Traditional, pistachio and chocolate are three popular types of cannoli. Cooks make each variety of cannoli using fried pastry dough and customized ricotta cheese filling.
All three of these cannoli types are made with the basic cannoli shell recipe that includes sugar, shortening, cinnamon, flour, eggs, egg whites, vinegar and salt. Once the cannoli dough is made, cooks use a cardboard-shaped dough pattern to cut the dough into cannoli-shaped pieces that are then wrapped around a cannoli tube and fried until golden brown.
The traditional cannoli filling recipe includes ricotta cheese, granulated sugar, milk and vanilla extract. Chocolate chips, candied fruit, pistachio pieces or other types of coarsely chopped nuts are also added to the basic recipe. The mixture is heated, beaten until smooth, stuffed into the fried cannoli shell and dusted with confectioner's sugar before serving. Cooks prepare chocolate cannoli filling by adding chopped semiswseet chocolate to the traditional cannoli recipe.
To make pistachio cannoli, cooks place pistachio nuts into boiling water for approximately 1 minute. Then, the nuts are drained, rinsed with cold water and the nuts removed. Then, cooks pulse the nuts with granulated sugar and mix the nuts and sugar with egg yolks, milk, lemon zest, water, cornstarch and vanilla. The mixture is refrigerated until cold and stuffed into fried cannoli pastry shells.