March 17, 2022
Crispy cannoli shells with cool, creamy vegan ricotta filling make the perfect vegan after-dinner treat. This classic Italian dessert is also a good source of protein in its vegan form, thanks to the tofu that is used in the vegan ricotta.
For this recipe, you'll need some cannoli tubes (forms), and a biscuit cutter or other cutter (such as a glass) to cut the dough into large circles. I'd suggest using a cutter with a diameter that's slightly smaller than the length of your cannoli forms. So if you have 6-inch cannoli forms, try to find a 4.5 or 5-inch cutter. You will also need a pastry/piping bag or Ziploc freezer bag to pipe the filling into the shells.
Vegan mini chocolate chips can be difficult to find in stores, especially if you're looking for fair trade certified chocolate. Enjoy Life has vegan mini chocolate chips, but they're not fair trade. I was able to find fair trade vegan mini chocolate chips online from Hu Kitchen and nuts.com. If you don't want to order online, or don't have time to wait, you can also chop up a bar of vegan dark chocolate.
To seal the edges of the cannoli shells, I recommend using aquafaba. I tried sealing the shells with water, aquafaba, and almond milk. The aquafaba was the most reliable and gave me the best result; the shells never came apart while frying. The water and almond milk worked most of the time, but did come apart a few times while frying.
The vegan cannoli shells recipe was adapted from manggiabedda.com. The vegan ricotta cheese filling recipe is based on my tofu ricotta recipe. Check it out if you need a ricotta recipe for savory meals, like lasagna or stuffed shells.
Why are my cannoli shells soft? If you haven't rolled out your cannoli dough thin enough, your cannoli shells might have a soft texture instead of a crispy one. Your dough should be rolled out as thin as possible to get a nice crunchy shell. It's also possible that your oil was not hot enough when you fried the shells. Your shells should be turning golden in around 30 seconds or less.
Can I skip the cooking wine? It's not entirely necessary to use Marsala wine, however it is part of the traditional recipe and it creates bubbles in the cannoli shells.
Is Marsala wine vegan? Not all brands of Marsala wine are vegan, so please check! Barnivore.com has a searchable database of wine and liquor that you can check, and they do their own research by contacting the companies directly to confirm whether their products are vegan. Lombardo is one popular brand of Marsala that is listed as vegan on their site. Colombo also makes a vegan Marsala that you may be able to find locally.
What type of frying oil should I use? I like peanut oil for frying, but you can use anything with a neutral flavor and high smoke point. Canola oil, safflower oil, and sunflower oil will work. I don't recommend using vegetable oil (soybean oil) because it doesn't have a neutral flavor.
What if I have leftover filling? This recipe should make just enough filling to fill the shells. However, your mileage may vary depending on how tightly you wrap the shells around the forms. So if you have filling left over, you can use it as cannoli dip! Get some vegan waffle cones, break them up, and enjoy!
Prep Time40 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
Add flour, granulated sugar, and 1/8 tsp. salt to a small mixing bowl and mix well. To another small bowl, add Marsala wine, 1 1/2 tbsp. aquafaba, almond milk, and sunflower oil and mix. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well with a fork or fingers to form a dough.
Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead the dough until it’s smooth, about 5 minutes. If the dough is too sticky to knead, you can add a little flour, but don’t add too much. (The more flour you add, the harder it will be to roll out).
Heat about 2 inches of oil in a saute pan or small pot over medium heat. On the counter near the pan, lay out some paper towels underneath a wire cooling rack.
Divide your dough into two balls, and use a rolling pin to roll the first one out very thin, about 1/16” (1.5 mm) thick. Use a large biscuit cutter (or the edge of a glass) to cut circles from the dough. You should use a cutter that’s a bit smaller than your cannoli forms.
Place a cannoli form on top of your dough circle and wrap the edges of the dough around the form. I usually wrap them loosely so that they’re easier to take off after they’re cooked. Brush some aquafaba on the edges of the dough and press to seal. (Be sure to press well, as you don’t want the edges to come apart during frying).
Use tongs to place one or more cannoli in the hot oil (leave enough room for them to move around). Fry until golden and bubbly (about 30 seconds), then use the tongs to turn the cannoli over and fry the other side. Remove from the oil with the tongs, let the excess oil drip off into the pan, then place on the wire rack to cool and drain.
Once they’re cool enough to handle, gently pull the cannoli from the forms. (If you want to remove the cannoli from the forms while they’re still hot, protect your hands with clean kitchen towels or oven mitts).
Repeat with additional dough circles, and with the second ball of dough until all the dough has been used up. You can reroll the scraps of dough if needed.
Prepare your filling: Squeeze your tofu slightly to remove excess water (don’t press it, you’ll want to retain some of the water). Then break it up and add it to a blender or food processor. Add in lemon juice, nutritional yeast, salt, and cinnamon, and blend until smooth. Add in the powdered sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, until you’ve reached the desired sweetness. (I used 1/2 cup).
Transfer the tofu ricotta filling to a large bowl and stir in mini chocolate chips, if desired.
Prepare a pastry bag with a large round or star tip and fill it with your filling mixture, leaving enough room at the top to twist the bag closed. Use a twist tie to close the bag, then pipe the filling into your shells. You can fill half of the shell from one side, then turn the shell around and fill the other side.
Dip the ends of the cannoli in crushed pistachios or mini chocolate chips, if desired. Dust with some vegan powdered sugar, and enjoy!
Make sure your dough is rolled very thin. If it's not thin enough, you'll end up with soft shells.
You could also seal the shells with water or almond milk, but I found that the aquafaba has the best holding power.
If you removed too much water from your tofu and can't get a smooth consistency in the blender, you can always add some water or almond milk 1/2 tbsp. at a time to get a smoother consistency.
Be cautious adding powdered sugar; the more powdered sugar you add to your ricotta, the thinner it will get.
Only fill as many shells as you'll eat right away. For the leftovers, store the shells in an airtight container at room temperature; the filling in the refrigerator.
Some wines are filtered using animal products. Check the post above for suggestions on finding a vegan Marsala wine.
Note: This data should be used only as an estimate. Please see the nutrition section of my terms and conditions for more information on how this data is calculated.
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