You would think these delicious pastries came from the USA with the number of times you hear them mentioned in the movies. They actually originate from Italy and traditionally have a ricotta cheese filling. Our crisp cannoli are as light as a feather and filled with mascarpone cheese for extra creaminess. The cannoli pastry shell is deep-fried and requires special cylindrical cannoli moulds which are available online. Alternatively use the ends of 2 wooden spoons placed next to each other and carefully dip them into the hot oil. This way you will need to use a wide saucepan and cook in smaller batches.
- 200g plain flour plus extra for rolling
- 25g butter, cut into small cubes
- 3tbsp caster sugar
- Finely grated lemon rind
- 1 medium egg, separated
- 100ml Marsala wine
- Vegtable oil for deep frying
- For the cannoli filling:
- 1 (250g) tub mascarpone cheese
- 3tbsp double cream
- 100g caster sugar
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- Cocoa powder and icing sugar for dusting
Sift the flour into a mixing bowl. Add the butter and use finger tips to rub into the flour until fine. Stir in the sugar. Make a well in the middle of the flour and add the egg yolk. Using a wooden spoon, start to draw the flour into the egg and mix together.
Add the wine gradually and continue mixing until you have a smooth dough. Use fingers to bring the dough together and turn out onto a well floured surface.
Knead the dough for 5 mins until smooth. Leave to rest for 5 mins. Cut the dough into 16 piece. Using a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough pieces into thin circles. Stack up dusting with a small amount of flour between pieces.
Fill a large saucepan two-thirds full with oil. Heat gently until a small piece of the cannoli dough sizzles, rises to the surface and browns within 1 min.
Wrap the dough circles carefully around the cannoli moulds and seal with a dab of egg white. Lower the cannoli into the oil 3 – 4 at a time and cook for 1-2 mins, turning over once, or until crisp and pale golden.
Remove from the oil with a draining spoon and drain on absorbent kitchen towel; leave until cold.
Repeat until all the cannoli are fried and leave to cool whilst making the filling.
To make the filling, place the mascarpone cheese in a large bowl and beat in the cream, sugar and vanilla extract. Spoon into a disposable piping bag and snip off the end to make a medium large hole (see tip). Use the piping bag to fill the cannoli with the mascarpone mixture.
Serve the cannoli within 1 hour of filling with cream, lightly dusted with a mixture of cocoa powder and icing sugar.
Alternatively use and piping bag fitted with a large plain nozzle. Store unfilled cannoli in an airtight tin for up to 2 days.