Cannoli siciliani are the most traditional of all Sicilian confectionery products. Originally prepared during carnival season, they are now made all year round.
Ingredients (for 4 – 6 cannoli)
for the shells:

  • 150 g of ’00’ flour
  • 50 g of caster sugar
  • 25 g of lard
  • 10 g cocoa powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon of marsala or white wine
  • extra virgin olive oil

for the filling:

  • 500 g of sheep’s milk ricotta
  • 150 g of sugar
  • vanilla extract
  • dark chocolate
  • candied orange peel
  • chopped pistachios

Method (for the shells): Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix, adding a little wine or vinegar, while bearing in mind that, when finished, the dough should have the same consistency as egg pasta. Cover the dough with a dish towel and allow to rest for about 30 minutes, then roll out with a rolling pin to create thin sheets (an egg pasta machine can also be used). Cut out oval shapes, if necessary using kitchen paper as a template. Wrap the shapes thus obtained around special tin tubes (reeds were once used for this purpose, hence the name), overlapping the edges of the dough by a few millimetres and brushing with lightly beaten egg white to hold in place and prevent the cannoli from opening during cooking. Fry them in hot lard or olive oil. Allow to dry and cool. Carefully remove the tin tubes. One version entails adding cocoa to the dough, but this only really serves to make the shells darker in colour and has little effect on the flavour.
Method (for the filling): Pass the ricotta cheese through a fine sieve (the use of electric whisks or mixers is not recommended as they will make the ricotta too thin), add the vanilla extract, chocolate flakes and sugar. Once all the cannoli have been filled, decorate with the candied orange peel and ground pistachios, then dust with icing sugar.