How to Make Cannoli Shells

Written by g.k. bayne
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Cannoli are an Italian dessert that originated in Sicily. Deep fried tubes are filled with either a custard cream or ricotta cheese. The tubes or shells must be made first and allowed to cool before the filling is placed inside. Cannoli shells are not hard to make, if you can make a pie crust, you can easily make cannoli shells. Using cannoli forms are nice, but wooden dowels work just as well.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • 1 3/4 cup pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • Large bowl
  • Pastry blender
  • 2 tablespoons butter cut into small pieces
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 c. dry wine or white vinegar
  • Floured bread or pastry board
  • Plastic wrap
  • Rolling pin
  • 3-inch diameter round cookie cutter or glass
  • Pastry brush
  • 1 egg white, slightly beaten
  • Cannoli tubes
  • Vegetable oil
  • Deep frying pot
  • Candy thermometer

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  1. 1

    Blend together 1 3/4 cups of un-sifted pastry flour, 1/2 tsp salt and 2 tbsp sugar in large bowl.

  2. 2

    Use a pastry blender to mix in 2 tbsp of butter until the flour mixture resembles small peas.

  3. 3

    Stir in 1 beaten egg and 1/4 cups of dry wine, such as marsela, or white vinegar.

  4. 4

    Turn the dough out onto a floured bread or pastry board and knead until the dough becomes stiff. Add more flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking.

  5. 5

    Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

  6. 6

    Place the chilled dough back on the floured bread board and roll the dough out to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Cut 3-inch circles from the dough.

  7. 7

    Roll each circle into an oval, approximately 4 to 5 inches in length and 3 inches in width.

  8. 8

    Wrap the oval dough shapes around the cannoli forms. Use the pastry brush to moisten the edges of the cannoli dough where they meet and press lightly to hold the edges together.

  9. 9

    Heat several cups of cooking oil in a pan to 190 degrees C. The pan should be large enough to hold at least two or three cannoli forms at a time. The oil should be deep enough to cover the cannoli plus an additional inch over the top.

  10. 10

    Deep fry the cannoli shells until golden brown. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels or a wire rack.

  11. 11

    Allow the shells to cool and gently slide the forms out of the shells.

Tips and warnings

  • If you don't have cannoli tubes, you can use six 1- to 2-inch diameter wooden dowels, 6 inches long.
  • Cannoli shells should be filled as soon as they are cool and served as soon as possible to avoid having the shell become soft and lose its crunch.

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