Cornetti (Italian Croissants)


For those of you who have travelled to Italy this is old news: we love a sweet breakfast. We also love a fast breakfast. Often standing by the counter of a busy bar after we have elbowed our way to the front line, where we are inevitably seduced by an array of sweet offerings. From Crostatine (mini tarts), bomboloni (donuts) to our one true love, the Cornetto, an Italian version of the famous French croissant. And if you think that standing by a busy counter to sample such treat defies the purpose or having the treat in the first place, think again! We don’t need to savor it. In fact we Italians devour it with gusto, especially once we have decisively dunked it into our espresso or cappuccino (no soy lattes or frapuccinos where I come from…). Although I am a fierce admirer (and consumer) of the French croissant,  with its buttery, flaky layers of pastry, my loyalty lies with the denser, richer Italian version. A masterful combination of brioche pastry laminated with butter and shaped into perfect crescents. Yes, you get the flaky, buttery layers as well as a sweeter, more perfumed dough that will make all your resolution crumble at the mere sight of it. Arguably these babies are a bit of a labour of love. Do not go near this recipe if you need instant gratification in the kitchen. However, if, like me, you love a baking challenge, don you apron and get the flour ready! See you on the other side. With coffee!

INGREDIENTS, Makes 16/20

For the pastry

500 gr of strong baker’s flour
60 gr of sugar
2 tablespoons of soft butter
pinch of salt
2 eggs, beaten
finely grated zest of 1 orange or lemon
1/2 cup of water at room temperature
1-1/2 tablespoons of dried yeast
For the lamination
200 gr of soft butter
For the glaze
1  beaten egg mixed with 2 tablespoons of milk
a little raw cane sugar for dusting on top
Start this recipe the day before. Better not to attempt this unless you have a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook… Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
1. Dissolve the yeast in the water and stand for 5 minutes or until frothy. In the meantime put 3/4 of the flour in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook (I told ya!), pour in the yeasted water and mix on low speed for 1 minutes. Add 1 egg and mix well, then add the second egg and mix until well incorporated into the dough. At this point the dough will be very sticky. Don’t panic, it’s all ok! Add the rest of the flour and the sugar and beat on low-medium speed for 5 minutes, the add the 2 tablespoons of soft butter, the orange zest, the vanilla and mix well. If the dough is still too wet add 1 or 2 tablespoons of four, but keep in mind that the dough needs to be a little sticky.
2. Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and rest for 30 minutes. After that time, take the dough out of the bowl, stretch it into a rectangle and fold it onto itself. Place it back in the bowl, covered. Repeat after 30 minutes. After the second folding of the dough, allow to rise at room temperature for 3 hours or until doubled in size.
3. Roll the dough onto a floured working bench to shape a rectangle about 1 cm thick. Distribute the cubed, soft butter onto the rolled out dough, then fold into three like you were folding a business letter and roll gently with a rolling pin. Cover with plastic film and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, roll the dough into a rectangle then fold into three again, cover with plastic film and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. Repeat two more time.
4. After the dough has rested for the fourth time, roll it out to shape a circle. Using a pastry cutter or a butter knife, cut the circle into 4 sections and each section into 4 or 5 isosceles triangles, according to how many cornetti you wish to shape and their sizes. You should end up with 16/20 triangles. Roll each triangle onto itself starting from the base and gently stretching the dough. The idea is that the more you can roll it up, the prettier it will look. However the taste will be the same, so if this is too finicky for you, don’t stress! Tuck the thinner tip under the belly of your newly shaped crescent to make sure they don’t come apart during baking. Repeat with the remaining dough.
At this point you can let them rise at room temperature for 1 hour and then bake them (and eat them!) otherwise you can lay them onto a tray lined with baking paper, cover the tray with plastic film and slow prove them overnight, ready to be baked in the morning. Alternatively, you can freeze them in the tray. Once frozen, transfer them into a freezer bag. When you want to bake them, simply thaw them out for 3-4 hours, glaze and bake! I often do that as we are unlikely to eat 16-20 cornetti in one sitting…however tempting it is!
5. When you are ready to bake them, bring your oven to 200 C (350 F), glaze the cornetti, dust the with sugar and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
Dunk away!

Adapted from Anice e Cannella

Watch Made in Italy with Silvia Collocaon DVDSilvia’s Cucina the cookbook is available in stores and online!Silvia’s new book Made in Italy with Silvia Colloca is on sale now!97819213839779781921383373Made in Italy with SilviaColloca is produced by SBS Australia andFremantlemediaSilvia’s Cucina is on Facebook Twitter and Instagram


26 Comments Add yours

  1. Looks delicious, would not mind having one just about now!!!

    1. Could you stop at one?…

  2. Okay, I think I’m up for this!! I love a challenge and this is going to be next. I’d love to post it on my blog once I’m finished. My true passion is bread baking so this is up my alley. Grazie per la ricetta!

    1. My pleasure! Let me know how you go!

  3. Phoebe says:

    Yum! Definitely trying this recipe. I love a challenge – especially delicious challenges! Thank you so much for sharing.

    1. Have you tried it yet?

      1. Phoebe says:

        Not yet. Life got in the way. 🙂 I’ll share a pic when I do.

      2. I know the feeling….

    1. Thanks! A bit of a labour of love, but well worth it!

  4. How I miss cornetti in the morning… The “croissants” I can buy here don’t really compare. So even if making them at home is a bit of work, I may give it a go!

  5. cecile says:

    Can not wait to make these…I’m in heaven!

  6. you have made this sound easy Silvia (in spite of being time consuming). Today is the day ! fingers crossed they look as lovely as yours X

    1. I can’t say they are hard, just a bit laborious, perfect for a rainy day!

  7. Alisterio says:

    “the add the 2 tablespoons of soft butter, the orange zest, the vanilla and mix well.”

    You don’t have vanilla in your list of ingredients.

  8. Kristy Sears says:

    First step it says to add the vanilla but the ingredients doesn’t mention vanilla … can you help?!

    1. It’s optional, but I sometimes add the seeds of 1 vanilla bean

  9. Toni Pollock says:

    Are you using unsalted butter. What is meant by strong flour? We’re in the states and don’t have this designation.

    1. Baker’s flour or a flour that is high in protein. Manitoba flour is great. And, yes, unsalted butter

  10. Denise Argiro says:

    I made these two days ago and although it took a long time I was very excited to enjoy them yesterday morning, especially after all the time and effort I put in. I recently returned from Italy and these are my favorite way to start the day. They looked close but the taste and texture was not. They were denser and not as flakey. The taste was more “yeasty/doughy” with not much flavor.
    The water, ingredients, environment, and all things in Italy definately have a huge effect on the end product. I was not expecting them to be exactly but am a bit disappointed. This is in no way a reflection on the recipe or you, Silvia. I have made other recipes with huge success. I am quite certain I must have done something incorrectly. I am aware you can give two different people the same recipe and get two different results. The ingredients in the United States are I am sure different from Australia and Italy and will shift the end result. I would love to make them again but only if I can figure out what I might have done wrong. Any insight is greatly appreciated. Thank you. ❤️

  11. Denise Argiro says:

    After re-reading Silvia’s description above of the Conrnetti, it is possible what I made are not as far off as I originally thought. I just came back from Italy a month ago and the cornetti I had there were not like the flakey French croissant but not as dense as these. In my comparison to those I assumed I had made an error somewhere in my execution of the above recipe. I think this recipe is just different from those I had in Italy. The description is accurate and after shifting my expectation and re-reading what is written above, I am not disappointed with what I made following the recipe. I also froze them and baked some today and they still baked up like if I had just made them. That alone is worth the effort to have them ready to go when I feel the need to pretend I am in Italy. 🙂 My apologies for not paying more attention to the description before commenting …… my excitement surrounding being able to have one here overtook my senses. LOL!

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