I made and tested 2 different versions of the crust as well as the filling to see which one came out closer to what I remembered eating when I was younger. The first version of crust I made actually turned out more crisp and stayed crisp for several days compared to the second version I made which was not as crisp to start with and tended to soften a bit (it became more chewy cookie-like as the days went by). Both were good, but I preferred the first version I made best because of the crispness factor. The ricotta filling I ate when I was younger was an orange essence flavored ricotta and both ends of the cannoli were dipped in mini dark chocolate chips and sometimes chopped pistachios too.
When I made the first filling batch, I used pure orange extract to flavor the ricotta. In the second version I made, I used finely grated fresh orange zest instead of the extract. I preferred the version with the zest because it had more of an "undertone orange flavor" rather than an "in your face orange flavor". I have also had cannoli with vanilla flavoring or almond and amaretto flavoring too. You can flavor the ricotta filling any way you like. Also, some people like to drain their ricotta in cheesecloth first for an hour or two to remove any excess liquid. I chose not to do that. I used whole milk ricotta and piped the filling on one crust at a time as I was going to eat them so the shell part would stay crispy instead of doing a bunch in advance. You don't have to pipe the filling on if you don't want to -- you can simply spread it on and swirl it with a little spatula -- it just looks prettier when it is piped on. For the chocolate chip part, I chopped some Green & Black's 70% cacao chocolate bar and sprinkled it on top and added a few roasted salted pistachios as well. They turned out really good. The key is to bake the crisps until they are crispy, but not burned...and since I used almond flour for the flour, it's important not to use too high a temperature since it burns more easily than regular flour does. Also, when making the filling...if using a granular sweetener, it is best to finely grind (to a powder) it first to keep it from feeling gritty in the smooth ricotta filling. Granular erythritol based sweeteners tend to have a slightly gritty texture when refrigerated, so it helps to start off with a finely ground powdered or "confectioner-type" consistency like Swerve confectioners sweetener or to use a powdered or liquid version of stevia instead. Below is a picture of the cannoli as well as the simple recipe. Enjoy!
Holy Moly Cannoli
Cannoli Wafer Crusts
1/2 cup blanched almond flour
1/4 cup ground golden flax meal, PLUS 1 tablespoon
2/3 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons Swerve granular sweetener (or preferred equivalent to 2 tablespoons sugar)
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
2 tablespoons light olive oil or melted coconut oil or melted butter
2 tablespoons water
Cannoli Ricotta Filling
1 pound whole milk ricotta
Zest of 1 orange (finely zested)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup of Swerve "confectioners style" sweetener (or preferred powdered equivalent to 1/2 cup sugar)
70% Cacao Chocolate Chips (or chopped 70% chocolate bar)
Roasted pistachios, almonds or other nuts (optional)
Mix all the crust ingredients together into a thick batter (add additional Swerve sweetener if you prefer them sweeter). Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet or parchment paper lined sheet. Using a small spoon or spatula, spread the batter into thin wafer cookie shaped circles, about 1/4 inch thick. Bake at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes. Check closely during the last couple of minutes to make sure they don't burn. When the wafers feel done to the touch, remove and let sit for a couple of minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool. They crisp as they cool off. While wafer crusts are baking, prepare ricotta filling.
Mix ricotta, orange zest, vanilla and sweetener together until smooth. Taste to adjust sweetness. If desired, fill a decorating bag or small ziploc bag (with corner cut to fit a star decorating tip) with the ricotta mixture and pipe onto wafer crusts. You could also spread and swirl the filling on with a small spatula. Top with chocolate chips and nuts, if desired.
Store the remaining wafer crusts loosely covered to stay crisp (I wrapped mine in parchment paper).