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Cannoli – Worth the Deep Frying

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If you know me well and have visited our place, you know how opposed I am to indoor deep frying.  Even with a closed fryer, the whole house smells like a McDonald’s for days – disgusting.  On the rare occasion that I let Hubby fry anything, he is required to do it outside on the deck (like on Father’s Day).  Hence, not a lot of frying goes on around here.

But those of you that know me also know that I am a sweets nut.  I would eat 3 desserts and skip the side dishes if that kind of behavior wouldn’t kill me.  On a trip to visit Hubby’s sibling we went to this cute Italian market and on a whim, I bought cannoli forms.  We recently got asked to bring a picnic side dish, and my sugar-numbed brain thought that included dessert.  Of course, the cannoli!

Surprisingly, cannoli are not that difficult to make, they’re just a lot of work and make your house smelly.  They are SO worth it!  Instead of posting a recipe, I direct you to YouTube where you can search for “cannoli mario batali” and find 3 videos posted via epicuriousdotcom showing the whole thing.  Instead of following his limoncello addition, I used sweet marsala wine – but you can use water or any wine you have on hand.

A few tips to remember:

1: Use fresh ricotta and drain a few hours.
Don’t cheat this step!  The cheese can never be too dry.

2: Keep oil @ 375 degrees, as constant as possible.
Hubby was in charge of frying and it was difficult to keep the temperature consistent on our electric stove.  Use a reliable instant thermometer (I have a fancy candy thermometer) and keep your eye on it.

3: Phone a friend.
If you’ve never done it before, it helps to have another set of hands in the kitchen.  This is especially important in succeeding for Tip #2.

4: Don’t overwork the dough or let the oil get too cool.
I saw a lot of photos online of homemade cannoli that had absolutely no bubbling on the shell.  This will happen if your dough is overworked and creates too much gluten, so there’s no place for expansion (like dense bread).  It will also happen if your oil isn’t hot enough.

5: Roll cookies as thin as possible.
This will give you crispy, light cookies.

6: Stay neat!
Hubby loves to clean up after he’s done.  I like to clean up as I go.  Staying as neat as possible will help your assembly line go really fast.  Trust me, I’m a process nerd.

7: Consider 2 sets of cannoli forms.
I had 4 stainless steel cannoli forms but wish I had 8 since they have to cool inbetween.  I just had my sibling-in-law pick up another pack for me to get ready for the holidays.

8: Don’t roll too tightly.
I rolled a couple too tight so when it came time to take them off, we had to break them.  Also don’t roll too loosely or they’ll just get huge and shapeless.

9: Fill cannoli right before serving.

BTW – there is no such word as “cannolis”. It’s either singular “cannolo” or plural “cannoli”. Please get it right.

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