While visiting the United States I came across a dairy-free ricotta cheese made by Tofutti. I was quite excited to find a dairy-free substitute and my mind started going in all kinds of directions as to what sort of treat to make with this. I was a little hesitant about what it might taste like as many of my “cheeze” experiences have not been good ones, but I was willing to risk the price to try it at least once. So far, any Tofutti products I have tasted have been pretty good – mild flavours similar to what I remember from my dairy days, and similar consistency. Unfortunately, this ricotta cheese is not sold in Canada.
Knowing this could be the only opportunity to have my hands on some ricotta for a very long time, I wanted the recipe to be special. I decided on cannoli. I’ve never made cannoli before, but wanted to try, so I was killing 2 birds with one stone, so to speak. I found this recipe from Ricardo Cuisine on-line, a tweaked it a bit to suite my needs. I also had to find something to use as a cannoli form and found some for a reasonable price of $5.
Dairy Free Cannoli
* You will need cannoli forms, and if you have a pasta maker, that helps too.
1 egg, separated
2 Tbsp marsala wine
1 Tbsp vinegar
1-2 Tbsp water
1 1/2 cups flour
2 Tbsp icing sugar
1 tsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp shortening
oil for frying
1 tub of dairy-free ricotta, about 400g / 16oz
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup dairy-free chocolate, small pieces (like Enjoy Life mini chips)
icing sugar to sprinkle over top
Mix together 1 whole egg and the yolk of the second egg, the wine, vinegar, and 1 Tbsp of the water. Using a food processor, mix together the dry ingredients, then add the shortening. Add the pre-mixed liquid ingredients and pulse a few times until the dough forms a ball. Add your other Tbsp of water if necessary. Remove from machine and knead for 2 minutes, then chill it in the refrigerator for 1 hour to let it rest. (Save the egg white for later.)
After the dough has rested, divide it into 4, using a bit of flour on your work surface. Shape each into a rectangle and either roll it through a pasta machine (working up to a #5 thickness), or roll out dough really thin. Cut into 4 inch squares.
Heat your frying oil to 190 C / 375 F. Beat your egg white a little with a fork. Grease your cannoli molds and wrap a square around it, overlapping and brushing with a little egg white to seal it. Fry the cannoli 2 at a time until golden brown. Drain on paper towel, and remove mold carefully while it is still hot. Repeat until all the cannoli are cooked, and let them cool completely.
Mix your filling ingredients together. Just before serving, use a pastry bag and a large tip to fill cannoli from each end. Dust with icing sugar.
Although I haven’t tried it, I think an egg substitute would probably work well to make this vegan as well.
These cannoli were everything I was looking for as the perfect treat from my ricotta find. They were not as intimidating to make as I thought they would be and I would make them again if I find more dairy-free ricotta. They weren’t picture perfect – I expect it takes a bit of experience for that – but they were decadent in flavour.