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Jan 13, 2011 10:00 AM

Get ‘Em Before They’re Gone: Sfogliatelle at Cosentino’s in San Jose

Less than a month before San Jose’s Cosentino’s market closes its doors forever, I find out that the bakery makes sfogliatelle.

They’re baked in two sizes: $1.39 for the smaller and $2.19 for the bigger one. Crisp, very thin, and well-layered pastry revives nicely when reheated in the toaster oven. The filling is ricotta cheese and semolina that has sort of a gummy, pudding-cake texture, and is studded with candied citron. They’re barely sweet and have just a light dusting of powder sugar. I had a preference for the smaller size sfogliatella with a higher crispy pastry:filling ratio and less dampness.

Unlike the rare sightings of sfogliatelle at the much too limited number of bakeries that make them, Cosentino’s seems to have them in the case every day. Wish I’d known about these earlier, but I’m glad that I had a chance to try them before the bakery closes up shop. Here’s hoping that the master baker who makes them finds another home for his/her wares soon.

Cosentino's Market
2666 S Bascom Ave, San Jose, CA 95124

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  1. Sadly, I never got to try these - stopped by Friday afternoon, they were all out; made it back Monday mid-morning and didn't see them; when I didn't see them this morning at opening, I inquired and was told that they had run out of some of the ingredients, and since the store is closing, didn't bother to restock, so they won't be making them any more.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Cicely

      That is sad indeed. Please do check to see if the bakers find a new gig.

      1. re: Cicely

        I was just at Cosentino's this past Saturday and they had plenty of sfogliatelle, both small and large. My daughter had been there about 2 weeks before and they didn't have any and probably wouldn't be making them before they closed the store. BUT they were there when I went. I heard that they've extended their closing date to Feb. 26th, so maybe you all can still get some.
        They are SO good and having been brought up on them, they still are a special treat.

        1. re: agathag

          Yep, I went today and was able to score one. However, I wasn't as enthusiastic about this as others. I found the pastry (and I got the large size; there was no other at midday) flaky, yet kind of tough, and the filling unappealingly dense. Re-reading Melanie's post, I'd agree with the description of "gummy, pudding-cake texture" ... but with a completely different reaction! However, I didn't follow her tip of re-heating in the oven.

          Strangely, although I was under the impression that these were made in-house, the young woman at the bakery counter told me they were shipped out from "back East"!

          1. re: Cicely

            I thought Cosentino's was going to be open until Feb. 28, so I went on the 26th and the entire store was empty. NO SFOGLIATELLE to be had. So I've been on the search, and I've found a source, Enoteca La Storia in Los Gatos. (enotecalastoria dot com). They purchase their Sfolgiatelle from the same "back East" source, Ital Foods, and they arrive frozen. This is actually wonderful, because you can purchase them frozen, then bake them at home, and there's nothing like them baked fresh. (They will get rubbery if they sit around too long).

            When I was a child, we would walk to Arthur Avenue in the Bronx to pick up our freshly baked sfogliatelle on Sunday morning. Can't do that here, so I always keep my freezer stocked. When the time is right, I'm ready to bake them fresh, and they are absolutely scrumptious -- crunchy on the outside and soft and smooth on the inside. You can dust them with powdered sugar or not.

            I served them at a dinner party for dessert dusted with powdered sugar, drizzled lightly with dark chocolate and served with Trader Joe's Tiramisu ice cream I don't think I've seen that ice cream at TJ's lately, but it was an incredible combo. People have been talking about the sfogliatella experience for years. I have exact baking directions if anyone is interested.

      2. I grew up on Cosentino's sfogliatelle, and I actually think that PiQ's are better (it feels like a crime to even type that...). They are more expensive ($3.50 or $3.75, can't remember exactly), but they do a good job with the critical filling-to-crunch ratio, and, well, they're still open. The girl at the counter told me that they sell out quickly, so it might be worth calling ahead if you're making a special trip.

        91 Shattuck Square, Berkeley, CA 94704

        1 Reply
        1. re: Mola

          I'm sure it was hard to say that, but thanks so much, Mola for speaking up. I've had less than a dozen sfogliatelle in a lifetime, so I can't speak with much authority, but I do love the crunchy pastry. When Neapolitan pizzas became the rage around here, I had hoped that sfogliatelle would not be far behind to making an appearance but the roll-out seems to be much slower.

          I'll mention that i had one made by Mirella's at the Italian festival in Santa Rosa in October. It was priced on the high side too, on the order of $3.50/$4 or so. Mirella's sells at the Sunday farmers market at San Rafael's Civic Center.

          91 Shattuck Square, Berkeley, CA 94704

          Mill Valley, Mill Valley, CA

        2. Has anyone tried the Sfogliatelle-like pastries at Emporio Rulli? At the Union Square location, I saw a bunch of pastry items with the Sfoglia- prefix: they were all layered, like a Sfogliatelle, but I didn't sample any of them.

          Emporio Rulli Union Square
          333 Post St, San Francisco, CA 94108

          1 Reply
          1. Sorry just saw this post today. BIG CORRECTION: San Jose's Cosentino's never made their own sfogliatella. They had them shipped in frozen. The new grocery that took over, Lunardi's continues the tradition. When I go, I ask for the frozen sfogliatella and keep them in my freezer. (They are happy to give you baking directions). There's nothing like sfogliatella fresh out of the oven! La Biscotteria in Redwood City also makes them.