Wish Upon A Dish: Homemade Cannoli Shells and Filling

February 15, 2012

Homemade Cannoli Shells and Filling

Hope everyone had a nice Valentine's Day.
The Nudge is obsessed with cannoli lately. I think he just likes quoting that all too infamous line in a scene from the 1972 film The Godfather in which Peter Clemenza says to Rocco, who has killed Paulie in the car:
"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."

For Valentine's Day I decided to treat him to a homemade batch. So many recipes, so little time. Not having ever made these before, I was swimming in over my head. The first shell, although extremely puffed, stayed circular, but the next two unfurled and fried open (see top of stack).

I had no clue what was wrong, I had followed the recipe to a "T". I went back on line and Asked Jeeves for help and what showed up was a recipe that stated (in caps no less) make sure you roll the dough as thin as you can.
Voila!! Problem solved. I put them through the pasta machine, using the #5 setting and they fried perfectly.

Now my dough recipe worked with 1/16th of an inch thickness but others might work with the 1/8" most of them call for. Mine seemed flakier and puffier then most but we decided we like them that way and the next day, while most become limp, ours were still flaky crisp.

I will stick with this recipe if I decide to make these again. They do require a large amount of assembly work and having a pasta roller did make it easier but having to cut each square into an oval shape seemed more work then I certainly wanted to do. Next time I will just use a piece of dough cut into a rectangular sheet using a pizza cutter, which would halve the tediousness.

Hey, they are homemade and should look that way. Besides, they tasted great.

I made 15 usable shells but the recipe would have made 2 dozen. By 4:30, after re-rolling and shaping 15 shells, I would say I was un-enamored of the whole project, but I did not want to disappoint nor give up so easily.

I am glad I followed through. Next time I have a day to spare I am going to try baking them on wooden dowels cut into 6" pieces.

* 1 1/2 cups flour
* 2 tablespoons Stevia in the Raw
* 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
* 1/8 teaspoon salt
* 1 1/2 tablespoons shortening (I used lard)
* 1 egg, well beaten
* 1 tablespoon white vinegar
* 2 tablespoons Marsala wine
* 1 egg white, slightly beaten
* vegetable oil for deep frying

How to make it
1. Sift together flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Cut shortening in with a pastry blender until the pieces are the size of small peas. Stir in eggs. Blend in the vinegar and cold water. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.
2. Add additional flour, if needed, to get a smooth dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes. Set out 6 aluminum cannoli tubes. Heat oil in a deep saucepan to 360 degrees F.
3. Cut an oval shaped pattern from cardboard about 6x4-inches. Roll chilled dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/16-inch thickness. Place the cardboard pattern on dough and cut out as many as will fit on the dough. Wrap dough loosely around tubes slightly overlapping opposite ends. Seal ends by brushing with egg white and pressing together. Fry only as many shells as will float uncrowded in the hot oil. Fry until light golden brown, 3-4 minutes. Remove cannoli shells to paper towels to drain. Cool slightly and remove the tubes. Cool shells completely. Continue forming and frying cannoli shells. Using a pastry bag or a small spoon, fill the shells with the filling from both ends. Do not fill the shells until up to an hour before serving, as the filling will make the shells soggy. Sprinkle with with confectioners sugar.

For the Filling:
* 4 ounces ricotta cheese, drained
* 8 ounces Mascarpone cheese
* 1 cup granulated sugar
* 1/4 cup cornstarch

1. Mix the sugar, ricotta and cornstarch in a medium saucepan over medium heat until smooth and dissolved. Stir the sugar mixture into the mascarpone until combined. Return to saucepan and continue to cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens (a few large bubbles should pop at the surface when it has thickened), about 20 minutes. Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate. Filling should be cold when used to fill the cannoli shells.

Not for every night, but OK for special occasions. If I make these again, I will make them for a party, way too dangerous having them in the house.
I will try to bake them and stuff them with a sugar-free, fat-free chocolate mousse and see if anyone can tell the difference.

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Catherine said...

Dear Susan, I am new to your blog. It looks delicious!! I like your cooking.
I hope that you will visit my blog too and we can be blogging, foodie friends. Thank you and blessings, Catherine

Catherine said...

Dear Susan, I am just dropping by to answer the question about the chocolate pudding. It doesn't matter really~whatever you have on hand is fine, instant or regular.

By the way, these cannoli's look just so good. I remember my mom used to make homemade cannoli's, those are good memories. Blessings my dear, Catherine xo

Im At Home Baking said...

They look delicious! I have not made them myself yet. I was looking for a good recipe yesterday, so I guess I will try this one and see :)