Melissa Muller Daka was born in New York, but owes her passion for food to her childhood summers in rural Sicily. After graduating from the French Culinary Institute with certificates in Culinary Arts and International Bread Making, Daka returned to Sicily to explore how chefs were tweaking the familiar traditional dishes of her childhood into contemporary Sicilian cuisine. She opened Bar Eolo Restaurant, a self-professed “love letter to Sicily”, in the fall of 2010. Inspired by her childhood adventures and her love of the food and culture of the region, the menu reflects the history and cultural calendar of contemporary Sicily. Along with running Bar Eolo and Pastai, she is currently working on a cookbook about contemporary Sicilian food and wine.

Cannoli ‘Crisps’ with Whipped Ricotta Cream,
Candied Fruit & Pistachio Couscous



Cannoli Shells
1 lb. AP Flour
1 1/2 cups Sugar
2 cups Red Wine
10 Eggs
60 Grams Soft Butter
1/2 tsp of Salt

Ricotta Cream
1.5 lbs. house-made ricotta
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup wildflower honey
1/3 cup of Candied Orange Peel, cut into small dice
3/4 cup of Small Chocolate Chips

Soft Candied Orange Peel
4 Organic Navel Oranges
4 cups Sugar
4 cups Water

Warm Kahlua Chocolate Sauce
1 pint Half and Half
1 1/2 cups Sugar
60 Grams Butter
2.5 lbs. 66% Chocolate
1/2 cup Kahlua
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Pistachio ‘Couscous’
1 1/2 cups of Pistachios
2 tbsp of pistachio paste, preferably from Sicily
1/4 cup Candied Orange Peel
3 tbsp of Syrup from Candied Orange Peel
2 tbsp of Candied Sicilian squash (specialty Italian stores sell this item, but omit if you cannot find this ingredient)
1/2 cup Chocolate Chips


Cannoli Shells
Combine all in bowl of kitchen aid with a paddle. Mix for 8 minutes.
Let rest overnight.
Roll using rolling pin on cold dough. Sprinkle with a touch of flour if the dough sticks to the work surface.
Roll pieces of the dough until very thin. If holding a piece up to the light, you should be able to see through the dough.
Cut into triangles approximately 2 inches wide.
Fry until golden brown in vegetable oil at 325F degrees.

Ricotta Cream
Put first 3 ingredients into mixer, whip with whisk attachment until smooth.
Fold in chocolate chips and candied orange peel. Mix with a rubber spatula. Make sure not mix with the whip or the chocolate could melt and turn the ricotta brown.

Soft Candied Orange Peel
Clean the oranges in warm water. Cut oranges in half, horizontally.
Using a grapefruit spoon, remove the pulp from the oranges and preserve to make marmalade.
Make sure not to remove the white pith from the oranges.
Place the oranges in a stock pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and drain out the water. Repeat this step two more times.
Then, place the triple blanched orange peels in a pot with equal parts sugar and water. 4 cups of sugar and 4 cups of water should suffice, but if the oranges are very large, you might need to add more sugar and water.
Bring the sugar/water mixture to a boil and then reduce the flame immediately to low. Cook the orange peels over this low heat for about 1 1/2 hours, or until the peels appear translucent. At this point, a paring knife should slip easily into the thickest part of the orange.
Turn off the flame and let the orange peels cool down in the liquid.
When cool, the peels should be cut – with a sharp chef’s knife – into 1/8 inch strips.
Store the strips in some of the cooking liquid.
Reserve the remainder of the “candied orange syrup” for the pistachio couscous & to drizzle on top of the cannoli ‘crisps.’

Warm Kahlua Chocolate Sauce
Bring half and half, sugar and butter to a simmer.
Add chocolate and stir until dissolved.
Off heat, add Kahlua and vanilla extract.
Mix well. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Pistachio ‘Couscous’
Toast the pistachios in a 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes. Keep an eye on the pistachios to make sure they do not burn. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Place the toasted pistachios in a food processor and mix until well chopped.
Add the chocolate, pistachio paste, candied squash, candied orange peel & the syrup. Blend until all ingredients are incorporated.
The pistachio ‘couscous’ should be crumbly and slightly moist to touch. If too dry, you can add a touch more pistachio paste.


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