To make cannoli shells it is necessary to have three or four metal tubes, made preferably from very light tin, about 7 inches long and 1 1/8 inch in diameter. The edges are to be brought together and are not to be soldered. Bamboo tubes and broom sticks cut to size are also used but, for sanitary reasons, metal tubes are best.
Combine the flour, cinnamon, shortening, sugar and salt, and wetting gradually with the wine, knead together with fingers until rather hard dough or paste is formed. Form into a ball, cover with a cloth and let stand for about 1 hour. Cut dough in half and roll half of the dough into a thin sheet about 1/4-inch thick or less and cut into 4-inch ovals.
Place a metal tube diagonally across each oval lengthwise. Wrap dough around tube by overlapping the 2 sides, sealing the overlapping sides with a little egg white. Meanwhile heat vegetable oil in a large deep pan for deep frying. Drop 1 or 2 of the tubes at a time into the hot oil, fry gently on all sides until dough turns a golden brown color. Remove from pan, let cool a little, gently remove shell from the metal tube. Set shells aside to become cold. Repeat procedure until shells are all made.
Mix the ricotta thoroughly with sifted dry ingredients. Add two drops of vanilla and chopped fruit peel. Mix and blend well. Chill mixture before filling shells. Fill cold shells and smooth filling evenly at each end of the shell. Sprinkle the shells with confectioners' sugar.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
This recipe was provided by a chef, restaurant or culinary professional. It has not been tested for home use.
Recipe courtesy of Vincent and Joseph Termini, Termini Brothers Bakeries, Philadelphia, PA