Leave the gun, take the canoli.

A while back when I was un-self employeed, one of the guys who worked with me made some cannoli and brought me in a couple to try, as I had never before had the pleasure. They were Awesome. Please note the capital A. The shell was deep golden, crisp and flakey. The inside was creamy, light, with the perfect amount of chocolate bits. I have not had one since. I have dreamt about it though.

About 2 months ago, I bought a set of cannoli tubes from Amazon- you know how: boredom + the web + a credit card…. I didn’t really think about the necessity of multiple cannoli tubes to prevent any thumb-twiddling while waiting for the tubes to cool a little, so I sourced out some tubes at the local “random food” store- at a better price- much to my delight, followeded by annoyance at over-spending earlier on…. I finally had the gumption to take out the ol’deep fryer and do it up. I would like to point out that I love love love fried food, but I hate hate hate the smell of a deep-fryer, especially when I’m the one doing the frying. It makes your clothes stink, your hair, the kitchen- it’s like going into the chicken shed. Ick. I do get over this feeling pretty quick when I consume the reason for the stench, it’s fried food- c’mon….

I rarely follow recipes to the letter. I find that there are mistakes, or I don’t have the exact ingredients and more often then not, there is an easier, tastier way to get a better result. I looked at a bunch of recipes for cannoli- which are surprisingly hard to find in my substantial collection of cookbooks- I found one in the Sopranos Family Cookbook (a gift from a staff member, awesome show), one in a more traditional Italian cookbook and that was it. I did check out some online, plus the one on the back of the package of tubes- they were all pretty close.

In the process of frying the future tubes of goodness, a few puffed up and unrolled themselves off of the tube molds. Dang it. I wonder…. Another deep-fried wonder, Beavertails, are also a deep-fried, allthough flat, pastry. In my humble opinion, the best of the topping selection is cinnamon sugar with lemon juice- let’s give’r a shot. Holy de-canoli’d yum. Give it up for the mess ups!!! They might just make it to the dessert menu when we open again….

Cannoli/ Pastry Dough
45 g shortening
450 g all-purpose flour
30 g white sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
60 g wine (I used our apple cider)
1 egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
vegetable oil for frying
1 beaten egg for pastry “glue”

Combine shortening into dry ingredients to resemble cornmeal. Add liquid ingredients, combine until dough is uniform. Refrigerate 5 hours or overnight. Preheat oil to 400F. Weigh dough into 20 g portions, roll into ovals that are the thickness of a dime. Wrap dough loosely around cannoli tubes, sealing the dough together with second beaten egg. Fry until deep-golden brown- I usually do four at a time. Remove tubes (careful- hothothot!!!), drain on paper towel, and repeat. Remember to let the oil get back up to temperature between batches, you want a shell that has nice blisters (bubbles) on it. Cool completely and store in an airtight container until needed for up to 2 weeks.
For the flat pastry, roll the same as for a cannoli and dock it with a fork to prevent a sweet fried pita. Fry golden, brush with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and a splash of fresh lemon juice. Eat warm!!!!

Cannoli filling:
450 g ricotta (drained for 2 days in a colander, covered with plastic wrap)
1 teaspoon vanilla
100 g sifted icing sugar
125 g dark chocolate, buzzed in a food prcessor to small pieces
1/4 teaspoon salt
100 g pistachios (optional)

Combine all ingredients. Fill a pastry tube with filling, stuff canoli shell starting at one end, turn shell around and finish the other side. Dust with icing sugar and serve immediately. The filling keeps for 3-4 days in the fridge.

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