GF VANILLA PIZZELLE FOR SICILIAN CANNOLI SHELLS (CANNOLI SICILIANI DI PIZZELLE SENZA GLUTINE ) - Updated

    Cannoli (pronounced kan-noh-lee), with their crunchy cinnamony shell and their sweet ricotta filling (pron. ree-kaut-tah - with the "c" sounding like a "k" and not like a "g") are a traditional pastry of the wonderful region of Sicily 
Because of their delicious taste, they have become one of the most popular desserts featured in bakeries all throughout Italy, and in each region they may take on different lengths and sizes, and are decorated with various ingredients. For instance, in Milan, the Northern Italian city I come from, it is customary to include their much shorter and smaller version in trays of mix-and-match "mignon pastries" (miniature-sized sweets). Up until I first visited Sicily many years ago, I had in fact no idea that the original Cannolo is usually 7.5 inches long, and therefore, you can only imagine how shocked I was to see what they actually look like, and how surprising it was to have to enlist the help of two cousins to finish just one!
    The traditional Cannolo Siciliano (which tastes at its best when filled just right before consuming) will have an extremely smooth filling inside comprised of silky ricotta and chocolate chips, and extremities that are decorated with candied fruits - like oranges and citrus - or crumbled pistacchio nuts. 
My gluten-free version, which I hope you will enjoy as much as I do, also has a pinch of cinnamon in the filling, and comes with dark chocolate covered edges. 
I am looking forward to seeing your versions,
and I invite you to share your pictures  in our FB group!
 GF VANILLA PIZZELLE FOR SICILIAN CANNOLI SHELLS  
(CANNOLI SICILIANI DI PIZZELLE SENZA GLUTINE )
   (Makes 30 shells  - or pizzelle rounds - Press or iron needed)

Ingredients for the basic Pizzelle recipe:
  • 3 lg eggs (I personally love to use organic and cage free eggs)
  • 1-3/4  cups of your favorite GF multipurpose flour
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • 8 tbsp (or 1 stick) of unsalted melted butter - Melt it on low heat in a pan and let it cool (*)
  • 3/4 cups of GF sugar (in the raw, cane or white sugar all work very well)
  • 1 tsp GF pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp GF dry ground ginger
  • a pinch of salt
Optional: 
-  Add 1 tsp of anisette liqueur in the mix (for a more traditional taste), 
- 3 tbs of chocolate powder/1 tbs of cinnamon powder/or any other dry GF ingredient you may like to give them a different flavor
*****
Ingredients for the ricotta filling: 
  • 1 tub (or 16 oz.) of good whole-milk Italian-style ricotta cheese (make sure the tub specifically read GF, or if unmarked, that white distilled vinegar is used, and that there are no other gluten-containing ingredients)
  • 1/2 cup GF powdered sugar + 1/4 cup for dusting finished product
  • 1 tsp of GF ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbs GF chocolate chips for decorating + 1/2 cup for melting (they must be labeled gluten-free, as chocolate tends to have wheat in the ingredients as a thickener)
Let's get mixing...
  • Preheat the press in the closed position according to the instructions it came with. Many Pizzelle makers have more than one baking setting, and some have a green light to let you know they have reached the right temperature 
  • A good idea is to have a timer handy. We set our timer on 1 min 25 sec. for each set of pizzelle
  • In a small bowl lightly incorporate the flour and the baking powder, and set aside
  • Melt the butter (*) and set aside to cool
  • Using a hand mixer, beat the eggs and the sugar in a medium bowl for one minute or until the sugar has been fully incorporated (Under-mixing the sugar may result in a sandy texture once the Pizzelle have hardened) 
  • While mixing on low, gradually add the vanilla (or anisette) and the melted butter
  • Continue mixing until everything is incorporated (approx. 15-20 seconds)
  • Add the flour, baking powder, dry ground ginger, and any additional dry flavorings, and mix on low for 15 seconds (Do not over-mix... The texture needs to look more like a dense mixture, rather than a runny one)
  • When the light indicator turns green, use the measuring scoop that the press should have come with (or a tablespoon) to set two scoops of dough in the middle of each circle
  • Close the press, and start the timer as per above
  • After 1 min and 25 seconds (the first ones always take a little bit longer to cook), open the press and carefully remove the pizzelle with tongs 
  • The rounds do not need to look perfect, but you can always trim the edges with scissors or a sharp knife as soon as they come off the press. (I am perfectly ok with a rustic look...)
Let's get rolling...
  • Roll the pizzelle rounds into cannoli shells as soon as they come off the press by using the small roller that may have been included with the machine. (You can alternatively form them by using the rounded handle of a large wooden spoon)
  • Keep baking and rolling the cannoli shells until you finish the dough
  • Let completely cool before dipping the edges in chocolate
To melt the chocolate: half-fill a small pot with hot water, and set it on the stove on low heat (the hot water will cut down the time it'll take to heat the chocolate chips). Insert a slightly wider stainless steel bowl on the pot (this is called bagno-maria or bain-marie) and pour the chips in it. Let sit on the stove for 40-60 seconds, and stir lightly with a heat-resistant spatula. As the chocolate melts, you may want to keep the heat low to avoid burning the chocolate. 
  • Stir the melted chocolate around the bottom of the bowl, and dip each side of the shell in it
  • Set the shells aside to cool on parchment paper (to speed up the cooling process, you can place them on a tray in the refrigerator)
Filling the cannoli shells: 
- Prepare the filling by mixing the ricotta and the powdered sugar with an electric mixer
-Mix on medium speed in a bowl for 1 minute or so. (I highly recommend not overly mixing and adding the chocolate chips just before filling the shells or the mixture takes on a bitter taste)
- If the mix is a bit too runny - it will all depend on the ricotta you use - you can whip up 1/4 cup of heavy cream and mix it  into the filling
- To fill the shells, you can use a small spoon or a pastry bag with a wide tip. Start filling one side from the middle of the shell and then move on to the other side
  • Store the empty shells in a tight container for future consumption. Once filled, store in the refrigerator and sprinkle some powdered sugar just before serving. Enjoy for breakfast, as a dessert, or a tea-time treat..


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