PREPARATION TIME: 1 hour 30 minutes – Make 35 to 40 Cannoli’s
Cannoli Shell Recipe:
- 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon cocoa
- ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (softened), or Crisco shortening
- 2 eggs, well beaten
- ¼ cup Marsala wine
- 1 egg yolk, slightly beaten
- Lard, Crisco or Pure Golden Olive Oil for frying
- 3 cups ricotta cheese, 24 ounces
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ cup Paradise diced mixed candied fruits and peels (optional)
- ½ cup coarsely chopped semisweet chocolate bits (optional)
- ½ cup chopped blanched almonds (optional)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon, lemon zest No. 1 Grater cone
For the Cannoli Shell: In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, cocoa, and salt. Work the butter or shortening into the flour with a pastry tool until the mixture becomes coarse like cornmeal. Add the eggs and the wine and mix until it becomes a smooth dough. Spread a piece of plastic wrap on a flat surface and place the dough in the center. Wrap the plastic loosely around it and press the dough to fill the gap. Flattening the dough will mean less rolling later. Let it rest in the fridge for a few minutes while you make the filling.
For the Cannoli Filling: In a medium bowl, whisk the ricotta until smooth. Sift in the powdered sugar and cinnamon. Mix to blend. In a separate bowl, with an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream until fairly stiff. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the cream into the ricotta mixture. Stir in the diced fruit, chocolate, and/or almonds, if using. Lightly zest the exterior of the lemon and stir it into the ricotta. Refrigerate for up to an hour.
To roll and fry the shells: In the electric skillet or large sauté skillet with induction cooktop, heat the oil to 360˚F (182˚C). Meanwhile, sift an even layer of flour on a flat surface. Flour a rolling pin. Roll the dough until it is very thin (about 1/8-inch thick). Cut the dough into fourths and work in small batches. Use any glass or small bowl that has a 3-to-4-inch diameter. Cut rounds, tracing around each one to assure the dough has been fully cut. You should have 35 to 40 circles. Wrap each circle around a cannoli mold. Use a little of the egg wash on the edge of each round to seal it shut and to assure it won't slide or fall off the mold before pressing it closed over the mold. Flare the edges out slightly from the mold. Flaring will allow the oil to penetrate each cannoli shell as they fry. Use a pair of tongs to hold the edge of the mold as you submerge and fry the shell in the oil until crispy, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the oil, and holding the mold in one had with your tongs, gently grip the shell in your other hand with a kitchen towel and carefully slide it off the mold. Set aside to cool. Repeat with all of the circles.
To fill the cannolis: Just before serving, use a pastry bag without a tip to pipe the ricotta into the cannoli molds. Fill the cannoli shells from both ends so the cream runs through the whole shell. Dust with powdered sugar. Powdered sugar gives that little extra sweetness and added texture to the exterior. It also makes me feel like I have a professional bakery touch in my own home. Serve immediately.
To Serve: Make and fry the shells and the filling. Don't fill the shells with the cream until you are ready to eat them. Everyone loves a crispy cannoli.