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Homemade Cannoli with Ricotta Filling


This past year I have been introducing myself to more Italian recipes. Here's a delicious dessert that has just the right amount of sweetness. Plus chocolate and pistachios!

1 cup flour
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup Marsala wine
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 egg white, lightly beaten
2 oz. semisweet chocolate
1/4 cup chopped pistachios
powdered sugar for dusting
Canola or Peanut Oil for frying

Ricotta Filling:
15 oz. ricotta cheese
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips
1 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of salt

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa, cinnamon and salt. Add Marsala and oil and beat on medium speed until dough comes together. Using your hands, knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 12-15 minutes. Wrap in plastic and let rest 30 minutes. 

Divide dough into 2 pieces, covering unused piece. Pass one piece of dough through the widest setting of a pasta machine, passing through narrower settings until it is the thickness of a dime. (Or roll out by hand into a thin sheet of dough.) Lay dough on a floured work surface. Cut out rounds with a 3 1/4" cutter. Prick dough with fork to give the fried shells their blistered texture. Gather scraps and reroll. 

Pour enough oil into a large heavy saucepan to cover 4 inches. Heat over medium heat to 380 degrees. Wrap each round of dough around a 3 3/4" cannoli form, sealing with a dab of egg white. Work in batches or 3-4; fry until dark golden brown, about 1 minute. Using a wire skimmer or tongs, transfer to paper towels and cool 5 minutes. Carefully slide out of forms, and let shells cool. Continue rolling, cutting, and frying the remaining dough. 

Melt chocolate in a glass bowl set over a a pan of simmering water. Dip ends of cannoli shells in melted chocolate and then dip each end in chopped pistachios. Let set for at least 15 minutes on parchment paper. May store cannoli shells in a sealed container at room temperature for 2-3 days or in freezer up to 3 weeks.

To make the filling: In a large mixing bowl, mix together ricotta cheese and powdered sugar until fluffy. Beat in chocolate chips, orange zest, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use. 

When ready to prepare, transfer filling to a pastry bag and pipe filling into one end of a cannoli shell to the center, and then into the other end. Repeat with remaining shells. Dust with powdered sugar and serve immediately. (Cannoli cannot be made ahead or they will get soggy. You may, however, prepare the shells and the filling and then pipe right before serving.) Serves 16 cannoli.
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