August 2023

Palermo Cannoli

makes 20


For the filling
2 lbs whole milk ricotta
3 oz candied orange rind, cut into small pieces
2/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tsp jasmine extract (or 2 drops, if imported from Italy)
5 oz semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

For the shells
1/2 lb unbleached all purpose flour, sifted
1/2 cup dry white wine
a pinch of salt
4 tbsp sweet butter, at room temperature, cut into pats
4 tbsp granulated sugar

For frying the shells
3 cups olive oil

To serve
confectioner's sugar
several pieces of candied orange rind

Note: In Sicily a candied squash called zuccata is used, but unavailable elsewhere


Let the ricotta drain overnight in the refrigerator in a strainer lined with cheesecloth. Prepare the pastry for the shells to be used the next day: mix the flour with the wine, salt, butter, and sugar. Knead the pastry for at least fifteen minutes, then enclose it in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Next day, unwrap  the pastry and knead it for ten minutes more. Us a rolling pin to roll out a layer of dough into a square or rectangle on a floured board. The thickness of the layer should not be more than 1/8 inch. Cut the pastry into strips using a jagged pastry cutter. The width of the strips should be a little less than the length of the cannoli molds. Cut the strips into squares. Turn a pastry square diagonally  to resemble a diamond. Place the cannoli mold at one point and roll it into the mold, being careful not to press the pastry with your fingers. Brush the opposite point of the diamond with cold water to seal the pastry together. Heat the oil in a deep fryer over medium heat. When the oil is heated to about 365 degrees, put in three or four cannoli. Let the cannoli fry slowly, two the three minutes or until golden all over. Prepare a serving dish by lining it with paper towels. With a large strainer-skimmer, transfer the cannoli from the pan to the towel-lined serving dish, and let it cool completely (about twenty minutes).  To remove the cannoli from the mold, contract the mold by gently pressing it together at one end where the metal is not covered with pastry. The contracted mold with detach from the pastry and can be removed. Let the shells sit on paper towels to be sure all the excess oil is drained off. Finish the filling: transfer the drained ricotta to a bowl and add the orange rind, confectioner's sugar, and jasmine extract. Let rest, covered, in the refrigerator until needed. When ready to serve, remove filling form refrigerator and mix in the chocolate pieces. Fill a pastry bag with the filling and squeeze it into both open sides of each cannolo.  transfer the stuffed cannoli to a serving dish. Using a strainer, sprinkle evenly with the confectioner's sugar and serve with candied orange rind placed over. The shells may be made in advance and stored in plastic. Leftover shells may be stored the same way.  

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