Cannoli with Ricotta Cheese Filling
Cannoli Shells - makes 30 x 4 1/2 inch cannoli
1 1/3 cups flour
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tbsp vegetable shortening, lard or butter**
6-7 tbsp sweet Marsala wine** or sweet vermouth
Egg white for sealing or water** if you're concerned about it sticking to the cannoli tubes
** What I used
In a food processor, process together the flour, cocoa, salt and sugar for 5 seconds or so. Add shortening and pulse until crumbled, about 10 seconds. With processor running, pour in the marsala through the feed tube until a ball of dough starts forming around the blade. Then, stop adding the marsala and process for another minute.
Remove dough and knead 2 to 3 minutes. It's ok if the outside of the dough tears after you're done kneading unlike with pizza or bread dough where you want gluten strands to have developed during the kneading.
Let the dough sit wrapped in saran wrap or a ziplock bag for one hour to rest at room temperature.
Lightly oil the outside of the cannoli tubes the first time they're going to be used if new or if they've been cleaned. (I didn't bother but you may not want to take the risk.)
Cut the dough into 4 pieces and proceed as for making pasta dough with each piece.
Run the slightly flattened dough through the first setting on the pasta rollers 3 times, folding each time into thirds and then once on each of the other settings. If the dough sticks, flour very lightly. I didn't go to the last setting on my machine (7) but stopped at the one before it (6).
Use template C (4 1/2 inch oval), placed lengthwise, to cut the cannoli. The dough will just overlap. Dab a little water on the edge and seal together, patting gently to flatten the thicker area a bit, and set down on a tray lined with plastic wrap until you've made as many as you have tubes for.
Fry at 360-375 deg F for about 45 seconds (they'll turn a pinkish colour, shake from the tube back into the oil, or remove using a paper towel for your hand, and let complete frying for another minute or so.
Ricotta Filling for Cannoli - enough filling for 18 x 4 1/2 inch cannoli
1 pound sheep's milk ricotta (may substitute cow's milk)
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp Grand Marnier (optional)
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
Powdered sugar, for dusting
Place a strainer over a bowl. Line with cheesecloth and pour ricotta into the cheesecloth. Wrap up and place a weight over the cheese. Refrigerate overnight to strain out as much excess moisture as possible. If the ricotta is not very fine, process in food processor until it's ultra smooth.
Add icing sugar and vanilla extract to processed ricotta cheese until well blended.
Remove processing blade and stir in mini chocolate chips.
Spoon the filling into a pastry bag with an open tip, and place the bag in the refrigerator.
Fill cannoli shells just before serving. Dust with icing sugar.