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cannoli...are the difficult to make? should I just keep buying them?

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In a nearby town where I used to live there is an Italian Deli/bakery that makes divine cannoli.  I just picked up a dozen for new-year's day. 

I know my local grocery store shells cannoli shells, and I know the filling is basically ricotta cheese and sugar...
Does anyone have a recipe to share?  including the technique at filling them?

And my dumb question(s)...
is there a snowball's chance in e-hell mine will taste on-par w/ the ones the bakery makes, being as I"ll be using pre-made shells?

and being as I'm not exactly a whiz at such things, if I buy them for $2 apiece (or $1.75 apiece when I buy a dozen)...and the shells cost $.75 apiece when I buy them empty, is this probably going to end up moot as it'll be cheaper to drive 45 min. to the bakery to buy them?

I don't have any recipes to share, but I will say that some things are better bought from the bakery, lol. I love to make donuts, and they're really good, but for some reason I just prefer the bakery ones. Same thing with coffee cakes. But I think you should try to make them just once and see how it goes.

I once made great egg rolls. They were a pita and expensive to make, but they were soooo good! I did it, was proud of myself and now just buy them frozen. Just as good with less work and less expense, lol. Maybe try googling cannolis and see what you find.

Major ingredients of cannoli filling are ricotta cheese and powdered sugar and whatever flavorings you like... my neighbor used to use a little amaretto and lemon zest in hers most often, but occasionally chopped chocolate curls and orange zest.  The powdered sugar is "to taste" -- Mrs. L. used about 1/4 c powdered sugar to a pound of ricotta, about 2 Tbsp of amaretto, and the zest of half a lemon.  When she used chocolate, she used bittersweet chocolate and reduced the amount of sugar.   Filling was done with a pastry bag.

The hitch is whether or not you can get good ricotta -- the real stuff is goat and sheep's milk, and is very dry. If you use supermarket ricotta, you need to put it in a colander lined with a dishtowel overnight, and let the whey drain off.  I've been known to mix in a little full-fat yoghurt into the ricotta before draining, for a bit more tang... maybe 1/4 c yoghurt to a pound of ricotta.

The cannoli "straws" are not difficult to make and are really pretty cheap, but do require deep frying.  If you're interested, I can try to find the recipe a friend and I came up with for non-fried cannoli -- we basically took a fortune cookie recipe, added cocoa and cinnamon, and sagged the baked wafers over beer bottle tops to make a shallow dish.  After our "dishes" cooled, we spooned a blob of filling and dusted it with a little chopped pistachio or chocolate or cinnamon.  Same basic flavor, different shape, easier to produce en masse.

that's informative, thanks!

I'm guessing there is not a local place in my smalltown where I live to buy "good" cheese...I have to drive to the deli where I got the canolli to even manage capacola ham and asigo cheese...

So since I"m to lazy to let it drain and do all that work (besides, I'm fairly sure a colander of food left in a sink is fair game to the pets!), I'll probably stick w/ the deli.

Or maybe try it ONCE to see if I can do it   ;)

Stick the colander in a bowl, and put the bowl in the refrigerator.  I don't think you want to leave it overnight in a sink unless you keep your house refrigerated.  <g>  Supermarket ricotta will work fine, but may need a little "doctoring" in flavor beyond what "real" ricotta will do.

At least you can get capicola... I can get asiago pretty easily, but I just get blank looks when mentioning capicola out here.

You may also be able to get "pirouette" type cookies at the grocery store -- Pepperidge farm is the brand I've tried.  Not bad as emergency cannoli substitutes, though a bit skinny.  Again, the easy way out may be
a blob of filling with a cookie stuck in the middle...  ;-)


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