For the shells:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
- ¼ cup red wine any red wine that’s good for drinking is fine, may be replaced with Marsala
- 3 tbsp. milk
- 1 egg white for sealing the edges
- vegetable oil for frying, can be replaced with sunflower or canola oil
For the ricotta filling:
- 4 cups whole milk ricotta
- ¾ cup powdered sugar or more if you prefer a sweeter filling
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- dark chocolate chips (optional)
- chopped pistachios (optional)
- powdered sugar for dusting on top
For the ricotta filling
If using a brand of ricotta that has a lot of moisture, place the ricotta in a fine mesh sieve lined with cheese cloth over a bowl. Refrigerate and let drain for at least 2 hours.
Place the strained ricotta in a bowl, add powdered sugar, cinnamon and whisk until smooth.
Please note that ricotta is known for it’s grainy texture and therefore it is normal that the mixture will not be smooth as mascarpone cheese, for example, or whipped cream.
Taste the filling and add additional sugar, if necessary, according to taste. Refrigerate while you prepare the cannoli shells.
Prepare the dough for the shells
Place flour and sugar in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the egg, oil, red wine and milk.
Use a fork to beat the wet ingredients and gradually incorporate the flour in order to form a dough.
Knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth, about 5 minutes.
To shape the cannoli shells
This dough does not require a resting period and can be rolled immediately.
Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Work with one piece of dough at a time and keep the remaining pieces covered to prevent from drying out.
Use a pasta roller or a rolling pin to roll out the dough as thin as possible, until second to last setting if using a pasta roller. Sprinkle the dough with flour, as needed, to prevent from sticking.
Roll all the pieces of dough and cover them with a kitchen towel in order to prevent the sheets from drying out.
Cut 4-inch dough circles with a cookie cutter. Alternately, use anything you have on hand with a similar sized opening.
Reroll scraps of dough and continue until all the dough is used up. Wrap the circles around the cannoli molds and use a beaten egg white to seal the ends.
Fry the cannoli shells
Fill a deep heavy bottomed pot (or use a deep fryer if you have one) with about 2 inches of oil.
When the oil is hot, fry 3 or 4 cannoli shells at a time until golden and bubbly. You may have to hold them down to ensure that all sides are evenly fried. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate or tray.
Use 2 paper towels to carefully separate the cannoli molds from the shell (be careful, they will be extremely hot!) and continue frying the remaining rounds of dough.
Fill the cannoli shells
Fill the cannoli shells with the ricotta cream once they are completely cooled.
Fill a pastry bag, fitted with a star or round tip attachment, with the ricotta cream. Alternately, use a freezer bag with the tip cut off.
Pipe the cream at both ends of each cannoli shell making sure that the cream reaches the center of the shell.
Top the ends with chopped pistachios and chocolate chips (optional). Dust with powdered sugar before serving.
Fill up to 2 hours before serving. Refrigerate filled cannoli.
Substitutions and Variations:
- Fill with pastry cream or biancomangiare (Sicilian milk pudding) instead of ricotta.
- Make your own homemade ricotta for the filling.
- Add candied orange peel to the filling.
Why did my shells not bubble during frying?
-Be sure to roll the dough thin for best results.
-This may occur if your oil is not hot enough. To test if it’s hot enough, try out my mom’s easy technique: place the handle of a wooden spoon right in the center of your pot with oil. If it immediately begins to bubble vigorously around the handle it is ready for frying.
How to fix shells that are no longer crisp?
If you follow this recipe exactly as is, you should have perfect crisp cannoli shells. However, if after storing them you feel they have not kept their crisp texture simply warm them in a 300 degrees F preheated oven for 5 minutes. Let cool completely before filling with cream.
How to store cannoli shells:
Cannoli shells keep well up to 2 weeks stored in an air tight container lined with paper towels to absorb any moisture in a cool dry space.
Can the ricotta cream be prepared in advance?
The ricotta cream can be kept refrigerated up to 3 days prior to filling the cannoli.
How long ahead of serving can the cannoli shells be filled?
To prevent the cannoli shells from becoming soggy, fill the shells up to 2 hours before serving them.
Please note that the nutritional information provided is approximate and may vary according to exact ingredients used and portion size.