They are typically made with fresh sheep’s milk ricotta, and the dough is bread-like and not too sweet, although I like to add just a bit of sugar to it. I found these in a market on the outskirts of Rome, where the locals were queuing to buy a pardula to enjoy as they roamed the markets.
These charming little saffron-scented, star-shaped, honey-brushed ricotta pastries are typical of Sardinia.
- 300 g (101⁄2 oz) ricotta
- 35 g (11/4 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
- 30 g (1 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 1 egg, plus 1 egg yolk
- zest of ½ large orange
- zest of ½ large lemon
- ½ tsp baking powder
- pinch of saffron (or ½ tsp pure vanilla essence)
- 150 g (5½ oz) fine semolina
- 2 tsp caster (superfine) sugar 20 g (¾ oz) butter, cubed
- plain (all-purpose) flour, for dusting
- 2 tbsp warmed honey, mixed with 1 tbsp hot water
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.
You will need a pasta machine.
To make the ricotta filling, place the ricotta in a bowl and whisk for several minutes until the ricotta is super smooth. Add the sugar, flour, eggs, zests, baking powder and saffron and whisk until smooth. Set the ling aside while you make the dough.
Place the semolina and caster sugar on a clean work surface and make a well in the centre. Drop in the butter and work it through the semolina using your fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add 30 ml (1 oz) water and work it through the dough. Drizzle in another 30 ml (1 oz) water, a little at a time, until the dough is smooth and pliable. Divide into two and set half aside.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough half into a rectangle, then put it through the widest setting of a pasta machine. Reduce the setting, then roll it through again, repeating and making it thinner each time until you reach the middle setting. Cut out circles of dough using a 9 cm (3½ in) cookie cutter, re-rolling any scraps to make more circles. Repeat with the remaining dough. You should have 14–15 circles in total.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Place a heaped tablespoon of ricotta filling in the centre of each circle, leaving a 1 cm (½ in) border. Pinch the dough on either side of the circle using your thumb and forefinger, then repeat at intervals around the circle until you have six points. Flatten the ricotta with your finger or the back of a spoon and place on the prepared baking tray. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
Bake for 30–35 minutes until the ricotta is pale golden and cooked through. Set aside to cool on a wire rack and brush with the honey and water. Eat warm or at room temperature. Pardule will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 days.
This recipe is from Italian Street Food. (Smith Street Books). Photography by Paola Bacchia.