WALNUT AND HONEY BARS
Tuscan Peasant Cooking
by Pamela Sheldon Johns
Sfratti, a sweet served at Rosh Hashanah, is one of the old recipes of Pitigliano that has been recognized by Slow food (www.slowfood.com) as an important Italian-Jewish tradition. The sfratto is a thin layer of unleavened dough filled with honey, walnuts, orange zest, and nutmeg and baked. Shaped like a large cigar, it recalls the batons officials used to bang on the doors of Jews to evict them. The word sfratto means "eviction."
Makes about 6 dozen slices
• 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
• 1 cup sugar
• Pinch of salt
• 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 2/3 cup sweet white wine
• 1 cup honey
• 4 cups walnuts, chopped
• 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
• 1 egg yolk, beaten
For the pastry: In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Stir with a whisk to blend. Stir in the olive oil and wine to make a smooth dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
For the filling: In a medium saucepan, heat the honey over medium heat. Add the walnuts, orange zest, cinnamon, and cloves, and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes, or until thickened. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
Divide the chilled dough into 8 pieces. On a lightly floured work surface, roll a piece of dough into a 4 by 10-inch rectangle. Spoon 1/2 cup of the filling along the center of the length of the dough and roll it up. Place on the prepared baking sheet, seam side down. Repeat with the remaining pastry and filling. Brush the pastry with the egg yolk, and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
Transfer the pastries from the pan to a wire rack to cool completely. To serve, cut each pastry into 1-inch-thick slices. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.