For the shells:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 1 egg white for sealing the edges
- vegetable oil for frying
For the ricotta filling:
- 4 cups whole milk ricotta
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar or more if you prefer a sweeter filling
- dash of cinnamon
- semi-sweet chocolate chips roughly chopped (optional)
- chopped pistachios optional
- powdered sugar for sprinkling on top
To make the shells:
Place flour in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the egg, oil, sugar, red wine and milk. Stir the ingredients in the centre and gradually incorporate the flour in order to form a dough. Using your hands, knead until a dough is formed.
Using a pasta roller or a rolling pin, cut off a small piece of dough and flatten with your hands. If using a pasta roller, begin with the widest setting and end by rolling your sheet of dough through the narrowest setting. The dough should be very thin, about 1/8 inch. Roll all the pieces of dough and cover them with a kitchen towel in order to prevent the sheets from drying out.
Using a 4 inch diameter circular shaped bowl or cup, cut out rounds of dough with a knife. Once again, cover to keep from drying out the dough. When all the dough has been used up, wrap each round of dough around a bamboo dowel or stainless steel cannoli molds and seal the edges with the beaten egg white.
Fill a deep pot half way with vegetable oil. When the oil is hot, fry 3 or 4 cannoli shells at a time until golden. You may have to hold them down to ensure that all sides are evenly fried. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate or tray. Carefully separate the cannoli molds from the shell (be careful, they will be extremely hot!) and continue to fry the remaining rounds of dough.
For the ricotta filling:
In a bowl, whisk together the ricotta, powdered sugar and cinnamon until smooth. Use a pastry bag or a plastic freezer bag with the tip cut off to pipe the ricotta filling inside the shells. If desired, dip the ends in chocolate chips or pistachios. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.
Ideally, I recommend you prepare the shells ahead of time and then fill them just before serving or they will become soggy.
The shells will keep well for weeks if stored in an air tight container in a cool dry space.
If the brand of ricotta you use is very watery, place in a cheese cloth in a colander and let drain in the refrigerator for about an hour.