Is it just me, or are we all over the top the sentimental during the month of December? Well, other than the anxiety-ridden emotions that come in waves as I hope to have all the Christmas shopping done BEFORE Christmas Eve rolls around. And the wrapping…so much wrapping to be done!
Ok. I think I’m done freaking out. For now.
But beyond than that, it’s like everywhere I look I am reminded of a childhood memory.
Ornaments on my tree are the perfect example. My husband and I both still have some from when we were kids. He has 3 saxophone ornaments because he played it in high school. They are not (that) special, but we don’t part with them. Why? I have hand-made ornaments my aunt, now gone, had crocheted for me when I was a baby. Those I hold a little closer to my heart. But meaningful or not, we hold onto these “things” because they transport memories back to us.
So my sappiness is an all-time high when I think of Christmas morning. Jeesh…it’s SO special! Young or old, Christmas morning feels different than any other morning! As a kid, it’s a fairy-tale. As a parent, it is heartwarming, to put it lightly.
This exceptional morning calls for an exceptional treat. A real treat. One that comes with no guilt or concern for sugar or butter content. One that you only get once or twice a year.
A chocolate and ricotta filled strudel. With a touch of orange and vanilla added in the sweetened ricotta layered between homemade puff pastry and dark chocolate.
The ingredients are as basic as they come. A good pastry doesn’t need much help.
I already have it painted in my mind. I’m yelling “Can someone grab MY coffee, please?” The boys are sorting their gifts into piles with ginormous smiles on their faces and scrambling to see how many cookies Santa had. My hubby has the worst case of bedhead (he’s known for this), and the dog is right in the middle of it all.
Now any time after this moment when I make this chocolate and ricotta strudel, I will be whisked back to this morning. A morning I’m privileged to have had. How can I not get sappy about that?
- 1 recipe puff pastry dough (link)
- 2 bars bittersweet chocolate, four ounces each
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 2 eggs, divided
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Zest of an orange
- Pinch salt
Follow the instructions to make the puff pastry.
After the final “chill,” divide the dough into two equal portions. Roll each piece into a rectangle measuring approximately 8-inches by 12-inches.
In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, 1 egg, sugar, vanilla, zest and salt. Mix well.
On one side of each rectangle (only taking up ⅓ of the area), layer 4 ounces of chocolate on top of the dough. Gently roll the dough over to the middle third of the dough so the chocolate is now enclosed. Spread the ricotta mixture over the middle third, leaving a small border. Fold the remaining area of dough over the ricotta layer. Carefully tuck under the ends and seams.
Place both strudels onto a parchment lined baking sheet with the seam on the bottom (to prevent the filling from seeping out). Place the strudels in the refrigerator and chill for 30 minutes to an hour.
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Beat the remaining egg in a small bowl and brush it over the pastry. Bake the strudels for about 30 minutes, or until they are golden brown. Allow the strudels to cool at least half an hour before serving.