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
- 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 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
- 1 pound ricotta cheese (Sheep’s milk is traditional.)
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 cup coarsely chopped almonds, toasted
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 cup water
- Confectioner’s sugar for sprinkling
- 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.
- 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.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Bake until golden brown (about 15 minutes). Once baked, place them on racks to cool.
- 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.
- 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.
- Brush the outside of the cylinders with the sugar syrup and gently roll them in the chopped almonds.
- Fill the cylinders with the ricotta just before the serving; then sprinkle with powdered sugar.
CIALDONI: SICILIAN RICOTTA BAKED SWEETS