Cannoli are one of Europe’s most favored desserts. Their flavorful, crunchy shell is filled with a sweet, creamy mixture of sugar and ricotta. Simply amazing.
Cannoli

Cannoli (Cannola)
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 24
Ingredients
Cannoli Shells:
  • 1 3/4 Cups flour
  • 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoons Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 Tablespoons chilled butter; cut up
  • 1 egg; slightly beaten
  • 1/4 Cup dry white wine
  • 1 egg white; slightly beaten
  • 2 Quarts corn oil
Ricotta-Cream Filling:
  • 2 pounds rennet-based ricotta; see * Note
  • 2 1/2 Cups powdered sugar; sifted
  • 3 Tablespoons orange liqueur (Cointreau or Grand Marnier)
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 Cup chopped mixed candied fruits
  • 1/2 Cup dark chocolate chips
Assembly:
  • candied orange peel strips
Instructions
  1. * Note: It's important to use rennet-based ricotta, not acid or vinegar based ricotta. We tried to make the cannoli filling with acid based ricotta and found it didn't thicken well enough to stay in the shells.
  2. Cannoli Shells: Sift together flour, powdered sugar, cinnamon, cocoa powder and pinch of salt. Sift again. Cut butter into flour mixture until mixture is consistency of corn meal. Cut in beaten egg. Add white wine slowly, until dough ball forms. Knead dough just enough to achieve elastic consistency. Over-kneading will cause cannoli pastry to become tough. Wrap dough in floured cloth and let it rest 15 minutes.
  3. Pour oil into 6-quart pot over medium heat and slowly heat it to 350 degrees. (Test with thermometer or by dropping in small square of bread that should brown quickly but not burn.) After dough has rested and while oil is heating, divide dough into quarters. Working with 1 quarter at a time and leaving rest covered, roll out dough on lightly floured surface until 1/16-inch thick. Cut into 4-inch circles with cookie cutter as closely together as possible. with rolling pin, shape these circles into ovals slightly shorter than cannoli forms. Wrap each oval securely around a cannoli form, overlapping it in center.
  4. Moisten edge with a little egg white and press seams together to seal. Be certain not to "glue" dough to cannoli form with egg white. (Whites should touch dough, not cannoli form.) Flare edges of dough to create traditional cannoli shape.
  5. Drop several shells into heated oil. Fry until shells are rich brown all around, 2 to 3 minutes. If using stainless steel forms, gently turn cannoli with wooden spoon for even browning during frying (cannoli made with lighter bamboo forms tend to rise to surface and turn on their own).
  6. To remove cooked shells from oil, slip tine of carving fork inside form and carefully lift from oil. Hold it over oil to drain. Exercise extreme caution to prevent burns. Gently roll shells on brown paper to absorb excess grease. When they are cool enough to handle, gently hold shell in 1 hand while grasping cannoli form with fingers of other hand and remove with slight twist. Repeat rolling and frying process until all dough and scraps have been made into shells.
  7. Ricotta-Cream Filling: Pass ricotta through largest-holed screen of food mill to break up curds. (Do not use electric mixer; it will destroy the curds.) Stir in sugar with wooden spoon. Mix in liqueur and vanilla, then fold in mixed candied fruits and chocolate chips. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
  8. Assembly: Generously fill shells using pastry bag or spoon. Fill them from 1 end, and then from opposite end. Decorate ends with candied orange peel and halved or whole candied cherries. Dust each cannoli with powdered sugar and serve.
Notes
The word "cannola" comes from the Sicilian word for cane or bamboo, " 'a canna," which was the material from which cannoli-shell forms were originally made. Nowadays, these forms are made of tin or stainless steel and are easily found in cookware stores. Bamboo ones, however, are easy to make and produce a flakier, puffier pastry shell.

To make them, cut dried bamboo poles with a fine-toothed saw into 6-inch lengths about 1 inch in diameter, with no rings or taper. Store them in a well-ventilated container for years of use. Whether using store-bought or homemade forms, it is best to have at least 8 of them on hand to make the shells efficiently.

Cannoli shells may be made up to two days before needed, loosely covered with waxed paper and stored in a dry place. Do not refrigerate. Fill cannoli just before serving, as the ricotta cream tends to make the shells soft and rubbery. Refrigerating filled cannoli, even for very few minutes, will accelerate this condition.

This recipe yields 24 cannoli.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: Each cannoli Calories: 180 Fat: 7 g Carbohydrates: 25 g Sodium: 60 mg Fiber: 0.04 mg Protein: 4 g Cholesterol: 22 mg

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