For the Cannoli Shells:
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup dry Marsala or other dry red wine
- Cannoli molds (tubes for shaping shells during frying)
- 2 beaten egg whites
- Vegetable oil, for frying
For the Cannoli Filling:
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 pound ricotta
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons nut-flavored liqueur, such as Nocello, Frangelico, or Amaretto
- 1/4 cup finely chopped dates
- 1/2 cup melted semisweet chocolate
- 1/4 cup chopped pistachios
For the shells:
Into a bowl sift together the flour, sugar, and salt. With your fingers, work the wine gradually into the dry ingredients to form a stiff dough. Form into a ball, wrap in plastic and let rest at room temperature for 1 hour.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thickness. With a cutter, cut out rounds 5-inches in diameter. In batches, as necessary, wrap each round onto a cannoli mold, sealing the edges with egg white.
In a deep saute pan, heat the oil to 350 degrees F.
Fry the cannoli in batches until just golden brown and crisp, about 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels, let cool, then gently slip the molds from the cannoli. (Note: Shells can be made 3 days in advance and kept at room temperature in an airtight container.)
For the filling:
Place 1 cannoli shell on a flat surface. Working from either end, fill the cannoli with the ricotta filling (using a pastry bag, if desired), pressing gently to ensure that the middle is filled. Dip both ends in the melted chocolate, then into the pistachios and place on a waxed paper lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining cannoli, and serve.