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by on November 27th, 2009

Cannoli

The November 2009 Daring Bakers Challenge was chosen and hosted by Lisa Michele of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives. She chose the Italian Pastry, Cannolo (Cannoli is plural), using the cookbooks Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and The Sopranos Family Cookbook by Allen Rucker; recipes by Michelle Scicolone, as ingredient/direction guides. She added her own modifications/changes, so the recipe is not 100% verbatim from either book.

When the moon hits the sky like a big pizza pie, it’s  cannoliiiiii (guess that should be amore’) 🙂

My first real cannoli was in Italy three years ago. We had gone on this 18 day trip to Italy with two other couples. After going to Venice for three days, then Cinque Terra for 3 days, and Rome three days, we settled in Tuscany at iL Borro villa (owned by the Faragamo family) for 8 days. It was a wonderful trip.

I think it was while we were in Cinque Terra and we were taking the train either to Santa Margarita or Monterosso that we learned a lot about riding trains in Italy. Once we were fined for not having our tickets validated. Ouch, that hurt, but could have been worst I guess if the guys argued with the ticket guys on the train.

Then one time we messed up on the timing of the train and had to wait an hour for the next train. While we were waiting, one of the guys hiked up to a little restaurant that he and his wife had been to before and came back with two huge cannolis that we divided up and devoured in seconds while waiting for our train. This was really late at night, maybe 11:30 or so and was getting kind of scary. We got better at reading the train schedules after that incident.

I have made savory cannolis before using a smoked salmon spread for the filling. Recently I made cannolis for a shower using a recipe that an Italian lady gave me 25 years ago. For this challenge I made some sweet ones using cocoa in the dough. I don’t think I care for that recipe as much as my original recipe.

Here are a few pictures of some of the ones I have made recently.

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These are great. I dipped one end in chopped pistachio nuts and the other in shaved semi sweet chocolate.

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The dough part is easy. I mixed it up and rolled small balls and then rolled to flatten. The edges are suppose to stick up like that. Next time I do these I think I will roll the whole piece of dough out very thin and then cut with a 2-3″ cutter. I think it will make them a lot neater. UPDATE– when I did this challenge I used my pasta roller attachment to my Kitchen Aid mixer and it worked beautifully.

Since I could not find citron in the grocery a month ago I made my own. It was easy to make. Using my vegetable peeler, I peeled the orange and lemon, making sure I didn’t leave any of the white (pith) on and boiled it in a simple syrup. The left over simple syrup make a great Cosmopolitan. Then I put the cooked zest with the other filling ingredients in my food processor and processed it fine enouh that it would go through my decorator bag.

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The ones above were rolled by hand. I won’t do that again. Give me my pasta roller anytime over trying to get every shell exactly the same size wih a rolling pin.

sweetcannolidk

This is the one from the “challenge” recipe. I used a mixture of goat cheese, cream cheese, some powdered sugar, orange extract and a little fresh orange juice to thin. And this time, I dipped the ends in chocolate first, then dipped in pistachios on one end and chocolate on the other end. Let that harden and then pipe in the filling. I didn’t have a recipe for the goat cheese filling. You can just play with it until you have the taste you want.

salmon

Then, for a savory cannoli I made a smoked salmon spread using a little salmon, cream cheese, a little more of the goat cheese and some lemon juice. I piped this into the canoli shells (this shell is made from my original recipe) and then dipped one end in some red roe and the other end in some finely chopped red onion and chives.

Here is my basic recipe. Unless you have the large cannoli forms (I had the small) I would half the filling recipe. Any extra cannoli shells you may have left over can be frozen for future use. And you can fill them with whatever you want – sweet or savory fillings.  Chicken salad would be great in these or how about egg salad.

Cannoli Shells

1 3/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp. chilled, butter, cut in pieces
1/4 c. dry white wine (or use marsala)
1 egg white, lightly beaten
oil for deep frying
Ricotta filling:
2 lbs. ricotta cheese
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla + 1 tsp.
1/2 c. chopped candied citron
1/2 c. candied orange peel
1/4 c. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
pistachio nuts, chopped fine.
melted chocolate for dipping the ends in

To prepare pastry, sift the flour and salt and granulated sugar.  Mix this in your electric mixer. Add the beaten egg and butter. Mix to moisten the flour mixture. Add the wine, 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough begins to cling together. Use hands to form dough into ball. Cover and let stand 15 minutes.

Roll out half of the dough at a time on floured work surface to about 1 1/16″ thick. I used my pasta attachment to my Kitchen Aid stand mixer and had it rolled paper thin in no time. Cut into 3 1/2″ circles if using the small forms.

Place the circles around the cannoli tube and wrap and overlay the ends, sealing edge with beaten egg white.

Fry 4-5 shells at a time until golden brown in deep fryer heated to 350°. Remove from fat with tongs. Drain shells on paper towels about 5 seconds. Holding shell carefully, remove cannoli tube, protecting fingers with paper towels. Cool shells completely and either fill or freeze for later filling.

To prepare ricotta filling, process cheese in a food processor until very smooth. Fold in powdered sugar and vanilla, then citron, orange peel and chocolate. Chill several hours or overnight.

Place ricotta filling in pastry bag fitted with large plain tip and pipe into shells.

For garnishing, I dipped the ends in melted chocolate before filling when dipped one end in chopped nuts and the other one in chocolate. Then I filled OR you can fill and then dip the ends of the filling into one of your toppings.  Sprinkle filled cannoli with powdered sugar. 

For the smoked salmon ones I just found one of my smoked salmon spread recipes (I used fresh grilled salmon) and filled those and put onions, chives and roe on the ends.

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