Lessons learned during the making of cannolis from scratch (Saturday,
14 October 2000) by Kelly J. Cooper:
- Only one of the 15 or so recipes I pulled off the net recommended
letting the ricotta cheese drain - but I would definitely recommend
that one do this. If not, your filling will be droopy, difficult
to handle, and it won't stay in the shell for long.
(That recipe recommended putting the cheese in a colander & putting
it in a container (in the fridge) that could hold at least a cup of
fluid per 2 lbs/4 cups of cheese. I suspect that the addition of
cheesecloth might be critical, as I'd guess that a good bit of
ricotta would squeeze out the holes depending upon your colander.
But, having not tried this yet, YMMV. I also can't speak to those
recipes that recommended a mix of ricotta & marscapone cheese.)
- Get yrself a decent pastry bag (for squeezing the filling into the
shells). Settling for a cheap frosting delivery system substitute
may get you some clogging problems particularly if you're going
- ...Incorporate chocolate chips into the filling. Use either
mini-chips or shred/shave a chocolate bar. Large chips or even
smashed up chocolate tend to clog your filling delivery system.
- A secondary option (if your filling is stiff enough) might be the
traditional dipping of the ends into chips or sprinkling the chips
onto the filling-exposed bits. But again, smaller chips would be
- Proportions of cheese to sugar run about 1 cup ricotta (aka 1/2
lb.) to just under 1/4 cup sugar. Most recipes I have are for
20-40 servings and call for 2 lbs of ricotta and 1 3/4 cups sugar.
1 cup ricotta (plus the other ingredients in proportion) will make
you 4-6 medium to small cannoli.
- Use regular sugar, not powdered sugar, to mix into the filling.
(Mixing in powdered sugar tastes odd; but go with the powdered
sugar sprinkled on top.)
- If using orange flower water for flavoring, seriously consider how
orangey you like your food (and also note that orange-flavor is
usually better with darker, more bitter chocolate). I ended up
cutting my usage to 1/2 tsp. per cup of ricotta and also using 2
tsp. of vanilla to shift the orange to a nice bottom flavor. It
was much tastier with the shell than just scooped up &
- One can't stress the importance of vanilla extract enough.