Before I made these cannoli, I had never eaten a cannoli in my entire life. I know, right? How weird is that?
The problem with making things you've never tried any variation of is, of course, that you have no idea what it's supposed to be like. Is the shell too thick? Is the filling not thick enough? These are questions that will only be answered by me actually going out and purchasing several different cannoli (oh, the horror!) for comparison's sake.
Of course, my guests had no problem whatsoever with eating these. So, even if I find out someday that they weren't "right," they were still delicious! And you know what I did with the leftover pistachio-dark chocolate chip crumbles? Used them as a sweet 'n salty ice cream topping. You should do that regardless of if you ever make this recipe or not.
My problem with cannoli is that you need special "cannoli forms" to make them. Buying special hollow metal tubes just to complete part of my baking challenge was like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. BUT, I found them on eBay for something like $3 plus $3 shipping. Sweet. And then I got to use them to punch holes in the middle of my doughnuts! So, not all was lost.
I found making the shells to be very easy all around. The dough is a snap, rolling it out is no problem, deep frying was easy, and the shell came right off the form. Easy peasey. What should have been the 'easy' part (making the filling) actually proved quite difficult for me. Apparently, I didn't grind the chocolate and pistachios finely enough. That wouldn't be a problem in theory, but I didn't think about the fact that I would be squeezing them through a pastry tip, and um....well....big chunks don't fit through pastry tips. After much messing around and frustration (with the filling rapidly getting warmer and runnier), I finally dumped it all into a large baggie, cut off the corner, and made non-pretty filling of the tube (I had to upend the shell, since the filling just came running out. This was a mess, albeit a tasty one. But, this is the beauty of baking....you always learn new things.
Dark Chocolate Pistachio Cannoli (from Love With Food)
For the Shells:
-1 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour
-1/2 tsp salt
-2 tablespoon sugar
-1 egg, lightly beaten
-2 tablespoon firm cold butter, cut in small pieces
-1/4 cup white wine
-1 egg white, slightly beaten
-Canola oil (or any oil) for deep frying
1. Sift flour, salt and sugar. Attach dough hook onto electric mixer. Add butter and 1 egg. Mix at low speed. Then add flour. Beat at low speed. Add wine, 1 tablespoon at a time a dough starts to form into a ball.
2. Remove ball of dough and wrap it in plastic wrap. Put in the fridge for at least 30 mins.
3. Roll out dough on a floured surface to about 1/16" (0.2cm) thick. To make petite cannoli shells, cut into 2" circles. You can actually wrap 2 petite cannoli dough around 1 cannoli form (see photo). For regular size cannoli, use a 3.5" round cutter.
4. For each cut out dough, roll it out more till it becomes really thin. Thinner the better to prevent your cannoli shells from being too thick. Then wrap thin dough around each cannoli form. Seal the edges with the egg white and flair the ends slightly. Do not allow egg white to touch the cannoli form. This will cause the cannoli to stick to the form after frying.
5. Heat oil to 350F. If you do not have a cooking thermometer, dip one end of a wooden chopstick into hot oil. If the oil bubbles, then the oil is hot enough. Fry 2-3 cannoli form at a time till golden brown, about one minute. Remove with tongs and place on paper towel to cool. To remove cannoli shells from the form, use 2 pieces of paper towel to hold the form on each end. This will prevent you from being burnt from the hot cannoli. Then gently twist the cannoli and it should slide out. Let cannoli cool completely.For the Filling:
-1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
-1 cup ricotta cheese (Note: It helps to drain the ricotta for a few hours beforehand. This is like it sounds... put it in a small-holed sieve or in cheese cloth and let drain into a bowl.)
-1 cup heavy whipping cream
-1/2 cup sugar
-1 tablespoon Kahlua (or Bailey's, or vanilla extract, or whatever floats your boat)
1. Add pistachios and chocolate chips into food processor. Grind till fine.
2. In another mixing bowl, beat whipping cream, sugar and vanilla (or baileys) till stiff and peaks form.
3. Gently fold the whipped cream with ricotta cheese. Add 2/3 of the pistachios and chocolate chips mixture. Put the other 1/3 in a bowl.
4. Add mixture into a piping bag or ziploc bag and it's ready to be piped into cannoli shells.
5. Pipe pistachio filling into cannoli. Dip each end of cannoli fillings into pistachios/chocolate chips mixture. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve immediately.-Makes about 15-20 cannoli, depending on their size