Sfogliatelle From Termini Bros. At Reading Terminal Market


 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!

10 Responses to “Sfogliatelle From Termini Bros. At Reading Terminal Market”

  1. I was just back in Philly and had 2 Termini canolli’s while I was there. We also brought a bunch of things back with us including the sfogliatelle. Termini is always a stop when we’re back home.

  2. Awesome photo! This brings back really good memories of Philadelphia, and especially the market.

  3. I love canolli, and the sfogliatelle sounds great too. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Thanks Food Hunter, Olga and Tiffany. You know when you move away from where you grew up, so many foods are missed.
    I do believe I will have to return for the cannoli, perhaps at their original S. Philly location.

  5. i have been to termini brothers in reading terminal market as well as the one in south philadelphia [the original], and i highly recommend the almond log thing, i forget the name of it, but it’s white and it has almonds and it looks super sweet but it is amazing! i was skeptical, i am crazy about sweets but my boyfriend is not, and he even loved it, it has a smoky roasted nut flavor with a great nuttiness and slight sweetness.

  6. Thanks, crasian. You speak to why I really enjoy Italian desserts–they’re not too sweet. The almond log sounds just like what my husband would love. I’ll report back on my next visit!

  7. Oh my gooooolllllyyyy. That looks so deliciously crispy. I hope to encounter one of these delicious pastries someday.

  8. These pics remind me of why I try to get to RTM the day before Thanksgiving.. I know, it’s really crowded on that day but it’s so fun standing in line at the Amish bakery, having to take a ticket, then hearing everyone else’s story of what they will get. The apple bread is great toasted the next day for breakfast.

  9. We were just talking about sfogliatelle. My husband’s Brooklyn-based Italian-American family pronounces it similar to the way you do — SHFOO-ga-dell. But our Italian friend pronounouces it sfoh-gli-ya-TEL-la. And I’ve always had it with a lemony custard, not orangey, and certainly never with cinnamon!!!!!! I must try this Philly brand of sfogliatelle!

  10. I own and operate a coffee roasting company/retail store in the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington State. I’m originally from New Jersey and have been having a hard time obtaining sfogliatelle (large or minis) for my store. Can you help?

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