~Nothing says "celebration" like a platter full of cannoli~
To make homemade cannoli you can either purchase the shells and make the cannoli mixture or you can make the shells and the mixture. If you purchase the shells you will need 24 - 30 large or 60 -70 mini shells for this recipe. If you make them yourself it truly is a labor of love but well worth it. My mom used to make them for us on special occasions and I will never forget. I make them myself because you can't find good cannoli shells in Greenville SC and sometimes you just "need" a cannoli! If you plan to make them yourself you will need cannoli forms I would say having atleast 6 ( 2 sets) and an extra set of hands makes the process go a lot quicker .See my cannoli filling recipe HERE!
Cannoli Shells (24-30 shells)
3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons lard or shortening soft (lard makes a crispier dough)
2 tablespoon butter soft
1 egg and 1 egg yolk and 1 egg white separated for sealing shells closed (2 eggs total)
1/2 cup Marsala wine, Sherry, or sweet white wine to start adding more as needed
1 quart oil for frying (I use canola)
Separate one of the eggs and set the yolk and white aside. Mix all of the dry ingredients in a processor on low or a kitchen aid or in a large bowl.
Add the butter/shortening and pulse or mix until the size of peas.
Turn the processor on low and add the whole egg and egg yolk OR in the bowl make a well in the center of the flour and add the eggs slightly beaten.
Now add the wine through the shoot OR to the well or in kitchen aid bowl, adding wine as needed usually just 1-4 Tablespoons. Process or mix or knead until a stiff yet soft dough . Add more wine if needed.
Once a ball forms process for a minute on low OR in kitchen aid for 3-5 minutes OR knead by hand for a good 10 minutes. Cover dough with plastic wrap and set at room temp for 20 minutes.
Heat the oil up to 375. Divide dough into 3 balls and flatten out 1 of them, replace the other 2 in the bag to stay soft.
Lightly flour the counter and roll our the dough as thin as you can without breaking. It should be big enough to get at the least eight 4-5 inch circles. I made 8 and had a lot of scraps left over but a really good "roller outer" can get up to 10! Now cut out 4-5 inch circles , I used a small bowl as a cutter.
Now flatten each circle out and make even thinner with your hands and maybe a small rolling pin, the thinner the better!
Take the left over scraps and place in bag for later use : ) see Cenci recipe below!
*Option: You can also make squares instead of circles. Just roll out into a square and cut smaller squares (same size as circles) with a knife. When you wrap them around the tube have 2 of the points overlap.
Forming & Frying Shells: First hint: If you have a helper this goes a lot smoother! Second Hint: make sure to spray each tube with a Pam type spray or coat in Crisco and then flour each one. But after the first frying batch you only need to flour each tube every time.
You can store these shells in a plastic baggy at room temp for a few weeks but they are best fresh. If after a few weeks they are not as crispy just bake them for a few minutes at 350 to crisp up.
Now you can use the leftover scraps to make Cenci!
Take the 3 doughs scraps and combine then roll out thin.
Using a pastry cutter cut into strips removing any ragged edges.
Deep fry until golden tossing here and there for about 3-5 minutes.
Drain on paper towels and then quickly add powdered sugar tossing to coat, you can also add some cinnamon.