Buonasera, Ladies and Gentlemen,
If you cross the Strait of Messina you shall enter another world, where colors, light, sounds, and tastes are more steeply profound and more intense. This island has been a Mediterranean Crossroads since the days of Homer.
After over 2.000 years as a Granary and hundreds as a sugar processor, Sicilia has a thriving heritage of its own pastas, pastries, confections which have been contrived of flour, sugar, eggs and exotic flavourings. Famed for its sweets which meld influences from the Moorish, North Africa, Greece, Spain and France, few pastries are more renowned than the Cannoli. Here is the classic recipe, my favorite dessert, which my Grandmom Margherite used to prepare for us, and which I am preparing on July 4th.
SICILIAN CLASSIC CANNOLI FOR 18 ...
2 Pounds whole milk Ricotta ( I make home made Ricotta - Recipe in Cheese Section ); beaten to blend
1 cup plus two tblsps. powdered sugar
1/2 cup chopped candied citron
1/2 cup chopped candied orange zest
4 tsps. vanilla extract
2 teaspoons of Orange Flower Water
PASTRY TUBES ...
3/4 Cups Plus 2 Tblsps. unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 cup Cake Flour
2 tblsps. sugar
1 heaping teaspoon Instant Italian Coffee or Instant Espresso Granules
1/4 stick butter room temperature sliced into pieces
5 tblsps. dry white wine ( Sicilian or Italian )
8 cups Vegetable Oil for frying
1 egg beaten to blend for glaze
3 ounces Bittersweet or Semi-sweet Chocolate finely chopped
6 tblps chopped shelled Pistachios ( 1 1/4 oz. )
FILLING INSTRUCTIONS ...
1. mix all the ingredients in large bowl and cover and refrigerate overnight to combine flavors
FOR PASTRY ...
1. Combine: the unbleached flour, the cake flour, the sugar and the coffee in a Food Processor.
2. Add the butter and cut in using off and on turns until incorporated thoroughly
3. mix in the wine by tablespoons to form a soft dough
4. process until the dough forms
5. turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic about 8 minutes.
6. cover with towel and let rest 1 hour.
7) Heat oil in a fryer to 375 degrees farenheit
8) lightly oil six 5x1 inch cannoli forms
9) divide the dough into 18 pieces
10) roll 1 dough piece out on lightly floured surface to 4 inch round and place the cannoli form at one end of the dough
11) seal the edges with the egg Glaze
12) roll the cannoli between palm and work surface until the dough rounds and forms and carefully lower the pastries into the oil and sauté until crisp and golden brown, about 3 minutes each
13) using Tongs, transfer to paper towelling and let drain well
14) let stand until cool enough to handle
15) remove the pastries from the forms
16) repeat the rolling and frying with all the remaining dough in two more batches
17) cool pastries completely
18) store in an airtight container at room temperature
19) Mix the chocolate into Filling
20) spoon the filling into a pastry bag with extra large round tip
21) pipe the filling into the tubes
22) sprinkle the pistachios over the filling ends
23) serve in 30 minutes
*** Tin steel cylindrical molds available at most specialty cookware shops for eg: Wm. Sonoma