Cannoli siciliani are the most typical Sicilian confectionery product. They were originally carnival desserts, but have long been made all year round.
Here’s the recipe so you can enjoy them at home!
Preparation of the shells: place all the ingredients in a bowl and knead together adding a little wine or vinegar, bearing in mind that the final dough must be as firm as egg pasta. Cover the pasta with a cloth and leave to rest for about half an hour, then roll it out with a rolling pin into thin sheets (a pasta machine may also be used). Make oval shapes, with the help of templates made from food-grade paper if necessary. Wrap the shapes obtained around suitable tin tubes (pieces of cane used to be used, hence the name of the dessert) overlapping the edges of the pasta for a few millimetres and brushing them with lightly beaten egg white to fix them together and stop them coming open during cooking. Fry them in very hot lard or olive oil. Leave them to dry off and cool down. Carefully remove the tin tubes. There is also a variety which requires the addition of cocoa to the pasta, but this is only really to make the shells darker in colour and doesn’t particularly affect the taste.
Preparation of the filling: pass the ricotta through a very fine-mesh sieve (the use of electric whisks or mixers is not recommended as it makes the ricotta much too runny). Add the vanilla extract, the chocolate flakes and the sugar. Once the cannoli are filled, decorate them with the candied orange peel and the ground pistachios and then dust them with icing sugar.