Note: You cannot make the cannoli ahead of time or the shells will get soggy. Make the filling and shells in advance and fill just before serving.
Step 2: Shells
1 cup flour
1 1/2 T. sugar
1/2 t. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. sea salt
1/4 cup Marsala
1 1/2 T. vegetable oil
1/2 egg white, lightly beaten
Semi-sweet chocolate - for dipping
Chopped pistachios or shaved chocolate for garnishing the ends
Combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the Marsala and oil and beat on medium speed until a smooth dough. Knead lightly by hand on a lightly floured work surface until smooth and elastic. Wrap in plastic and let rest for 30 minutes.
Divide the dough into 2 pieces. Roll out into a thin sheet of dough or use the widest setting of a pasta machine. Keep remaining pieces covered while working with dough. Keep passing the dough through the settings until about the thickness of a penny. Lay out on a floured work surface and cut out rounds with a 3 1/4 inch cutter (a small bowl works just fine). Gather up scraps and reroll.
Pour oil into a heavy saucepan or large skillet to 3-4 inches. Heat over medium heat until 380 degrees using a deep-fry thermometer.
Using cannoli tubes, wrap each round of dough around the tube and seal with just a dab of egg white. Fry until golden, about 1 minute. Using tongs, remove and place on paper towels to cool (about 5 minutes). Carefully slide the forms out and let the shells cool completely.
Step 3: Dip the ends in dark chocolate
Step 4: Mascarpone Cream Filling
You can use your favorite flavoring. Our family favorite is the espresso...exquisite with the dark chocolate!
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1/2 t. vanilla, (or use 1/2 t. Grand Marnier or instant espresso dissolved in water)
1/2 cup milk
Using a large bowl, combine the cold whipping cream, mascarpone cheese, sugar and vanilla (or coffee) using an electric mixer on high. Beat until the mixture thickens.
Once thickened, add the milk slowly while mixing on low speed until combined and smooth.
Refrigerate the mixture in a sealed container a few hours before using. It will keep well refrigerated for up to a week.