Wednesday, December 13, 2017


CANNOLI SHELLS & FILLING

that would impress your Nonna!


Cannoli Filling:

Ingredients:
32 oz container of Ricotta Cheese
2 C Powdered Sugar (Confectioner's Sugar)
1T Amaretto
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 C miniature chocolate chips

(Crushed pistachios, maraschino cherry halves, miniature chocolate chips & candied orange are some options to garnish the ends of the cannoli.)
I used fresh raspberry slivers, and also made a fresh raspberry coulis. 
DELIZIOSO!

1.) DRAIN the Ricotta Cheese (in the refrigerator) OVERNIGHT in a strainer lined with cheesecloth.
Cover tightly with plastic wrap, so that no air can permeate the flavor.
IT NEEDS TO DRAIN 1/2 CUP of liquid. 
(If there is only 1/4 c of liquid in the bowl, the Ricotta must be left longer in the refrigerator, or the filling WILL be runny. You can place a salad plate on top of plastic wrap directly on top of the filling with a heavy can on top (like one of your Cento Italian Tomatoes cans). This will help push the liquid out better. Cover all with plastic wrap.

2.) Once your Ricotta cheese has 1/2 cup of liquid left in the bottom of the bowl. Pull the cheesecloth out (with the Ricotta inside), and invert the Ricotta cheese into your kitchen blender's mixing bowl.

3.) Sift in 2 C of Confectioner's Sugar & 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon.

4.) Add 1 Tablespoon of Amaretto.

5.) Before you turn on the mixer, stir the ingredients well with a spatula. Then, blend on medium for approximately 2" until smooth and creamy, but not runny.
Scrape the bottom and sides of bowl often.

6.) Fold in 1/2 C of Miniature Chocolate Chips. (They need to be miniature to fit through a piping tip.)

You may refrigerate overnight, but place in strainer over cheesecloth, so that it will drain and not get runny.

When ready to serve the cannoli, pipe the filling into the cannoli shells from center out on each side. I use a disposable plastic piping bag and large star tip.
Do not fill them longer than 1 hour before serving. They are very quick to fill & decorate; I filled and plated the ones pictured in 2 minutes (including the raspberry coulis swish, mint, etc.).

You may want to garnish the ends of the cannoli with crushed pistachios, cherry halves, or raspberry slivers like I have pictured, with raspberry coulis, and sift with confectioner's sugar.

I sometimes sift cinnamon, or drizzle chocolate sauce over the tops.

I used a sprig of mint to garnish, as well. To make the two cannoli stand on each other (as pictured), I used a bit of filling to "glue" them together, and I choose them ahead of time to get two, per serving, that match and stay in place together.

FILLING can be kept fresh in the refrigerator for 2 days. I keep it in a strainer, lined with cheesecloth, over a bowl, tightly covered with cling wrap. This will keep it from becoming runny. When you are ready to use it again, flip it off of the cheesecloth into a clean bowl & stir well.


*Cannoli Shells:
*You can make the Cannoli Shells days ahead.



Ingredients:
Vegetable Oil (at least 5" deep in a pot, pan, or fryer)
Cannoli forms
5" round cutter or inverted margarita glass.
Pastry Bag
1 egg YOLK for the dough
1 to 2 egg WHITEs for sealing the shells
2 C Flour (regular "all-purpose" flour)
2T Sugar
1/2 t Kosher Salt or Sea Salt
1/2 t Cinnamon
3 T of ROOM TEMPERATURE Butter (regular salted butter)
1/2 to 3/4 Cup Marsala Wine (It will depend on your humidity, etc. You sprinkle it in gradually as with pie crust.) 
Confectioner's Sugar for sifting on top after filled
(See options for other garnish ingredients above.)

1.) Sift together:
2 C Flour (regular "all-purpose" flour)
2T Sugar
1/2 t Kosher Salt or Sea Salt
1/2 t Cinnamon
2.) Cut in:
3 T of ROOM TEMPERATURE Butter

3.) With a fork, gradually "toss" in:
1/2 to 3/4 Cup Marsala Wine
a little at a time, until the mixture resembles crumbs and can be pressed together in a ball.
(This is like making pie crust; it cannot be too wet or too dry. The wine is not only for flavor; it tenderizes the gluten.)

Keep tossing with the fork until large crumbs form, then use the warmth of your hands to press it into a ball. It may be crumbly at first, but knead it several times in the bowl until all crumbs are incorporated .

4.) Remove ball to a lightly floured surface and knead the ball of dough for 10 to 15 minutes. It should become very smooth. 
(A silpat is a wonderful non-stick surface.)

5.) Press the ball into a disc, and wrap in plastic wrap. Leave at room temperature for an hour. This lets the gluten relax, and the dough becomes smooth.

6.) After an hour. Cut the disc in half & roll with a rolling pin, on the floured surface, manipulating it until you have made it a long rectangle.


7.) Send through Pasta Roller three times at each setting (1 to 6), folding the dough
into thirds each time before rolling it through again. This is what makes it smooth, as shown in the photo below. 
If you do not have a pasta roller, continue rolling until it is less the 1/16th of an inch. (Set a butter knife against the edge; it should be as thin as the blade. The dough will triple in width when fried.)




8.) Cut 5" circles out of the dough. Gently pull the circle into more of an oval.


9.) Place the cannoli form on the oval lengthwise, and wrap the short ends to one another


10.) Brush one side with a dab of egg white and seal that side over the other, so that the egg white doesn't run onto the cannoli form.
11.) Press well to seal. If your shells pop open when fried, press the next ones together better. I wrap 4 at a time.



12.) Fry one or two at a time for one and a half minutes (2" max) at 360 degrees/180C. until lightly golden brown. 
Be very careful, as the wine in the shells react to the oil.

 Using silicone-ended tongs, and oven mitts on your hands, slowly lower the tubes (with the dough tightly around them) into the hot oil. The oil needs to be 350 degrees F (190 C) and the cannoli dough needs to start bubbling as soon as it is submerged.  If it does not, they will be oily and not crisp. However, if the oil is TOO hot, they will cook much too quickly for you to roll them around and brown them evenly. It is much easier to only cook two at a time, and this way you can learn each time if the temperature and the time that you left them in was absolutely perfect, or if you need to adjust it for the next two. But, once you get it right, you may want to fry four at a time. The bubbles that form on the shells is normal & desired. These will be flaky, tender shells. 


Carefully remove from oil (with silicone ended tongs for best grip), or carefully roll out of a fryer basket, onto a plate lined with several paper towels. Let cool COMPLETELY before handling the metal tubes. (several minutes between batches) With a paper towel in each hand, carefully slide the Cannoli Shell off of the tube.

The tubes do not need to be washed in between batches, but wash well in the dishwasher when you are finished.

Keep the cooled Cannoli Shells in an airtight container at room temperature in a cool, dry place.

CANNOLI SHELLS can be stored at room temperature, in an airtight container for a week. I wrap each one with a half of a paper towel folded up. This absorbs grease and keeps them from breaking.