Friday, November 27, 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 of Lidia's Italian-American Kitchen by Lidia Mattichio Bastianic and The Sopranos Family Cookbook by Allen Rucker, recipes by Michelle Sciolone, as ingredient/direction guide. She added her own modifications/changes, so the recipe is not 100% verbatim from either book.
This month's challenge didn't require any baking, just deep frying! I was a little hesitant to deep fry again, but I figured I'd try my tried and true method of frying in my skillet. For the challenge I had to make a recipe of cannoli dough and the filling options were up to me! Traditionally cannoli are filled with a ricotta cheese mixture that is either savory or sweet, but that wouldn't work for me! I chose to fill my cannoli with Nutriwhip and fruit to make it a little easier on the belly.
Cannoli are supposed to be little tubes that are filled with the ricotta mixture. In order to get the tube shape, the dough is shaped around a cannoli form, a cylindrical piece of metal or wood. I didn't want to go buy cannoli forms that I would never use again, so I fried up circles of dough, an alternative way suggested in the original recipe. They turned out really well!
The dough was pretty standard to make. Just throw the ingredients in the mixer and whirl away! The dough was pretty dry, so I was a little nervous, but after a few kneads on the countertop it came together into a smooth dough. I let it rest in the fridge for the afternoon while I did my typical weekend stuff. After supper I got Paul to help me roll out the dough. It was pretty tough to get it thin, so I need a stronger person to help me out! He rolled the dough and cut them into four inch rounds. We docked the dough to prevent it from bubbling while frying, that didn't go exactly as planned, but more on that later.
I dropped the rounds into about an inch of hot oil in a small frying pan. I turned them after about a minute and fried them until they were golden. The recipe says that they should blister, but mine blew up like balloons. I later found out that this was because my dough was too thick, but I really don't see how we could have gotten the dough any thinner without buying a pasta machine. I had a few that worked the way the recipe stated, but the rest were puffy, but still delicious.
When the cannoli had cooled, I piped some Nutriwhip on a cannolo, sprinkled it with chopped strawberries and topped it with another cannolo. I then dusted it with powdered sugar.
The cannoli making experience was fun, but I probably wouldn't make them again.

CANNOLI SHELLS
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
Approximately 1/2 cup sweet Marsala or any white or red wine you have on hand
1 large white (only needed if using forms)

Vegetable or any neutral oil for frying
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 .


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. 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.

2 comments:

  1. Nutriwhip and fruit filling girl that is so delicious and yes they need to be paper thin to blister correct but they still are good even if a little thicker. Well done and cheers from Audax in Australia.

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  2. what a fresh and light ( not to forget absolutely delicious ) looking dessert.
    love the fresh strawberries.

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