Recipe: Sicilian Cannolis with Bittersweet Chocolate, Candied Orange Peel and Pistachio Nuts
- For The Cannoli Shells
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons mild olive oil or vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 1/4 cup sweet Marsala or other fortified wine
- 1 1/2 quarts light or pure olive oil or vegetable oil, for frying
- For The Ricotta Filling
- 2 pounds firm whole-milk ricotta, commercial or homemade
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 2 tablespoons citron or candied orange peel, chopped
- 1 large egg white, lightly beaten, for sealing
- 2 tablespoons chopped, blanched pistachios; and confectioners’ sugar, for finishing
To make the shells
Mix the dry ingredients together and rub in the oil. Mix the vinegar and Marsala and stir into the flour mixture. The dough will be very firm and dry. Form the dough into a rough rectangle about 1/2-inch thick, wrap in plastic, and allow to rest at room temperature about 1 hour.
Flour the dough and roll it out, pressing hard, to a 1/4-inch thickness. Pass the dough through a pasta machine’s widest setting repeatedly, folding it over on itself after every pass through the rollers, until it is smooth, about 12 or 15 times in all. Wrap and let rest again for 1 hour at room temperature. (The dough may be refrigerated a day or two at this point.)
Divide the dough in half and rewrap one half. Flour the other half and pass it through the pasta machine, beginning with the widest setting, then through every other setting, ending with the thinnest. Place the strip of dough on a flowered work surface and cover with plastic wrap to prevent it from drying and crusting. Repeat this process with the other piece of dough. Using a floured cutter or a small bowl as a pattern, cut the dough into disks. Each disk should be about 1 1/2-inches shorter than the length of the tube it will be fried on. Roll a rolling pin over each disk once to lengthen it slightly and make it oval.
To form the cannoli, place an oval of dough on the work surface and center a metal cannoli tube on it lengthwise. Wrap one edge of the dough around the tube, without stretching it, and moisten the top of the dough with a very small amount of the egg white, without letting the egg white drip onto the metal tube. Wrap the other edge of the dough around the tube to cover the first one and lift from the work surface, pressing the 2 edges of dough together well. Repeat with the other disks of dough. (If you do not have enough tubes for all disks, keep the extra prepared ovals of dough tightly wrapped with plastic until the tubes used to fry the first batch of cannoli have cooled; then form as before.)
Fry the cannoli a few at a time in oil preheated to 350 degrees until they are a deep gold. Place on a pan lined with paper towels and remove from the tubes immediately or they will shrink as they cool and shatter when taken off the tubes. With one hand, grip the fried shell with several thicknesses of paper towel, then pull out the metal tube with tongs or a pot holder held in the other hand. Cool the shells on paper towels.
To make the filling
Beat the ricotta and sugar until very light, either with a hand mixer set at medium speed or in a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the whip. Beat in the vanilla and cinnamon and stir in the chocolate and citron.
No more than 1 hour before serving, fill the shells using a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tube. Sprinkle the ends of the cream with the pistachios. Dust the cannoli with the confectioners’ sugar and serve.
makes 12 to 15 cannoli