Cannolis are one of the most famous Italian desserts. They consist of crunchy fried cylinders filled with ricotta cheese, sugar and, depending on the version, chocolate drops and pistachios crumbs. Take your palate to Sicily with this cannoli recipe.
Before you begin to prepare the cannoli shells (called "scorcie"), put the cheese to drain in a colander placed in a bowl, then store it in the fridge.
Put in a large mixing bowl the flour, salt, cinnamon, powdered coffee, cocoa and sift the confectioners sugar.
Add the lard, egg, and then the vinegar mixed with Marsala wine; the latter liquids should be added slowly, kneading the composition every time, as depending on how much the flour absorbs, you might not need to add the entire Marsala and vinegar mix. Keep in mind that the dough should be soft and elastic, but firm.
Knead the mixture for 5 minutes on a work surface, until it is elastic, smooth and homogeneous, then wrap it in plastic and leave it to rest for at least an hour in the refrigerator.
Now to prepare the cannoli cream for the topping, you will need take the well-drained ricotta cheese and place it inside a bowl where you add sugar.
Gently stir the ingredients without applying too much pressure, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for at least an hour.
After the indicated time, take a very fine mesh sieve, place it on a bowl and with the help of a spatula, crush the ricotta and sugar down and press on it, so that what comes out through the sieve is a very fine cream.
Once the composition has the right density, add the chocolate chips (or, if you prefer, candied pumpkin cubes). Mix and place the cream cheese in the refrigerator, inside a container with a lid.
Take the dough for the cannoli shells and place it on the table. Use a rolling pin to create a thin 1-2 mm pastry. Use round pastry rings to create at least 24 pieces.
Stretch the 24 circles, then roll them around cannoli molds (if you have metal cylinders that works too), brushing the ends with the whites before stacking them.
Heat the lard (or oil) in a saucepan not too big, until you get to 170-180 °C (338-356 F) and then fry all the cannoli shells. Place them afterwards on a couple of sheets of absorbent paper, to get rid of the extra oil, and let them cool completely before removing the metal cylinders.
Once they cooled, fill the cannoli shells with the cannoli cream that you will put in a pastry bag, using a smooth and wide nozzle.
Complete the process by cutting the candied cherry in two and place one half at each end. Instead of cherries, you can use orange peel or chopped pistachios.
Top it with a generous sprinkling of powdered sugar and serve.