Italian Cakes & Dessert Recipes

CIALDONI: SICILIAN RICOTTA BAKED SWEETS

Cialdoni or Ciarduna are baked sweets from western Sicily similar to cannoli.

They are distinguished from the latter by their firm pastry-like rind, which, once baked, is entirely coated with almond granules.


 

 

 

Makes: 3 to 4 dozen

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • large egg
  • 4 tablespoons  lard, cut into bits
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Warm milk as needed to make a dough
  • Melted butter/brush for coating cannoli forms

 

FILLING

  • 1 pound ricotta cheese (Sheep’s milk is traditional.)
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar

 

NUT TOPPING

  • 1 cup coarsely chopped almonds, toasted

 

SUGAR SYRUP

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • Confectioner’s sugar for sprinkling

 

METHOD

DOUGH

  1. Sift the flour with the sugar in a large bowl. Add the Crisco or lard cut into small pieces, the vanilla, egg, and enough milk to make a smooth ball of dough. Wrap the dough and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 60 minutes.
  2. Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Flatten the dough with a rolling pin and run it through a pasta machine until about 1/8 inch thick. Cut sheets into 3 inch diameter circles and wrap each one around well-buttered cannoli forms. Seal the edge with a little water and place the forms on parchment-lined baking sheets.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  4. Bake until golden brown (about 15 minutes). Once baked, place them on racks to cool.

FILLING

  1. Put the ricotta cheese in a colander and drain it until it is dry and firm. Place it in a bowl and mix it well with the sugar.

SUGAR SYRUP

  1. Mix the sugar in a saucepan with the water and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 to 3 minutes until the mixture looks clear and all the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  2. Brush the outside of the cylinders with the sugar syrup and gently roll them in the chopped almonds.
  3. Fill the cylinders with the ricotta just before the serving; then sprinkle with powdered sugar.

 

 

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