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Sense & Edibility's Cannolis Three Ways
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Cannolis

Begin a day or two in advance. 
Course Sweets
Cuisine Italian
Keyword cannolis
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
resting time 1 day
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 2 dozen

Ingredients

Cannoli Shell Dough

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • pinch ground nutmeg
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup sweet marsala wine
  • 1 tablespoon sweet white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons cold water (plus more, as needed)
  • 3 tablespoons lard (or vegetable shortening)
  • 1 1/2 quarts vegetable or canola oil, for frying

Ricotta-Mascarpone Filling

  • 15 ounce whole milk ricotta
  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, optional

For Dipped Shells (Optional)

  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted see note
  • shelled pistachios, crushed
  • toasted coconut flakes
  • rainbow sprinkles

Optional Garnishes

  • powdered sugar
  • mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions

Begin the Cannoli Dough

  • In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg.  Mix them together to blend evenly.
  • Add the yolk of one egg and one whole egg to a separate bowl. Whisk, then save the extra egg white for sealing the cannoli dough later. Whisk the eggs until smooth.
  • Add the sweet marsala, white wine vinegar, and 2 tablespoons of water to the egg mixture and whisk to combine.
  • Pinch the lard (or shortening) into the flour until the flour resembles a coarse cornmeal. 
  • Create a well in the center of your flour/fat mixture, and add the egg mixture to the flour.
  • Use your fingers to incorporate the egg mixture into the flour. Your dough will look shaggy, then should begin coming together into a ball that's soft, supple, and no longer tacky. If the dough feels too dry, add more water, a tablespoon at a time until it's soft, but not sticky.

Rest, Roll, then Cut the Dough

  • Separate the dough into two balls, then wrap each in two layers of plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rest for at least 24 hours, up to 48 hours. 
  • Once the dough has relaxed fully, use a rolling pin to roll it out into a large rectangle that's a 1/8" thick. Use a six inch round cutter to cut the dough into circles.
  • Remove the excess trimmings and press them together to re-roll later (after they've had another chance to relax).
  • Pile the circles of cannoli dough on top of one another, separating them with a piece of wax paper. To prevent the dough from drying out, cover the pile with a piece of plastic wrap, followed by a damp kitchen towel. 

Fry the Shells

  • In a 6 qt pot, heat the oil to 350°F-375°F. Insert a deep-fry thermometer to ensure you maintain an accurate temperature. 
  • If you notice that the discs of dough has shrunk during handling, re-roll a bit more to stretch it out. Wrap the circle of dough around the cannoli tube, and brush a small amount of the reserved, whisked egg white onto the edge of the dough. 
  • Wrap the dough around the tube overlapping and pressing firmly onto the dough that's been brushed with the egg white. Be sure to press firmly, or the shell will open once during frying.
  • Fry the shells in batches of four for 4-5 minutes, or until they float up to the surface of the oil and are a dark golden brown.
  • Use tongs to remove the shells from the oil, and transfer them to a cooling rack placed over a cookie sheet to allow them to drain of excess oil. 
  • Once cooled enough to handle, carefully push the tubes from the center of the shells. You can continue re-rolling the dough and frying until all your dough has been used up.
  • Once all of your shells have been fried and completely cooled, you can fill them, or store them in an air-tight container for up to 2 days.

Dip the Shells (Optional)

  • In a small, microwavable dish, heat 1 cup of the semi-sweet chocolate chips for 1 minute. Remove the dish from the microwave and stir. 
  • Return the ramekin to the microwave and heat on high for 30 second bursts, once or twice more. Once the chips are completely melted and fluid, whisk in the remaining chocolate chips until they are melted. 
  • Dip the ends of all, or just some, of the cannoli shells into the melted chocolate; followed by the pistachios, toasted coconut, or the rainbow sprinkles- if desired.
  • Allow the chocolate to cool and set up.

Prepare the Ricotta-Mascarpone Filling

  • Combine the ricotta, mascarpone, lemon zest, powdered sugar, salt, and vanilla bean paste (or extract) to a mixing bowl. 
  • Blend the mixture together with a hand mixer on low speed until the filling is smooth and free of lumps.
  • Stir in mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, if desired, or leave the filling plain. 

Fill and Enjoy

  • Use a rubber spatula to scoop the filling into a pastry bag that's been fitted with a plain round tip.
  • Pipe the filling into the center of an empty cannoli shell- it will probably only fill it 3/4's of the way. Flip it around and fill the opposite end to fill the cannoli shell completely. Continue filling the cannolis until you've run out of both filling and shells.
  • Once your cannolis have been filled, you can sprinkle powdered sugar over them, or serve them as is.  
  • If you're not going to serve the cannolis immediately, be sure to refrigerate them until you're ready to serve.

Notes

  • Try to avoid getting the egg white onto the tubes because it'll burn, and may cause the cannoli dough to stick to the tube after frying.
  • After rolling out the dough scraps a second time, it's best to discard any leftover trimmings. After the second roll, the dough tends to become too tough to be of any further use.
  • If you want to dip the shells, it's best to do so the same day you plan to fill them.
  • Cannolis are best enjoyed 24 hours after you've filled them, they will become soggy and stale the longer they sit.