Cannoli Cream Filling
4 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1 cup icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips or candied fruit
Empty ricotta cheese into a large strainer lined with cheese cloth and place over large bowl and refrigerate covered for about 24 hours until all the water drips out of the cheese. This will allow for a richer thicker cannoli cream. Beat ricotta, icing sugar and vanilla until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips or candied fruits.
3 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons shortening
2 eggs, well beaten
2 tablespoons red wine
2 tablespoons cold water
1 egg white, slightly beaten
Vegetable oil for deep frying
Sift together flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Cut shortening in with a pastry blender until well blended and stir in well beaten eggs and blend in the red wine and cold water. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Add additional flour if required to get a nice silky smooth dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes.
Roll chilled dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/8-inch thickness. Set out 4 aluminum cannoli tubes (usually sold in sets of 4) and cut out circles using a 4 inch bowl, cup etc. Wrap the dough circles around the tubes loosely overlapping the ends; seal the ends by brushing with egg whites and pressing together gently. Heat oil in a deep sauce pan or deep fryer to 350 F.
Fry shells until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove cannoli shells to paper towels to drain. Cool slightly and remove the tubes and repeat until all the dough is used up. Extra shells can be stored in an air tight container for 2 weeks.
Using a pastry bag with a large star tip or a large round tip (large enough for the chocolate chips to pass through the tip with ease); fill the shells with the filling from both ends. Fill within the hour of serving as the shells will get soggy. Dust with icing sugar.
Optional: halved maraschino cherries, chopped pistachios or dip in melted tempered chocolate to decorate the ends.