Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011
Cannoli originated in Sicily, at the southern tip of Italy. Kind of like an Italian cheesecake in a tube, it is an essential part of Sicilian culture. Throughout the years cannoli has become as popular in America as they are in Italy.
Cannoli has two parts—the tube-shaped shells of fried pastry dough and a filling of sweet, creamy flavored ricotta. Cannoli range in size from “cannulicchi,” no bigger than a little finger, to large diameter, cigar-sized proportions.
My recipe adds chocolate flavor to the traditional ricotta cream filling. While they take about an hour or so to make they’re certainly worth it as a finale to a simple bowl of meatballs and spaghetti or a great Italian culinary feast. Wow! Now that’s Italian!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Ready In: 60 minutes
Yield: 10-12 Stuffed Cannoli
For the Shells:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons shortening
1 egg white (large egg)
3/4 cup red wine (inexpensive Chianti will do nicely)
1 1/2 quarts oil for deep frying
For the Filling:
1 1/2 pounds ricotta cheese
1/2 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup Choclatique Rouge Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup Choclatique Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini Chips
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped, candied orange peel
1/4 cup rough chopped, roasted pistachio nuts
1/2 cup ground, roasted pistachio nuts
To Make the Cannoli Shells:
- In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Blend in the shortening and egg white. Add the red wine one tablespoon at a time until the mixture forms a ball. Knead the dough just to bring it together. Cover and let rest for half an hour.
- Heat oil in deep-fryer to 375º F.
- Divide dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into 4 inch long ovals. Using a fork or pairing knife, poke holes in the ovals to prevent puffing.
- Place a metal cannoli tube onto the oval lengthwise and roll up with edges overlapping; seal with a dab of egg white.
- Fry cannoli shells 2 or 3 at a time in the hot oil. When golden brown and lightly blistered, remove from the oil to drain on paper towels. Remove tubes.
To Make the Cannoli Filling:
- In a medium bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, confectioners’ sugar and cocoa powder. Fold in the vanilla extract, chocolate chips, candied orange peel and chopped pistachios.
- Chill the ricotta mixture for at least half an hour before filling shells.
- Drain off any excess liquid and spoon the filling into a pastry bag.
- Carefully fill the cannoli shells and smooth off at the edges.
- Dip the open ends of the filled cannoli in the ground pistachios so that it clings to the cheese filling.
- Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
ChefSecrets: The shells can be made a day or two ahead of time and held in an air tight container. For a creamier filling, replace 8 Oz. of the ricotta cheese with 8 Oz. of mascarpone cheese or cream cheese.