I've been trying to stretch myself lately. Trying new recipes, playing with different flavours and techniques, etc. I have an Italian background and I love me a good cannoli. I was at the local grocery store and they have empty cannoli shells that you could purchase and then fill them yourself. I thought that was a great idea. I then wondered how easy it was to make my own cannoli shells. I looked up a few recipes and decided I was going to give them a try. The only thing I needed was cannoli shell forms. The funny thing about our culture is we don't like to wait. I am one of those people. If I've made up my mind that I want to do something, I want to do it now! But I didn't have any of the forms. So I quickly logged onto Amazon and had some shipped to my door two days later! And I didn't have to shovel my driveway to get them.
I found a recipe on the Food Network website, because I figured might as well go to the best of the best. I'll try their recipe and when I am comfortable, I will tweak it to my liking. The recipe itself was fairly simple. The only ingredients that I didn’t have handy were Ricotta cheese and heavy cream. It also called for cinnamon and I didn't have any, so I used pumpkin spice. It tasted delicious!
Now the trickiest part for me was the deep frying. I have never deep fried anything in my life. I grabbed the bottle of oil from the cupboard and started to heat it up….it smelled a bit funny and was dark, but I kept on going. I then found the cannoli's were turning like almost black instantly which was weird, because I was suppose to leave them in there for a couple minutes. Then my house started to get smokey. Like really smokey. My eyes burned and I had to open all the doors and windows. I was like what is happening? I turned off the stove and saved the rest of the dough for later. My husband came home and I proceeded to tell him about my mishap. He looked around the kitchen and held up the empty oil container. He asked, "Did you use the oil from here?" Obviously since the bottle is now empty, lol but I just said "Yeah, Why?" He replied with "This is where I have been putting used oil and the bacon drippings. I was going to throw it out!!" How it ended up back in the cupboard was beyond me. So those ugly cannoli shells went directly into the trash. Thankfully I still had some dough left. I went out bought fresh oil and tried again. This time perfection.
The only issue I was having was sealing them properly. 3 out of 6 opened while in the oil. (of the second batch. None of the first batch opened and their shape was perfect.) But I figured no worries, we will just turn it into a cannoli chips and dip dessert instead! Trust me its delicious either way!
This really is a simple recipe and if you're no stranger to deep frying, this will be a breeze! If you struggle or don't want to attempt in, just make the filling as a dip and find some sweet Italian biscuits to dip! Voila :)
There are a couple different cannoli recipes. This is the one I used
Total: 1 hr 30 min
Prep: 45 min
Inactive: 30 min
Cook: 15 min
Yield: 24 cannoli
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups ricotta cheese, preferably whole milk
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup small semisweet chocolate chips
1 quart canola oil, for frying
Flour, for rolling
1 egg, lightly beaten, for egg wash
Powdered sugar, for dusting
For the shell dough: In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, sugar and salt. Work the butter pieces into the flour with your fingers until the mixture becomes coarse and sandy. Add the egg yolk and the white wine and mix until it becomes a smooth dough. Spread a piece of plastic wrap on a flat surface and place the dough in the center. Wrap the plastic loosely around it and press the dough to fill the gap. Flattening the dough will mean less rolling later. Let it rest in the fridge for a few minutes while you make the filling.
For the filling: In a medium bowl, whisk the ricotta until smooth. Sift in the powdered sugar, cinnamon and allspice. Mix to blend. In a separate bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment), beat the heavy cream until fairly stiff. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the cream into the ricotta mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips. Lightly zest the exterior of the lemon and stir it into the ricotta. Refrigerate for a half hour to an hour.
To roll and fry the shells: In a medium pot with a heavy bottom, heat the canola oil to 360 degrees F. Meanwhile, sift an even layer of flour on a flat surface. Flour a rolling pin. Roll the dough until it is very thin (about 1/8-inch thick). Cut the dough into fourths and work in small batches. Use any glass or small bowl that has a 3-to-4-inch diameter. Cut rounds, tracing around each one to assure the dough has been fully cut. You should have about 24 circles. Wrap each circle around a cannoli mold. Use a little of the egg wash on the edge of each round to seal it shut and to assure it won't slide or fall off the mold before pressing it closed over the mold. Flare the edges out slightly from the mold. Flaring will allow the oil to penetrate each cannoli shell as they fry. Use a pair of tongs to hold the edge of the mold as you submerge and fry the shell in the oil until crispy, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the oil, and holding the mold in one had with your tongs, gently grip the shell in your other hand with a kitchen towel and carefully slide it off the mold. Set aside to cool. Repeat with all of the circles.
To fill the cannolis: Just before serving, use a pastry bag without a tip to pipe the ricotta into the cannoli molds. Fill the cannoli shells from both ends so the cream runs through the whole shell. Dust with powdered sugar. I also dipped the ends in mini chocolate chips. I love extra chocolate ;)