Technically, one cannoli is a "cannolo" and two cannolis is "two cannoli," even though I still usually wind up saying "one cannoli, two cannolis".
Chocolate Chip and Pistachio Cannoli
Chocolate Chip and Pistachio Cannoli, adapted from allrecipes
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3 Tablespoons shortening
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sweet Marsala wine
1 Tablespoon distilled white vinegar
2 Tablespoons water
1 quart oil for frying
Pre-cut Parchment Sheet
2.7 lb (approx. 43 ounces) ricotta (preferably impastata ricotta)
3/4 tsp vanilla bean paste
heaping 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons confectioner's sugar (plus more for dusting)
1/2 cup heavy cream*
Mini chocolate chips and/or chopped pistachios for the ends
Chocolate chips and vegetable or canola oil for dipping the ends of the shells
Garnishing + Decorations
For the Shells
In a medium bowl, mix the flour, sugar and cinnamon together. Cut in the shortening until it is in pieces no larger than peas.
Make a well in the center, and pour in the 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk (Lightly beat the egg + yolk before adding. Save the unused egg white for later), Marsala wine, vinegar and water. Mix with a fork until the dough becomes stiff, then finish it by hand, kneading on a clean surface. Add a bit more water if needed to incorporate all of the dry ingredients. Knead for about 10 minutes, then cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.
Break off a piece of the cannoli shell dough. I found it easiest to work in small pieces, in chunks a little larger than a golf ball. Flatten just enough to get through the pasta machine on the largest setting. Continue to roll out the dough through the past machine on successively thinner settings until you have reached the desired thickness, dusting with flour when necessary. I went to setting #5, but our shells were thin and delicate. You may want to stay at #4 if you prefer a heartier shell. Place the thin sheet of dough on a lightly floured surface.
Using a large cookie cutter (or a large glass or small bowl will do) cut into approximately 4 to 5 inches circles. Dust the circles with a light coating of flour to help ensure they can be removed from the tube forms easily later.
Wrap dough circle around a cannoli tube and seal the edges together with a little bit of egg white.
Heat oil to 375°F in a deep heavy skillet. While cooking, keep a thermometer in the oil to try to keep the temperature as consistent as possible. Fry 2 shells at a time until lightly golden, using tongs to turn and ensure even cooking. For our thin shells, this took only about 15-30 seconds. For thicker shells, it may take up to 2 to 3 minutes. You may find the temperature of the oil drops after cooking a few shells. Keep an eye on it as you may need to give the oil time to rise to 375°F every once in a while.
Carefully remove shells using the tongs and place on a cooling rack set over paper towels. Cool just long enough that you can handle the metal tubes enough to remove them. Rinse or wipe off tubes and allow to cool before using for more shells. It helps to have several tubes (about 5 or 6) so you can be cooking with some while others are cooling.
Cooled shells can be placed in an airtight container for up to 2 months.
For the Filling
In a medium bowl, beat together 1/2 cup heavy cream and 2 Tablespoons of confectioner's sugar to stiff peaks. Set aside.*
In a large bowl, stir together the ricotta, vanilla bean paste, and remaining confectioner's sugar. Then, fold in the whipped cream.*
Put cannoli filling in a piping bag. Cut a hole at the tip of the bag. Put the tip of the piping bag in the center of the cannoli shell, squeeze and fill one half of the cannoli. When you get to the edge of the shell, go straight down as you squeeze to create a nice look - I found this video from the guys at Carlo's Bakery very helpful. He begins piping and shows this technique at about the 2:30 mark.
Fill the shells shortly before serving - Do not do this step well in advance as it will make the shells mushy.
After filling, garnish with mini chocolate chips or chopped pistachios. Lightly dip your filled cannoli to coat the edges. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.
*Note: The addition of whipped cream makes the filling lighter and airier. If you want a denser, more traditional filling, feel free to omit this.