I love Sicilian Cannoli and I can’t say: “no thank you” if I have a tray full of these delicacies.
Sunday I spent the whole day in a sports hall, followed by the umpteenth fencing competition. Now that both my daughters practice the fencing foil, I think that arenas’ll host me for many weekends, and more and more.
For those unaware, the fencing competitions are very long and last, when little, half-day, in most cases start in the morning and end around 19.00.
Us parents we know each other a bit all and, even though we come from different cities, scattered here and there in Italy, we know that early we will find ourselves during some competitions, resigned to spend the whole day indoors with the young athletes that, at repetition, meeting after meeting, must win the opponent in order to get ahead in the race.
In short, in this atmosphere of stress and concentration, but also healthy, “cheering” and laughs among parents, yesterday a mom asked me the recipe for Sicilian cannoli. Between that question and realize that my blog is still missing in this recipe, the peace was really short.
So Paula, here’s the recipe, we hope that your friends’ll appreciate this dessert, creamy and crunchy at the same time.
And then, another friend of mine who follows the blog said that she likes so much when I accompany dishes with a presentation on the historical origins; thus Bea here is the recipe enriched by a brief and curious culinary legend. It’s so rare to be able to taste this delicacy fresh, all made at home, since the “wafer”.
That’s why during our cooking classes in Tuscany, cannoli go like hot cakes!
The origin of Sicilian Cannoli
The cannoli is a very old dessert. Cicero talks about it as “a starchy tube filled with milk for the sweetest food.”
According to legend, its ancient origin, however, is not Christian but Muslim.
Between 827 and 1091, the Saracen emirs kept his harem in Sicily, in Caltanissetta, “Kalt en issa” in Arabic means precisely: “Castle of women.”
The brides of the Saracens, waiting for their husbands always far away, delighted themselves greatly in the preparation of pastries, and cannoli it’s an exquisite example about this “culinary” way of life.
When the Normans freed Sicily from the Saraces, the harem women disappeared and many were converted to Christianity and retired in convents, bringing with them many dessert recipes and share them with the nuns that housed them.
And this is how very likely the recipe of the Sicilian cannoli was passed down. They in fact, were prepared for the first time by some nuns in a convent right near Caltanissetta.
So my friends…try this recipe and let me know.
Recipe by Erika Elia
Prep time: 30 minutes + 1 hour to rest
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 2 hours
Equipment needed: steel cylinders for cannoli (photo downhere), about 10cm long and 2cm wide in diameter, slightly greasy
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1/4 glass Marsala wine (dry)
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 yolk
- 14 oz ricotta cheese (better from sheep)
- 3 oz sugar
- 2 oz candied orange rinds
- 2 oz dark chocolate in flakes
- 1 fluid ounce rum
- 1/2 vanilla bean
- Mix all the ingredients for the filling and store in the fridge at least 1 hour (better 2)
- Mix all the ingredients for the dough (except the yolk) until dough is smooth and elastic.
- Form a ball with the dough and wrap in plastic wrap. Let rest in a cool place (but not in the fridge) for about half an hour.
- Work the dough again and let it rest for half an hour again.
- Roll out the dough into a very thin sheet.
- Cut from the sheet a lot squares approximately 10cm from the side.
- Roll the squares on the steel cylinders, starting from one corner to the opposite corner and get close, pressing with your fingers.
- Very compress the dough so that it will stick well in the closing points.
- Brush with egg yolk.
- Fry in hot peanut oil (is the best for frying) just 2 minutes
- Dry over kitchen paper (see the picture above)