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Sicilian Cannoli with Ricotta Filling

Cannoli are Sicilian pastry desserts. The singular is cannolo , or in the Sicilian language, cannolu, meaning “little tube”. Cannoli originated in Sicily and are an essential part of Sicilian cuisine. They are also popular in the United States and are known as a general Italian pastry, while they are specifically Sicilian in origin, in Italy they’re commonly known as “cannoli siciliani”, Sicilian cannoli.

Cannoli consist of tube-shaped shells of fried pastry dough, filled with a sweet, creamy filling usually containing ricotta cheese and or chocolate flavored pastry cream. They range in size from “cannulicchi”, no bigger than a finger, to the fist-sized proportions typically found in Piana degli Albanesi, south of Palermo, Sicily.

This recipe makes about 25

Ingredients:

for the cannoli

  • 2 cups or 300 gr flour
  • 1 oz or 30 gr sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chocolate powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 oz or 35 gr of butter, melted
  • 1 cup or 240 cc dry Marsala wine
  • 1 oz or 30 gr of butter, for brushing
  • 1 egg white
  • frying oil

for the ricotta filling

  • 1 – 1/2 lbs (750 gr) fresh ricotta cheese, drained
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla powder
  • 1/2 lb ,230 gr powdered sugar
  • 4 oz, 120 gr candied fruit, finely diced
  • 2 oz, 65 gr bittersweet chocolate, diced
  • 2 oz, 65 gr powdered sugar, for dusting

Pasta Machine for making fresh thin pasta leafs…

Lets start to make the cannoli shells:

To make cannoli you need the metal tubes sold for this purpose. Pieces of cane can also be used, approximately 3/4 inch in diameter and 6 inches long or 2 cm in diameter, 15 cm long.
In a food processor fitted with metal blades, or mix by hand in a bowl,mix together the flour, sugar, chocolate powder, salt, butter, and enough Marsala wine to make a firm and sticky dough.
Transfer it to a lightly floured work surface and knead the dough lightly by hand, adding some flour as needed, a little at the time, until you get a smooth dough.Shape the dough to a ball, put it in a dish, cover it with a plastic wrap, and put aside for about 1 hour.

Then put the dough to a lightly floured work surface or a large wood board and knead again just for few minutes. Put the dough back in the plate and cover with the plastic wrap, and set aside for 50 more minutes.Put the dough back on the work surface again, and cut into 4 pieces.

Pass each piece through the pasta machine, starting with the widest number setting. Repeat the step until you get to number 5 on the dial and thin smooth pasta sheets are made.

Once done cut the dough into squares 4 x 4 inch (10 x 10 cm).Lightly butter the metal tubes and wrap the squares around the tubes or cane diagonally. Be careful don’t press the dough against the tubes too much or it will be difficult to remove the tubes afterward.

Wet the overlapping part of the dough squares with the egg white and press on the edges to stick them together.

In a deep frying pan bring the oil to frying temperature and fry the cannoli until golden brown just a few at a time.

Once fried remove from the pan and transfer them on paper towels on a plate to drain off (absorb) the excess oil.

Remove the cannoli shells from the tubes while they are still warm.Once you finish forming and frying all the dough for the cannoli you start making the filling.

Now let’s prepare the ricotta filling for the cannoli:

In a medium bowl mix the ricotta cheese, vanilla, and the powdered sugar. Put aside 2 pieces of candied fruit per each cannoli for decoration. Mix the candied fruit and the diced chocolate with the cheese filling.

Using a small spoon fill the cannoli with the cheese mixture, and garnish the ends with pieces of candied fruit.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

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