This all time favourite Italian pastry may be a labour of love but it's definitely worth the effort. Roll the dough as thinly as you can to get the perfect crispy cannoli shell. To make the cinnamon scented ricotta filling even more decadent, add a little mascarpone.
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp. cold butter, cut into small cubes (unsalted)
6 to 7 tbsp. dry marsala wine
2 cups fresh ricotta
1/2 cup icing sugar, sugar to taste
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Vegetable oil, for frying
1 egg white, lightly beaten
4 to 8 cannoli tubes
Ground pistachios, for garnishing
Icing sugar, for garnishing
Add flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt to bowl. Whisk to combine.
Add butter cubes. Blend with your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in marsala until the dough starts to come together.
Turn out mixture and knead until dough comes together, about 2 minutes. (Note: dough will be rough, it will not be smooth and elastic.) Wrap dough plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
In the meantime, beat together ricotta, icing sugar and cinnamon in a bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Chill at least 1 hour before filling cannoli.
Cut dough in 4 pieces.
Roll 1 piece of dough out at a time. Wrap remaining dough so it does not dry out. Roll out the dough to about 1/8-inch thickness. Cut dough into rounds with a 3-inch cookie cutter. Roll the rounds further, as thinly as possible. Repeat with remaining 3 pieces of dough. You should be able to get about 24 rounds without re-rolling.
Pour enough oil into a Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot to come halfway up the sides of the pot. Heat oil to 350 degrees F. over medium heat.
Meanwhile, lightly oil the cannoli tubes.
Loosely wrap a round of dough around a cannoli tube, overlapping ends. Brush or dab a little of the beaten egg white between the edges of the dough so the dough sticks together and doesn’t slide of the tube while frying.
Fry 3 to 4 cannoli shells at a time, turning with metal tongs, until golden brown, about 1 minute.
Wearing oven mitts, carefully remove the shells from the hot cannoli tubes with tongs. If you allow the shell to cool it will stick to tube and shatter when you try to remove it.
Transfer shells to paper towels to drain and cool tubes before reusing.
When cannoli shells are cooled completely. Spoon filling into pastry bag and pipe some into 1 end of a shell, filling shell halfway, then pipe into other end. Repeat with remaining shells. Garnish cannolis with pistachios and icing sugar.
Yield: About 24 servings.