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Victoria Granof, who developed this cannoli recipe, typically makes hers with sheep’s-milk ricotta. Remember, the higher-quality ingredients you can find, the better the cannoli will be.
- 2 cups 00 flour, plus more for surface
- 2 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. chilled vegetable shortening or high-quality lard
- 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. (or more) dry or sweet Marsala or white wine
- 1½ lb. fresh cow’s-milk ricotta
- 2 oz. fresh goat cheese, room temperature
- 1.5 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped, or mini chocolate chips
- Vegetable oil (for frying; about 8 cups)
- All-purpose flour (for surface)
- Candied orange peel, finely chopped raw pistachios, and/or finely chopped chocolate (for serving)
- Powdered sugar (for dusting)
Whisk sugar, cinnamon, salt, and 2 cups 00 flour in a large bowl to combine. Add shortening and work into dry ingredients with your fingers until mixture is crumbly and no pieces of shortening are larger than a lentil. Separate white from 1 egg and place into a small bowl; set aside. Place yolk in another small bowl and add whole egg; lightly beat to combine.
Make a well in the center of dry ingredients and pour in egg yolk mixture. Using a fork, gradually work in dry ingredients, mixing in a circular motion to nudge dry ingredients into well, until a thick paste forms (you will not have mixed in all of the dry ingredients). Add vinegar and wine to paste in well and continue mixing in dry ingredients until fully incorporated and dough becomes hard to mix (if dough gets too hard to mix, knead in bowl with your hands to work it in). Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until dough is very supple, about 3 minutes. Wrap in plastic and chill at least 1 hour.
Do Ahead: Dough can be made 12 hours ahead. Keep chilled.
Press ricotta and goat cheese through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl by scraping firmly with a rubber spatula. Mix in sugar and chocolate until just combined (you want the mixture to stay aerated and fluffy). Taste filling and add a two-finger pinch of salt if you think it needs it.
Cover bowl and chill filling at least 1 hour to give sugar time to dissolve.
Do Ahead: Filling can be made 12 hours ahead. Keep chilled.
Pour oil into a medium saucepan fitted with thermometer to come 2" up the sides. Heat over medium-high until thermometer registers 375°.
Meanwhile, divide dough in half; rewrap one half and chill until ready to use. Roll out remaining half on a lightly floured surface to an 11" round about 1/16" thick. (You want it thinner than pie dough but not as thin as phyllo—too thick and it’ll become challenging to chew; too thin and the dough won’t develop its characteristic bubbled surface.) Punch out rounds with cutter (you should have 5). Reroll scraps to yield 1 more round.
Lightly beat reserved egg white to loosen. Working one at a time and covering remaining rounds with plastic wrap, roll out 4 rounds to about 5x3½" ovals; prick each one in several places with a fork. Using your fingers, lightly wipe some egg white over the edge of one long side. Wrap ovals loosely around cannoli tubes, overlapping long side with egg wash over the other long side; gently press seam to flatten and adhere. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet as you go.
Line another rimmed baking sheet with a double layer of paper towels. Fry shells with tubes, gently encouraging them to move around in the oil to color evenly, until deep golden brown, 4–5 minutes. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Let cool slightly, then slip shells off of tubes. Let tubes and shells cool completely. Repeat process 2 more times, frying 4 at a time, to yield 12 cannoli shells total.
Fill pastry bag with filling and snip off end (or use large round tip). Pipe into shells, working from the center to one end, then turning shell around and piping from the center to the opposite end.
Decorate exposed filling on each end with candied orange peel, pistachios, and/or chocolate. Generously dust cannoli with powdered sugar. Consume immediately!
- 2 pounds sheep's milk ricotta cheese
- 1 ½ cups confectioners' sugar
- ¼ cup mixed peel
- 1 ½ ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons dry Marsala wine, or more to taste
- 1 tablespoon butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 2 teaspoons vinegar, or more to taste
- corn oil for frying
- 3 tablespoons chopped pistachio nuts
- 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar, or to taste
Beat ricotta cheese and 1 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar together in a bowl until smooth. Stir in mixed peel and chocolate. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours.
Mix flour, Marsala wine, butter, sugar, and vinegar together in a bowl to make cannoli dough. Wrap in plastic wrap let rest for 30 minutes.
Knead dough on a lightly floured work surface until smooth. Roll to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into twenty 4-inch squares. Wrap each square around a metal tubular mold, overlapping ends and dabbing with warm water to seal.
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Lower some cannoli molds into the hot oil cook until shells are golden and crisp, about 10 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining cannoli molds. Cool briefly twist molds carefully to remove shells. Let shells cool completely, about 15 minutes.
Fill cooled cannoli shells with ricotta filling using a spoon or piping bag. Arrange cannoli on a serving platter. Garnish with pistachios sprinkle 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar on top.
What is a Cannoli?
A Cannoli is a form of pastry that originated on the Island of Sicily. Most cannoli consist of tube-shaped shells of deep fried pastry dough that are then filled with a slightly sweet and creamy filling, that’s usually made from ricotta cheese.
Every time I make this recipe I get a little nostalgic. My grandmother taught me how to make cannoli many moons ago and the memory is one of my favorites. I must confess my gran made her cannoli shells from scratch (and man were they good), but most days I just don’t have time for that so I buy them from our local pastry shop or the grocery store. One day I’ll get it together and post her cannoli shell recipe too, but for now, feel free to use store bought shells or make your own using your favorite recipe.
Tip the flour, sugar, bicarb, cinnamon and cocoa (if using) into a bowl with a pinch of salt. Add the butter and rub it into the dry ingredients until there are no more lumps. Mix the egg yolk and marsala and add this to the bowl, then mix the whole lot together and knead to a smooth dough. Wrap and rest in the fridge. (Can be made ahead and fried the next day.)
Fill a deep-fat fryer, wok or deep saucepan a third of the way up with oil. Cut the dough into pieces and, working one piece at a time, roll them out as thinly as you can – use a pasta machine if you have one. Heat the oil and keep an eye on it until it reaches 180C. Lay the dough out on a lightly floured surface and cut out circles about 11cm across. Wrap each one around a cannoli mould, using some of the egg white to stick the top edge down and they're ready for frying.
It's important to take care when cooking with hot oil. Read our guide on how to deep-fry safely to avoid accidents in the kitchen.
Deep-fry the cannoli (with their moulds) one at a time, making sure they cook all over. They should take about 45-60 seconds in all and should be visibly golden brown (keep cooking a little longer if they aren't) and the dough will bubble and blister. Carefully take each one out of the oil using the tongs and shake the cannoli off the mould very carefully onto kitchen paper. As you fry each one, make sure the oil stays at 180C at all times and doesn’t get any hotter. These will keep for 2-3 days in an airtight container.
When the cannoli are cold, dip the end of each one into chocolate, then dip some of those into the pistachios. Leave to cool and harden. Beat the ricotta and mascarpone together, then stir in the candied peel and sugar. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag with a wide star nozzle and pipe it into the cannoli. Serve soon after filling.
Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, coffee and sugar in a large bowl and add a pinch of salt.
Cut softened butter into 1/2” pieces and add to the bowl, along with the Marsala and white wine, then knead until a smooth dough forms.
Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
Roll out the dough. Cut 16 circles (4” in diameter) and roll each one into an oval shape.
Wrap each oval around a greased 1” cannoli mold, lapping the opposite edges over one another. Seal the edges by brushing with egg whites.
Heat oil to 340°F and deep fry the dough for a couple of minutes drain on kitchen paper and let cool completely.
Ricotta filled cannoli (cannoli di ricotta)
Making this recipe for the classic Italian dessert of cannoli from scratch is such a satisfying experience, from the deep-fried pastry tubes to the decadently delicious filling of sweet, creamy ricotta and mascarpone with chocolate and a fruity twist.
- 160 g butter or lard, melted
- 680 g plain flour
- 2 eggs plus 3–4 egg yolks
- 130 g (1 cup) icing sugar
- 250 ml marsala
- 300 g fresh ricotta
- 100 g caster sugar
- 200 g mascarpone
- ½ cup glacé cherries
- ½ cup candied citrus peel
- 1 tsp orange essence
- 1 tsp rum
- 2 tbsp chopped dark couverture chocolate
Oven temperatures are for conventional if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
You will need to begin this recipe one day ahead.
Rub butter into flour, add eggs, yolks, sugar and marsala, knead to form a dough (this can be done in an electric mixer with a dough hook). Wrap in plastic wrap and rest overnight in fridge.
For filling, whisk ricotta and sugar in an electric mixer for 2 minutes until smooth. Fold in mascarpone. Fold in remaining filling ingredients. Chill.
Roll dough out in a pasta machine until 1 mm thick. Cut into 10 cm-diameter circles, brush edges with beaten egg and wrap around a cannoli form. Deep-fry in clean oil for 30 seconds until centre is cooked. Drain on paper towel and remove cannoli forms.
Fill cannoli to order and dust with icing sugar. Serve with orange ice-cream if desired.
Classic Cannoli Alla Siciliana
Crisp cylinders of fried dough filled with fresh ricotta cream, cannoli are undoubtedly Sicily’s most famous contribution to the world of sweets. Traditionally, the shells were made by wrapping pieces of dough around lengths of "canna," or "cane" hence the name.
The dough is quite elastic and is best rolled out using a pasta machine. You'll need a thermometer for monitoring the frying oil, cannoli shell molds and a 3 3/4-inch round cookie cutter.
Make Ahead: The dough needs to rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days. The fried shells can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
Where to Buy: These days, stainless-steel tubes do the job for cannoli shell molds. You can find them at Hill’s Kitchen in the District and at La Cuisine in Old Town Alexandria, as well as online at Fantes.com.
When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.
Tested size: 20-24 short cannoli shells
Combine the flour, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, espresso and salt in a food processor pulse until thoroughly combined. Add the butter and pulse to incorporate. Add 6 tablespoons of Marsala and pulse until the mixture begins to come together. If necessary, add 1 to 2 more tablespoons of Marsala to make a firm yet tender dough.
Transfer the dough to a clean work surface and knead for a few minutes, until it is mostly smooth and elastic. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 2 days.
The easiest way to roll out the dough is with a pasta machine. Divide the dough in half. Re-wrap one half and flatten the other with your palm. Feed the piece of dough through the widest setting, fold it in half and repeat. Adjust the roller to the next narrower setting and pass the dough through once. Adjust to the next narrower setting and repeat. Continue to roll until the dough is stretched to about 1/16-inch thick.
Lay the strip of dough on the work surface — although it will be slightly tacky there is no need to flour the surface. Using a 3 3/4-inch round cookie cutter, cut as many rounds as you can. Gather up the scraps and wrap them in plastic wrap to re-roll later.
Roll out the second piece of dough into a 1/16-inch-thick strip and use the cookie cutter to cut out 3 3/4-inch rounds. Gather up the scraps and knead them together with the reserved scraps. Roll this piece of dough through the pasta machine, stretching it as with the other pieces, and cut the strip into rounds. You should end up with a total of 20 to 24 rounds.
Pour the oil to a depth of at least 2 inches into a heavy pot (such as a 9-inch enameled cast-iron pot). Place over medium-high heat and heat the oil to about 375 degrees. Set a wire cooling rack on a rimmed baking sheet.
Wrap a round of dough around one of the cannoli molds, overlapping the edges and sealing them with a little egg white. (Don’t roll the dough too tightly around the tube or it will be difficult to slide the shell off once it’s fried.) Press the edges with your fingers to make sure they are well sealed. Carefully slide one or two cannoli tubes into the hot oil and fry 45 to 60 seconds, until nicely browned. Use metal tongs to move the tubes around as they fry to prevent the cannoli from scorching on the bottom. Lift the cannoli tubes out of the oil with the tongs and set them on the cooling rack. Use the tongs to carefully slide the fried shells off the tubes and let the tubes cool briefly before using again. Continue until you have fried all the cannoli shells. Let cool completely before filling.
To fill, fit a pastry bag with a wide tip and fill with Ricotta Cream (see related recipe). Pipe into both ends of the cannoli shells, taking care to fill the interior. Or use a small spoon to spoon the filling into both ends of the shells, pushing the cream inside as you go.
To serve, dust the filled cannoli with confectioners’ sugar. Garnish the ends with an optional sprinkle of mini chocolate chips, cacao nibs, chopped pistachios and/or or chopped candied orange peel.
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