2 cups flour
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2 teaspoons shortening (Crisco)
Dash ground cinnamon
½ cup white wine
Lard, for frying
2 pounds ricotta cheese, drained (see notes)
2 cups sugar or to taste
2 teaspoons powered white vanilla
2-3 drops cinnamon oil
¼-½ cup mini chocolate chips.
1 cup finely chopped pistachios nuts
For the shells: Mix the flour, egg, shorting, cinnamon and wine until dough comes together.
Break off a chunk of dough and, on a floured surface, roll out until it is paper thin. Use a large biscuit cutter (English muffin size) to cut the dough. Wrap the dough around a wooden dowel rod and seal the part on top that joins the circle with a dab of water.
In an electric fryer or deep pot, heat lard to 350 degrees. Working in batches fry shells until golden brown and drain on paper towels. Use immediately or store the cannoli shells in the freezer in a clean shirt box layered with wax paper. Do not fill shells until you are ready to serve them.
For the filling: In a large bowl combine ricotta, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon oil. Spoon or pipe filling into shells just before serving. Dip ends in nuts and or chocolate chips and dust with powdered sugar.
Makes about three dozen.
Cook's notes: Buy the freshiest ricotta you can and drain it for a day in a colander over a bowl to release any water. Look for cinnamon oil and white powdered vanilla in Italian specialty stores.