Cannoli originate from Sicily, originally made during Carnevale, the festival season around Lent. They are usually filled with ricotta, and are delicious. I had originally planned to make something else this week, and then I was talking to my friend who said, “you know what I love? Cannoli.” I also love cannoli, although I hadn’t contemplated that I would be able to make them myself.
I had seen cannoli being made by the chef at Caffe Sicilia on Chef’s Table, and it seemed somewhat daunting. They are deep fried, and I don’t have a deep fat frier, so it was going to have to just be a big ol’ pan of hot oil. So naturally I decided to make cannoli. Miraculously I didn’t burn myself, despite a couple of near misses (when you’re lowering cannoli tubes into a pan of boiling oil with a knife, you’re kind of asking for trouble). And they came out, well… slightly disappointing. The filling was fine, but the pastry wasn’t crisp, and so while they were quite edible, they weren’t really cannoli. I think this is something to do with the temperature of the oil, and potentially the thickness of the dough. Needs another attempt really, although I think I’d rather buy them from one of the excellent Italian cafes here.
In reluctantly written Brexit news, Theresa May danced again this week at the Tory party conference, which seemed to largely be several days of various Tories saying they were fine to leave the EU with no deal. Cool. No worries then.
260g plain flour
30g unsalted butter
1 tsp sugar
pinch of salt
190ml Marsala wine
1 egg white
oil for frying
750g full fat ricotta cheese
50g icing sugar
200g chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Rub the butter into the flour, sugar, and salt. Begin to add the wine, adding enough so that you have formed a fairly firm dough.
- Knead for a few minutes until smooth. Form into a ball, cover, and leave to sit at room temperature for an hour.
- Cut the dough in half, and roll thinly to about 0.5cm thickness. Cut into 10cm circles (this will yield about 20). Place a metal diagonally across each circle, and wrap the dough around the tube. Seal the edges with a little beaten egg white.
- Heat the oil in a large pan until it reaches 190C. Drop one or two tubes into the hot oil at one time, and cook until golden. Remove from the pan, cool, and gently slide the cannoli shell from the tube. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
- Let the ricotta sit in a sieve over a small bowl in the fridge for 30 mins to remove excess water.
- Mix the ricotta with the rest of the ingredients. Chill for at least 30 minutes.
- Fill each cannoli shell carefully, and sprinkle with a little extra icing sugar if desired. Chill until ready to serve.