• Serves 12 people

The unique cannolo, with its crisp shell and creamy filling, is arguably Sicily's greatest gift to pasticcerie.

  • 150 gm (1 cup) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 30 gm caster sugar
  • 1½ tsp Dutch-process cocoa
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 20 gm butter, melted, cooled
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • For moulding: cannelloni pasta tubes
  • 1 eggwhite, lightly beaten
  • For deep-frying: vegetable oil
  • For dusting: pure icing sugar or Dutch-process cocoa, sieved
  • Ricotta filling
  • 700 gm firm ricotta
  • 50 ml vin santo or Marsala
  • 40 gm pure icing sugar, sieved
  • 20 gm slivered almonds, roasted
  • 15 gm each glacé orange and cedro (see note), finely chopped
  • Chocolate ricotta filling
  • 600 gm firm ricotta
  • 120 gm dark chocolate (54% cocoa solids), melted
  • 40 ml Marsala
  • 40 gm pure icing sugar, sieved, plus extra for dusting
  • Finely grated rind of 1 orange
  • 20 gm roasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 20 gm glacé orange, finely chopped
01   Sift flour, sugar, cocoa and cinnamon into a bowl. In a separate bowl combine liqueur, butter and egg. Pour into flour mixture and stir until a dough starts to form.
02   Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface, knead until smooth and elastic (5-10 minutes), wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate to rest (1 hour).
03   Cut pastry into four, dust lightly with flour, then, working with one piece at a time, feed through the rollers of a pasta machine, starting on the widest setting, rolling and folding and reducing settings notch by notch, until dough is 2mm thick.
04   Place pastry on a lightly floured surface and cut into 9cm squares.
05   Working with one square at a time (keep remainder covered with a tea towel), place a pastry square in the flat of your hand with a corner at 12 o’clock, then place a cannelloni tube on top so it lays from 12 o’clock to 6 o’clock. Fold the pastry corners inwards around the tube so the corners overlap, brush lightly with eggwhite (be careful not to brush eggwhite on the tube, or the cannoli shells will be difficult to remove) and press together to seal.
06   Heat oil in a deep-fryer or deep saucepan to 180C. Deep-fry cannoli in batches, turning occasionally, until crisp and golden (2-3 minutes; be careful as hot oil will spit), drain on absorbent paper, cool slightly, then slide cannoli shells off tubes. Cannoli shells will keep in an airtight container for a week.
07   For ricotta filling, process ricotta, liqueur and icing sugar in a food processor until smooth, then stir in remaining ingredients. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a 1.5cm star nozzle. Pipe into cooled cannoli, dust with icing sugar and serve immediately.
08   For chocolate ricotta filling, process ricotta, chocolate, Marsala, icing sugar and orange rind in a food processor until smooth, stir in remaining ingredients and spoon into a piping bag fitted with a 1.5cm star nozzle. Pipe into cooled cannoli shells, dust with icing sugar and serve immediately.

Note Cedro is the glacé fruit of the citron tree. It's available from good delicatessens; if it's unavailable, substitute candied lemon peel.

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