Years ago when I made cannoli to serve in my restaurant I found the trick to making these fresh, night after night…
Buy the shells. Make the filling. Instead of “…Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.” (from “The Godfather”)
Making the shells is what’s tricky and time consuming. Making the filling is a snap! And you can tweak it to your own flavors and degree of sweetness. This was huge for me because I found store bought cannoli to be far too sweet. Here’s how I make my perfect filling.
Mix a 15 oz. (425 g) of whole milk ricotta cheese (drain through a fine mesh sieve if there’s liquid) with 1/2 cup (64 g) of powered sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Then mix in 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips.
Next in a separate bowl whip up 1/2 pint (236 ML) of heavy cream until it forms stiff peaks.
Fold half the whipped cream into the ricotta mixture and finish with a bit of grated lemon peel. (I grated about 1/4 of the lemon). This adds a wonderfully bit of tartness to the sweetness of the mixture.
Now it’s time to fill these empty shells.
So I made a make shift pastry bag using a sheet of 8 x 10 copy paper (not a good idea – use waxed or parchment paper instead so it doesn’t fall apart) and shaping it into a cone with a small hole at the end. Then I filled it with the ricotta mixture and squeezed it into each shell.
And vola! Homemade cannoli at their best!
12 small or 6 large cannoli shells
1 15 oz (425 g) container whole milk ricotta
1/2 cup (64 g) powdered sugar
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 pint (236 ml) whipped cream (I used half)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest