This Cannoli Recipe makes for crispy, light shells, filled with a rich and creamy Ricotta filling.
Mix the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer, or any bowl if you plan on kneading by hand.
Add the butter and yolks to the flour mixture.
Slowly start to incorporate the wine, as you stir. And mix with the paddle attachment, or a spoon or fork, to form a ball.
Switch to the dough hook, and begin to knead. Or continue to knead by hand.
Using the dough hook, it should take about 4 minutes to knead the dough. By hand it will take a bit more, from 6 to 8 minutes.
Only add more flour during the kneading process if necessary. After kneading for a while, the dough should become smooth, soft, and it shouldn't be sticky.
Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap it well in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
Once the dough rests, remove it from the fridge. It's time to begin rolling.
You can roll the dough out by hand, or with a pasta machine. Divide the dough into 8 pieces, and work with one piece at a time. If rolling out by hand, you can probably handle larger pieces, but most pasta machines won't take a huge piece of dough in, which is why I divide mine into 8 pieces.
The dough should be about 1/4" thick, perhaps slightly thiner. Using the pasta machine, I roll it in each setting once until number 6.
Don't use too much flour in the rolling process, but use enough so the dough isn't sticking.
Too much flour will produce a dry and tough dough.
You want to do this process in parts. Roll out about 1/4 of the dough and cut out circles using a 3.5" inch cutter.
Remember to keep the unused dough covered at all times.
Re-roll the scrapes of dough out and cut more circles out of it.
Once you have a few circles, start wrapping the cannoli tubes.
To wrap the tubes, place each in the middle of a dough circle, roll out the bottom half and lightly dip your finger in water and brush where will be the seam so the other side will seal. Press it to make sure the tube won't pop open in the fryer.
Heat 4 cups of shortening or oil in a large pan with a heavy bottom, until it registers 350ºF. Start frying the cannoli in batches. Fry for 1 to 2 minutes on each side, and use tongs to flip the cannoli over.
Once the cannoli are golden brown, remove to a plate or tray lines with paper towel to drain the oil.
Wait a little bit, and use paper towels to gently help remove the shells from the tube. And then proceed to wrap more shells and fry them.
It helps to have more than a few tubes. I can manage doing this with 8 tubes, but often times, I have to turn the heat off the oil so I can have time to catch up with rolling out the dough and cutting out the circles.
Rolling, cutting, wrapping, frying. Repeat until done.
Also remember to have a thermometer clipped to the side of the pan so you can control the temperature of the oil, which should be kept constantly at 350ºF.
Once the shells are cool, place them in an air-tight container, they will keep for up to 4 days, but might not be as fresh as the first 2 days.
A few hours or the day before making the filling, line a strainer with a double layer of cheesecloth, and place it over a bowl. Pour the ricotta on the strainer, and cover it with the overhanging cheesecloth. Insert it in the fridge and let it drain for a few hours, squeezing gently if you wish. This is very important because otherwise the filling will be way too wet to be piped in the cannoli.
Sift the powdered sugar.
Add the strained ricotta and vanilla seeds to the bowl of a mixer. Add the sifted powdered sugar to the bowl. Mix on low until combined.
Add the vanilla extract.
Raise the speed to medium-high and beat the mixture for a couple of minutes, until light, fluffy and creamy.
Sprinkle powdered sugar over the shells for the final touch.
Wine: Feel free to sub the wine for 1/2 cup water plus 2 1/2 tbsp of vinegar in the recipe. In my Vegan Cannoli shells I use sparkling water for the dough, and it works awesome too.
Amount: This recipe yields about 45 small cannoli, cut with the 3.5” round cutter. If you use a different size cutter, you might end up with more or less shells.
Ricotta: Do not skip the straining process of the ricotta, or you will end up with a soupy filling that will make the shells soggy, and might not even hold up to be piped in the cannoli.
Vanilla Bean: If you don't want to use the vanilla bean in the filling, or if you don't have any, simply leave it out. I also give some tips on the post above on what you can do with the vanilla pod after you are done scraping the seeds.
Chocolate Chips: I don't add chocolate chips to the ricotta, because I find it that they clog the piping tip when I am trying to pipe the filling in the cannoli. So I choose to just sprinkle it on the sides.
Please read the post above, and watch the video to see more details on how to make this delicious Cannoli recipe.