Scendiletto puff pastry and custard dessert from Pasticceria Stefania in Florence

Golossary: Scendiletto

One has to live in an Italian home to truly appreciate the name of this delicious but difficult to find dessert. The poor nomenclature might have something to do with its lack of popularity; by all accounts it should fly off the shelves. It is essentially a custard sandwich, with creamy, sweet custard with rich egg flavor, baked between two thin crisp layers of buttery puff pastry. At least, they should be crisp in theory; they get soft as they sit, but so do we all – especially when we’re stuffed with custard this good.

It’s that velvety custard that makes this dessert so distinct; but the other components really make it stand out. The top layer has a sheer veil of crackling sugar brûlée, while a thin strata of buttery “pasta frolla” (think soft buttery cookie crumbs) nestles between the custard and the bottom layer, providing extra textural contrast and taming the sweetness.

The name comes from the pastry’s flat squat shape. A “scendiletto” is the bathmat like rug that goes next to the bed, lest your feet actually touch the cold tile floor before you slide them into your awaiting slippers when you wake.

Better to wake to the pastry version.

Recommended: Pasticceria Stefania. Via Guglielmo Marconi, 26, Florence. http://www.pasticceriastefaniafirenze.com; tel: +39 055 583040. Closed Mondays.

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