So you can leave the gun, but whatever you do………you sure well better TAKE that cannoli!
Please excuse me if you have no idea what talking about, but you guys know how bad I am about spontaneously inserting random movie references here and there. In my defence, I come by this one honestly because my mom has always been a fan of The Godfather movies so I’ve grown up with Sicilian wedding music as an endearing sound in the background. I know it’s not exactly family viewing material but, don’t worry, she didn’t let me watch it with her until I was older and even then it was an edited copy.
I hope I haven’t been overdoing it with the sweets lately. For some reason though, it’s just way more fun to make desserts. My mom found ricotta at one of our grocery stores the other day and it’s one of those ingredients that I’ve only seen once or twice since moving here so I was really excited to use it. (p.s. It will be appearing again in yet another sweet treat this weekend too! Sorry, couldn’t help myself.) Cannoli was actually my moms idea, surprise, surprise, but it’s been on my list of things to eventually try for a while now so I was perfectly willing to accept the challenge.
I have to say guys, that cannoli making, it’s not as hard as you might think. Definitely not as hard as I’ve always thought, but you need to have cannoli molds to fry them on. I actually just did a classic wing-it and used some metal piping tool/things (that I honestly don’t know the actual purpose for because they were given to me) instead. The downside was that most of my cannoli weren’t 100% symmetrical. Hey, my makeshift molds didn’t cost anything because I already had them so I’ll take the cheaper option any day. I bet there are other things you could use in place of cannoli molds, or maybe you received a set of them as a wedding gift or something. If not there are some fairly inexpensive sets online that you can order, or it’s possible you have a friend who could lend you some.
Holy cannoli, they were so good! I happened to be making them and prepping them to take pictures at one of the worst possible times though, because it seemed like the smell of frying oil called everyone to the kitchen at the same time and I felt like I was protecting a fresh kill from a swarm of hungry vultures trying to tell people that they weren’t ready for tasting yet. This happens way more often than I’d like and it makes me feel like such a meany. Man, you’d think I’d have learned by now to time things better, but clearly I haven’t.
Anyway, the key is not to fill them until just before serving so that the shells stay nice and crispy. If you want to make them ahead just store the filling in the fridge and the shells in an airtight container at room temp. Don’t hesitate to add extra chocolate or even dip the edges of the shells. I wanted to do that but then I got too distracted by my not so suptle “quality control” team lurking around to help. I’m so dipping them next time though, and there will definitely be a next time. You have to make them!
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons butter, cold
- 1 egg + 1 egg yolk(save the white)
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups ricotta cheese
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 2/3 cup powdered sugar
- 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup mini chocolate chips or finely chopped chocolate
- powdered sugar (for dusting)
- cannoli molds
- about 1 quart of frying oil in a heavy bottomed pot
- For the shells, mix the sugar, flour, and salt together in a medium bowl to combine then cut in cold butter with a pastry cutter (or just work it into the flour with your hands) until you have a fine and crumbly mixture. In a seperate bowl, whisk egg and yolk with wine, vinager, water, and vanilla and pour into dry mix. Stir until it comes together into a smooth dough. Form dough into a ball and flatten into a disk shape, then wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- To make the filling: whisk ricotta until smooth in a medium bowl. Scrape the insides of vanilla bean into bowl and add powdered sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, lemon juice, and lemon zest then 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 it forms stiff peaks. Gently fold the cream into the ricotta mixture with a large rubber spatula. Stir in the chocolate. Cover an place in refrigerator until ready to use.
- Now remove shell dough from fridge and roll it out on a lightly floured surface until it's about 1/8-inch thick. Use a circle shaped cutter that's around 4-inces in diameter (a bowl or glass will also work) and cut out dough. Wrap each piece around a cannoli mold halfway then brush the end with egg white and finish rolling to seal.
- Once you've wrapped dough around all your molds (if you don't have enough molds you can do it in batches) heat oil until it's about 350 degrees F (180 C) and carefully drop in a few cannoli at a time and fry on eash side until golden brown (about 1 1/2 minutes per side). Remove with tongs or a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate and repeat frying the rest of your cannoli. Once they cool, gently loosen the molds out from the shells and place shells side by side on a tray.
- Fit a large pastry bag with a large tip (or no tip) and fill with prepared filling. Pipe it into shells from both ends to get the centers filled. Dust with powdered sugar and serve as soon as posible.