Cannoli

(“Cannoli”-“Cannuola”) 

 

The cannolo is a famous Sicilian pastry prepared all over the world. Although there are some variations, the classic cannolo, which originated in Palermo, consists of a crunchy and tender fried dough shell, filled with sweetened sheep’s milk ricotta, chocolate chips, and diced citron, flavored with zest of orange, vanilla and cinnamon. 

 

 

The cannoli cream was originally sweetened with honey, however honey was substituted with sugar, when the Arabs introduced it in Sicily; another Arab innovation was the addition of candied diced citron to the ricotta filling. Later when chocolate was brought in from America, it became an indispensable part of the cannoli cream. 

 

The size of the cannoli is usually about 6” long and less than 2” in diameter, although in Piana degli Albanesi, in the province of Palermo, the cannoli are not only extraordinarily delicious, also they are exceptionally big, stretching to over10”; finally there are the very small cannulicchi , which are no bigger then a finger and equally mouth-watering.

 

To make the cannoli shells you will need the forms, which can be made out of a wood dowel 1 ¼ “in diameter and 7” long, or the forms made with hollow metal tubes that can be bought in bakery supply store or on the internet.

New wooden forms should be immersed in hot oil for a few minutes, before using them for the first time.

 

If you do not want to go through the hassle of making the cannoli shells, many well known companies are making the traditional shells using reliable recipes, resulting in golden, crispy shells, unmatched in taste and quality and for less than one dollar each. They are available in many gourmands’ shops and markets; they can be stored in your pantry until you are ready to make the cream to fill and serve them!

 

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 Cannoli

 

For 30 to 36 Cannoli  

 

THE  RICOTTA  CREAM   

 

 

Ingredients

 

 

  • 3 lbs. of ricotta 
  • 1 ½ cups of sugar (12 oz.) 
  • zest of 1 orange 
  • 2 drops of cinnamon oil or 3 pinches of cinnamon powder 
  • 1 drop of vanilla essence 
  • ¼ lb. diced candied citron 
  • ¼ cup of chocolate chips or bitter-chocolate shavings 

 

PREPARATION

 

 

In a large bowl, mix well the ricotta and sugar until smooth. Blend in the zest of orange, cinnamon oil and the vanilla and if possible, store in the refrigerator for a few hours.

It can be prepared ahead of time.
Before using it, mix the ricotta cream with a wooden spoon to aerate and make it silky-smooth, sprinkle the citron and the chocolate chips or chocolate shavings over it.
  

 

 

THE  CANNOLI  SHELLS - “ I SCORZE” 

 

Ingredients

 

  • 1 lb. all-purpose flour, about 4 cups 
  • 2 oz. granulated sugar, about 2 tablespoons 
  • 1 teaspoon of unsweetened cocoa 
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon 
  • Pinch of salt 
  • 4 oz. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, 1 stick or ½ cup 
  • 2  medium eggs, lightly whipped 
  • ¼ cup white vinegar 
  • ¼ cup Marsalaor wine   
  • Extra flour for dusting or to add 
  • 6 Cannoli forms 
  • A rolling pin 
  • Sharp knife 
  • 5” round cutter 
  • Small brush to wash 
  • 2 qt. of frying oil 
  • 1 Egg white to seal the hedges 

PREPARATION

 

The Shells -The “Scorze

 

 

The Dough

Mix vinegar and Marsala and set on the side. 

Sift together the flour, sugar, unsweetened cocoa, ground cinnamon and the salt.

Use a food processor or mound sifted dry ingredients on a flat surface and form a well; work in and combine with butter; it will look like coarse meal.

Mix in the eggs and add the vinegar and Marsala combination, a little at the time; knead until the dough is well blended. Do not over mix in order to attain a crunchy shell and a blistered texture. 

Dough should be firm, if it is sticky add some flour, if is too dry add a little Marsala; form into a ball and cover with plastic wrap. 

Keep it refrigerated for at least 1 hour, or overnight.

If refrigerated overnight, it is better to return the dough almost at room temperature.

 

The Shells

 

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide it into 4 pieces, roll one piece at a time, leaving unrolled pieces covered.
Dust working surface with flour and place dough in center; with a rolling pin, flatten the dough to less than 1/8 of an inch thickness.
Let rolled out dough dry for a few minutes and dust it lightly.

Use a 6”round cutter to get circles, if a cutter is not available, use a bowl or a dish 6” wide and use a paring knife to cutout the scorze.

Otherwise cut the rolled out dough into 4 ½” square, using a sharp knife.

Transfer the cut dough onto a paper lined or floured tray and cover with a kitchen rag, until ready to use.

Gather scraps and knead with the following pieces of dough.

If you use a pasta machine, roll out the dough to less than 1/8 of an inch thickness, then follow the above directions.

 

Lightly whisk the egg white with a tablespoon of water and set on the side; prepare a platter lined with paper towels to dry the fried shells and set near the fryer.

Heat the oil in a deep-fryer to 375 degrees, if a deep-fryer is not available use a heavy 8 quarts saucepan (over 9” in diameter) with a basket or have handy a metal tong to turn and to transfer the shell from the hot oil to the platter to dry. Lard used to be the only agent for frying cannoli shells, however because now lard is not easily available, it has been replaced with peanut oil or canola oil.

 

Fried Cannoli Shells

 

To prepare the round dough for frying.  

Wrap each circle around a cannoli form and overlap the edge about ½ “. Brush a little egg wash at the edge of the bottom part, without getting any egg wash onto the form and press down to seal tightly. Spread out open the ends to allow the hot oil to go through and cook inside the shells.

To prepare the square cut dough for frying.  

Place the cannoli form diagonally over the square shaped dough and unite the two opposite corners overlapping by 1 inch; brush a little egg wash at the edge of the bottom part, without getting any egg wash onto the form and press down to seal tightly. Spread out open the ends to allow the hot oil to go through and cook inside the shells.


The Frying

 

Prepare and get ready to fry 6 cannoli shells; and when the oil temperature reaches 375 degrees, fry only 3 shells at one time. If you do not have a basket in the fryer, lower gently each cannoli shells into the oil and be very careful that the hot oil does not splash on you; or you can take a secure hold of each shell with the metal tong and lower it into the hot oil.

Fry the cannoli for 3 to 5 minutes; use the tong to turn shell and when they are golden brown, transfer them to the platter lined with paper towels to drain.

Wait until oil reaches 375 degrees and fry the next batch of 3 cannolis.

When the fried shells are cool to the touch, twist the wooden or metal forms to remove the cooked cannoli shells and prepare another 3 cannoli shells.

Continue until all shells are fried.

Leave shells in a cooling rack to dry for a few hours then transfer them into an air tight container until ready to use. Do not refrigerate but store up to a month in a dry and cool place.

 

 

 

THE  CANNOLI 

 

Miniature Cannolis 

 

Ingredients

  

·         Confectionary Sugar 

·        Candied Cherries

·        Orange Peels

 

PREPARATION

 

 

When ready to eat, use a teaspoon to stuff the ricotta cream into the cannolo. First fill from one end, pushing gently the cream towards the center, then do the same things on the other end and with a spatula or a knife level even the ends of the cannoli. After filling the remaining shells, dust with confectionary sugar, garnish each end with half of a candied cherry and decorate with a thin slice of orange peel.

These are the real Cannoli Palermitani!

 

Cannoli

 

Cannoli Intruduction

 

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Originally they were prepared for weddings and in the period around March 20th when the Spring Equinox occurs. Cannolis were offered to the gods of fertility to gain their blessing so that the seed planted in the ground would bring a plentiful harvest and to wish that new life would come into their families.

In the year 75 BC, Marcus Tullius Cicero was elected quaestor to Sicily to represent the Roman Republic and he noted in his writing that in Sicily there was an unique dessert that he described as "Tubus farinarius, dulcissimo, edulio ex lacte factus", that is “ A farinaceous tube, a reed,- canna in Sicilian- sweet food made from milk (ricotta). In fact the word cannolo in singular and cannoli in the plural derives from the word “canna”.

 

When this pagan celebration was transformed into Carnevale, the festivity before Lent, it became a tradition to consume cannoli abundantly and give them as a present to relatives and friends. Today cannoli are enjoyed all year around and made all over the world, however in some locations due to the lack of some ingredients variations are customary.

The ricotta filling is the most important ingredient of the cannoli.

Ricotta is a cheese made from milk and milk products. This refreshingly rich, smooth and soft cheese has the delicate aroma of sweet butter.

The sheep milk ricotta, solely used in the preparation of this dessert, has been mostly replaced by the cow milk as it is easily available in many supermarkets.

The most popular ricotta comes as whole milk or part skin ricotta; it is a soft, small curd, moist cheese with a delicate and sweet taste.

The ricottone is a semi-hard ricotta, with the taste of fresh milk, slightly salted and low in fat; it has the right consistency for the use in desserts or pasta. However, because the texture is somewhat grainy, it is necessary to force it through a strainer making its use, a laborious and not so easy task.

The “Impastata” is a smooth and creamy ricotta suitable and ideal for pasta fillings, baking and as the main component for the Sicilian Cannolis, Cassate and other desserts: it is used in the majority of bakeries.

If the “Impastata” is not available, buy whole milk or part skin ricotta which are offered in most supermarkets; if this ricotta is too moist, place it into a strainer and cover with 2 small dishes to press down and allow the excess liquid to drain; set over a large bowl and refrigerate for a few hours.

 

The size of the cannoli is usually about 6” long and less than 2” in diameter, although in Piana degli Albanesi, in the province of Palermo, the cannoli are not only extraordinarily delicious, also they are exceptionally big, stretching to over10”; finally there are the very small cannulicchi , which are no bigger then a finger and equally mouth-watering.

 

Cannulicchi

 

To make the cannoli shells you will need the forms, which can be made out of a wood dowel 1 ¼ “in diameter and 7” long, or the forms made with hollow metal tubes that can be bought in bakery supply store or on the internet.

New wooden forms should be immersed in hot oil for a few minutes, before using them for the first time.

Miniature Cannolis