I have made cannoli quite a few times, but I've always used regular whole milk ricotta. Sometimes I've strained it, but recently we've found a very thick and smooth whole milk ricotta (the kind in the regular plastic containers); still, though, it is never as smooth and I can never manage to replicate the taste as those found in bakeries here in NY.
It's not that mine don't taste good, but it has that distinct taste of ricotta, which you don't get with the ones at a bakery. Some might say that the pure ricotta tastes better---les dense or artifical tasting. And to some extent they are maybe right, but I've always wanted to hit it on the head.
Now, I understand that the bakery shops buy the impastata ricotta, which is processed differently. I've read that it is smoother and also has a different pHl, which probably accounts for not having that ricotta taste that I have.
Anyway, my question is, have any of you found a way to treat the regular grocery store-bought ricotta (which, as I said, is not bad at all, actually very good quality) to achieve that bakery taste? For my cannoli cream, I usually add powdered sugar to flavor, vanilla extract, some lemon zest or sometimes candied fruit, sometimes a pinch of cinamon, then the chocolate chips, and that's pretty much it. I've read some pretty exotic recipes calling for various oils (orange, lemon, anise, etc.) and various liquors, but I'm not sure if anything will ever get me past that regular ricotta flavor.
So if anyone knows any tricks, I'd appreciate it.