Pizzelle Cannoli (30 servings)

Jillian Fitch, one of the pastry chefs at Casolare, whisks the batter for these delicate cannoli shells by hand and then pours it through a sieve to eliminate any lumps. In testing, Domenica Marchetti found that using a blender achieves a similar result (no straining). Note that these delicate shells should not be made on a humid day, or they will quickly lose their crisp texture. You'll need an electric pizzelle iron and cannoli tube molds; the latter are available at kitchen stores and via online kitchen equipment purveyors.

MAKE AHEAD: The cannoli-shell batter needs to be refrigerated overnight. The cooked and shaped shells can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days (if it's not humid), or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Ingredients

1 large egg

3/4 cup whole milk

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

2/3 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup flour, preferably unbleached all-purpose

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon fine salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Ricotta Cream, for filling

Icing sugar, for garnish (optional)

Cacao nibs, for garnish

Directions

Combine the egg, milk, oil, granulated sugar, flour, vanilla extract, salt and baking powder in a blender. Cap tightly with the lid. Begin blending on low speed, then gradually increase to the highest speed and blend until you have a smooth batter. Refrigerate the batter overnight; this will allow the flour to be properly absorbed into the liquid.

Heat an electric pizzelle iron, preferably with nonstick plates, according to the manufacturer's directions. Grease both the upper and lower plates with cooking oil spray, then carefully wipe clean with paper towels. Have 4 cannoli molds nearby. Once the plates are sufficiently heated, pour between 1 and 2 tablespoons of batter into the center of each patterned circle and pull down the lid. Cook for 35 to 45 seconds, or until the pizzelle are golden-brown. You may need to adjust the amount of batter and cooking time depending on your iron.

Use a small, angled spatula to lift the pizzelle off the iron and immediately roll each one around a cannoli mold. If the pizzelle are too hot, wait a few seconds before rolling, but not too long or they will set and you will no longer be able to roll them. Let them cool briefly on the molds, then slide them off onto a clean rimmed baking sheet to cool completely. Continue to make and roll the pizzelle until you have rolled them all.

To fill, fit a pastry bag with a wide tip and fill with the Ricotta Cream. Pipe into both ends of the pizzelle shells, taking care to fill the interior of the cannoli. Or use a small spoon to spoon the filling into each end of the shells, pushing the cream inside as you go.

To serve, dust the filled cannoli with confectioners' sugar, if desired. Garnish the open ends by lightly dipping them into a small bowl of cacao nibs. Serve right away to keep the cannoli from turning soggy.- Washington Post

From Fitch, a pastry chef at Casolare in the District of Columbia