Cannoli are perhaps the most famous dessert of Sicily, available everywhere on the island. These pastries are traditionally made with wooden cannoli tubes which can be bought from specialist kitchen shops. Should these be difficult to find, I have adapted the recipe so that you can make them without the tubes. The most important thing to remember when preparing cannoli is to fill cooked shells just before serving so they are very crisp and crunchy.
25g/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 egg white
55g/¼ cup caster/granulated sugar
25g/2 tablespoons Italian '00' flour, plus extra for dusting
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
55g/2 oz. ricotta
1 tablespoon caster/granulated sugar
25g/¼ oz. dark/bittersweet chocolate (70% cocoa), grated
25 g/¼ cup shelled pistachio nuts, chopped
Finely grated zest of ½ unwaxed lemon
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
A pinch of ground cinnamon
Icing/confectioners' sugar and cocoa powder, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 190°C (375° F) Gas 5. Grease the handles of two wooden spoons and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
To make the pastry cases, melt the butter and leave to cool. Whisk the egg white until stiff, then fold in the sugar. Sift the flour and cocoa powder over the egg mixture and fold in. Trickle the butter around the sides of the bowl and fold in. Put 1 tablespoon of the mixture onto each of the prepared baking trays and spread to circles about 10cm/4 inches in diameter. Repeat, making two circles per baking sheet.
Bake for 7 minutes until firm to the touch. Slide a palette knife under each circle, then wrap around the wooden spoons. Leave to cool, then ease off the handles and cool on a wire rack. Use the remaining mixture in the same way to make 8 pastry tubes.
To make the filling, put the ricotta into a small bowl and mix in the sugar, then fold the grated chocolate into the mixture with the nuts, lemon zest, vanilla and cinnamon.
Fill a piping/pastry bag with a large plain nozzle/tip with the ricotta mixture and use to stuff the pastry tubes.
Place the pastries on a serving dish and dust with icing/confectioners' sugar and cocoa powder. Serve at once.
This recipe is from Cucina Siciliana by Ursula Ferrigno. To get more great blog posts like this one - direct to your inbox – be sure to sign up to our mailing list here.