I’m not particularly a massive fan of sweet things. Take them or leave them. But one thing that I always purge on is the glorious Italian cannoli. Maybe it’s that they’re deep fried? Maybe the not too sweet filling. Or maybe that I’m a greedy pig who will eat anything. Now before you get all excited, this recipe calls for a bit of preparation! You’ll need 12 pieces of dowing wood. I kid you not! I went to one of those DIY places and asked the bloke there to cut me 12 x 15cm lengths of dowling. But I dare say you could use a wooden broom shaft (a new one). All will become apparent.
4 tablespoons butter
380g plain flour
2 egg yolks
icing sugar (for dusting)
300g fresh ricotta cheese
200g marscapone cheese
1 cup caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of cinnamon
2 tablespoons chopped hazelnuts
Rub together the butter and flour until well combined. Add the egg, egg yolks and marsala and knead. Form a dough and knead for a few minutes. Place in bowl and leave in fridge for 30 minutes. Roll out the dough on a floured surface quite thinly. Cut into 10cmx10cm squares. Wrap a square diagonally around one of the dowling rods. Lightly rub a little water on the end to secure it. Repeat with all the dough. You should have enough for 12.
Heat about 10cm of the vegetable oil in a large pan or wok. Add 4 cannoli at a time to the pan and fry for about 30 seconds. Remove with tongs then tap the wood to release the cannoli. Place back in the oil for 30 seconds to cook the inside. Remove and set aside on paper towels. Repeat with all the cannoli.
To make the filling. Combine the marscapone, ricotta, caster sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon and nuts. Chill for 20 minutes then add to a piping bag. Pipe the filling into the cannoli and arrange on a plate. Generously dust the cannoli with the icing sugar and serve.
They’re great with a cup of coffee as they are, or you can make them a bit fancier and serve with some orange or lemon sorbet.