2 egg whites
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. For the filling, combine the ricotta, 1/2 cup granulated sugar and lemon zest in a large bowl; set aside.
2. For the dough, follow these package directions for the sweet dough: Combine the flour package and yeast packet from the mix with remaining 2 tablespoons granulated sugar in a large bowl; stir in 1 cup hot water (120 to 130 degrees or "very hot to the touch"), butter and whole egg until dough pulls away from sides of bowl. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; with greased or floured hands, shape into a ball. Knead until smooth, about 5 minutes, adding additional flour if necessary; let stand 5 minutes.
3. Take a golf ball-size piece of the dough, about 1 ounce, and roll it out into a small, thin circle about 4 inches in diameter on a lightly floured surface. Add a scant 2 tablespoons ricotta filling to one side of the dough; sprinkle with chocolate chips.
4. Make an egg wash by lightly beating 1 egg white and 1 teaspoon water in a small bowl. Brush edges with the egg wash; fold half of the dough over to form a half moon. Press to seal tightly; use fork tines to crimp edges. Brush top with egg white; use a sharp knife to make a small vent in the pastry. Place on lightly greased baking sheets; continue with remaining dough and filling.
5. Bake until pastry is golden brown and puffy, about 12 minutes. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar; serve warm.
Per turnover (for 30 pieces): 158 calories, 8 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 25 mg cholesterol, 18 g carbohydrates, 5 g protein, 128 mg sodium, 1 g fiber.
Prep: 1 hour
Cook: 2 minutes per batch
Makes: 40 turnovers
Note: This recipe for sweet ricotta turnovers — the traditional version — is adapted from "The Little Italy Cookbook: Recipes from North America's Italian Communities" (out of print) by Maria Pace and Louisa Scaini-Jojic. In the preface, the authors credit a woman who says the treats are only made in a village near Trapani. They also note that variations of this theme are popular throughout southern Italy. The authors suggest using a pasta machine to get the dough thin enough; we found the idea worked well.
1 pound ricotta, drained, see note at bottom
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla