling will ooze as it bakes. Keep in mind that the filling will be loose. Stir as needed. It will set nicely when baked.
TAGS:  lemon   strudel   easter   phyllo       LABELS: Low Sugar  Easter  Nut and Seed 

Comments

1 Comments

Valeria   2017-01-07

They look absolutely delicious!

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EASY RICOTTA HAZELNUT STRUDEL BITES

Makes 12 bites

Ingredients
Instructions

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