Crisp-shelled cannoli are the perfect afternoon
pick-me-up, especially with an espresso.
Fillingsrange from pastry cream to spiced
ricotta, and this chocolate ricotta version is
150 gm (1 cup)plain flour, plus extra for dusting30 gmcaster sugar1½ tspDutch-process cocoa½ tspground cinnamon20 gmmelted butter1egg, lightly beaten1eggwhite, lightly beatenVegetable oil, for deep-fryingPure icing sugar and grated dark chocolate, to serveChocolate filling600 gmfirm ricotta120 gmdark chocolate (54%-58% cocoa solids), melted, plus extra melted for drizzling2 tbspsweet Marsala or chocolate liqueurFinely grated rind of ½ orange2 tbspcacao nibs
Pulse flour, sugar, cocoa and cinnamon in a food processor to combine, then add butter and whole beaten egg and process until a soft dough forms. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (5-10 minutes), then wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour to rest.
Cut dough into 4, dust lightly with flour, then, working with a piece at a time, feed through a pasta machine, starting on the widest setting, rolling and folding and reducing settings a notch at a time until dough is 2mm thick. Cut into 9cm squares, place on a lightly floured tray and cover with a tea towel.
Place a pastry square in the palm of your hand with a corner at 12 o’clock, then place a cannoli tube (see note) on top so it lays from 12 o’clock to six o’clock. Fold pastry corners around the tube so the corners overlap, brush lightly with eggwhite (be careful not to brush eggwhite on the tube, or the cannoli shells will be hard to remove) and press to seal. Repeat with remaining pastry squares.
Heat oil in a deep-fryer or deep saucepan to 180°C. Deep-fry cannoli in batches, turning occasionally, until crisp and golden (2-3 minutes; be careful, hot oil will spit). Drain on paper towels, cool slightly, then slide cannoli shells off tubes. Shells will keep in an airtight container for a week.
For chocolate filling, process ricotta, chocolate, Marsala and orange rind in a food processor to combine, then stir in cacao nibs. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a 1cm plain nozzle and refrigerate until firm (30 minutes), then pipe ricotta mixture into each end of cannoli tubes to fill. Dust with icing sugar, scatter with grated chocolate and serve with extra melted chocolate for drizzling.