1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, optional
4 eggs plus 1 egg white
1/3 cup milk
4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Oil for deep frying (about 2 cups)
1. For the filling, combine the ricotta, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and egg white in a large bowl; set aside.
2. Combine the eggs, melted shortening, remaining 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and milk in a small bowl. Mound 31/2 cups flour on a board; make a well. Pour the egg mixture into the well; sprinkle on the baking powder. Use a fork to incorporate the liquid into the flour to form a dough; add a little more milk if needed. Knead briefly until the dough is smooth. (Add flour, if needed.)
3. Divide the dough into four pieces. Take one of the pieces and flatten; dust with flour and roll until it is 1/16th-inch thick and shaped into a 4-inch-wide rectangle. Place 1 rounded teaspoon filling along one side of the dough at 31/2-inch intervals. Fold the top half of the strip over the filling, and press edges together to enclose completely. Cut with pastry cutter or knife into individual squares or half moons. Lay each piece on a lightly floured baking sheet; repeat with remaining pieces and filling.
4. Heat the oil in a deep skillet. Fry several turnovers at a time until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon; drain on a rack placed over paper towels. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar; serve warm.
Per turnover: 131 calories, 4 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 36 mg cholesterol, 16 g carbohydrates, 4 g protein, 31 mg sodium, 0 g fiber.
Draining ricotta: Place ricotta in a wire sieve for several hours or overnight to remove excess water. For faster results, cover the ricotta with a small plate that fits in the sieve and weight that with a heavy can. If you can, use fresh whole milk ricotta from a specialty market for the richest flavor.