Cannoli alla Siciliana (Sicilian-style cannoli)

Serves Icon
Time 01 Hour
Cannoli shell
  • 250g 00 flour, plus extra to roll the cannoli pastry shells – refer to note in step 1
  • 30g butter or lard, cold from the fridge, plus extra to grease the cannoli tubes
  • 6g salt
  • 30g sugar
  • 1 egg yolk (reserve the egg white as an egg wash)
  • 75ml dry white wine (alternatively, use Marsala for a deeper colour and richer flavour)
  • Canola oil for frying
Sicilian-style cannoli filling
  • 750g fresh ricotta, drained for at least 1 hour in a cheesecloth lined strainer
  • Caster sugar to taste (approximately 120g)
  • 100g miniature chocolate chips
  • 100g Pistachio nuts, finely chopped
  • Icing sugar (confectioners' sugar), sifted to dust

Requires: Minimum of 4 cannoli tubes – refer to note in step 5, a thermometer (suitable for candy, jam and deep-frying), pasta machine, 10cm cookie cutter and disposable piping bag

How to Make It
Step 1

To make the dough for the Cannoli shell, place the flour, sugar and salt into a medium sized bowl. Rub the butter or lard into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and white wine (or Marsala) to combine. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes or until smooth. Wrap the dough in a sheet of plastic wrap (cling film), then refrigerate for 1 hour.

Note: 00 is a powder-fine Italian type of flour. It is made from soft wheat varieties and is frequently used in Italian desserts and pastas. 00 flour is available in most supermarkets, Italian food stores and gourmet delicatessens.

Step 2

Meanwhile to make the Sicilian-style cannoli filling, pass the ricotta through a sieve into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add the chocolate chips and caster sugar, then stir to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.

Step 3

Set up your pasta machine on the edge of a clean workbench. Adjust the pasta machine to the widest setting. Sprinkle 00 flour over the pasta machine rollers.

Step 4

Remove the cannoli shell dough from the fridge. Divide the dough into 2 portions. Remove 1 portion of the dough, then cover the remaining portion with cling film. Use the palm of your hand to flatten the dough into a rough rectangle shape and lightly sprinkle 00 flour over the dough. Feed the dough through the pasta machine rollers on the widest setting. Fold each end of the flattened dough inward (into three). Feed through the pasta machine then fold into 3, repeating 5 more times. Feed through the pasta machine and fold into 2, repeating 3 times. Once the dough looks and feels silky and smooth, adjust to a thinner setting on the pasta machine. Each time you feed the dough through the machine, reduce to a thinner setting until it reaches number 7. Spread the rolled dough onto a lightly floured workbench.

Note: Cut the rolled dough where it is getting too long to pass through the pasta machine. If the dough feels sticky when you fold in half or thirds, dust the dough with flour before feeding through the pasta machine.

Step 5

Repeat with the remaining portion of dough.

Step 6

Lightly grease a cannoli tube with butter or lard. Use a 10cm round cookie cutter to cut circle shapes in the sheets of dough. Wrap each circle of dough slightly loose around a stainless steel (or sugar cane) cannoli form, brushing the joint with a dot of the reserved egg white and then press to seal it.

Note: Stainless steel cannoli tubes are available to purchase in stores. You can also make your own cannoli tubes out of lengths of ‘canna’ (sugar cane stalks) which were originally used to fry cannoli shells in Sicily and is where the cannoli name originated. Also, do not brush any egg white onto the cannoli forms or the cannoli might stick.

Step 7

Pour enough canola oil into a saucepan to reach a depth of 8cm. Heat the saucepan over medium heat to reach a temperature of 170-180°C.

Step 8

Fry 2 shells at a time in the oil, pushing them down and constantly moving the shells around with a slotted spoon until golden and crispy (takes 50 seconds to 1 minute). Use tongs to remove the cannoli shells from the hot oil.

Step 9

Allow to cool slightly and lightly twist the cannoli form so that it loosens from the shell and falls out. Transfer the cannoli shells to a plate lined with paper towel to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining cannoli.

Step 10

Remove the Sicilian-style cannoli filling from the fridge. Once the cannoli shells are completely cooled, place the filling into a disposable piping bag. Use the piping bag to fill the cannoli shells halfway from the middle to the end, then pipe into the other end. Scatter the chopped pistachios over the ends of each cannoli. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Step 11

Dust with sifted icing sugar before serving – buon appetito!

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