You might like to think of ‘sabadoni’ as a type of sweet ravioli; pockets of barely-sweet dough are folded over and filled with a dense chestnut paste. They look a bit like an elaborate seashell.
- vincotto, for soaking
- 150 g (5½ oz) dried chestnuts (or 240 g/8½ oz tinned peeled whole cooked chestnuts)
- 250 ml (8½ fl oz/1 cup) milk
- 1 large strip orange peel (1 small strip if using tinned chestnuts)
- 25 g (1 oz/¼ cup) unsweetened dark cocoa powder
- 2 tsp caster (superfine) sugar
- 2 tbsp apricot jam
- finely grated zest of 1 orange
- 2 tbsp vincotto
- 250 g (9 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 1 scant tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 30 g (1 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
- 125 g (4½ oz) chilled butter, cut into small cubes
- 3 eggs
- 2 tbsp cold milk
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Soaking time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- To make the filling, soak the dried chestnuts in hot (not boiling) water for 1 hour. Drain, then place them in a small saucepan with the milk and orange peel. Bring to just below boiling point, then reduce the heat to low and
simmer for 1 hour or more, checking periodically until they become soft, but still hold together. Leave to cool, then remove the orange peel. Place the chestnuts and any remaining milk in a food processor and whiz to form
a stiff paste. If you are using tinned chestnuts, drain them and put them in a blender with the smaller quantity of orange peel and only as much milk as you need to form a stiff paste.
- Place the chestnut paste in a medium bowl and add the cocoa, sugar, apricot jam and orange zest. Mix to combine, then gradually add the vincotto, checking the consistency as you go. It should be quite stiff so you may not need all the vincotto.
- To make the pastry, place the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a food processor and whiz briefly to combine. Drop in the butter, pulsing until the mixture resembles wet sand. Lastly add the eggs and half the milk and pulse until it comes together. If it does not come together, add the rest of the milk. Remove from the processor and, if needed, briefly knead until smooth.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
- Roll out the pastry to a thickness of 2 mm. I always roll pastry between two sheets of plastic film. Using a 9 cm (3½ in) round cutter, cut out about 24 circles. Place a heaped teaspoon of filling in the middle of each circle, then fold the dough into the centre in pleats, a little at a time, so each pleat is slightly overlapping. Arrange the sabadoni on the prepared tray, seam-side up (they should open up a bit as they cook).
- Bake for 20–25 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven and cool completely on the tray. They will keep in an airtight container for several days. Before serving, soak them in vincotto for at least 15 minutes (up to an hour) so they can absorb some of the sweet liquid. Don’t miss this step – it makes all the difference to the flavour and texture.
Recipe and images from Adriatico by Paola Bacchia, Smith Street Books, RRP $55.00