Mara's in San Francisco's North Beach has the best cannoli I have ever had. It's always one of the top five things we do when we get to The City. So, when I saw this recipe for fresh cannoli, I had to try to make some myself! Traditionally from Sicily, cannoli can be garnished with everything from cocoa and chocolate chips to nuts, dried fruits or even our Amarena Cherries. What I love about Mara's Cannolis is that they're not too sweet. That's why I like to make them myself! Here's our interpretation using Fresh Sheep's Milk Ricotta from Fruition Farms as well as a bit of Mascarpone from Vermont Creamery.
Cannoli al Cacao con Ricotta from Italian Street Food by Paola Bacchia
Have ready: Grapeseed or Sunflower Oil for frying/1 egg white, for brushing/crushed nuts or chocolate for garnishing/confectioner's sugar for dusting.
For The Pastry
- 9oz/1 2/3 cups All Purpose Flour
- 1.5oz superfine sugar
- 2 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
- 2 Teaspoons Dark Bitter Cocoa
- 2 Teaspoons Finely Ground Coffee
- Pinch of Salt
- 1 3/4 oz cold, unsalted butter, small diced
- 2 Teaspoons white wine vinegar
- Splash dry white wine
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
For the Filling
- 1 lb firmer ricotta (can let drain in a cheesecloth/dish towel overnight, if needed)
- 4 oz mascarpone
- 4 oz superfine suger
- Salt to taste
To make the pastry, place the flour, sugar, cinnamon, cocoa, coffee and salt in a large bowl. Scatter over the butter and, using your fingers, work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the vinegar, wine and egg and stir until well incorporated. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for about 2 minutes until smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap and set aside in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
To make the filling, combine the ricotta, mascarpone, sugar and salt in a bowl until you have a smooth cream. If you have a sweet tooth, feel free to add more sugar to your taste. Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured work surface to 1/16 inches thick. You can also use a pasta machine to roll out the dough, taking it down to the third-last setting. Cut out circles of dough using a 3.5 inch cookie cutter.
Heat plenty of oil in a small, deep saucepan or deep fryer to 340F or until a scrap of dough dropped into the oil bubbles immediately.
Wrap the dough circles around metal cannoli tubes so the edges overlap slightly. Seal the two edges with egg white and press firmly. Brush a little egg white over the shell as well. Cook the cannoli tubes, one at a time, for 2 minutes, or until browned to your liking. Let drain on a towel and leave to cool completely.
Fill the shells with the ricotta cream, using a knife to push the mixture into the tubes from either end. A piping bag can be useful as well, with a wide nozzle tip.
Dip the ends into the crushed nuts, cocoa or whatever you would like. Dust with sugar and serve.