4 cups of flour
3 oz of shortening
3 oz of sugar (add more sugar for a sweeter pastry)
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup water (or if desired use 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup vinegar)
1) Mix all dry ingredients into a bowl or electric mixer including the shortening. ( you can cut the shortening into smaller pieces to help it mix better but include all shortening.)
2) Add two eggs and water to the mixture blend until smooth dough is formed. ( if using an electric mixer use the medium speed setting.)
3) Put the dough on a lightly floured surface such as a CLEAN counter or a CLEAN cutting board. Knead for about 5-10 minutes.
4) Put the dough in a bowl and cover it for about 20-30 minutes.
In the mean time while you are waiting on the dough to set you can now start on your cannoli filling.
4 cups whole milk ricotta cheese (same if using cream cheese or similar cheese such as mascarpone cheese.)
1/2 pint heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (you can use regular confection sugar but powder sugar tends to blend smoother without it being grainy.)
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (i used pure vanilla extract because i prefer the taste over the artificial extract)
1) In a bowl or electric mixer add the powdered or confection sugar and the heavy whipping cream. whisk until smooth and there are no lumps.
2) Blend in the ricotta cheese slowly adding a little at a time to prevent any lumping or a grainy texture to develope.
3) whisk until the ricotta is fully incorporated. if using an electric mixer again use the medium setting.
To finish the cannoli cups take the dough that you set aside and roll it out again. I used a circular lid that was about 3-4 inches in diameter to cup the shapes. This all depends on how big of a cup cake pan you are using. After you cut out the shapes stretch them into the cupcake pan. I then put the pans into the freezer for about 5 minutes just to help the dough set inside the pan a little. This is completely optional. While finishing putting the dough in the pans preheat your oven to 4000.
IMPORTANT: put the cream filling into the fridge to keep it cold while waiting for the cakes to cook.
when the oven is finished preheating put cakes in the oven for about 5 minutes. after 5 minutes if the cakes are still not done put them in for a few more minutes. There is no exact time because each oven is different and it all depends on how dark you want your cakes to be. After the cakes are finished cooking pull them out of the oven to cool down. I was able to get about 2 1/2 dozen out of the dough. While you are waiting for the pastries to cool down i put the cream filling to into a pipping bag to help fill the cakes. After the cakes are cooled fill the pastries with the cream filling. You now have finished cannoli cups. You can add powdered sugar to the top as a little garnish or you can use a double boiler to melt chocolate to dribble on top. I actually used a food processor (a magic bullet) to grind up chocolate chips into a powder to sprinkle on top.