in italiano su Agave blog Palermo
One of the most famous Sicilian sweets is the Cannolo. Born as sweet typical carnival, now is in the pastry shops in all the days of the year, even in smaller size "the Cannulicchi".
The Cannolo takes its name from the word "canna", which is a shrub with cylindrical stem and empty, but in Sicily is also an old kind of tap. This sweet was invented in a monastery in Palermo, where a priest made a joke of the carnival, he filled one of those taps with cream of ricotta instead of water. No one knows the effect it had this innocent joke for who expected a sip of water and instead saw the white cream, but surely the invention of the famous dessert was the most noble effect.
Cannolo consists of a "scorcia" (peel), the wafer is cylindrical and brown, fried in "Saimi" (lard) with a filling of cream cheese from sheep. Not forgetting the typical baroque style, is adorned with bits of candied fruit.
The cannoli are now exported outside the borders of our island, in this case, the wafer is coated inside with chocolate, you need not to lose its special friability with direct contact with the ricotta. In other cases the ricotta is seasoned with candied fruit, but in the "Cannolo of Palermo" the candied fruit is just a gasket, ricotta is enriched with slivers of chocolate.
The Sicilian Cannolo is in all the pastry of Palermo (and Sicily), but all recognize that the best cannoli are located in Piana degli Albanesi, a small town just 24 km from Palermo, founded in 1488 by a group of Albanian refugees fleeing to 'the Turkish army. A very nice place to visit and to discover the particular traditions, its history, and to taste the cannoli biggest and best of Sicily. A Piana during the Carnival there is an annual festival of cannolo, this year will be on 10 February, they will distribute approximately 10,000 free cannoli, is really a beautiful experience!
Here's the recipe:
The recipe I have chosen to publish is the original of Piana degli Albanesi, where lard is used for the dough for the fry of the "scorcia". Some, however, replaced the lard, by using butter (for the dough) and olive oil (for frying).Vegetarians who prefer not to eat the animal fat, can make this change or if they want to eat in one of the renowned pastry of Palermo, must first ask some information. To make the shape of cannolo are requires 10 cylinders of bamboo canes, metal or wood (12 cm long and 3 cm in diameter), lightly anointed with oil.
photo of Jude Witts
For the wafer (scorcia):
200 g of flour, 2 teaspoons of sugar, 20 gr. of lard, 2 tablespoons of Marsala, 2 teaspoons of cocoa, a pinch of salt.
For the filling:
1 kg of fresh sheep's ricotta cheese, 600 gr. sugar, 1 sachet of vanilla, dark chocolate little pieces, 100 gr. of candied orange peel.
Mix the flour with lard, the Marsala, sugar and a pinch of salt and mix well, you get a soft and compact dough. It stand for half an hour. Flatten the dough with a rolling pin and make thin squares of 10 cm per side, which wrapped diagonally around a cylinder of metal or a stick of wood.
Welded the flaps of the dough with a drop of water and fry in a frying pan in hot oil (or lard). Put in absorbent paper and expect to be cold before you very carefully remove the cylinder that keeps its shape.
Mix the ricotta with the sugar and vanilla. Put it in blender and then add the little pieces of chocolate and mix gently.
Finally fill the wafer of Cannolo with ricotta cream and garnish with slices of orange or candied cherries. Sprinkle the Cannoli with powdered sugar.