What is Italy’s Ventaglio Puff Pastry?

Here’s what you should know about Italy’s crispy curves of puff pastry perfection, a much-loved sweet treat for young and old alike that locals call ventaglio. Made in both large and small sizes, they can be found in coffee bars and pastry shops all over Italy. Try one for breakfast, dessert or with your afternoon coffee for a heavenly sugar-fix.


Join Foodie Sisters, Valeria and Benedetta, in their latest video as they visit one of the best bakeries in Rome to sample this sugar-crusted delight and discover what makes the perfect ventaglio. 


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Somewhere between a pastry and a cookie, the ventaglio is a beloved recipe among the Italians and many people cherish the memory of receiving them as a treat as a child. The name, which means ‘fan’ in English, refers to their distinctive curved shape formed by strips of puff pastry which are sprinkled with sugar and then folded in on themselves. When baked, the pastry expands to create flakey, buttery layers and the exterior becomes crispy and caramelized. Although it may seem simple to make, there is a care that needs to be taken to achieve the perfect ventaglio. The baking time is key; if they are undercooked the layers will be stodgy while even just a couple of minutes too long in the oven will make the caramelized edges turn bitter.


Despite being adopted by the Italians, the recipe for the ventaglio actually originated in France as a way for pastry chefs to use up every last piece of leftover dough. This clever method to avoid waste was copied in many different countries and therefore several different names evolved for the same recipe; the French call them palmiers (palm leaves) or couers (hearts), in England they are known as ‘elephant ears’ or ‘butterflies’, and in Italy they also go by the name prussiane. Whatever they are called, you will easily be able to recognize them thanks to the unique shape which characterizes this delicious delicacy.


Watch Foodie Sisters in Italy for more local foodie insights.

What is Italy's Ventaglio Puff Pastry?
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What is Italy's Ventaglio Puff Pastry?
Combining light layers of flakey puff pastry and a crisp sugary exterior, the ventaglio or palmier is a much-loved sweet treat in Italy. Find out more about it in the latest in the Foodie Sisters video series.
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Local Aromas
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