This is the only dessert ever served at Il Bacco Felice: Like many wine enthusiasts, Salvatore Denaro has little patience with sweets. Called la rocciata (roughly meaning "the round dessert" in Italian), this classic Umbrian pastry is similar to a strudel. It's made from a type of pastafrolla (a rich short pastry), and rolled around a delicious filling of apples and walnuts. For best results, use firm, sweet-tart apples, such as Staymans or Winesaps.
More Italian Desserts
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons dry white wine
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
4 large egg yolks
4 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 medium-firm, tart-sweet apples such as Staymans, Winesaps or Granny
Smiths—peeled, cored and coarsely chopped (2 cups)
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons anisette or Sambuca
1 large egg, beaten
How to Make It
In a small bowl, mix the olive oil with the wine. In a food processor, pulse the flour with the sugar and salt. Add the egg yolks one at a time, pulsing to blend between additions. Add the butter and pulse until it is in tiny pieces. With the motor on, add the oil mixture and pulse until a dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth, about 2 minutes. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large bowl, toss the chopped apples with the chopped walnuts, sugar, golden raisins, pine nuts, cinnamon and anisette.
Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece between wax paper to form a 12-by-8-inch rectangle, forming 4 rectangles total. Stack the rectangles between layers of wax paper and refrigerate for 10 minutes until chilled.
Return the rectangles to a lightly floured surface. Spoon 1 cup of the apple filling onto each rectangle in a thick stripe about 1/2 inch from a long edge. Roll up the pastry to enclose the filling, pressing the seams to seal. Transfer the roll-ups to a large cookie sheet, seam sides down, and brush the tops with the beaten egg. Bake until golden brown, about 35 minutes. Let cool until warm, then cut in half and serve.
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