This recipe requires cannoli tubes and a pasta roller, two items not commonly found in a broke man’s kitchen. If that is the case with you then just go and buy the cannoli shells and fill them at home. I was able to borrow cannoli tubes from my friend and used a rolling pin. This is one of the harder recipes in my blog, it takes effort, practice and skill, but the dessert is so fancy that it is worth it, especially if you want to impress that new Italian PhD candidate. Lets begin.
4 cups all-purpose flour
0.25 cup granulated sugar
0.25 tsp salt
3 tbsp shortening
2 egg yolks
0.5 cup sweet white wine
Egg wash or water for brushing
Flour for dusting
Oil for frying
4 cups Ricotta cheese (make sure it is whole milk, part skimmed will liquefy the filling)
1.5 cup confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp fine lemon zest
Confectioners sugar for dusting
Small chocolate chips or pistachio flakes (optional)
Mix the ricotta cheese, 1.5 cup confectioner sugar, vanilla extract, and lemon zest in a large non-glass bowl. Keep mixing it until the consistency is smooth and the filling is making stiff peaks. You might have to add more confectioner sugar to make it thicker. Put it in the fridge while you make the shells. The consistency should look similar to this:
Mix the 4 cups flour, granulated sugar and salt together. Add the shortening and egg yolks and mix. Slowly add the wine in small portions until it becomes a dough and can be kneaded. You can increase or decrease the amount of wine until it becomes a consistency you can work with. Let it rest covered for 30 minutes. Dust a large surface with flour. Roll the dough out and divide it into 12 equal pieces, for smaller cannolis you can make more, it really depends on the size of your cannoli tubes and you ability to roll out the dough. Roll the dough into the thinnest circles possible, keep on dusting your working surface with flour otherwise it will stick. Ideally the circumference of the cannoli shell should be 2 cm smaller than the diameter of your dough circles. Wrap the dough around the cannoli shells and seal the overlapping edges with egg wash.
Heat oil for deep frying. You might want to reuse the same deep frying oil from another dish, but make sure it has not been used on any salty items or the taste will enter the cannoli. Add the canolli shells and fry until golden brown on all sides, about 45 seconds to 1 minute. Do not over crowd the oil otherwise the heat will dissipate. Take the fried cannoli shells out of the oil and rest them vertically, let them cool for a few minutes before you slide them out of the shells. Let the shells cool on a wire rack until they are room temperature or lower. These fried cannoli shells can last up to a day before you fill them with the ricotta cheese filling.
Fill the shells with the ricotta cheese filling from each open side using a piping bag, make sure you put as much of it inside as possible and let a small amount protrude from the sides. Dip this cream into the chocolate chips for decoration. Finally, dust the cannolis with confectioners sugar, this will hide any imperfections in the pastry and people will have a hard time believing that it wasn’t made by a professional. So if you are like me, you will intentionally leave some imperfections in the pastry so that special someone believes you when you say you made it specially for them.