Preparation time: 1 hour plus resting time
Cooking time: 15 min
Cannoli are probably the most famous pastry from the island of Sicily. The have a long history with records of Cannoli being found as far back as 1635. Cannoli are one of those creations that “ are difficult to get just right.
For the cream: Push the ricotta through a sieve once. Add the sugar and paste from inside the vanilla pod, and mix with a fork until there are no lumps and the everything is well incorporated. Add the candied peel and the fruit and mix so that they are evenly distributed.
Place the ricotta cream in a piping bag with a 1,5cm star or 1 cm round tip and leave to rest in the fridge.
For the shells:
Rub the lard into the flour, sugar and cinnamon until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the honey and vinegar and a little water (or marsala “ the sweet wine) to enable you to pull everything together into a stiff dough, and work until just smooth. Try not to overwork the dough “ this will keep the shells nice and brittle when cooked.
On a floured surface roll the dough flat to a thickness of 2-3mm.
Cut the dough into 12cm X 12cm squares (you may need to adjust this depending on the size of your tubes).
Place the cannolo tube diagonally across the dough square (left top corner to right bottom corner), and bring the other two corners together to overlap by at least 2cm. Press firmly to get them to join (or the will open during frying). Repeat for each square of pastry.
Bring your frying oil and lard to a temperature of 375 deg. F/190 deg. C. Place a couple of cannoli in and fry them to golden brown. Don’t put them in all at once as this will cool the oil too much and they will absorb it.
Remove the cannoli from the oil when ready and leave to cool. When cool remove the tube. These can be made in advance and stored in an airtight container (although like with most things they are best the day you make them).
Pipe the ricotta cream filling into the shell, from each side so the cream œmeets in the middle.
You can decorate the ends with chopped pistachios, candied peel or cherries, or grated dark chocolate.
When you have finished filling and decorating the shells line them up and sprinkle them with icing sugar. (Then take one and go and enjoy it! Just tell everyone the recipe only made 5)
When you buy your ricotta, try to get Ricotta that doesn’t appear too wet. When you get home take the ricotta out of its packaging and place it on a clean folded kitchen towel (cloth) on a plate uncovered in the fridge for a few hours. This will help to draw out some of the moisture “ giving you a better cream.
Remember DO NOT use icing sugar for the ricotta “ this will create a runny ricotta disaster!
When wrapping the dough around the tube, you can make a paste of flour and water and brush a thin layer where the two corners overlap so they stick better. After pressing down to join them, wait 15 minutes before frying.
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