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.
I'm kind of surprised when I visit the Daring Bakers forum and see people complaining about the challenge. The whole point is to be challenged. Have some fun people! I have had cannoli exactly one other time from a corner bakery in New York city. I loved it, but never imagined I would make it myself. The only thing that really made me nervous about this was frying in my tiny box of an apartment since the smell lingers for days. Luckily SoCal has been experiencing insanely warm temps so I was able to leave the windows open and the smell was not a problem. Rather than buy cannoli forms, I concocted something found in this tutorial. I did half the recipe and got about 10 cannoli. Some were 3 inches and some were 5 inches. The smaller ones were easier to work with. The filling was a simple mix of ricotta, mascarpone, powdered sugar, and a vanilla bean. Nothing fancy here folks (I didn't have a lot of time), but still it all came together well and it was really delicious! I had fun with this challenge and thanks to our fabulous hostess! To see how the other cannolis came out, visit the blogroll.
For the shells:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon unsweetened baking cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
Approximately 1/4 cup sweet Marsala or any white or red wine you have on hand (I used Moscat)
Water for sealing the edges
For the filling:
1/2 cup ricotta cheese, drained
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
3/4 cup cup 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
Seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean
Mini chocolate chips (optional)
Finely chopped pistachios (optional)
To make the shells:
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 (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). 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. Since I used parchment wrapped foil, I did not oil the outside of the parchment). 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 water on the dough where the edges overlap. Press well to seal.
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.
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.
To make the filling:
Beat together the ricotta and mascarpone until smooth and creamy. Add the vanilla beans. Fill each cannoli with the ricotta mixture and top the outsides with a few chocolate chips or pistachios if desired.
Friday, November 27, 2009