cannoli

shells:

2 cups all purpose flour

2 Tbs crisco or lard

1 tsp granulated sugar

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup marsala wine

1 egg--whisked with a bit of water

combine the flour, sugar, salt and lard together.  slowly add the marsala while kneading the dough. continue working the dough until it is well mixed and a rather hard dough is formed. cover with plastic wrap and let sit an hour and up to 3 hours. roll the dough out to 1/4" sheet and cut with a 4-5" round cutter.  quickly run a rolling pin over the rounds in 1 direction to form the rounds into ovals.

place a metal tube in the center of the oval and bring the sides up, overlapping enough to form the shell. brush seams with a bit of egg wash to seal.  

heat oil in a pot.  drop the shells a few at a time into the hot oil and fry until they are light brown and bubbly.  remove from oil and place on greaseproof paper. allow to cool long enough to handle, then slide the tube out and allow the shells to fully cool. 

filling:

1 1/2 lbs ricotta--drained to remove excess moisture

1/2 cup powdered sugar

pinch kosher salt

1/2 tsp vanilla 

1 Tbs finely grated lemon peel

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup mini  semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped bittersweet chocolate

mix all ingredients together and let sit in the refrigerator for a few hours for the flavors to meld. filled cannoli shells tend to get a bit soft after time. if you want your shells to remain crispy, wait until you are ready to serve before filling them.

makes about a dozen