To start you want to make sure you have a few essential items on hand.
- A pair of tongs
- A candy thermometer
- A set of cannoli forms
- An oven mitt.
To make the pastry shell you will need:
2 cups flour
3 Tbsp Crisco
2 Tbsp sugar
¼ tsp. cinnamon
¾ cup Sherry
1 egg slightly beaten
In addition you will want:
- a beaten egg white
- vegetable oil for frying
Gently whisk together flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Add Crisco and mix until you have nice even crumbs. Drizzle a third of the Sherry over your flour mixture and mix it. Drizzle half of the remaining Sherry and mix some more. Finally add the slightly beaten egg and the remainder of the Sherry. Mix well, form into a ball, and refrigerate for about an hour and a half.
On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough until it is very thin, as in .... almost the thickness of a dime. Now comes the fun part. Cut out circles about four inches in diameter. I happened to have a cookie cutter that was the perfect size, but you can also make a pattern with parchment paper or cardboard from and empty cereal box and lay it on your rolled out dough and cut around it with a sharp knife.
Pour some vegetable oil into a sauce pan until it's about two inches deep. Heat it to 380º This is where it's important to have a candy thermometer.
While you are keeping an eye on the rising temperature of your oil, gently wrap one of your dough circles around a cannoli form. As tempting as it may be to wrap it around the middle, it is wise to situate it closer to one end than the other. Brush some beaten egg white on the edge of the dough where it will overlap and press to seal.
For the filling, I scoured numerous websites and cookbooks. Most of them wanted a ricotta based filling, but I was afraid LV wouldn't care for the texture. I was happy to find a recipe that told me to simply fill with our favorite vanilla custard pudding, which is what I did. I had it prepared and ready to be piped into the shells by spooning it into a Ziploc bag with the bottom corner snipped off.
When the shells were thoroughly cold I dipped some of their ends into melted chocolate, and left the others plain. I piped the pudding inside, and they were finally ready to serve.
It sounds complicated, but each step in itself is easy. And the end results are so worth it!