Classic Cannoli Alla Siciliana 20.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Feb 26, 2017

Crisp cylinders of fried dough filled with fresh ricotta cream, cannoli are undoubtedly Sicily’s most famous contribution to the world of sweets. Traditionally, the shells were made by wrapping pieces of dough around lengths of "canna," or "cane"; hence the name.

The dough is quite elastic and is best rolled out using a pasta machine. You'll need a thermometer for monitoring the frying oil, cannoli shell molds and a 3 3/4-inch round cookie cutter.

Make Ahead: The dough needs to rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days. The fried shells can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Where to Buy: These days, stainless-steel tubes do the job for cannoli shell molds. You can find them at Hill’s Kitchen in the District and at La Cuisine in Old Town Alexandria, as well as online at Fantes.com.


Servings:
20 - 24 short cannoli shells

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 20-24 short cannoli shells

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups flour, preferably unbleached all-purpose
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon finely ground espresso
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 6 to 8 tablespoons dry Marsala
  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • Ricotta Cream, for filling (see related recipe)
  • Confectioners' sugar, for serving
  • Mini chocolate chips, for garnish (optional)
  • Cacao nibs, for garnish (optional)
  • Crushed pistachios, for garnish (optional)
  • Candied Orange Peel, for garnish (optional; see related recipe)

Related Recipes

Directions

Combine the flour, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, espresso and salt in a food processor; pulse until thoroughly combined. Add the butter and pulse to incorporate. Add 6 tablespoons of Marsala and pulse until the mixture begins to come together. If necessary, add 1 to 2 more tablespoons of Marsala to make a firm yet tender dough.

Transfer the dough to a clean work surface and knead for a few minutes, until it is mostly smooth and elastic. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 2 days.

The easiest way to roll out the dough is with a pasta machine. Divide the dough in half. Re-wrap one half and flatten the other with your palm. Feed the piece of dough through the widest setting, fold it in half and repeat. Adjust the roller to the next narrower setting and pass the dough through once. Adjust to the next narrower setting and repeat. Continue to roll until the dough is stretched to about 1/16-inch thick.

Lay the strip of dough on the work surface — although it will be slightly tacky there is no need to flour the surface. Using a 3 3/4-inch round cookie cutter, cut as many rounds as you can. Gather up the scraps and wrap them in plastic wrap to re-roll later.

Roll out the second piece of dough into a 1/16-inch-thick strip and use the cookie cutter to cut out 3 3/4-inch rounds. Gather up the scraps and knead them together with the reserved scraps. Roll this piece of dough through the pasta machine, stretching it as with the other pieces, and cut the strip into rounds. You should end up with a total of 20 to 24 rounds.

Pour the oil to a depth of at least 2 inches into a heavy pot (such as a 9-inch enameled cast-iron pot). Place over medium-high heat and heat the oil to about 375 degrees. Set a wire cooling rack on a rimmed baking sheet.

Wrap a round of dough around one of the cannoli molds, overlapping the edges and sealing them with a little egg white. (Don’t roll the dough too tightly around the tube or it will be difficult to slide the shell off once it’s fried.) Press the edges with your fingers to make sure they are well sealed. Carefully slide one or two cannoli tubes into the hot oil and fry 45 to 60 seconds, until nicely browned. Use metal tongs to move the tubes around as they fry to prevent the cannoli from scorching on the bottom. Lift the cannoli tubes out of the oil with the tongs and set them on the cooling rack. Use the tongs to carefully slide the fried shells off the tubes and let the tubes cool briefly before using again. Continue until you have fried all the cannoli shells. Let cool completely before filling.

To fill, fit a pastry bag with a wide tip and fill with Ricotta Cream (see related recipe). Pipe into both ends of the cannoli shells, taking care to fill the interior. Or use a small spoon to spoon the filling into both ends of the shells, pushing the cream inside as you go.

To serve, dust the filled cannoli with confectioners’ sugar. Garnish the ends with an optional sprinkle of mini chocolate chips, cacao nibs, chopped pistachios and/or or chopped candied orange peel.

Serve right away to keep the cannoli from turning soggy.

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Recipe Source

From Gabriella Marchetti, mother of cookbook author Domenica Marchetti.

Tested by Domenica Marchetti.

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