Recipe for cannoli filled with ricotta

Makes 12 small cannoli

You need at least 6 cannoli tubes and a pot in which you can deep-fat fry. You can roll the dough on a pasta machine or by hand. These cannoli are smaller than you typically get in Italian-American pastry shops.

FILLING

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15 ounces whole or part-skim milk ricotta, drained,
if necessary
¾ cup confectioners’ sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 ounce semisweet chocolate, chopped (optional)
1 tablespoon finely chopped candied orange peel
(optional)

1. In a food processor, blend ricotta until creamy. Add confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Blend until smooth.

2. Transfer to a bowl. With a rubber spatula, fold in chocolate or candied fruit, if using. Cover and refrigerate.

SHELLS

cups flour
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
½ teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
teaspoons vegetable oil
teaspoons white wine vinegar
cup white wine
Extra flour (for sprinkling)
Vegetable oil (for the tubes and deep-fat frying)
1 egg white, lightly beaten
¼ cup chopped unsalted shelled pistachios (for garnish)
Confectioners’ sugar (for sprinkling)

1. In a food processor, combine the flour, granulated sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, and salt. Pulse to blend them. Pour in the oil, vinegar, and wine. Blend to make a soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead for 10 minutes or until smooth. Shape the dough into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature at least 1 hour.

2. Cut the dough into 4 pieces. Work with 1 piece and keep the remaining dough covered with plastic wrap. If using a pasta machine, start at the middle setting, run the dough through the rollers. Lightly dust the dough with flour as needed to keep it from sticking. Pass the dough through the machine repeatedly, until you reach the highest or second-highest setting. The dough should be about 4 inches wide and 12 inches long. It will be thin enough to see your hand through. Alternatively, roll the dough with a rolling pin, using a very small amount of flour. Cut the strip of dough into 4-inch squares.

3. Repeat with the remaining dough. If you do not have enough cannoli tubes for all of the dough, lay the pieces of dough on sheets of plastic wrap and keep them covered until you are ready to use them.

4. Oil the outside of the cannoli tubes. Place a tube crosswise from corner to corner on top of one piece of dough. Fold the two remaining corners of the dough around the tube, being careful not to stretch or pull it. Dab a little egg white on the dough where the edges overlap. (Avoid getting egg white on the tube, or the pastry will stick to it.) Press to seal. Set aside.

5. In a deep-fat fryer or large deep saucepan, pour enough oil to reach a depth of 2 inches. If using an electric deep-fryer, follow the manufacturer’s directions. Heat the oil to 370 degrees on a deep-fat thermometer; a small piece of the dough will sizzle and brown in 1 minute. Have ready a tray lined with paper towels.

6. Use tongs to lower a few of the cannoli tubes into the hot oil. Do not crowd the pan. Fry the shells for 2 minutes or until golden, turning them so that they brown evenly. With the tongs, grasp a cannoli tube at one end. Very carefully remove a tube with the open sides straight up and down so that the oil flows back into the pan. Place the tube on the paper towels; repeat with the remaining tubes. While they are still hot, grasp the tubes with a potholder and pull the cannoli shells off the tubes with the tongs. Let the shells cool completely. Continue to make and fry shells using the remaining dough. If you are reusing the cannoli tubes, cool completely before wrapping them in the dough.

7. Fit a ½-inch plain round tip into a pastry bag or have on hand a heavy-duty plastic storage bag. Fill the bag with the ricotta cream. If using a plastic bag, cut about ½ inch off one corner. Insert the tip into the cannoli shell and squeeze gently until the shell is half filled. Turn the shell and fill the other side. Sprinkle the ends with pistachios. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar. Serve within 3 hours.

Karoline Boehm Goodnick. Adapted from “1,000 Italian Recipes.”