One cannolo, Two cannoli. Why do we always refer to these treats as cannoli, and never a cannolo? Because it is impossible to eat only one of them. I just love these “little tubes” (See how you’re learning some Italian with me?). When I lived in Italy, I tried cannoli at basically every pastry shop I came across. These homemade Cannoli with Ricotta-Mascarpone Cream are still my favorite.
First thing first, if you want to make Cannoli with Ricotta-Mascarpone Cream at home you will need some cannoli forms like the ones pictured below. They’re available on Amazon for a reasonable price, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll put them to good use.
Once you’ve got your cannoli forms, you’re ready to start your cannoli shells. This may sound strange, but I can’t tell you how amazing the dough smells. The entire time I was kneading the dough, I was thinking how much I would like my kitchen to always smell like that. The combination of the cocoa, cinnamon, and Marsala is unspeakably delicious. (You may not really want to buy a bottle of Marsala wine just for this recipe, but go for it. I’ve got a great recipe for Chicken Marsala coming later this week to help you use it up.) You may feel like the 15 minutes of kneading seems unnecessary, but at the end of the 15 minutes, you’ll understand why. The dough gets incredibly silky smooth and elastic. (Consider yourself warned though, it starts out VERY sticky.)
A tip for achieving the characteristic bubbles in the shells: Don’t roll the dough too thin. If it’s too thin, the dough will not be able to bubble up during frying. Don’t roll too thick though either of your shells will be too tough. I recommend doing one practice shell first to be sure you’re happy with the thickness and the outcome.Last, but not least, the filling. This recipe for the filling is delicious without being overly sweet or so rich that you can’t possibly have another. Some filling recipes are made with ricotta, others are sometimes made with mascarpone, and some are simply filled with a custard (less common). I found my favorite version to include equal parts of ricotta and mascarpone. Using both ricotta and mascarpone make the filling lighter and less dense than the super-rich mascarpone versions, but is still wonderfully creamy and decadent.
First thing my dad said when he heard I was making cannoli: “Leave the gun, take the cannoli.” -The Godfather. Couldn’t have said it better myself.
Cannoli with Ricotta-Mascarpone Cream
- Total Time: 2 hours
- Yield: 12 Cannoli 1x
For the Cannoli Shells:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup Marsala wine
- 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 egg white, beaten
- Vegetable oil, for frying the shells
For the Ricotta-Mascarpone Cream
- 3/4 cup whole milk ricotta, drained and squeezed dry
- 3/4 cup mascarpone cheese
- 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips, plus more for decoration
To make the Cannoli Shells:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and salt. Add the Marsala and the oil and beat on medium speed just until dough comes together. By hand, knead dough on a lightly floured surface until very smooth, about 15 minutes. Wrap in plastic and let rest for 30 minutes. (NOTE: The dough starts out incredibly sticky. Please be patient and continue kneading for the full 15 minutes, adding a bit more flour as needed but resist adding too much. Near the end of the 15 minute kneading time all of a sudden the dough comes together and is silky smooth and no longer sticks to your hands.)
- Divide dough in half, leaving one half wrapped in the plastic. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface until it is very thin, about the thickness of a penny. Using a round cutter, or the rim of a container about 3 1/2 inches in diameter (I used the rim of a plastic container), cut out circles. Repeat with remaining half of the dough.
- Pour a few inches of oil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan or pot. Heat over medium heat until a thermometer registers 375 degrees, regulating heat to maintain temperature around 375-380 degrees F.
- Wrap each circle of dough around a cannoli form, and seal with the egg white (just a little dab will work like glue). Leave the dough on the form. You’ll remove the shell from the form after frying.
- In batches of 2 at a time, fry each cannoli shell until golden, about 1 minute. Carefully remove the shells from the oil using a skewer inserted through the metal tube, or using tongs.
- Allow to drain and cool on paper towel for a few minutes before sliding the metal cannoli mold out from the shell. Repeat with remaining dough.
To Make the Ricotta Mascarpone Cream:
- Beat ricotta, mascarpone, confectioners sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt together until smooth. Fold in mini chocolate chips. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
- Using a piping bag with an opening cut about the same diameter as your cannoli shells, fill the cannoli. Roll each end of the filled cannoli into the remaining mini chocolate chips.
Note: Do not fill the cannoli shells ahead of time. The shells will get soft and chewy. You can make the shells and the cream ahead, and then fill them shortly before serving.
This recipe first appeared on Kitchen Joy.