Termini Bros.has been a South Philadelphia baking institution since opening in 1928. Their tradition of Italian confections has made Termini’s a househould name to the Italian-Americans of South Philly, and well beyond the city limits. Known for making mouth-watering canolli, cookies, and pastries, Termini’s carries on the Italian tradtions passed down from generations of Italian immigrants.
Termini’s canolli are considered the best there are by many, and one look at the photo above show just how fresh each canolli is made, with riccota filling piped inside to order. The filling is a luscious foil for the crisp outer shell
. Among the pantheon of great Italian desserts is the sfogliatelle (SFOO-ya-dell, or SPOO-ya-dell are among the pronunciations), a shell-shaped pastry which is typically filled with orange scented ricotta, and sometimes has candied citrus and cinnamon added, as is the case with Termini’s version. Sfogliatelle originated in Naples, Italy and is said to have been perfected in convents and monasteries, as they are labor and time intensive to make.
Impossibly intricate, the sfogliatelle’s pastry shell is redundant with many, many layers of crisp crust that lightly shatters to the to bite. Sfogliatelle pastry is rolled very thin and slatherd with shortening. Then, the pastry is rolled so many layers are formed. Next, the roll is cut into what looks like rolled ribbons, and the center of the roll is pushed out, creating the point and many layers, as well as a pocket for filling. Once filled, the sfogliatelle are sealed and baked so that the many layers stay separated and become crisp. Kind of like a “crunchy” al dente!
During my stay in Philadelphia, I made a visit the famous Reading Terminal Market.RTM is a cornucopia of food, ranging from eateries reflecting cuisines from around the world, to fresh produce, baked goods, spices and of course, the good old favorites of Philadelphia; cheesesteaks, hoagies, and roast pork Italian sandwiches.
After being sated (if not stuffed) with an incredibly juicy roast pork with sharp provolone and brocolli rabe at DiNic’s Roast Beef & Pork lunch counter, I headed over to Termini Bros. to buy dessert for later. I decided on the flaky clam shaped pastry just begging me to buy it! The sfogliatelle ($4.50) pictured above was fresh and heavy for its size, with flaky crust and dense ricotta filling. The semi-sweet nature of the pastry allows it to pair well with teas, or even espresso (with a shot of grappa, of course).
If you can’t buy excellent Italian pastries near you, you can either visit one of Termini Bros. locations in the Philadelphia area, or order from them online!