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November Daring Baker’s Challenge: Cannolis!!

November 27, 2009 at 12:00 am | Posted in Daring Bakers, Dessert | 15 Comments

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. Lisa Michele is one of my very favorite fellow Daring Baker’s so I am so excited to do her challenge!!
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I chose to make three different fillings and use a semi chocolatey shell dough! I was only planning on making a plain vanilla filling with chocolate chips, but then Ned urged me to make one with the pistachios that we had in the pantry and when I heard that the pumpkin filling recipe used marscapone (which I had leftover from another pumpkin creation) I called Laurita immediately when she was getting our turkey from Trader Joe’s and she got me a can of pumpkin to complete that filling! From what I hear about the pumpkin shortage, boy am I glad to be able to get that can! These three fillings were lovely and are so delicious each in their own way. Fantastic choice for a challenge LM, fantastic!

So the great thing about this challenge is that for the frying portion I was able to enlist dear sweet Neddy as the chief of the frying station and puller of the cannoli shells off the molds! I made the dough three days ahead of time and let the ricotta drain for that long too…maybe not the best idea, but as you can see above I think it all turned out well. So the dough was really easy to make in the food processor, but when I started trying to roll it out with my pasta machine that was just NOT happenin! So out came my trusty rolling pin and it worked like a breeze. The temperature of the oil and how long to fry each took awhile to figure out, but I think we got our technique down and filling these babies couldn’t be easier! I think my fillings should probably be a little thicker, but they worked just fine for our uses. More ricotta to make it thicker I guess?  This was a great holiday treat to make and now that I have metal cannoli forms, I will most certainly be doing this again!

Equipment:
Cannoli forms/tubes – optional, but recommended if making traditional shaped cannoli.
Deep, heavy saucepan, enough to hold at least 2-3-inches of oil or deep fryer
Deep fat frying thermometer. although the bread cube or bit of dough test will work fine.
Metal tongs
Brass or wire skimmer OR large slotted spoon
Pastry bag with large star or plain tip, but a snipped ziplock bag, butter knife or teaspoon will work fine.
Cooling rack
Paper bags or paper towels
Pastry Brush
Cheesecloth
Sieve or fine wire mesh strainer
Electric Mixer, stand or hand, optional, as mixing the filling with a spoon is fine.
Food Processor or Stand Mixer – also optional, since you can make the dough by hand, although it takes more time.
Rolling pin and/or Pasta roller/machine
Pastry or cutting board
Round cutters – The dough can also be cut into squares and rolled around the cannoli tube prior to frying. If making a stacked cannoli, any shaped cutter is fine, as well as a sharp knife.
Mixing bowl and wooden spoon if mixing filling by hand
Plastic Wrap/Clingfilm
Tea towels or just cloth towels

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

CANNOLI SHELLS
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

CANNOLI FILLING
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

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.

DIRECTIONS FOR SHELLS:
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, oiled..lol). 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.
Cannoli shell preparation, cutting out the dough circles, sealing the dough around the form, frying the shells, finished shells ready to fill

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.

DIRECTIONS FOR 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 and/or nuts. Chill until firm.(The filling can be made up to 24 hours prior to filling the shells. Just cover and keep refrigerated).

ASSEMBLE THE CANNOLI:
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.


Check out the rest of my DB posse here!!

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15 Comments »

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  1. Those look fantastic! I’m a little scared of the whole daring bakers thing, but you made this one look really easy.

    Good luck with the second T-Day today!

  2. I love the picture. your shells look crispy and light. the fillings sound delicious.

  3. Stunning cannoli! Love the flavours and photo =D.

  4. Just love them the cannoli shells look perfect so blistered you did found your groove making these delicious treats and great you will be making them again. Cheers from Audax in Australia.

  5. Beautiful cannoli
    great job !

  6. this was definitely one of the more simple challenges, although one of the most enjoyable. Hmm strange you were not able to roll it out through your pasta machine, lucky for the rolling pin, your cannoli turned out great. Three fillings? you’ve definitely outdone yourself.

  7. These look so dainty and delicious!

  8. Your cannoli look awesome! You even got the coveted blisters. The pumpkin mascarpone filling sounds divine! They all look delicous!

  9. Wow, three different fillings! Great job, and indeed very yummy.

  10. Very nice!

  11. Elizabeth, kudos on those cannolis.

  12. All those fillings sound delicious! Fabulous!

  13. Nice work with the post.

    I would have intentionally left the ricotta to drain as long as you have. The product may end up dryer than what you may initially want but you could always add flavourful liquids back into the mix. A more tasty option than just the ricotta whey on its own 🙂

  14. […] herbed oyster stuffing, green bean casserole, leftover waldorf salad, canned cranberry and cannolis and pumpkin semifreddo for dessert! Lots and lots and lots of food!! Enough for leftovers for all […]

  15. These are beautiful! What an endeavor!


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