Cannoli!! This recipe creates a crisp and flaky cannoli shell that encloses a delectable ricotta center that is sweet and creamy and studded with dark chocolate chips.
Or, to put it another way, dessert nirvana! It might take a bit more work to make these homemade Italian pastries than other treats, but it will be worth it!
Cannoli (Shell and Filling Recipes)
These cannoli have the same flavor as the best Italian bakeries have to offer! They are the ideal marriage of tastes and textures.
The cannoli shells have the ideal amount of tenderness and flakiness—the kind of texture that breaks apart in your mouth.
Rich and wonderfully sweetened, the ricotta cannoli filling only becomes better with the addition of those tiny flecks of micro dark chocolate chips that are strewn throughout.
However, you can increase the flavor of the filling by including more cinnamon, orange zest, maraschino cherries, or vanilla. Finish by dipping the ends in crunchy pistachios, if desired.
Don’t be put off by the lengthy list of stages in this recipe; while it may take some time the first time, once you get the hang of it, making these cannoli will be simple. They might even start a new customer for a celebration or holiday!
It is worthwhile to learn how to prepare these delicious Italian treats!
Ingredients Needed to Make Cannoli Shells
- Unbleached all-purpose flour
- Granulated sugar
- Unsalted butter
- Marsala wine
- Egg and egg white
- Vegetable oil
Ingredients Needed to Make Cannoli Filling
- Whole milk ricotta
- Powdered sugar
- Mini chocolate chips
- Pistachios (optional)
Special tools are required:
- processing food
- metallic tongs with a rolling pin
- oval or round cookie cutters, 4 inches
- cannoli shapes (I have these)
- pipe cleaner and a big spherical tip (or a gallon-size Ziploc bag with a snipped corner will work too)
How Are Cannoli Shells Made?
- In a food processor, combine the dry ingredients.
- Add butter and pulse.
- To combine, pulse in the egg and marsala wine.
- Place in an oiled bowl, cover, and let the dough rest.
- In a pot, heat the oil.
- On a floured surface, very thinly roll out the dough.
- Rounds or ovals should be cut (about 4-inches each).
- Wrap rounds around cannoli molds that have been greased, then use egg white to seal the top or bottom edge.
- Fry for 1 to 2 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp, in hot oil.
- Cannoli shells should be removed and dried on paper towels.
- Shells should be taken out of the molds when they have cooled.
- Prepare the cannoli filling.
- Fill cannoli shells with filling after allowing them to cool completely.
Can I Make the Dough without a Food Processor?
Rolling the dough for the cannoli shells, cutting it into rounds, wrapping them in forms, frying them, and then extracting them from the molds.
- Is a food processor required to make the dough?
- Yes, mixing can be done by hand as well. To do this:
- In a mixing basin, combine the dry ingredients.
- With a pastry cutter or fork, incorporate the butter into the dough.
- With a wooden spoon, combine the egg and marsala wine. To combine, add more wine.
- Knead to a shaggy ball momentarily. Follow the directions for resting and frying.
What Is The Cannoli Filling Recipe?
The recipe’s filling is the simplest step. All that is required is:
- Rinse the ricotta.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the ricotta, sugar, chocolate chips, and cinnamon.
- To combine, fold and swirl the mixture.
How is Ricotta Strained?
A little tip: I like to use ricotta that isn’t runny (like Galbani), lay it out on paper towels, cover it with more paper towels to press out the excess moisture, and then wrap it up before unrolling and dropping it into a dish.
Here is a link that illustrates two straining techniques for wetter ricotta.
How Long Do Cannoli Keep After Being Stored?
Cannoli shells should be kept at room temperature in an airtight container and should last a week. Separate from the shells, the filling should be kept in the refrigerator for no less than five days.
How Can Crisp Cannoli Shells Be Repaired?
This step shouldn’t even be necessary if you follow the instructions exactly, but in case it is, it will fix the problem.
If you do wind up with cannoli shells that aren’t quite crispy, you may bake them at 250 degrees for 5 to 10 minutes to get them crisp if you arrange them on a wire rack over a baking sheet.
Of course, avoid attempting to do this with cannoli shells that have cream inside.
Potential Changes and Substitutions
There are various authentic cannoli versions available locally, so you can change things up as you choose. One can:
- In shells, substitute shortening or lard for butter. Fry in refined coconut oil, peanut oil, vegetable oil, shortening, lard, or peanut oil.
- Instead of using powdered sugar, use granulated sugar (but stir enough to dissolve any grittiness).
- For a subtle background flavor, you can add 1/4 tsp of cinnamon or 2 tsp of unsweetened cocoa powder to the cannoli shell mixture.
- For marsala wine, use white wine. Use grape juice or water and vinegar as directed in the recipe if you prefer a no-wine version.
- Add cinnamon, vanilla extract or vanilla bean, maraschino cherry chunks, chopped chocolate or micro chocolate chips, orange zest, and other ingredients to the filling.
- Melted chocolate is applied to the ends of the completed cannoli shells. Before filling, allow chilling.
- Dip each end of the filled cannoli in chopped, unsalted pistachios.
- To the filling, add the mascarpone. Use 8 oz in place of 8 oz of ricotta, and smooth it out before adding the remaining filling ingredients by pressing it against a bowl with a spatula.
- If you’re short on time, use pre-made shells and only utilize the filling recipe found here.
- Before serving, sprinkle with powdered sugar to your heart’s desire.
How to Make the Best Cannoli?
- Allowing the dough to relax will make it simpler to roll out and deal with.
- For crispy shells, roll out the dough extremely thinly.
- Using a deep fry or candy thermometer, heat the oil to the correct temperature (otherwise, the shells can get soft or burnt), then keep it there.
- Ricotta needs its moisture removed. Otherwise, once the sugar is added, it will be soupy.
- For the crispiest results, serve cannoli within an hour of filling. After some time, the ricotta’s moisture will start to seep into the shells, softening them.
Additional Delectable Desserts You’ll Enjoy
- Ricotta Lemon Cake
- Ricotta Biscuits
- Cookies in butter
- Pastry Tarts with Cream of Ricotta as the Filling
- 1 3/4 cups (250g) unbleached all-purpose flour (scoop and level to measure)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp (18g) granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 Tbsp (43g) unsalted butter, diced into small pieces
- 1/3 cup marsala wine*, then more as needed
- 1 large egg
- 1 egg white
- Vegetable oil or shortening, for frying (about 8 cups)
- 32 oz. whole milk ricotta, strained**
- 1 1/2 cups (180g) powdered sugar***
- 3/4 cup (126g) mini chocolate chips
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon****
- Chopped unsalted pistachios, optional
Regarding the Cannoli Shells
To a food processor add flour, sugar, and salt. Pulse in short bursts about 10 times. Add butter and pulse in short bursts just until there aren’t clumps of butter.
Add in marsala wine and a whole egg. Pulse to mix well while adding additional wine to bring the dough together in a soft shaggy mass (you shouldn’t need more than a few Tbsp extra wine).
Shape into a round, and transfer to an oiled bowl. Cover and let rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.
Heat a large pot with 1 1/2 inches of vegetable oil to 345 – 355 degrees. Working with half the dough at a time (and keeping the other half covered in the bowl) roll the dough out very thinly onto a well-floured surface (nearly 1/16-inch).
Using a 3 1/2 to 4-inch cookie cutter, cut dough into rounds. Spray cannoli forms with cooking spray then wrap individual dough circles around each cannoli form, while brushing about 3/4-inch of one end lightly with egg white (use a pastry brush or just your fingertip). Press the edge to the opposite side.
Using metal tongs, carefully immerse the shell in preheated oil and fry until golden brown and crisp, about 1 – 2 minutes (be sure to watch oil temp so the oil doesn’t get too hot and burn shells. You can fry up to 6 at a time).
Remove from oil using metal tongs to grasp the cannoli shell (let oil from inside forms drain back into the pot), and transfer to paper towels to drain. Use metal tongs to hold the mold (or folded layers of paper towels) and wrap a paper towel around the shell to carefully slide it off of the form.
Let forms cool and repeat the process with the remaining dough circles. You can shake excess flour from scraps, press them back together, cover them in a bowl, and let them relax for at least 10 minutes then reuse them.
Allow to cool on a wire rack then fill with cannoli filling and decorate as desired (with melted chocolate on the edges, chopped pistachios, mini chocolate chips, or dust tops with powdered sugar).
For the Cannoli Filling
In a mixing bowl fold and stir together strained ricotta, powdered sugar, chocolate chips, and cinnamon. Transfer into a piping bag fitted with a large round tip. Pipe filling into cooled cannoli shells.
- *Marsala wine, either dry or sweet, may be utilized. You can substitute 1/4 cup grape juice or water with 1 Tbsp vinegar in place of marsala wine, and then add more juice as necessary.
- **I prefer to use a brand of ricotta that isn’t runny (like Galbani), lay it out on paper towels, cover it with more paper towels to wick out some of the moisture, and then wrap it up before unrolling it and placing it in a bowl. Here is a link that illustrates two straining techniques for wetter ricotta.
- ***1 cup of granulated sugar can be used in place of powdered sugar; just be sure you stir it thoroughly to dissolve it.
- Cinnamon can be doubled or left out. Choose the cannoli that you like because they are made differently in different parts of Italy. The filling can also include orange zest, chopped maraschino cherries, and vanilla bean extract.