This is one of my favorite Italian desserts and the perfect ending to any Italian dinner. The shells are pretty simple to make, and taste so much better than the ready-made shells you buy in the Italian markets. Note that cooking time also includes chilling time.
- 4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons butter, softened
- 2 egg yolks
- 3⁄4 cup white wine
- shortening, for frying
- 4 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1 1⁄2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1⁄3 cup finely chopped maraschino cherry
- 1⁄4 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream, optional
- To make shells, mix flour, sugar and salt in a bowl.
- Cut in butter.
- Add egg yolks; stir with a fork.
- Stir in wine, 1 tablespooon at a time, with a fork until dough clings together.
- Form a ball with the dough and let stand for 30 minutes.
- Roll dough almost paper thin, on a well-floured surface.
- Using the rim of a margarita glass (about 3-4 inches across), make circle imprints into rolled dough.
- Using a paring knife, make sure circles are cut all the way through.
- Roll each circle of dough around a metal cannoli tube, overlaping the ends and press to seal, flaring out the edges slightly.
- Fry one or two at a time in hot melted shortening (about 360°F) for approximately 1 minute, turning to brown all sides.
- Remove from hot grease and drain on paper towels, seam side down.
- Let cool a minute or two before trying to remove metal tube.
- To remove the tube hold cannoli shell down on the paper towel and carefully slide the tube out one end.
- Leave cannoil shells on paper towel, seam side down to cool completely.
- ~NOTE~Shells can be stored in airtight containers and made several days prior to filling.
- For filling, drain ricotta cheese over cheesecloth if ricotta is watery.
- Combine ricotta cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract until combined.
- Squeeze Maraschino cherries with paper towels to remove all liquid.
- (If you don't squeeze them good, you will have a pink water filling!).
- Stir in cherries and chocolate chips into the ricotta mixture, being careful not to over mix.
- For a lighter filling, you may whip 1 cup of heavy whipping cream to form stiff peaks, and fold into filling mixture at this step.
- Chill filling for about 30 minutes before piping into cooled cannoli shells.
- You may garnish the cannoli by sprinkling powdered sugar on top.
- Whipped cream, a cherry, and shaved chocolate can also be used to garnish the top.
- Keep refrigerated until time of serving.