Originally hailing from Sicily, cannoli are fried pastry dough filled with sweet ricotta. Once filled, the shells are topped with powdered sugar, chocolate chips, and candied fruit. They were prepared as a treat during the Carnival season and quickly became a staple throughout the Italian cities and countrysides. Have you always wanted to create your own classic cannoli? Discover four tips from the experts!
The best cannoli shells are the ones that have been freshly fried. If you’re preparing your shells a day or two earlier, they store well at room temperature and in the freezer. Prepare the filling, but wait to fill the shells until you serve them. Filling the cannoli too early can soften the shell, and you want it to retain its crunch when you first bite into it.
Fry with Caution
When frying your shells, always proceed with caution. Ensure that the oil remains at 375 degrees so that the shells do not puff up or become greasy. Gently remove the metal tubes throughout the oil with a pair of tongs, and be extremely careful when sliding the shells off of their molds.
Drain the Cheese
If you’re using cow’s milk ricotta, drain the cheese overnight in a strainer lined with cheesecloth. When you pull it out of the fridge the next morning, use your hands to squeeze out any remaining moisture. Consider using sheep’s milk ricotta to avoid the mess.
Less is More
Resist the urge to add an excessive amount of sugar to your ricotta filling. Cannoli should not be overly sweet. Instead, they should highlight the delicate flavor of the ricotta. Add a small amount of sugar and taste as you go. Remember, you can always add more — but you can’t add less!
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