Vegan Sicilian Cannoli
During the past couple of months during our quarantine life, I’ve found myself diving head first into vegan cheese making. I made some cashew ricotta recently and all I could think of was cannoli! The first time I made it, I made it using the ricotta recipe from Full Of Plants’ free e-book The Art of Vegan Cheese Making which uses mesophilic cultures and transglutaminase and takes around two days for it to be ready. It turned out amazing!
The second time around I didn’t have the patience to wait for two days for the ricotta to be ready so I threw together an easy peasy ricotta recipe using cashews and tofu. And I am happy to say it still came out amazing! You can find my Cashew-Tofu Ricotta recipe here.
There are plenty of other vegan ricotta recipes out there that use almonds, tofu, macadamia etc so feel free to use your favorite recipe or even store bought ricotta like Tofutti or Kite Hill if you prefer.
I haven’t had cannoli in over a decade and I am beyond thrilled how these turned out. Light crunchy shells filled with sweet creamy deliciousness!
The filling is just ricotta, powdered sugar, a dash of cinnamon and a sprinkling of orange zest.
The shells were a total experiment and I didn’t expect it to come out so good! It gets it’s color from cocoa, coffee, marsala and brandy. I used almond oil and Ener-G Egg Replacer instead of butter and eggs. Fried them in refined coconut oil and dipped the ends in melted chocolate.
Fun fact cannoli is actually plural and cannolo, which means “little tube”, is singular.
Vegan Sicilian Cannoli
- Cannoli forms or tubes, 5 inches
- Rolling pin
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp almond oil
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp sweet marsala
- 1 tbsp brandy
- 1 1/2 tsp cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 tsp instant coffee powder
- 1 1/2 tsp Ener-G egg replacer
- 3 tbsp aquafaba Bean water from a can of chickpeas or homemade
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- 2 tbsp almond oil To grease the cannoli forms/tubes
- 2 cups refined coconut oil For frying
- 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips To dip the edges; I used
- 2-4 tbsp powdered sugar For dusting
- 1 cup ricotta cheese homemade or store bought; drained
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/16 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp orange zest
- 4 tsp candied fruit cut into small pieces (optional)
- 4 tsp vegan mini chocolate chips (optional)
- 4 tsp finely chopped pistachio (optional)
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, coffee powder, egg replacer and salt.
- Make a well in the middle and add all the liquid ingredients like the almond oil, marsala, brandy and aquafaba.
- Mix everything until it becomes a smooth dough. Dough should be similar to pasta dough – firm but with some give. Cover the dough with a damp kitchen towel and let it rest for 2 hrs.
- It is a bit tedious to roll it into a large sheet so I roll it the same way I roll out chapatis. Divide the dough into 11 equal parts. Cover the plate with a damp cloth while you’re rolling each ball to make sure they don’t dry up.
- Oil the cannoli forms with almond oil and have them ready.
- Flatten dough ball with your hand on a floured surface.
- Roll it out to a very thin sheet (1/16 inch).
- Cut them into circles using a round cookie cutter (a bowl and knife also works). I used a 4 1/2 inch cookie cutter.
- Save the scraps to roll the 12th circle. Depending on how thin you roll them, you might get enough scraps to roll out more than one.
- Place the oiled cannoli form in the middle of the sheet.
- Use your fingers to wet the overlapping part with water.
- Press on the edges to stick them together. Don’t wrap the sheet too tightly around the form because it might get hard to separate them when we’re done frying.
- Repeat with all the sheets.
- Heat the refined coconut oil in a medium pot with a heavy bottom. Ideally maintain the oil temperature around 375F – too cold and it gets oily; too hot it puffs up too fast.
- Submerge the shells in the oil and fry for about 2 mins.
- Make sure to remove the shells from the metal tubes before they cool down. Place them on a kitchen towel, then using 2 kitchen towels hold the tip of the metal tube with one hand and the shells (gently) with the other hand and slowly pull the shells off the tube.
- Let them cool down on a wire rack before proceeding to dip them in melted chocolate. To melt the chocolate chips just microwave them for 20 to 30 sec and take it out and give it a good stir. Repeat this process of microwaving and stirring until all the chocolate chips have melted.
- Dip the ends of the shells and let them dry on a wire rack. You can place them in the refrigerator too, if you want them to dry faster.
- Cannoli shells can be made a week in advance. They can be kept at room temperature, refrigerated or frozen depending on how soon you plan to use it.
- In a medium bowl add ricotta, powdered sugar, cinnamon and orange zest and whip it until it’s very smooth. You can also add chocolate chips or chopped chocolate and small pieces of candied fruits like lemon, orange, citron, cherry etc. If you’re using store bought ricotta make sure to drain it. Filling can be made and refrigerated for a few days in advance.
- Fill the shells only right before you are ready to serve them to make sure the shells don’t get soggy. You can fill a pastry bag with the filling and refrigerate it until you are ready to use it.
- When you’re ready to serve, fill the shells with a pastry bag.
- Garnish the ends with your favorite toppings like pistachios, chocolate, cherries or just leave it plain. Then give it a generous dusting of powdered sugar. Buon Appetito!