Classic Homemade Cannolis

Coming from New Jersey I have had my fair share of cannolis. The iconic Sicilian dessert is one of my favorites because it isn’t overly sweet – it’s flakey shell and ricotta and mascarpone filling with chocolate chips are the perfect mixture of crispy and creamy to end (or start if you’re like me) any meal.

While cannolis are classically made with just a sweetened ricotta filling, I like to add mascarpone to add creaminess and a subtle sweetness. When making the filling, be sure to drain the ricotta as much as possible, any residual water could water down the filling.

The first time that I began to make cannolis from scratch I was very nervous. I didn’t know where to start so I just kept putting it off because I didn’t want to mess up (and I didn’t have the time). Then I realized I had nothing to be afraid of as they actually weren’t that hard to make! Be sure to buy (or make) cannoli molds ahead of time so that you can make the shells. While you can always just pick up some premade shells at an Italian bakery, the shells really aren’t hard to make. Just be sure the dough is rolled thin and then they just need some frying. Wine is added to the shells to add distinct flavor, and while Marsala wine is classically used, I use whatever dry white wine I have on hand.

 

Ingredients

For the shells:

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional, for rolling

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons vegetable shortening

2 eggs, divided

½ cup dry white wine

 

For the filling:

2 cups whole milk ricotta

1 cup mascarpone 

1 cup powdered sugar, plus additional for dusting

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¾ cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

 

Canola oil, as needed, for frying

4 metal cannoli molds, or 4 wooden dowels cut to 6-inch long, 1-inch-diameter

 

Instructions

For the shells:

Add the flour, granulated sugar, salt, cinnamon, shortening, one egg and wine to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until well-combined and a smooth dough forms, about 8 minutes.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and roll out so that it is 1/8-inch thick. The dough can also be rolled out thinly and evenly by putting the dough through a pasta machine set to the thickest setting (usually setting number 1). Using a 4-inch cookie cutter cut circles out of the dough. Gently pull the dough into an oval 5-inches long. Repeat with the remaining dough, you may have to re-roll out the dough with the scraps. You should end up with about 12 ovals. In a small bowl whisk the remaining egg.

Fill a wide heavy-bottom pot two-thirds of the way full with canola oil and heat over medium heat until the oil reaches 350º.

Wrap one oval lengthwise loosely around once of the cannoli molds. Use a pastry brush to lightly brush one end of the shell with the egg wash. Pull the egg-brushed end over the other end and press them together to seal. Repeat with three more molds and shells.

Carefully lower one mold at a time into the oil and fry, turning occasionally, until the shells are golden brown, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Carefully pull the dowels out when cool to the touch and repeat with the remaining dough.

 

For the filling:

To make the filling, add the ricotta, mascarpone, powdered sugar and cinnamon to a medium-mixing bowl. Whisk together until just completely combined then stir in the chocolate chips. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.

 

For assembly:

When ready to fill and serve the cannolis, add the cannoli cream to a pastry bag fitted with a large circle tip. Carefully insert the tip halfway into one shell and pipe the cream, pulling the tip out to fill all the way to the end. Insert the tip in the other side of the shell, to the center and pipe and pull again to completely fill the shell from end to end.

Repeat with the remaining shells then dust the filled cannolis with powdered sugar.

 

Makes about 1 dozen cannolis.

 
 

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