This is a very typical Sicilian speciality using, once again, ricotta cheese. To shape the cannoli, you need four or five cylinders 2.5cm (1 in) in diameter and 15cm (6 in) long. In Italy they use lengths of bamboo cane, and they also sell the equivalent in tin.
makes 24 cannoli
|Pastry or you can buy them ready to fill
25g (1 oz) butter
25g (1 oz) caster sugar
1 large egg
3 tbsp dry white wine
2 tbsp vanilla sugar
a pinch of salt
150g (5 oz) plain flour
1 egg, beaten
plenty of lard for deep-frying
icing sugar for dusting
500 g (1 Ib 2 oz) very fresh ricotta cheese
115 g (4 oz) caster sugar
1 tbsp vanilla sugar
2 tbsp orange-flower water
55 g (2 oz) each of glace cherries, angelica, candied lemon peel and candied orange peel, very finely chopped
85 g (3 oz) plain dessert chocolate, in tiny pieces
- For the pastry, beat the butter, sugar and egg together until light and creamy. Add the wine, vanilla sugar and salt and mix together. Fold in the flour and knead a bit to form a dough. Put the dough aside in a cool place for at least 2 hours.
- Roll out the dough with a rolling pin to a large sheet 5mm (1. in) thick. Cut the sheet into 12cm (5 in) squares. Place a bamboo cane diagonally across the square of pastry and wrap the two opposite corners around the cane to form each cannolo. Seal the join by wetting the pastry with beaten egg. Make three or four at a time if you can.
- Now heat the lard in a large deep pan: it must be deep enough to cover the cannoli. When very hot, carefully put the cannoli in to fry. I find a long-pronged cooking fork is the best implement for handling the cannoli. They are cooked when they are golden brown, about 1-2 minutes. The pastry will puff up as it cooks, so the cannoli have a plump tube shape. Drain on kitchen paper. Only remove the metal tubes or bamboo cane when the cannoli are cool.
- To make the filling, beat the ricotta cheese with a fork, then add the sugar, vanilla sugar and orange-flower water. The ricotta should become creamier in consistency. Mix the remaining ingredients into the ricotta. Fill each cannoli with the ricotta mixture and line up on a plate.
- Dust with icing sugar and serve cool, but do not refrigerate (or they will become soft.