Friday, November 27, 2009

Daring Bakers: Cannoli

Cannoli? Oh, yeah. This was something I have been wanting to do for so many years but probably would have never done it on my own. I hate the whole frying thing. But then yah know, it was Daring Baker challenge and it was Lisa Michelle (an amazing cook and pastry girl!) and I just had to participate. Ah, twist my arm- I am so on this.

Truth be told I am not a cannoli loving girl in the slightest. Mostly because I am not big on ricotta or even pastry cream. But lo and behold I have discovered that some mousse with mascarpone is an amazing filling for a homemade cannoli. And when you make it yourself the shells are so crisp. Not to mention that a little Marsala in the dough makes one fine tasting shell. Yum!

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.
The set up for cannoli production.

Lidisano’s Cannoli

Makes 22-24 4-inch cannoli
Prep time: Dough – 2 hours and 10-20 minutes, including resting time, and depending on whether you do it by hand or machine.
Filling – 5-10 minutes plus chilling time (about 2 hours or more)
Frying – 1-2 minutes per cannoli
Assemble – 20–30 minutes

2 cups (250 grams/16 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons(28 grams/1 ounce) sugar
1 teaspoon (5 grams/0.06 ounces) unsweetened baking cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon (1.15 grams/0.04 ounces) ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon (approx. 3 grams/0.11 ounces) salt
3 tablespoons (42 grams/1.5 ounces) vegetable or olive oil
1 teaspoon (5 grams/0.18 ounces) white wine vinegar
Approximately 1/2 cup (approx. 59 grams/approx. 4 fluid ounces/approx. 125 ml) sweet Marsala or any white or red wine you have on hand
1 large egg, separated (you will need the egg white but not the yolk)
Vegetable or any neutral oil for frying – about 2 quarts (8 cups/approx. 2 litres)
1/2 cup (approx. 62 grams/2 ounces) toasted, chopped pistachio nuts, mini chocolate chips/grated chocolate and/or candied or plain zests, fruits etc.. for garnish
Confectioners' sugar

Note - If you want a chocolate cannoli dough, substitute a few tablespoons of the flour (about 25%) with a few tablespoons of dark, unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch process) and a little more wine until you have a workable dough (Thanks to Audax).

2 lbs (approx. 3.5 cups/approx. 1 kg/32 ounces) ricotta cheese, drained
1 2/3 cups cup (160 grams/6 ounces) confectioner’s sugar, (more or less, depending on how sweet you want it), sifted
1/2 teaspoon (1.15 grams/0.04 ounces) ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon (4 grams/0.15 ounces) pure vanilla extract or the beans from one vanilla bean
3 tablespoons (approx. 28 grams/approx. 1 ounce) finely chopped good quality chocolate of your choice
2 tablespoons (12 grams/0.42 ounces) of finely chopped, candied orange peel, or the grated zest of one small to medium orange
3 tablespoons (23 grams/0.81 ounce) toasted, finely chopped pistachios

Note - If you want chocolate ricotta filling, add a few tablespoons of dark, unsweetened cocoa powder to the above recipe, and thin it out with a few drops of warm water if too thick to pipe.

1. 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.

2 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 (An area of about 13 inches by 18 inches should give you that). Cut out 3 to 5-inch circles (3-inch – small/medium; 4-inch – medium/large; 5-inch;- large. Your choice). Roll the cut out circle into an oval, rolling it larger and thinner if it’s shrunk a little.

3 Oil the outside of the cannoli tubes (You only have to do this once, as the oil from the deep fry will keep them well, uhh, 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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.

Pasta Machine method:
1. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Starting at the middle setting, run one of the pieces of dough through the rollers of a pasta machine. Lightly dust the dough with flour as needed to keep it from sticking. Pass the dough through the machine repeatedly, until you reach the highest or second highest setting. The dough should be about 4 inches wide and thin enough to see your hand through

2. Continue rolling out the remaining dough. If you do not have enough cannoli tubes for all of the dough, lay the pieces of dough on sheets of plastic wrap and keep them covered until you are ready to use them.

3, Roll, cut out and fry the cannoli shells as according to the directions above.

For stacked cannoli:
1. Heat 2-inches of oil in a saucepan or deep sauté pan, to 350-375°F (176 - 190 °C).

2. Cut out desired shapes with cutters or a sharp knife. Deep fry until golden brown and blistered on each side, about 1 – 2 minutes. Remove from oil with wire skimmer or large slotted spoon, then place on paper towels or bags until dry and grease free. If they balloon up in the hot oil, dock them lightly prior to frying. Place on cooling rack until ready to stack with filling.

1. Line a strainer with cheesecloth. Place the ricotta in the strainer over a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap and a towel. Weight it down with a heavy can, and let the ricotta drain in the refrigerator for several hours to overnight.

2. In a bowl with electric mixer, beat ricotta until smooth and creamy. Beat in confectioner’s sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and blend until smooth. Transfer to another bowl and stir in chocolate, zest and nuts. Chill until firm.(The filling can be made up to 24 hours prior to filling the shells. Just cover and keep refrigerated).

1. When ready to serve..fill a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain or star tip, or a ziplock bag, with the ricotta cream. If using a ziplock bag, cut about 1/2 inch off one corner. 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.

2. Press or dip cannoli in chopped pistachios, grated chocolate/mini chocolate chips, candied fruit or zest into the cream at each end. Dust with confectioner’s sugar and/or drizzles of melted chocolate if desired.

Pomegranate Mascarpone Mousse
I had some frosting and filling left over from my cake for my Mother's birthday. I folded one into the other and came out with the best tasting filling.

the filling:

16 ounces mascarpone
4 tablespoons POM syrup*
2 tablespoons PAMA (pomegranate liquor)
1 cup confectioners sugar
the seeds of one vanilla bean

Whip all ingredients together until throughly combined.

the frosting:

2 cups whipping cream
1 tablespoon pomegranate syrup
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
2 tablespoons cold water
1/4 cup sugar

In a small bowl combine gelatin with cold water and let sit for a mement. Then heat it in the microwave for about 30 seconds to disolve it. Remove and let cool to room temp.

In a cold metal bowl whip the cream until it forms bubbles, sprinkle in sugar and add pomegranate syrup. When the mixture is just about to form stiff peaks add in the gelatin all at once. Continue to beat until stiff peaks form.

*Pomegranate syrup: combine 2 cups POM juice with 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 1/3 cup sugar. Boil and reduce to half


Mary said...

The mousse you made with Pom syrup sounds delicious. You really did a nice job with this challenge, Lori.

Murasaki Shikibu said...

Looks great, Lori!

Lucy said...

Looking good!!!

I haven't made these in ages, really! I recall having difficulty finding the tube forms so many years ago. Think it's time to make them soon!

suzybel56 said...

I haven't tried to make these yet, but they look great...I can't tell from the picture really but do you have a tiny kitchen? Mine looks like the same layout & I manage to crank out turkey dinners for 10, & it's tiny.

Lori said...

suzybel- my entire kitchen is about 10 x 20 feet. But my work area is about five foot by five foot. So its fine for me but when you get two people in there you are kind of running into each other.

vibi said...

I looooove the pretty in pink! Totaly angelic, Lori! Brava!

kat said...

Look at you go! I just didn't have the time this month.

Barbara Bakes said...

I hate the whole frying thing and ricotta fillings too! Love you pretty pink filling! Looks delicious!

Lauren said...

That is mouthwatering! I love the flavours - The POM filling sounds to die for!

Ingrid said...

Great job! I love the cannoli (ricotta) filling but your mousse mascarpone adaptions sounds delish, too!

Katy ~ said...

Lori, outstanding! Oh my. I love cannolis. I would LOVE one of yours.

Anonymous said...

Oh Lori, not only did your cannoli turn out beautiful, but that Pomegranate mascarpone mousse sounds amazing! I have some new POM nectarine and kiwi pomegranate juices that I just may reduce to a syrup and see how it turns out.

That said, I think a lot of people were a little turned off by the challenge because a lot of people really don't flip over cannoli. Once they made it themselves, with whatever filling they wanted, wow, so many converts. Heck, I'm not a huge cannoli fan myself, but I thought it would be kind of cool, daring and different. I sort of wish I chose one of my baked ideas, but not as much as I did when I first posted the challenge :)

Grace said...

bravo, lori! your filling is the most beautiful and enticing that i've seen, and i've seen many these last few days. really nicely done!

creampuff said...

Very nice! Mascarpone indeed makes a great filling for cannoli. Love the pomegranate!

LittleRed said...

I love the sound of the Pom filling! I've never had cannoli....even though I have a lot of Italian I don't really know if mine turned out right. But they were tasty! Even using a very small pot, I was amazed at the amount of oil required to try them. Yours look beautiful as always:)

Anonymous said...

You've got a great cannoli factory there! The pomegranate mousse cannoli sounds amazingly good! Thank you for sharing.

Barbara said...

Great filling! I love following Daring Bakers. You are all so innovative. Think I may have to try this!

Simon said...

Nice work with the pommegranate mascapone filling. Sounds like it would have tasted a treat!

Sheltie Girl said...

Great job! I love your use of Pom syrup for the filling.

Natalie @ Gluten a Go Go