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    You are in: Home / Community Forums / Italian Cooking / Carnevale!
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    Tue Feb 21, 2012 3:16 pm
    Forum Host
    Carnevale (Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras) - whatever you call it, it is the last day of feasting and celebration before the start of Lent (Ash Wednesday) and fasting in preparation of Easter. Every nationality has traditional foods associated with Carnevale, here are some of the Italian ones:

    Crema Fritta alla Veneziana - Venetian Style Fried Cream

    Venetian style traditional Carnevale (Shrove Tuesday) street food.
    Thanks to Grace Langlois from La Mia Vita Dolce for sharing her recipes.
    (See the photos on her La Mia Vita Dolce website.

    Crema Fritta alla Veneziana - Venetian Style Fried Cream

    The fried cream is actually 2 recipes, the first is for the pastry cream pieces, the second is for the crumb coating, frying instructions follow.

    Bocconcini di Crema Pasticerra (Pasty Cream Pieces)

    2¾ cups (650 ml) whole milk
    ½ cup (120 ml) heavy cream, 35%
    1 vanilla bean, split and seeded
    Orange peel, 4 x 1-inch strips, pith removed (or lemon zest if you prefer)
    ¾ cup + ¾ tablespoon (100 g) all-purpose flour, sifted
    ¼ cup (40 g) cornstarch, sifted
    6 large eggs, separated, room temperature, reserve 4 whites and store remaining whites for another use
    ¾ cup + ½ tablespoon (175 g) superfine sugar

    In a medium saucepan, bring milk, cream, vanilla pod, vanilla seeds, and orange peel just to a boil. Remove from heat, cover the saucepan and allow the vanilla and orange to infuse for 30 minutes.
    Sift the flour and corn starch together onto a sheet of baking parchment and set it aside. Line a 9 x 13-inch (23 x 33-cm) baking dish first with plastic wrap (two sheets are best making sure the sheets are long enough to be able the wrap the pastry cream block) and then baking parchment or non-stick foil (baking parchment/foil should fit snuggly in the base and up the sides of the baking dish).
    In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale colored.
    Gradually add the flour/cornstarch mixture and whisk together. The mixture will be very thick (you may need to use a wooden spoon), stir until well combined.
    Remove the vanilla pod and orange zest strips from the hot milk mixture.
    Gradually pour the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture (in a thin stream) whisking constantly until well combined and the mixture is smooth (no lumps).
    Pour the mixture into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly. As the pastry cream starts to thicken, use a wooden spoon or flexible rubber spatula to stir it vigorously until thickened (about 5 minutes). This pastry cream it is much thicker than the usual pastry cream.
    It is very important to cook out the taste of the flour and cornstarch. Carefully taste (it’s very hot) the mixture and if you can still taste the flour or cornstarch keep cooking the pastry cream mixture, stirring continuously until the flour/cornstarch taste is cooked out.
    Remove the pastry cream from the heat and transfer it to the prepared baking dish. Using an offset spatula spread the pastry cream evenly to the sides. Grasp both sides of the plastic wrap and lift the pastry cream block out of the baking dish. Set another sheet of baking parchment (or non-stick foil) on top of the pastry cream, and using a rolling pin smooth the cream out evenly, making sure the thickness of the block is a uniform thickness to the edges. Keep the baking parchment/foil on top and wrap the block of pastry cream with the plastic wrap. Carefully transfer the pastry cream block to a baking sheet and refrigerate it until firm (at least 3 to 4 hours) preferably overnight.
    Remove pastry cream block from the refrigerator and it cut into 1½-inch (4-cm) pieces (traditionally diamond shapedpieces).

    Panatura per la Crema Fritta (Fried Cream Crumb Coating)

    ½ cup (63 g) all-purpose flour
    4 large egg whites, lightly beaten
    1 cup bread crumbs, finely ground (or 1/2 cup semolina flour)
    1/2 cup (50 g) almond slices, toasted, chilled in the freezer (to prevent the oils from coming out when grinding) and finely ground

    You will need three shallow bowls for dredging the pastry cream pieces. Place flour in the first bowl; the lightly beaten egg whites in the second bowl; and the bread crumb (or semolina) and ground almond mixture in the third bowl.

    Assembling and Deep-Frying Crema Fritta

    Olive oil, canola oil or vegetable oil (traditionally olive oil is used for frying the pastry cream)
    Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

    Fill a heavy saucepan with 3 inches of oil. Over medium heat, bring the oil to a temperature of 350°F (180° C).
    Line a baking dish (or cooling rack) with 3 to 4 layers of paper towel for draining the excess oil and set it aside.
    Line a baking sheet with baking parchment (or non-stick foil). Dredge each piece of pastry cream in the flour first, then into the egg whites, and finally into the bread crumb (or semolina) and almond crumb mixture. Place it on the prepared baking sheet.
    When the oil reaches 350F (180C), fry 4 to 5 pieces* of the coated pastry cream until golden on both sides, about 3 to 5 minutes total cooking time.

    *Only fry 4 or 5 pieces at a time to maintain the proper cooking temperature of the oil.
    Use a slotted spoon or spider transfer to prepared dish to drain excess oil. Repeat with remaining pieces.
    Dust lightly with confectioners’ sugar, and serve warm.
    These recipes are from Italian Food - Carnevale! (With thanks to Kyle Phillips for putting the recipes and article together.)

    Following are links for some traditional Carnevale dishes from the various regions of Italy.

    Napoli - This Carnival lasagna is a Neapolitan specialty, a spectacular sendoff before the privations of Lent. Time was every family had its variation, and the poor saved for months to make it.

    The Great Carnival Lasagna Recipe - Grande Lasagna di Carnevale

    An egg
    Oil for frying
    1 cup grated Parmigiano
    1/3 pound mozzarella
    1/4 pound ricotta -- optional, see note 2

    Note 1:Italian salami is raw -- no trichinosis here -- has fairly large chunks of fat, and is lightly spiced. If you cannot find it in your delicatessen use mild Italian sausage, not a cooked or spiced salami.

    Cook the sheets of pasta in abundant, slightly salted water until they're al dente, run them under cold water, and lay the sheets out on a cloth, covering them with a second cloth.

    Sauté the onion in the lard, with the piece of meat. Turn the meat often, and when it has browned on all sides season it with salt and pepper, then add the tomatoes. Simmer over a moderate flame for about an hour, adding the broth a bit at a time. When the meat is done remove it from the pot (reserve the sauce), grind it, and combine it with an egg, the parsley, and half the grated cheese. Make smallish (1-inch diameter) meatballs from the mixture and dredge them in the flour. Heat the oil and fry the meatballs until golden, about 10 minutes, then remove them with a slotted spoon, place them on absorbent paper, and keep them warm.

    Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 360 degrees (180 C). Dice the prosciutto, salami and mozzarella. Butter a pan (a high-sided 6 by 9-inch should do, but use your judgment). Lay down a first layer of pasta, and then a few meat balls, some of the sauce, some of the diced ingredients, and a dusting of Parmigiano. Continue until all is used up, then bake your lasagne for 15 minutes. Let them sit for five minutes before serving them.

    This will serve 4-6 as a main course, or 6-8 as a first course. It would be excellent with an Aglianico del Vulture or a Campanian red wine such as Mastroberardino's Aglianico d'Irpinia or Lacrima Cristi Rosso.

    Note 2: Should the meatballs come out to soft, work some finely ground breadcrumbs into them to thicken them. Tradition calls for, and you can add, some ricotta to the mixture.

    Yet another way to prepare for the arrival of Lent is Lasagne alla Ricotta; this recipe is drawn from a spectacular compendium Cavalcanti, Duca di Buonvicino, assembled in the 1850s.

    Neapolitan Lasagna with Ricotta -- Lasagne alla Ricotta (serves 8 )

    1 1/4 pounds store-bought lasagne, ideally fresh
    ** For the Béchamel Sauce **
    3/4 cup (75 g) flour
    1/4 cup (50 g) unsalted butter
    4/5 quart (800 ml) milk
    Salt to taste
    ** For the Sauce **
    1 1/8 pound 500 g) Neapolitan mild sausages
    2 ounces (60 g) prosciutto
    2 ounces (60 g) smoked pancetta (in its absence use unsmoked pancetta, not bacon)
    1 medium-sized onion, minced
    1 small carrot, minced
    Parsley, thyme and marjoram, minced (to taste; figure 1 tbsp of parsley and a teaspoon each of the other two)
    A few leaves rosemary
    1/4 cup (50 g) unsalted butter
    1 cup (250 ml) dry white wine
    Meat or vegetable broth
    Salt to taste
    ** For the Filling **
    1 1/8 pounds (500 g) fresh ricotta
    3 cups grated Parmigiano (about 1/3 pound, or 150 g)
    1 pint (500 ml) milk
    Salt and pepper
    A rectangular pan, 10 by 12 inches, and 3 inches deep (25 by 35 by 6.5 cm)

    Make a moderately thick béchamel sauce and let it cool. (See instructions below)

    Skin and crumble the sausages, and mince them with the prosciutto, pancetta, onion, carrot, parsley, thyme, marjoram, and just a little rosemary. Work the butter into the mixture, then sauté everything over a low flame, adding the wine a little bit at a time, and then broth; let all the liquid evaporate between additions. When done, the sauce will be rich, moderately browned, and not dry.

    Mix the ricotta and a bit more than half the Parmigiano together, season with salt and pepper to taste, then beat some milk into the mixture, working it until it is creamy and light.

    In the meantime a pot of bring lightly salted water to boil; sprinkle a tablespoon of oil into it and cook the lasagne until they're barely al dente, then run them under cool water and set them to drain, separated lest they stick to each other, on a cloth.

    Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F (210 C). Meanwhile, take your rectangular pan, and spread some béchamel sauce over the bottom, then a third of the lasagne (overlap the sheets of pasta slightly). Sprinkle the pasta with Parmigiano, then a third of the sausage
    sauce, and finally a third of the ricotta.

    Lay down another layer of pasta, followed by ricotta and sausage sauce, and then put down a final layer of pasta, covering it with the remaining sausage sauce, followed by ricotta and béchamel sauce.

    Bake the lasagne for 35-45 minutes; let the top brown lightly and then cover it with a sheet of aluminum foil if need be. Once they are done and removed from the oven, let them sit for five minutes before serving them.

    **Béchamel Sauce **
    Artusi suggests you begin by lightly browning a heaping tablespoon of flour in a chunk of unsalted butter the size of a walnut, and then has you slowly stir in 2 cups of the best milk, and keep stirring until the mixture appears to be a milk-like cream.

    He goes on to say, "If it comes out too stiff, add more milk; should it be too liquid return it to the fire and add another piece of butter rolled in flour. This recipe makes a substantial amount, but you can vary the quantities according to your needs."

    While Artusi's instructions work (quite well) the process isn't quite as easy as he suggests, at least not on the first attempt. Once you've heated the butter and flour, add the milk very slowly, while stirring. The flour will bubble and expand; stir vigorously to keep lumps from forming. Should they form anyway, reduce the flow of milk to a trickle until you've stirred them out. Once you've added all the milk, stir the sauce slowly over a moderate flame until it thickens. Depending upon what you plan to use it for, you may wish to season it with salt and pepper to taste.

    Making béchamel sauce in a microwave oven is much easier and faster than making it over the stove. Melt the butter and stir in the flour, then stir in the milk and, if you wish, salt and pepper. Heat the sauce on high power for 1 minute and stir it briskly till most of the lumps are gone. Heat it for five more minutes at medium power, stirring every minute or so. Let it sit for a couple of minutes, and it's ready. Pastry cream can also be made this way.
    The cooks of Emilia-Romagna are usually very good at making this difficult and expensive dish, which is excellent when well made, a thing that’s easier said than done. Maccheroni pie is a Carnival dish, and during that period of year there isn’t a luncheon or dinner in Romagna that doesn’t begin with it.

    Emilia-Romagna - Macaroni Pie Recipe - Pasticcio di Maccheroni - Macaroni Timpano Recipe (serves 12)

    3/4 pound pasta, either bucatini or perciatelli
    3 1/2 cups grated Parmigiano
    6 ounces sweetbreads
    5 tablespoons butter
    3 ounces truffles (optional)
    1 ounce prosciutto
    A handful of dried porcini
    The giblets of 3-4 chickens. If you have the combs, wattles, and unborn eggs, so much the better.
    Nutmeg to taste

    This will feed 12 people; you can modify it as you wish. (This is where Artusi put his ingredient list) "Don’t be frightened by this hodgepodge; it will disappear under the pie crust. Cook the maccheroni half way in salted water, drain them, and simmer them over a very low flame with a moist meat sauce until they have absorbed the liquid and are al dente. "Meanwhile, set the porcini to steep in boiling water, make a béchamel sauce using a cup of milk, and sauté the giblets and sweetbreads in butter, seasoning them with salt and pepper; when they’ve browned lightly, sprinkle them with meat sauce and simmer them until done. Cut the giblets and sweetbreads into pieces the size of hazelnuts, cut the prosciutto into thin strips, finely slice the truffles and the porcini, and mix everything together, seasoning the mixture with a pinch of nutmeg. "I assume you will already have prepared the pie crust, as it needs to sit for several hours (Note: the combination of sweet crust and savory filling is quite old, dating back to the middle ages. One no longer encounters it as often and you may want to reduce the sugar in the crust, or add a pinch of salt instead). Now that you have assembled all the ingredients, you can put your pie together. There are several techniques for this; I prefer the one followed in Romagna, where they use specially made, well tinned copper pie pans. Take one of a size proportionate to the volume of your ingredients and butter it. Drain the maccheroni and lay down an initial layer. Sprinkle it with grated cheese, dot it with bits of butter, and spread some of the giblet mixture over it. Lay down another layer of noodles and repeat the process, continuing till all the ingredients are used up and the pan is full. "Roll the dough out with a smooth rolling pin till the disk is the size of the pie pan, roll it once with a ribbed rolling pin to pattern the surface, and cover the pie. Roll out two more strips and lay them down in the shape of a cross to reinforce the crust, then crimp down a strip around the border of the pie, and, if you are good at shaping pastry ornaments, use the remaining dough for that purpose, not forgetting to place a pretty bow in the center of the pie. Brush the pie with egg yolk and bake it at 450 F for ten minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 F and bake it for 30 minutes more. Serve it hot, to those eagerly waiting to do it justice."
    Rieti, in Abruzzo - Pizza With Sausages and Pancetta, or Pizza Sfogliata con Salsiccia e Pancetta (serves 8 )

    4 1/5 cups (500 g) unbleached all purpose flour
    4 eggs
    10 ounces (250 g) mild Italian sausage
    6 ounces (150 g) thinly sliced pancetta
    4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    A pinch of powdered cinnamon
    Salt and pepper to taste.

    Make a mound of the flour on your work surface, scoop a well in it, crack the eggs into the well, add a pinch of salt, and mix; knead the resulting dough vigorously, until it is smooth and elastic, then cover it and let it sit for 20 minutes.

    Heat half the oil in a large skillet. Remove the sausages from their casings and crumble them into the skillet, together with the pancetta. Brown the meat for 4-5 minutes.

    Preheat your oven to 360 F (180 C)

    Roll the dough out about 1/8 of an inch thick (3 mm). Spread the remaining oil over the sheet, then distribute the sausage and pancetta evenly over the sheet as well. Season the meats with salt and pepper to taste (go easy on the salt because the meats are seasoned to begin with), dust very lightly with cinnamon, and roll the sheet up to make a snake. Coil the snake, pressing gently in the center section of the snake to give the pizza a uniform width, put the snake on a cookie sheet lined with oven paper, and bake it for 30-40 minutes, or until the pizza is nicely browned. Serve it hot.
    Cenci (the word means rags) also known as Guanti, Frappe, Chiacchere (gossips), Lattughe (lettuce leaves) and Nastrini (ribbons).

    1 3/4 cups (225 g) flour
    2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    1/3 cup confectioners sugar
    2 eggs
    1 tablespoon brandy
    A pinch of salt
    More confectioner’s sugar for dusting
    Oil for deep frying

    Make a fairly stiff dough with these ingredients, kneading it thoroughly, and adding more flour if it comes out too soft. Flour it and let it rest, covered tightly with plastic wrap, for about an hour.

    Roll the dough out into an eighth-of-an-inch (3 mm) thick sheet, and use a serrated pastry wheel to cut it into strips as long as your palm and two fingers wide.

    Make a cut down the middle of each cencio (so as to obtain two strips joined at the ends), twist the side strips without breaking them, fry them in hot oil or lard, and dust them with confectioners sugar when they’re cool.

    If the dough formed a crust while it sat, knead it again before you roll it out.
    Florence - The traditional Florentine rice fritters, frittelle di riso, which are also especially popular on March 19th, to celebrate San Giuseppe.

    Frittelle di Riso - Rice Fritters

    1 3/4 cup (350 g) rice (cheap rice is best here -- not parboiled, however)
    1 quart (1 liter) milk
    The zest of one lemon
    3-4 Tablespoons sugar
    A walnut-sized chunk of unsalted butter
    3 eggs
    1 jigger of rum or sweet wine -- vinsanto, for example -- as you prefer
    4/5 cup (100 g) flour
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    Oil for frying
    Confectioner's sugar

    Simmer the rice in the milk until it's quite soft and has begun to give off its starch, then stir in the sugar, lemon zest, and butter and let the mixture cool.

    Separate the eggs and whip the whites to soft peaks. Stir the yolks and the rum or wine into the rice mixture, then fold in the egg whites, flour and baking powder. Drop the batter a teaspoon at a time into hot oil and fry the frittelle until they are a rich golden brown.

    Drain them on absorbent paper, and when they have cooled dust them with confectioner's sugar.
    Rome - Tortelli, a type of stuffed pasta which can be sweet or savory. Following is a sweet version.

    1/2 cup (125 ml) water
    1/2 (125 ml) cup milk
    A pinch of salt
    1/3 cup (75 g) unsalted butter
    1 cup and 1 teaspoon (125 g) flour
    3 eggs
    1/2 cup raisins, plumped in hot water (or rum, if you like it)
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    Oil for frying

    Combine the water and milk and bring them to a boil with the butter and a pinch of salt. Add the flour in one fell swoop, and cook, stirring, until the mixture begins to pull away from the sides of the pan with a faint ripping sound. Transfer it to a bowl and let it cool, then work in the eggs, one at a time, the raisins, ad the vanilla extract. The batter will be quite sticky; scoop it out of the bowl a spoonful at a time, using a second spoon to scrape the batter off the first and into hot oil. Fry to a golden brown, drain, and dust with granulated sugar before serving.
    Sardinia - This recipe is Sardinian, and though the ingredient list doesn't call for them, they sometimes have pastel-shaded confetti (candied almonds, not paper) pressed into them.

    Zipulas (serves 6-8 )

    8 1/3 cups (1 k) all purpose flour
    2 eggs
    2 potatoes
    2 oranges
    1 cup (250 ml) of warm milk
    A shot of aquavit
    An ounce (30 g) live yeast (baker's yeast of the kind sold in the refrigerated section of the super market)
    Half a packet of saffron
    Powdered sugar
    Oil for frying
    A pinch of salt

    Boil the potatoes in lightly salted water, peel them when a skewer penetrates easily, and put them through a potato ricer. Combine them with the flour, eggs, saffron, the juice of the oranges, and aquavit. Dissolve the yeast in the milk and work it into the dough; knead the dough energetically, until it is smooth and elastic (add a little more milk if need be). Cover it and put it in a warm place until it doubles in volume.

    Moisten your hands, pull off egg-sized bits of dough, and fry them in hot oil until golden. Drain them on absorbent paper, dust them with powdered sugar, and serve.
    Carteddate are Carnival fritters, and are quite similar to cenci.

    Carteddate al Miele - Carteddate with Honey (serves 6)

    4 1/5 cups (500 g) all purpose unbleached flour
    3/4 of an ounce (20 g) of live yeast (the kind sold in cakes in the dairy section of the supermarket)
    Marsala or white wine
    Powdered sugar
    1/3 cup olive oil
    Honey (2 cups)
    Powdered sugar with a pinch of powdered cinnamon
    Oil for frying

    Dissolve the yeast in a half cup of lightly salted warm water. Make a mound of the flour on your work surface and scoop a well in it; stir in the yeast, olive oil, and enough wine to obtain a fairly firm dough, which you should let rise, covered, in a warm place for 2 hours.

    Roll the dough out into a very thin sheet and use a serrated pastry wheel to cut it into strips that are 2 inches (5 cm) wide and at least 20 inches (50 cm) long. Fold the strips in half to obtain a strip that's only an inch wide, and pinch the opposing edges of the strip together at 1-inch (2.5 cm) intervals. Roll the strips up into spirals that will resemble roses, and fry them until golden in hot oil. Drain them on absorbent paper, pinch edge side down to help the oil drain.

    Gently heat the honey in a second pot; as soon as it begins to boil dip the roses into it, turning them gently, and dust them with the cinnamon-laced powdered sugar.
    Spirali alla Grappa - Grappa Spirals (serves 8 )

    1 2/3 cups (200 g) all purpose flour
    1/4 cup (50 g) sugar
    2 eggs, separated
    1 shot plus 2-3 tablespoons grappa (brandy will work in a pinch)
    4/5 cup (200 ml) milk
    6 ounces (150 g) raspberry jam
    Oil for frying
    Powdered sugar

    Beat the yolks with the milk, sugar, grappa and flour; during this stage set your oil to heat too. Beat the whites to firm peaks and fold them into the mixture. Transfer the batter to a pastry bag with a fairly thin (1/4-inch, 0.5 cm) nozzle, and drip the batter directly into the hot oil, moving the bag so as to make spirals 4-6 inches (10-15 cm) in diameter (if you don't have a pastry bag use a funnel). The pot should be big enough to allow you to make 2-3 fritters at a time; fry them for a couple of minutes per side, and drain them on absorbent paper.

    While you're frying the spirals, make the sauce by combining the jam with a shot of grappa and a shot of water, and heating the mixture gently over a low flame. Serve the spirals dusted with powdered sugar and lightly drizzled with the sauce -- three to four dusted spirals with several rivulets of sauce over them will be about right.
    Marche - This lemon flavored, yeast risen version of Cenci is a popular Carnevale pastry.


    5 4/5 cups (700 g) all purpose flour
    A square of live yeast (the cakes of yeast you will find in the dairy section of the supermarket)
    4 eggs
    1/2 cup (100 g) butter
    The grated zest (yellow part only) of three organically grown lemons
    1 1/2 cups (300 g) sugar
    1 cup warm milk
    Oil for frying

    Dissolve the yeast in the milk. Make a mound of the flour on your work surface; scoop a well in the middle of it and crack the eggs into the hole, then crumble the butter in and finally mix in the milk. Work the mixture until it is a smooth dough and set it, covered, in a warm place to rise. When the dough has about doubled in volume divide it into three parts. Roll the first out into a thin rectangular sheet and sprinkle a third each of the sugar and the lemon zest over it. Roll the sheet half way from each side to obtained two joined rolls (they'll resemble a heart in cross section). Cut the roll into half-inch (1 cm) slices and fry them in hot oil until golden brown; when you have finished with the first portion of dough do the second, and so on.
    Another classic Carnevale treat is Frittelle di Mela alla Vaniglia. Though this particular recipe uses apples, other fruits (fresh pineapple; strawberries; bananas; and peaches) are also used.

    Frittelle di Mela alla Vaniglia - Vanilla Laced Apple Fritters (serves 6)

    3 red delicious apples
    4/5 cup (100 g) flour
    4 eggs
    About a cup of milk
    2/3 cup (70 g) sugar
    1/4 cup potato starch
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    A lemon
    Confectioner's sugar
    Oil for frying

    Heat 2/3 of the milk with a piece of lemon zest. Beat 3 of the yolks with half the sugar in a pot, and when the mixture is pale and frothy incorporate the starch and the vanilla. Remove the lemon zest from the milk and stir the milk into the sugar mixture; heat the cream gently, stirring gently, until it thickens some (do not let it boil lest it curdle), and then put the pot in a bowl of cold water to cool to the point of being simply warm.

    Beat the remaining yolk with the remaining sugar, the flour, a pinch of salt, and about a third of a cup of milk. Mix until you have a smooth batter, which you will want to chill for about a half hour.

    Core the apples and cut them into half-inch (1 cm) rounds; drizzle them with the juice of the lemon.

    Beat an egg white to firm peaks and fold it into the batter. Dip the fruit in the batter and fry it until golden. Drain it on absorbent paper, dust the pieces with confectioner's sugar, and serve the fruit with the cream, which should be warm.
    Palermo - The following recipe for cannoli is Pino Correnti's recipe from "Il Grande Libro d'Oro della Cucina e dei Vini di Sicilia" (Mursi Editore).

    You will need cannolo forms, (hollow metal tubes about 3/4 of an inch in diameter and 5 inches long), or pieces of wooden dowel cut to the proper size.


    1 1/4 cups (150 g) flour
    1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
    1 tablespoon rendered lard (you will likely be able to use other fats here, for example Crisco)
    1 egg white
    1/2 tablespoon bitter cocoa powder
    1/2 tablespoon ground espresso coffee
    1 tablespoon Marsala Superiore (other recipes call for white wine, or even well-aged red wine)
    1 tablespoon brandy
    A pinch of salt
    Abundant oil for frying the shells, you'll want them to float in it

    Cut the lard into the flour with a pinch of salt, then work the remaining dry ingredients in, followed by the liquids (except the egg white), and knead until you obtain a firm dough. Cover it with a cloth and let it rest for about two hours. Then roll the dough out into a sheet about an eighth of an inch (3 mm) thick, and cut it into either 4-inch (10 cm) diameter disks, or squares that are about 3 1/2 inches a side. Lightly grease your cannolo forms, wrap a piece of dough around each, pressing down on the joint so it holds (if need be, moisten the join very slightly with the egg white before pressing the pieces together).

    While you are doing this the oil should be heating; when it reaches about 390 F (185 C), begin frying the shells, 2-3 at a time so as not to chill the oil; the frying will take 4-5 minutes, by which time the cannoli shells will turn a pretty mahogany color both inside and out. Remove the shells from the oil and drain them on absorbent paper. Once they have cooled carefully slide the cannolo forms out of the shells, which will be quite delicate. CeilW1 says, "to remeove the cannolo shells from the form, hold the cannolo in the center, gently, and push it off the form with a butter knife or the back of a spoon."

    You are now ready to prepare the filling. You'll need:

    10 ounces (250 g) of the freshest ricotta, put through a wire mesh sieve
    1 1/4 cups (125 g) powdered sugar (the kind without starch; if need be whisk sugar in a blender)
    An ounce (25 g) minced candied fruit
    An ounce (25 g) of bitter chocolate, crumbled
    12 strips candied orange peel (optional)
    12 maraschino cherries (if you like them), halved
    A half cup, or perhaps more, minced pistachios
    A pastry bag, with an open end rather than a nozzle

    Gently combine the ricotta and the sugar on your work surface, mixing until you obtain a light, airy mixture (you may find this easier to do if you first lightly beat the ricotta, then fold the sugar in, taking care lest the ricotta deflate) and then fold in the minced candied fruit and the chocolate. Spoon the filling into the pastry bag, twist the top (or tie it) to keep the filling from emerging, and fill the shells, squirting some of the filling in from either end. Dip the ends of the cannoli in the pistachios, then decorate one end with half a cherry and the other with a strip of candied orange peel. Arrange them on a platter, sprinkle with a little powdered sugar, and they're ready!

    Don't have ricotta?
    You can use either vanilla or chocolate flavored pastry cream, or combine the two. Some pastry chefs in New York, city with the highest Sicilian population of all, prepare half the filling as above, adding a little vanilla as well, and the other half with powdered cocoa, and then make half-vanilla, and half-chocolate flavored cannoli.
    Chef #2197151
    Wed Feb 29, 2012 1:21 am
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    I just love Italian cuisine and thanks a ton to you for sharing such wonderful recipes.
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