Ficoccelle – A sweet twist to the usual Arancini

Ricotta, whether made from cow’s milk or sheep’s milk, plays a prominent role in Sicilian pastry-making tradition. When properly handled, its texture becomes creamy, soft and light, and it is delicious when paired with chocolate.  These ficoccelle have a centre that is soft and creamy, with a crunchy hint of chocolate chips… it’s impossible to have just one!

Legend tells that there was an Aztec princess who was the keeper of her husband’s treasure. When their enemies attacked, she chose to die rather than reveal its secret hiding place.  From her blood, the first cacao plant grew, with “seeds as bitter as her suffering, as strong as her virtue and as red as her blood”. In memory of her sacrifice, Quetzalcoatl gave this plant to humankind as a gift, and he taught them how to grow it and use it to prepare an aromatic beverage.  Think about that when you order a cup of hot chocolate at the café.

Ingredients

For the rice:

500 grams of rice (“Roma” and “Originario” rices, mixed in equal doses)
500 ml of milk
500 ml of water
80 grams of butter
170 grams of sugar
1 cinnamon stick

For the finishing touch:

  • 100 gr of flour
  • 180 ml of water
  • 2 eggs
  • 150 gr of breadcrumbs

For the filling:

  • 100 gr of dark chocolate drops
  • 250 gr of ricotta
  • 40 gr of sugar
  • 1 pinch of cinnamon powder

How to prepare the rice

Directions

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  1. Put the water and milk in a pan with the butter, the vanilla stick engraved for long and sugar. When it comes to a boil add the rice and mix well
  2. Cover and cook over low heat until the rice absorbs everything and is cooked but al dente
  3. When cooked, stir in, pour the rice on a cold surface and spread evenly to allow rapid cooling
  4. When the rice has cooled, it is ready to prepare the ficoccelle
It is important that the rice is quite dry and cold.

The filling

Directions

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  1. Put the ricotta in a bowl and work it with a fork
  2. Add the sugar and a pinch of cinnamon and beat it with a hand mixer
  3. Add the chocolate chips to the ricotta mixture and stir them in well
  4. Put the ricotta mixture in a pastry bag. This will make it easier to fill the ficoccelle
  5. Shape the ficoccelle and put in the freezer a couple of hours before passing the ficoccelle in the batter

Shape the ficoccelle

Directions

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  1. Fill the base of the Arancinotto with rice and use a spoon to pack it down firmly.
  2. Put the lid on the base and insert the plunger as far as it will go.
  3. Remove the plunger and spoon your filling into the central hole, packing it in with a teaspoon to ensure there is a generous amount.
  4. Cover the top with a thin layer of rice and press it down using the other end of the plunger.
  5. Take the cover back off of the Arancinotto and gently remove your arancino.

Finishing Touch

For the finishing touch put the ficoccelle in the batter and in the bread crumbs as follows:

Directions

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  1. In a bowl, place the flour
  2. Add the egg and water and beat well with whips
  3. When the batter is smooth and dense, pass the ficoccelle
  4. Immediately after having passed them in the batter, pass the ficoccelle in bread crumbs

Frying

Directions

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  1. Fry in plenty of oil until golden brown, to ensure your ficoccelle fry up perfectly, use one of the following oils: peanut oil, olive oil, or palm oil.
  2. Heat the oil to the ideal temperature, 190°C, either in a frying pan or by setting the temperature on your deep fryer.
  3. If using a pan, you can make sure that the oil has reached the proper temperature by dropping in a bread crumb. If it sizzles, then the oil is ready.
  4. Immerse the ficoccelle gently in the oil, only a few at a time, so as to prevent the temperature of the oil from falling too low.
  5. When they are done, place the ficoccelle on absorbent paper, then serve.
  6. Serve the ficoccelle with sauce on the side.
Original recipe from Arancinotto.it
Enjoy your meal !

Variation

Like the ficoccelle with chocolate and pistachio, these ricotta and chocolate ones are also excellent when rolled in sugar as soon as they have been  ried. You can also add some chocolate to the rice to make these ficoccelle even more colourful and tasty.