Sicilians are supposed to have created this great dessert recipe, and I think that they are just delicious. I hope that this recipe is fairly easy to follow. You will need some type of dowel or metal tube that you will use to form out your cannoli shells. If you have a 3 1/2 inch in diameter ring or even a 3 inch ring, you will need this to form the shape of your shells, also. You will also need a deep fryer, or a pan that is deep enough for these shells to float in oil.
Ingredients for Cannoli Shells:
3 Cups of unsifted flour
1/4 Teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon of salt
3 Tablespoon of granulated sugar
2 Tablespoon of firm butter cut into small cubes
1/4 Cup of a good Marsala wine
1-2 egg whites, whisked slightly
First thing is to sift the flour with salt, cinnamon, and granulated sugar. You will make a well in the center of your sifted flour mixture. In the middle of the well you have made you will add the egg and butter and start mixing with a fork. You will work the egg mixture with the fork from the center out, to incorporate the moist egg with the flour mixture. You will then add your Marsala wine slowly until dough begins to come together like a playdough mixture. You will then start working the dough with your hands to form the dough into a dough ball. You will then cover and let the dough rise for about 10-15 minutes.
If you have a stainless area to work on great, if not you will need a wooden cutting board. You will need to slightly dust the area you plan to work on with a small amount of flour. You will then roll out the dough into 1/4 inch thickness. You will then use your 3 1/2 rings and cut the cannoli shell circles. You will then use a rolling pin to roll the circles into oblongs or ovals. You will then take your dowels or tubes and wrap the dough around cannoli forms. You will then whisk your egg white, and seal your dough edges by using a brush or very clean hands if you have no brush. You will then roll up ever so slightly the ends so they will have a very faint lip or ring on the edge of the cooked product.
At some point when you are ready to get your shells into the oil to start cooking them you will heat your oil to around 350 degrees. Once it is at the proper temperature you will begin to fry two, or three at a time in "deep" hot fat for about 1 minute, or until lightly golden. Remove with tongs to paper towels to drain, you will then let cool for about 30 seconds to one minute and then slip out cannoli form, holding shell carefully so you will not break it. Cool shells before filling. Let them hang out while you will start to make your filling.
Ingredients for the Cannoli filling:
3 lb. ricotta cheese, that has had moisture removed
2 1/2 Cup of confectioners' sugar
1/4 Cup of semi-sweet chocolate pieces or grated sweet chocolate
1/4 Cupcandied cherries, finely chopped
1/2 Teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 Cup of chopped pistachio nuts
Confectioners' sugar to dust each of the finished Cannoli's maybe about 1/2 Cup
First thing you will want to do is take your ricotta and place into cheesecloth and wrap it into a ball and then you will tie a knot in the top part of the ball you have made. You will want to hold over night if possible to drain the water from the ricotta. If you have some way to hang the cheese ball in your refrigerator that would be best. You will need to have a bowl under the cheese to catch all of the moisture that will drain off of the ricotta. The shells that you have made will hole for a couple of days if you want to make these in stages. They are worth the wait, and the time taken to make these little delicacies.
First you will take the drained ricotta and get it into the bowl and work it for a minute or two to get it more pliable. You will gently start to combine the cheese, and the sugar into a mixing bowl, and fold in with a spatula until you obtain a light, airy blend of ingredients. You will start to fold in the minced candied fruit and the chocolate very gently. You will then start to spoon the cheese filling into a pastry bag, or a large Ziploc if you do not have a pastry bag. You will then twist the top into a knot to keep the filling from emerging, and fill each of the Cannoli shells, squirting the filling in from either end.
Once you have all of the shells filled you will dip the ends of the cannoli in the pistachios. You will then arrange all of the Cannolis on a platter, and sprinkle with a little powdered sugar, and they're ready. If you would like to garnish you can save some of the candied cherries and place them on the center of each Cannoli after the powdered sugar has been applied. Then serve, and enjoy.
Chef Shelley Pogue is a Le Cordon Bleu graduate from The Texas Culinary Academy located in Austin, Texas. Chef Pogue graduated with honors of cum laude with a GPA of 3.71. Shelley went to work for The Hills Fitness Center in Westlake Hills after graduation and stayed the for one year as the Executive Chef. She then left The Hills and went to work for a company Vertical Sales and Marketing, San Ramon, CA. Chef Pogue is currently developing sauces and meal concepts for large retail markets in the US. Chef Pogue lives in Austin, TX, and is also a personal chef and caterer, and also working on developing a recipe and cook book.
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