Chocolate Cannoli

Cannoli are fantastic. Traditionally they're bigger than mine and contain chunks of candied fruit, nuts and chocolate, but I wanted to go a bit more delicate, and ricotta is the filling hero here. It is helpful to buy some metal cannoli tubes, which you can get online--just squeeze them to 2 centimeters (3/4 inch) in diameter before use.
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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 30 min (includes resting time)
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 24 servings
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Ingredients

2 large free-range eggs

60 milliliters (1/4 cup) sweet wine or Marsala

Olive oil

250 grams (9 ounces) plain or Tipo 00 flour, plus extra for dusting

1 liter (1 quart) sunflower oil, for frying

200 grams (7 ounces) 70-percent dark chocolate

100 grams (3.5 ounces) toasted hazelnuts

600 grams (21 ounces) quality ricotta cheese

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

2 tablespoons runny honey

2 heaped teaspoons quality cocoa powder

1 tablespoon grappa

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, whip 1 egg with the sweet wine and 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Gradually add the flour (you may not need it all) until it comes together into a ball of dough. Knead for a few minutes, or until smooth and silky. Wrap in plastic wrap and leave to rest for 1 hour.
  2. Pour the sunflower oil into a large, sturdy pan on a medium-high heat, and leave it to get to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F) on a thermometer. Meanwhile, roll the dough into a large sausage about 4 centimeters (1 1/2 inches) in diameter. Keeping the rest of the dough covered with a clean, damp tea towel, slice off a 1/2-centimeter-thick (1/4-inch-thick) disc and roll into a ball, then flatten out on a flour-dusted surface to 2 millimeters (1/16 inch) thick. Lightly dust your metal cannoli tubes with flour (or use lightly oiled dried cannelloni tubes), then wrap a circle of dough around each, sealing the edges with beaten egg. Working in batches, carefully lower into the hot oil for just 1 minute, to get lightly golden. Remove to a plate lined with kitchen paper to drain for 3 minutes, then squeeze the moulds and gently slide off the cannoli. Repeat until you've used up all the dough.
  3. Melt the chocolate. Pound the hazelnuts in a pestle and mortar until fine. Drain the ricotta, then blitz in a food processor with the vanilla paste, honey, cocoa and grappa until just smooth. Spoon into a piping bag with a star nozzle, and twist the bag to give tension, then pipe the filling into the cannoli. Drizzle with chocolate, sprinkle with nuts and serve.
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