This month’s recipe comes to you by popular demand! You have been requesting a classic Sicilian cannoli recipe for some time, so we’ve come up with the goods! You’ll find the whole story here; the perfect light and crispy shells, the most creamy chocolate spiked ricotta filling, and even (if you’re fan) homemade candied orange peel. We know that candied peel can be a bit divisive, so it’s totally an optional garnish. If you prefer, there are an array of other traditional garnishes to choose from including chopped pistachios, glace cherries, or more chopped chocolate.
Be warned, this cannoli recipe is a two day process, and some special equipment is needed like a pasta machine for rolling the dough and cannoli tubes for shaping the shells over. On day one prepare the candied orange peel and ricotta filling, then on day two make the dough and assemble. It’s totally worth it.
First prepare the candied orange peel. Start by washing your oranges. It’s important to use organic wax free oranges since we are using the skin only. Top and tail the oranges, discarding these, then quarter the oranges. Each quarter can be cut into half. Run your knife just under the flesh of the orange, slicing through the pith to end up with a perfectly peeled skin.
Place the peel into a pot and cover with water. Bring to the boil, stirring for 1 minute to help remove excess bitterness and drain them. Now add the 200g caster sugar and 200g water to the pot and stir over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Add the orange peel and increase the heat to a simmer. Cook, stirring every so often, for 10-12 minutes until the oranges are cooked through, the syrup is significantly reduced and is coating the peel. Remove from the heat, allow to cool completely and store in an airtight container overnight (or up to 1 week).
Now prepare the ricotta filling. Open the ricotta packaging in the sink and drain any excess liquid. Press the ricotta through a fine mesh sieve (or sift) to refine the texture. In a mixing bowl, stir the refined ricotta with the caster sugar, then add the dark chocolate and mix in. Cover and refrigerate overnight (the texture will become more smooth and creamy).
The following day prepare the cannoli dough. In the bowl of a stand mixer using the dough hook attachment, add all the dough ingredients and mix on low speed until the ingredients form a rough dough.
Move the dough from the mixing dough onto the bench, knead for a moment by hand then shape into a ball. Don’t overmix. Cover the dough completely with plastic wrap and allow it to rest at room temperature for a minimum ½ hour.
Using a pasta machine, pass the dough through bit by bit, starting on the widest setting and working your way to thinner to number 4, using a little dusting flour in between rolling if needed. When you first pass the dough through the pasta machine, it may crumble or break. Don’t worry this is normal, just fold the dough on itself, pass it through the machine again and it will become a little more smooth and elastic.
Use a cutter to cut out the shapes of dough (if you don’t have a cannoli cutter use a large round cutter). Place a cloth over the top of them while you work through the remaining dough and frying to avoid the cut pieces drying out.
Heat the oil in a deep pot to 180°C. While it is heating, begin assembling the shells by wrapping the cut dough around a bamboo or stainless steel cannoli tube. Overlap the two sides and brush with a little egg wash in between, pressing gently so that it sticks. Continue assembling as many shells that you have tubes for. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can check the oil temperature by dropping a piece of the dough off cuts in the oil. If it bubbles without browning immediately the oil is ready, otherwise, adjust your temperature accordingly. Once the oil is ready, begin frying the shells, just one or two at a time.
The shells should take no more than 2 minutes to fry. When they are nicely coloured, take them out of the oil and allow them to drain on some absorbent paper. As the shells become cooler to the touch, carefully remove the tubes from inside the shell and set them aside. Meanwhile, continue assembling and frying the remaining shells. (TIP: The offcuts should not be wasted! Cut them into bite sized pieces, fry them off and dust with a little icing sugar as a neat little chef’s treat! You deserve it.)
When ready to serve, take the bowl of ricotta filling out of the fridge and give it a good stir. Load up a piping bag with the filling and pipe the shells abundantly. You can also do this with a spoon or small spatula, it will just take a little longer.
Garnish each cannoli with a piece of candied orange peel on either end and finish with a dusting of icing sugar over top. Enjoy them fresh. We recommend piping them just before serving so as to retain the crunchiness of the shells. Nobody wants a soft cannoli!