Week 11 of the 52 week baking challenge was to bake something from the 1950s. I googled a few recipes, but nothing jumped out at me until I read a post from one of the reddit users about http://www.archive.org, and the many cookbooks that have been scanned into this archive. I perused the cookbooks, filtering by the years 1950-1959 and came across the cookbook “The Complete Italian Cookbook” (La Cucina), written by Rose L. Sorce and published in 1953. I am half Italian, so I thought it would be fitting to find a dessert recipe from this book and try it out. The last challenge we did was make savory pies, in which I decided to make calzones, so I had extra ricotta cheese on hand, so when I found the recipe for what the book called cottage cheese filling (ripieni de ricotta) and called for ricotta, and stated it made an excellent filling for cream puffs (Spinge) and offered a recipe for those as well, I decided that is what I was going to make. I definitely recommend visiting archive.org and seeing what hidden treasures you can find. I have also included captures
of the pages with the recipes. Below, I am writing out the recipe with the modifications I made.
16oz (1 lb) ricotta cheese
4 oz (1/2) cup heavy whipping cream
1tablespoon confectioner’s sugar
3oz (1/2 cup) mini chocolate chips
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (I didn’t have an orange, and would probably leave this out next time).
2oz (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1/4 teaspoon salt
120 grams (1 cup) all purpose flour
240 grams (1 cup) water
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
- Whip heavy cream and tablespoon of confectioner’s sugar together until still peaks
- Combine remaining filling ingredients together in a bowl, then fold in the whipped cream until combined and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Combine tablespoon of lemon zest and tablespoon of granulated sugar and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Add water and butter to a pan, melting butter and bringing to a boil. Add in the the flour and salt and stir together with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together on the spoon and leaves a film of dough on the pan.
- Remove the mixture from the pan into a bowl of a stand mixer. With the paddle attachment, mix the mixture until cool, about 10 minutes,
- Once dough is cool to the touch, add in one egg at a time, beating vigorously until dough comes together (this can take a good few minutes for the dough to look cohesive and not separated). Add in the sugar and lemon zest mixture and stir to combine.
- Using a 1.5 tablespoon cookie scoop, portion out dough, three inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper or silicone mats (you may need two baking sheets).
- Bake on the top rack at 400F for 12 minutes, then reduce heat to 325F and finish baking for approximately 30-35 minutes. Shells will have puffed up and be golden brown when finished.
- Once removed from oven, take a skewer or knife and puncture a hole in the bottom of the cream puff to allow the steam to escape. Put on a baking rack to cool.
- Using a serrated knife, cut the tops of the cream puffs off. Fill the bottom of the shell with the ricotta mixture from the fridge, and top with the other piece of shell.
- Serve immediately. If these will not be eaten right away, do not fill, as the shells will get soggy. Store shells in an air tight container at room temperature until ready to be filled.