Did you know that you can buy cannoli shells? I had no idea. And even if I had, I would have probably been too lazy to go out and pick them up. While it isn’t rational, I think it is easier making the shells from scratch, as is any chore that involves more than just checking my pantry, than going out to get them.
Andrew and I attempted to make cannoli on Christmas eve, and while it was very fun and we ended up with a delicious Christmas breakfast, it was not an easy first venture into cannoli making. We ended up with a disaster of a kitchen, a lot of wasted tinfoil, oil on a lot of thing, thrown away shells, and one phone submerged in a glass of water.
And all of that can be contributed to the fact we tried to make cannoli without a cannoli tube. Just like how I think it is easier to make things from scratch than buy them, I think it is easier to make do than just buy the proper supplies. Sometimes it works out, but more often than not, I should just suck it up and buy the tools. On Christmas Eve I was not willing to trek to the Grove to go to Sur La Table, so we made do. But I will say, the $4 these tubes cost, is so very worth it.
Also, frying them up is very easy. Deep frying it self is very easy, even though it seems like a lot. Just make sure you have a thermometer, as oil does not start to bubble or smoke until it is too hot, and a heavy bottomed pot. This is my favorite thermometer, it clips on easy and has lines at the key temperatures so there is no guessing.
While you can make each part of the recipe, shells and filling, well in advance, do not fill the shells until just before serving. There is nothing worse than a soggy cannoli.