Note: To make this classic dessert correctly, it is essential to have metal cannoli tubes.
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons butter, unsalted
- 3 tablespoons Marsala
- 2 quarts canola oil, for frying
- 1 pound sheep or cow's milk ricotta, drained 1 hour in a cheesecloth-lined conical sieve
- 1/2 cup superfine sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 4 tablespoons candied orange zest, recipe follows
- 1/4 cup tiny chocolate chips
- 1 egg white, lightly beaten
- Powdered sugar, for dusting
In a large bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, sugar, and cocoa powder and cut in the butter with 2 knives or a pastry cutter, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the Marsala and shape the dough into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate.
In a 3 1/2-quart pot, heat the canola oil to 350 degrees F.
In a mixing bowl, stir together the ricotta, sugar, vanilla, orange zest and chocolate chips until well-mixed. Spoon into a pastry bag with an open tip and place in the refrigerator. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide into 4 pieces. Roll one piece onto a flat surface with a rolling pin to a 1/16-inch thickness. Using a cookie cutter, cut 4-inch circles from the dough. Using the rolling pin, roll each circle into an oval and wrap each oval lengthwise around a metal form, sealing the edges with egg whites. Flare the edges open with fingers.
Gently drop the cannoli shells into the hot oil and fry until dark golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and allow to drain on paper towels. When the cannoli are cool enough to touch, twist the molds away from the shells. The shells may be made one day in advance and allowed to rest, unfilled and uncovered.
To complete the cannoli, stuff with ricotta cream, dust with powdered sugar and serve.
Candied Citrus Zest:
- 8 cups sugar
- 5 cups water
- Zest of 4 oranges or 3 grapefruits or 8 lemons, cut julienne
- Superfine sugar, for sprinkling
In a 2 quart saucepan, combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil, making sure all sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat.
In a large saucepan, combine the zest and enough cold water to cover and bring to a boil. Remove the zest, rinse with cold water and repeat the process 2 more times.
Place the blanched zest in a saucepan and pour the syrup over the zest, adding an extra inch to cover the zest. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until the zest is translucent and tender. Remove from heat and cool. Drain the syrup and lay the zest out on a cooling rack. Toss in sugar and store in an airtight container.