Kannoli filled with Lemon Ricotta
by eat in my kitchen
One of Msida’s culinary highlights (at least for me) is Busy Bee Confectionery right at the Ta’Xbiex Sea Front and whenever I’m here it becomes my second home. I go there almost every day to stock up with sweet and savory pies, Pastizzi, Qassatat, Cassata Siciliana, chocolate cakes, Ottijiet cookies or cannoli (Kannoli in Maltese). Many of these delicacies are made with ricotta which has a special taste and texture in Malta. It’s a bit crumbly, slightly sweet and perfect for fluffy fillings, either pure or flavoured as it mixes very well with all kinds of aromas. My ricotta consumption reaches its annual peak during summertime, luckily our lifestyle also involves lots of physical activities when we’re here, so it balances out!
For years I’ve been buying Busy Bee’s Kannoli which are one of the best on the island but I’ve been thinking about making my own for quite a while. A few days ago my Maltese sister Emma came to visit us and the time felt right to get this project started. Jenny gave me the metal tubes, which you need to fry the Kannoli rolls, as a birthday present and I had already come up with my recipe. I decided to go for a lemony ricotta filling made with lemon zest to give it a lighter, summery feeling. It was a success and we all loved it!
The next exciting step was making the pastry, the Kannoli horns. They have to be thin enough to become crisp but thick enough to carry the filling. The dough is very easy to prepare, I added Maltese Moscato wine instead of Marsala and a little cinnamon and cocoa powder which gives the rolls a nice taste and makes them a bit darker. The first two circles we rolled out were a bit too thick and took a bit longer to fry but the second batch was perfect! We wrapped the thin discs around the metal tubes and folded them twice at the top so that they wouldn’t open. They need just 1-2 minutes in the hot oil to turn into the most beautiful, crisp Kannoli horns. We stuffed them with the lemony filling and dipped them into chopped hazelnuts as Busy Bee does – the result was delicious!
Kannoli filled with Lemon Ricotta
You need Kannoli metal tubes to fry the pastry.
For 18 Kannoli you need
For the filling
fresh ricotta, drained, 1kg / 2 pounds
sugar 120g / 4.5 ounces
zest of 1 lemon
Whisk the ingredients for the filling, season to taste and put in the fridge.
For the Kannoli horns
plain flour 300g / 10.5 ounces
sugar 5 tablespoons
salt 1/2 teaspoon
ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon
cocoa powder 1 1/2 teaspoons
butter, at room temperature, 2 tablespoons
organic egg yolk 1
Moscato wine (or Marsala or red wine) 75ml / 2.5 ounces
water 75ml / 2.5 ounces
Combine the dry ingredients and mix together with the butter, egg, wine and water to an elastic dough. Let it rest for 10 minutes.
For the Kannoli
vegetable oil for frying, about 1l / 2 pints
hazelnuts, chopped, 200g / 7 ounces
In a large pot, heat the oil.
Roll out the dough on a floured surface very thinly and cut out 12cm / 5″ discs. Wrap the discs around the Kannoli metal tubes, fold twice and seal well. When the oil is hot, fry the pastry for about 1-2 minutes until the Kannoli horns are golden brown (fry 2-3 horns at a time). Take them out carefully, put them on kitchen roll to remove excess oil and let them cool for 1-2 minutes before you remove the metal tubes.
Let the Kannoli cool completely before you fill them with the ricotta mixture and dip the ends into the chopped hazelnuts, serve immediately as they get soggy when they sit for a few hours. You can also keep the Kannoli horns in an airtight container and fill them just before serving.