Friday, November 27, 2009

Daring Bakers: Cannoli

It's Daring Bakers time again. This month, our challenge was the popular Italian classic: Cannoli. I honestly was never a fan of cannoli, even when we were living in Italy. I think it's because the traditional Sicilian cannoli uses candied fruit in the filling, which I don't like. But after making them, I have changed my mind.

The recipe we were given was really great, and also very easy to work with. I was at first afraid if I could roll them out so thin. It was no problem, however, because the dough was very elastic and easy to roll. I was also a little scared of the deep frying part, but my sweetheart helped me with that.

I made the filling out of a mixture of whipped cream and ricotta, with some vanilla sugar. Then I added some chopped pieces of pistachio and chocolate. The cannoli were very yummy and easy to make. This is something I will make again, since I usually have all the ingredients in stock, and I am glad I also bought the cannoli tubes, which were pretty inexpensive.

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.

2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
approx. ½ cup (125ml) sweet Marsala or red wine
1 egg white

Vegetable or any neutral oil for frying – about 2 quarts (8 cups/approx. 2 litres)

1 cup (250ml) whipping cream
1 cup (250g) ricotta cheese, drained
2 tablespoons vanilla sugar (or granulated sugar with 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract)
3 tablespoons dark chocolate, finely chopped
3 tablespoons toasted, finely chopped pistachios

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer or food processor, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the oil, vinegar, and enough of the wine to make a soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and well blended, about 2 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge from 2 hours to overnight.

Cut the dough into two pieces. Keep the remaining dough covered while you work. Lightly flour a large cutting or pastry board and roll the dough until super thin, about 1/16 to 1/8” thick. Cut out 3 to 5-inch circles. Roll the cut out circle into an oval, rolling it larger and thinner if it’s shrunk a little.

Oil the outside of the cannoli tubes (You only have to do this once, as the oil from the deep fry will keep them oiled). Roll a dough oval from the long side (If square, position like a diamond, and place tube/form on the corner closest to you, then roll) around each tube/form and dab a little egg white on the dough where the edges overlap. (Avoid getting egg white on the tube, or the pastry will stick to it.) Press well to seal. Set aside to let the egg white seal dry a little.

In a deep heavy saucepan, pour enough oil to reach a depth of 3 inches, or if using an electric deep-fryer, follow the manufacturer's directions. Heat the oil to 375°F (190°C) on a deep fry thermometer, or until a small piece of the dough or bread cube placed in the oil sizzles and browns in 1 minute. Have ready a tray or sheet pan lined with paper towels or paper bags.

Carefully lower a few of the cannoli tubes into the hot oil. Do not crowd the pan. Fry the shells until golden, about 2 minutes, turning them so that they brown evenly. (Mine were actually done much faster, in about 10-15 seconds.)

Lift a cannoli tube with a wire skimmer or large slotted spoon, out of the oil. Using tongs, grasp the cannoli tube at one end. Very carefully remove the cannoli tube with the open sides straight up and down so that the oil flows back into the pan. Place the tube on paper towels or bags to drain. Repeat with the remaining tubes. While they are still hot, grasp the tubes with a potholder and pull the cannoli shells off the tubes with a pair of tongs, or with your hand protected by an oven mitt or towel. Let the shells cool completely on the paper towels. Place shells on cooling rack until ready to fill.

Repeat making and frying the shells with the remaining dough. If you are reusing the cannoli tubes, let them cool before wrapping them in the dough.

Whip the cream until it forms stiff peaks, then whisk in the ricotta until smooth and creamy. Beat in the vanilla sugar and blend until smooth. Stir in chocolate and nuts. Chill until firm.(The filling can be made up to 24 hours prior to filling the shells. Just cover and keep refrigerated).

When ready to serve fill a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain or star tip with the ricotta cream. Insert the tip in the cannoli shell and squeeze gently until the shell is half filled. Turn the shell and fill the other side. You can also use a teaspoon to do this, although it’s messier and will take longer.

Dust with confectioner’s sugar and/or drizzles of melted chocolate if desired.

Enjoy and Guten Appetit!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...