If you want to most delicious Cannoli you have to make your own fresh shells and fresh home made ricotta filling. The cannoli shells aren’t sold at local Phoenix Supermarkets and when you do find them at specialty stores they are very expensive..about $1.50-$2.00 a shell. Around Phoenix local supermarkets don’t sell fresh tasting ricotta cheese that taste good. The ricotta cheese sold here is full of gum and taste flat. It’s some work but you have to make your own shells and cheese if you want a good tasting cannoli. I’ve been making these for years and I got it down but I do spend three days making these Cannoli but they can be done in two days. Three days before I need them I make the shells. I have a small fryer and can only fry six shells at a time so it takes a while. It might be a good idea to invest in a well made pastry mat for rolling the shells. I got a new one this year from a high end kitchen store and it made a big difference. My shells were easier to roll and came out much thinner ( as a result I also got about ten more shells from the same recipe. The next day I make the fresh cheese. The way I make cheese it comes out very firm and I flavor the cheese in three flavors, vanilla, chocolate and cinnamon. The minute I add sugar to sweeten the cheese it becomes too wet so I have to drain the vanilla and cinnamon flavors for a day. The chocolate stays very firm because the added cocoa dries it out. You will have extra cheese left over. You might want to remove up to three cups of ricotta and freeze use for something else like gnocchi, ravioli, toasted bread or rolled lasagnas. Fresh ricotta freezes very well. It will last 6 months to a year depending on your freezer.
Ingredients to make around 40 shells
2 cups flour – plus extra to roll out dough and dust dough
2 Tablespoons unsweetened butter – room temperature
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 pinch sea salt
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup wine (could be any wine lately I use dry white wine)
1 XL egg separated – both beaten (I use beaten yolk for sealing and white in dough batter)
vegetable oil to fill fryer
2 cups (about 2 cups) 10x sugar – to dust cannoli shells inside (to stay more crispy) and outside. (you have extra but I just toss that out.
optional – a few small pinches of anisette sugar on top of the dusted cannoli for extra flavor
1 gallon whole milk
1 quart heavy cream
2-3 lemons – just the fresh squeezed juice
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
sugar to your liking
natural vanilla extract to your liking
cinnamon to your liking
high quality cocoa powder to your liking
few drops of natural anise extract to your liking (a little goes a long way…don’t use much or skip)
Fill your fryer with oil and I set bring to 350 degrees F
In a medium bowl mix flour, butter, two pinches salt, water, wine, egg white, together with a fork. pinch a small ball the size of a smaller fresh cherry. Dust your rolling mat with flour and dust the dough ball. Roll from the inside out.
Wrap the dough around the cannoli core and seal with egg yolk. repeat at least 6 times. Use a tong and slowly place the dough wrapped cores into the hot oil. they will sink and then they will float. You will need to hold them down with the tongs or another basket so they can brown all over. They get down pretty fast and you remove them when they are golden brown and place on a towel or paper towel lined pan or baking sheet.
I’m not paid or anything to recommend Fanara’s cannoli cores but they really are the best. They are made from aluminum that cools quickly and they are designed so you can pinch the core and the shell comes off easily. The Forking Truth is that I threw out all my other cannoli cores and I tried Fanara’s. FT! (Forking Truth!) By the time you do six and then roll out your next six then the first six will be cool so you can slide the shells off the cores and get ready to repeat till done.
Place shells on new paper towels over a pan or baking sheet and when cool cover with plastic wrap.
To make the cheese you put a very large pot on medium heat and add the milk, cream and about 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt. You have to slowly bring this to a rolling boil. It should take about one hour. During this time you stir it occasionally.
When the mixture is at a rolling boil then you SLOWLY add fresh squeezed lemon juice. Depending on the size and how juicy the lemon is you will need 2-3 lemons. You slowly add the juice and stop when you see it turns to curds.
Let it continue to cook for just a couple minutes and shut the heat off.
I use a metal mesh strainer and SLOWLY ladle out the mixture and let it drain and then add to a clean container.
Put in the refrigerator when the cheese cools down a bit. After a night in the refrigerator the cheese will seem very thick and it needs to be. Decide on what flavors you want to make. I like to make a third vanilla, one third cinnamon and the last third chocolate. Add sugar and flavoring to your liking. A day before I need to use the cannoli filling I make the flavors because the vanilla flavor and the cinnamon flavor turn runny from the sugar and you will have to drain those fillings over night with paper towel lined colander that is kept in the refrigerator. (make it triple lined and line on top too)…you can drain the cheese for more than one day but change the towels at least once a day but twice is better.
The next step is the day of serving the cannoli I dust the inside and outside of cannoli shells with 10x sugar that keeps the inside crisp longer and adds another dimension of flavor to the cannoli. It’s easy to pipe the filling in with a pastry bag. You don’t even need to use a tip. You can add pistachios, chocolate chips or cherries to the ends but I prefer without.
I sprinkle a little cinnamon to the cinnamon cannoli and cocoa to the chocolate cannoli.
I made these cannoli for my neighbors and everyone said that these were the best cannoli they ever tasted.( FT) This is the dessert my husband’s family requests for their annual Christmas Gathering.
These are the Best Forking Cannoli in the Whole World.
The Forking Truth