Satisfying my Sicilian pastry craving!

I’ve been craving hardcore Sicilian pastries lately.  And once I get a craving there is no letting up until I’m fulfilled.  So this morning I decided to head to my local Italian pastry shop that serves up these Sicilian delights.  My go to spot is Maria’s Italian Bakery located at 386 Market Street in Saddle Brook, New Jersey.  This is the only bakery in the area where my craving can be satiated.  They usually only make the hardcore Sicilian pastries on the weekends or for holidays. 

This morning when I woke up I had one thing on my mind…maccalei!  Maccalei is a Sicilian pastry.  It is a cylindrical, deep-fried “doughnut” filled with cannoli cream and chocolate chips.  Maccalei is a term used predominantly in the southern part of Sicily, around Ragusa.  They are more commonly known as cartocci in and around Palermo. 

Macalei aka Cartocci

While I was there I also picked up a few inis (or iris).  Last night, my fellow Facebook Food Friend Peter Battaglia and I were talking about Sicilian pastries and inis took up a large part of our conversation.  So this morning, I knew inis were going to be a part of my Sicilian pastry extravaganza.  Inis are fried dough filled with ricotta and chocolate chips & rolled in cinnamon sugar.  They were still hot by the time I brought them home.

Inis

I also picked up another Sicilian delicacy with the name genovese.  These little half moons are baked and filled with pastry cream and chocolate chips and dusted with powdered sugar.  They are not the moistest pastries but really good nonetheless.  They even have a subtle hint of orange. 

Genovese

I also picked up a few Italian pastry standbys, including lobster tails and sfogliatelle.  My hands down, all-time favorite pastry has to be sfogliatelle.  I can remember every morning in Sorrento, I would stuff myself full of sfogliatelle.  There is something special about enjoying a food in the area where it originally came from.  Sfogliatelle are a native to the region of Campania.  Lobster tails are considered the Italian-American cousin of the sfogliatelle.  Their shapes are similar however there fillings are different.  Lobster tails are usually filled with either French or cannoli cream, whereas sfogliatelle are filled with ricotta.

Sfogliatelle (My all-time favorite Italian pastry)

Lobster Tails

As I finish writing this, I am taking my last bite out of a maccalei and with that bite for just a moment I am transported to a balcony in the Sicilian seaside town of Punta Secca.  I am looking out over the Mediterranean Sea as I am sipping my espresso with warmed milk and I feel good.  I feel content.  I know today is going to be a good day!  Enjoy!

Living to eat,
Tony Mangia

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