Crisp-shelled cannoli are the perfect afternoon pick-me-up, especially with an espresso. Fillings range from pastry cream to spiced ricotta, and this chocolate ricotta version is irresistible.
- 150 gm plain flour, plus extra for dusting (1 cup)
- 30 gm caster sugar
- 1½ tsp Dutch-process cocoa
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 20 gm melted butter
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 eggwhite, lightly beaten
- Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
- Pure icing sugar and grated dark chocolate, to serve
- 600 gm firm ricotta
- 120 gm dark chocolate (54%-58% cocoa solids), melted, plus extra melted for drizzling
- 2 tbsp sweet Marsala or chocolate liqueur
- Finely grated rind of ½ orange
- 2 tbsp cacao nibs
- 1Pulse 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.
- 2Cut 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.
- 3Place 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.
- 4Heat 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.
- 5For 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.
Cannoli tubes are available from kitchenware shops; otherwise use dried cannelloni pasta tubes.
Drink Suggestion: Golden passito Drink suggestion by Max Allen