David's Recipe for Cannoli Shells

I like to write that my recipes are easy. This one takes some practice, but once you get it down, it's not at all complicated, and not nearly as difficult as it looks wnen written out.

Dessert Ingredient, Italian

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 coffee spoon sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 25 grams unsalted baking margarine
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1-1/2 quarts corn oil, or other oil suitable for deep frying
  • White of 1 egg
  1. Preheat the oil over a high flame, but don't allow it to start to smoke.
  2. Mix together the dry ingredients.
  3. Cream the margarine into the dry ingredients.
  4. Mix in the wine.
  5. Knead until you get a stiff dough. Allow the dough to rest for 1/2 hour.
  6. Preheat the oil over a high flame, but don't allow it to start to smoke.
  7. Roll the dough until it is 1/8 inch thick, or a little thicker.
  8. Cut the dough into squares about 3"x3".
  9. Use a fork to make many closely spaced punctures in the dough. This will help it to fry flat, with no large bubbles within the dough itself.
  10. Using a tube-shaped object of the appropriate diameter as a mold inside the cannoli tubes, as follows. If the tube tapers a little, it will be a little easier. I use the end of a European-style sausage-type rolling pin.
  11. Lay the tube over a dough square, with the diagonal of the square perpendicular to the tube.
  12. Roll the dough square loosely around the tube, with the two corners overlapping at the top. Allow the third corner to extend slightly past the end of the tube. Glue the two corners together with a drop or two of egg white. Make sure that the dough tube remains loose enough to turn freely.
  13. Before you fry the first tube, use a little of the dough to check the temperature of the oil. It should become light brown in about a minute or two. As always, you will have to manipulate the temperature while frying. That's one of the many reasons I prefer a gas stove.
  14. Insert the dough tube, still on its inner 'frame', into the hot oil at a shallow angle to the surface of the oil. As it just starts to harden and slightly brown, turn it with the handle of the 'frame' tube. You want it to harden so that it will hold its shape when removed from the frame, but not to expand very much.
  15. As the dough tube is slightly hardening on all sides, insinuate it off of the frame by pushing gently with a spoon, mainly near the narrow part where the two corners are glued.
  16. When the dough tube is hard enough, hold it vertical above the oil (to have gravity working with you), and insinuate it completely off of the frame tube, so that it falls into the oil.
  17. Turn the dough 2 or 3 times, until it become a light brown.
  18. Do not try to fry more than 1 or 2 shells at a time. As each is done, put them in a single layer on a paper napkin to drain and cool.
  19. When the shells are completely cool, use a coffee spoon to fill each one with ricotta filling, being careful to push each spoonful of filling toward the center of each pastry, so there will be no empty hollows. Smooth the filling parallel to the ends of the tube. I seem to remember that when I was a child, I ate cannoli filled with crème patissiere, but that sounds too sweet to me right now.
  20. Allow the cannoli to sit, refrigerated, for at least a few hours before serving. This will help ensure that the shells are not too hard.

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