Most people shrug their shoulders at the suggestion of eating cannoli. In my family, we make them and quickly consume them just once each year, at Easter time. A chef friend of mine proudly states that you will never see a cannoli in his Italian restaurant. Why? Because most of the cannoli that we eat here are just lousy! The difference may be using sheep’s milk ricotta rather than cow’s milk ricotta. Some may say it’s the difference between white or red wine in the pastry dough or using some vinegar to add some snap. You could argue the virtue of frying the shells, as opposed to baking them. I was so proud to see that Ferrara’s Bakery in the Little Italy section of Manhattan uses white crème de cacao in their cream just like my mom did. That helps provide a distinctive flavor as well.
But I have a much more simple suggestion, and I know that I am bucking the trend by saying this. Make them and eat them fresh!! That’s the difference. That’s why they taste so much better in Italy. Yes they take some patience and practice to make properly, but the difference will astound you. I used to invite friends to help us make them together and, to this day, everyone I invited to share with us remembers how fun the experience was. I remember their eyes popping when they ate a good cannolo for the first time.
If you want to give it a shot, email me at email@example.com and I will send you my mom’s recipe.