The Sicilian cartocci also belong to the Sicilian pastry shop. Less known than cannoli and cassata, they absolutely deserve to be tasted at least once in a lifetime. Why? Because like every Sicilian sweet they promise unforgettable experiences on the palate… and they keep them. But what are Sicilian cartocci , how to fry them (because yes, strange but true, they are fried) and how many calories does one have? Read on.
Sicilian cartocci, what they are
You would probably call them torciglioni, or soft cannoli : in fact they are cylinders of leavened and fried sweet dough stuffed with different fillings. The ricotta and pastry cream cartocci are among the most popular (even more when they are enriched, inside, with chocolate chips). Perhaps not everyone knows it, but they are also known as macallè. Sicilian irises and cartocci are widespread throughout Sicily even if they are unfairly - in our opinion - less popular than Sicilian cannoli . But what matters is that they can be found in every province, even if their origin is from Palermo.
Sicilian cartocci, how to prepare them
To prepare the Palermo cartocci , the ingredients of the base are first kneaded, then they are left to rise and, when it is time to form them, long and thin strips of dough are stretched out and rolled around cylinders (or torches). Grandmothers used bamboo rods, today steel cylinders available in shops specializing in pastry items are used much more often.
Once fried, the parcels are filled with the cream of the moment poured into a sac a poche . Nothing could be simpler, even if overall the realization of these delights takes a lot of time and consists of various stages that could take hours. The good news for you is that you can find them ready-made on Sicilyaddict . You can choose a handy box containing the empty parcels to be filled with ricotta or pistachio cream (and grains of the latter or chocolate chips to complete), or a special version: the Sicilian pistachio lovers parcels with the dough inside pure pistachio paste and white chocolate. So, just to say.
Obviously you can make the dough for the Sicilian cartocci with the Thermomix and with the planetary mixer as well as by hand. Although the original recipe wants it, you can make Sicilian cartocci without lard , simply replacing it with butter.
How to fry the parcels?
To fry them you have to proceed a bit like Sicilian irises are made :
- Pour plenty of seed oil into a deep pot, light the flame and bring to temperature. Test it with a piece of bread: if it starts to sizzle when thrown into the pot, then the oil will have reached the right temperature (but make sure it doesn't exceed the smoke point, keep it at 170-175 degrees , otherwise you could burn them externally and leave them raw inside).
- Immerse the packets with all the torches and let them fry until golden brown, being careful to turn them often with a ladle to promote even cooking and uniform browning.
- Once well browned, remove them from the pan with chef's tongs and drain them on absorbent kitchen paper. Let them cool slightly, then remove the torch inside them and roll them in granulated sugar , so that it sticks along their entire surface.
How to store Sicilian cartocci?
It goes without saying that homemade cartocci are unsurpassed if cooked, left to cool, stuffed on the spot and enjoyed. That said, once fried you can keep them in an airtight container to place, if not in the fridge, at least in a cool, dry place in the house, away from the sun's rays. Here they are kept for a maximum of one day, in the fridge for two or three. Stuff them on the spot, just before enjoying them. Stored in the fridge with all the filling, they would moisten all the dough.
Sicilian cartocci, all the variations
Over the years, the classic versions have been joined by various variations of these typical Sicilian sweets . Furthermore, pastry shops have become increasingly specialized in order to meet everyone's needs. So today the gluten-free Sicilian cartocci are also available, perfect for celiacs and intolerant people.
Sicilian cartocci with custard
Of course you can find them with custard , a classic that never goes out of style. Even if some versions of these involve the addition of cold butter to the cream, which is incorporated with electric whisks, giving an even richer and more velvety filling.
Sicilian cartocci with ricotta
The Sicilian cartocci with ricotta cream are a must, they can be found practically everywhere and nothing prevents them from being sprinkled with chocolate flakes or candied fruit, depending on your preferences. The best ricotta with which to fill them is that of sheep, the great protagonist of Sicilian cuisine and pastry. How many calories does a bag with ricotta cheese have ? It contains just under 200. Not a few, it's true, but not too many.
Baked Sicilian cartocci
We mention them, but many Sicilians would tell you that the cartocci must be strictly fried. We think that if the idea appeals to you, cooking them in the oven costs nothing, and that it is at least worth a try. In this case you can cook them at 180 °C for about 20 minutes.