Feast day of St. Joseph, husband of Virgin Mary, March 19
1 cup water
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1 tablespoon sugar
Grated rind of 1 lemon
Pinch of salt
1 cup sifted flour
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon Cognac or vanilla extract
2 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup grated dark chocolate
2 tablespoons finely chopped pistachios
Put water, butter, granulated sugar, lemon rind and salt into a large saucepan.
Bring to a boil, and as soon as the butter has melted, remove from heat.
Add the flour all at once, stirring constantly and with vigor.
Return the pan to the heat, and stir constantly until the mixture forms a ball
and comes away from the sides of the pan. Cook just a little longer, until you hear
a slight crackling, frying sound. Remove the pan from the heat, and cool slightly.
Add the eggs, one at a time. Be sure that each egg is thoroughly blended into
the mixture before you add the next. Stir until smooth and thoroughly blended .
Add the Cognac or vanilla extract.
Cover the dough and let it stand for 15 to 20 minutes.
Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Drop the dough by heaping tablespoonsful on a buttered cookie sheet or onto parchment-lined
sheet (better!), leaving 2 inches between the sfinge.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool.
Filling: Mix the ricotta, confectioners' sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon,
chocolate, and pistachios.
Just before serving (so they don't get soggy!), cut off the tops of the sfinge
and fill; place top back on after filling.
Arrange on platter, sprinkle with powdered sugar to make them pretty, and garnish
platter with lemon rind.