To me, cannolis are the perfect dessert. The crunch of the flaky cannoli shell, coupled with the soft and sweet filling, topped with mini chocolate chips or chopped pistachios. They could not be more delicious! I used to work for an Italian bakery in high school, and the cannolis they would sell were the best I have ever had. If I can toot my own horn for a minute, these cannolis are just as good.
There are so many ways to make a cannoli. You can make them mini or regular sized. Dipped in chocolate or plain. With mascarpone or without. Topped with chocolate chips or pistachios. Fried in oil or even in an air fryer. The options are endless!
Tips for Cannoli making:
- You will need cannoli inserts - I use these from Amazon. They're cheap and do the job perfectly
- Make sure your butter is COLD - that will give it a perfect flaky crust
- Chill the dough in the fridge for at least an hour after it's mixed together so that way it is cold again before rolling it out
- Drain the ricotta cheese as much as you can, for an hour or overnight - you want to get as much liquid out as possible. If your ricotta cheese retains a lot of water, the filling will be too liquid-ey and fall out of the cannoli shell
- Once you have your filling together, put it through a blender. It sounds weird, but I SWEAR by this trick. It makes the cannoli cream sooooooo smooth and amazing and it will get rid of the ricotta-like texture.
- Use wine in your pastry dough - it will tenderize the dough and give the cannoli that classic look
These cannolis are my absolute favorite - please let me know what you think!
- 2 cups ricotta cheese
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 cups all purpose flour spooned and leveled, plus more for rolling the dough
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter cold and cubed
- 6 tbsp white or marsala wine
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 1 egg white for brushing
- 2-3 cups vegetable oil for frying
- 1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips optional
- Powdered sugar, for dusting optional
- First, make the filling. Place the ricotta in a mesh strainer or a cheese cloth over a large bowl so the water strains and put in the fridge. Leave for at least an hour or up to overnight so all the water releases.
- In a bowl, whip the heavy cream with a hand mixer until stiff peaks form. About 2-3 minutes. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, combine the strained ricotta, powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Fold in the whipped cream until fully incorporated. To get the filling perfectly smooth, run it through a blender. I promise this is the ONLY way to get a perfect and smooth filling. Place in the refrigerator until ready to fill the cannolis.
- For the shell, mix together the flour, granulated sugar, salt and cinnamon in a bowl. Add the cold, cubed butter and cut the butter into the dough with your hands or a pastry cutter. Add the white wine and egg and mix until a dough forms. Knead a couple of times until all the flour is incorporated and dough is smooth. Wrap the dough and refrigerate for at least an hour so the butter gets cold again. Once chilled, use a rolling pin to roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface. Use a 4 inch cookie cutter to cut circles out of the dough. To wrap the dough around your cannoli inserts, dip your finger in the egg white and brush on one end of the cannoli, wrap around the insert, and stick both ends together - place on a plate lightly dusted with flour. Continue doing this until all the dough is used up.
- If you are frying the cannoli shells, fill a large pot with about 3 inches of oil. BE CAREFUL. Use a thermometer to make sure the oil is at 360 degrees while frying, for about 2-3 minutes, until golden. Place finished shells on a plate lined with paper towels to soak up excess oil.
- If you are using an air fryer, set the air fryer to 350 degrees and bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden.
- Once the shells are cool enough to handle, slide the inserts off of the shells and repeat with remaining dough. Once all shells are cool, fill your shells with the filling using a piping bag or a plastic bag with the tip cut off. Dip the ends in mini chocolate chips or pistachios if you would like, dust with powdered sugar and enjoy!