Traditionally, cannoli filling is made by beating fresh ricotta with sugar and vanilla extract. You can also add semisweet chocolate chips, orange zest and fresh lemon juice.
This recipe for cannoli filling requires 22 ounces of fresh ricotta, 3/4 cup of confectioners' sugar, 3 tablespoons of semisweet chocolate chips, 3/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 3/4 teaspoon of finely grated orange zest and 1/4 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice. The first step in making cannoli filling is to spoon the ricotta into a sieve lined with cheesecloth, and then cover it and place it in the refrigerator overnight to allow the cheese to drain.
Next, use an electric mixer to beat the ricotta with confectioners' sugar until the mixture becomes fluffy. At this stage, add the chocolate chips, vanilla extract, orange zest and lemon juice, and beat the mixture again. Cover the mixture again, and place it back in the refrigerator to allow it to settle. Use this time to prepare the cannoli shells.
When the shells are ready to be filled, place the cannoli filling into a pastry bag, and fit the bag with a 1/2-inch star tip. Gently squeeze the bag to force filling into each end of the shell. The final step is to dust the cannoli with confectioners' sugar before serving.