Who doesn’t love an authentic, made with love, cannoli? They may require a little more effort than some other desserts but they are well worth it! That flaky, crisp shell enclosing this decadently creamy, sweet ricotta filling which is dotted with dark chocolate chips is pure bliss! They are dessert done right.
Some of you may look at this recipe and say no that’s not how it’s done. Cannoli are made with an all ricotta filling, no mascarpone, some orange zest and plenty of marsala. Well, when was the last time I stuck exactly to the way things are done? If that’s how you like them though by all means do it, I just made them how I prefer. I also made them according to the ingredients I have. I don’t keep wine on hand and I didn’t want to make a special trip to a liquor store to get it just to use 1/2 cup in these so I improvised and no one would notice the difference. They taste just like the ones I’ve gotten at Italian bakeries.
For the shells, be sure to roll the dough as thin as you can without it tearing. That is what will help give the shells that perfectly crisp texture (also be sure to fully preheat the oil and maintain that temperature, as that is another key for crunch). If you do happen to end with not so crispy shells you can place them on a wire rack set over a cookie sheet and bake them at 250 until crisp, about 5 – 10 minutes (but you shouldn’t need to if the previous steps are followed). Then for the filling, definitely be sure to strain the ricotta well or you will end up with more of a soupy filling that will never hold any sort of form for piping, and it’s not reversible.
Cannoli forms are needed for this recipe and if you don’t already own some I just used these here and they worked great.
Don’t be scared away by the number of steps in this recipe, the first time will likely go slow but once you get the hang of it they’ll become a breeze to prepare! Besides these delicious treats are so worth learning to make!
And side note, even though there is only one egg yolk pictured in the step-by-step photos below I did end up mixing in a second (just don’t want to confuse anyone).
- 2 cups (10 oz) all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp (1 oz) unsalted butter, diced into tiny pieces
- 1/2 cup (4 oz) white grape juice*
- 1 1/2 Tbsp red wine vinegar*
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 egg white
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 15 oz. whole milk ricotta, strained**
- 8 oz Mascarpone (I recommend BelGioioso)
- 2/3 cup (3 oz) powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
- Melted chocolate, chopped pistachios, mini chocolate chips, powdered sugar, for garnish (optional)
- For the filling:
- In a mixing bowl, using a rubber or silicone spatula, blend together Ricotta and Mascarpone cheese while running and pressing mixture along bottom of bowl to remove any lumps. Fold in powdered sugar. Fold in chocolate chips. Cover and chill 30 minutes, or until ready to use. Pour into a piping bag fitted with a large round tip to fill shells.
- For the shells:
- In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Add butter and using your fingertips work butter into mixture until it starts to become sandy. Add grape juice, vinegar, and egg yolks and stir with a wooden spoon until it starts to come together. Then mix and knead by hand to make a nearly smooth ball. Divide into two equal portions, flatten into disks then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Heat a large pot with 1 1/2-inches vegetable oil to 360 degrees. Working with one disk at a time, roll 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 dough circles around cannoli forms, while brushing 3/4-inch of the end lightly with egg white to seal shell shut.
- Flare edges out slightly (to allow oil to run up through) and using metal tongs, carefully immerse and hold shell in oil and fry until golden brown and crisp, about 1 - 2 minutes (be sure to watch oil temp so oil doesn't get too hot and burn shells. It should stay between 360 and 370 degrees).
- Remove from oil and use metal tongs to hold mold, wrap a paper towel around shell to carefully slide off of form. Repeat process with remaining dough circles. Allow to cool on a wire rack then fill with cannoli cream filling and decorate as desired (with melted chocolate on edges, pistachios, mini chocolate chips or powdered sugar).
- *The white grape juice and the red wine vinegar can also be replaced with equal parts Marsala wine, so 1/2 cup + 1 1/2 Tbsp marsala wine. I just never keep it on hand so I used the juice and vinegar instead.
- **Here is a link that shows two straining methods here. You'll want to strain out about 3 oz.