In Sicily, you’ll find cannoli in many bars and pastry shops, sitting there in the vetrina already filled and ready to eat. The secret to a great cannolo is filling them à la minute. The best ones will be filled with sweet ricotta cream just before you eat them. The shell stays perfectly crisp and does not become soft and soggy. The fried shells keep well for several days in an air-tight container, so you have no excuse but to fill them as needed. You’ll need some round pastry ring molds or cookie cutters for the shells and a set of cannoli tubes for frying.
Remember this simple grammatical rule: one cannolo, two cannoli, no cannolis. In Italian, there is one single masculine cannolo; then, the plural becomes cannoli. You don’t need to add an “s” on the end of anything to make it plural. Enough with the vocabulary; let’s get to cooking. Here is our recipe for traditional Sicilian cannoli filled with sweet ricotta cream.
- 1 cup white flour
- 1 tbs. unsweetened cocoa
- 1 tbs. ground coffee
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 cup ricotta
- 1 tbs. orange-flower water or vanilla liqueur
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tbs. butter
- 1 cup white wine
- 2 tbs. candied orange and citron, diced
- 1 oz. chocolate
- 1 tbs. cocoa powder
- 1 egg white
- frying oil
- 2 tbs. candied cherries
- 2 tbs. almond oil
- 1 tbs. confectioner’s sugar
How to make CANNOLI CON RICOTTA:
Mix 1 cup flour, cocoa, coffee, salt, and granulated sugar on a pastry board. Make a Fontana (fountain), add the butter and enough white wine, and work into a moderately firm dough. Knead for a few minutes, and then shape the dough into a ball. Wrap it in a cloth and let it stand for one hour in a cool place.
Sift the Ricotta, add 1/2 cup of confectioner’s sugar, orange-flower water, or liqueur, mix well and add the diced candied fruit and the chocolate in chunks. Divide the resulting cream into two equal portions; add the cocoa to one half. Hold both in a cool place.
Coat a few tin pipes (cornet molds), 5-in. long and 1-in. in diameter, with almond oil. Roll the dough to 1/8-in. thick and cut into 4-in. disks. Fold the dough around the cornet molds, overlapping the two ends and sealing with a bit of egg-white. Enlarge the two ends to give it an hourglass shape—Fry in hot oil. Gently drain them and place them on paper towels. Cool the pastries for a few minutes. Gently remove the molds and let cool thoroughly.
Fill the cannoli with Ricotta cream through one end and cocoa cream through the other. Cannoli shells can be prepared in advance, but the cream should be added just before serving, or the shell will become soggy. Dust with confectioner’s sugar and serve.
Cannoli shells are also known as scorze.
Regional recipe from Sicily.