Sunday, June 29, 2008

Homemade Cannoli

A few weeks ago for Father's Day, I made cannoli for my Italian father and grandpop. I did't know what I was in for when I got the idea in my mind, but went ahead and took the plunge anyway. I stayed up all night frying dough and ruining batch after batch, but I learned so much and would do it all over again.

For anyone who does not know what cannoli are, they're Sicilian pastry desserts. Singular for cannoli is cannolo and it means "little tube". So basically they are tubes of fried dough that are filled with a sweet creamy filling that usually consists of ricotta cheese, vanilla, chocolate chips, or candied citrus fruit. Cannoli are a family favorite of ours and in my opinion, one of the best things in life!

There are so many different versions for cannoli and I couldn't decide which recipe to use. That was actually the hardest part for me because I really wanted something simple for my first time, but as "Italian" as possible. At first I was planning to use a recipe from Lidia's Italian-American book that I own, but the problem was I could not find candied orange and did not have time to make them. At last I found this one. The recipe was great, but I did need to make a few changes. Hopefully, I can remember all of them.

Here is the dough all rolled out and cut into little rounds waiting to be wrapped around the forms. I added a few more tablespoons of the Marsala wine to get it to the right consistency. The cookie cutter I had was too small, I think 4 inches, which made mini cannoli. I did the first batch this way, but then decided they were way too small. So I ended up using a bowl to cut out about 5 1/2 " rounds. It was much easier to work with. I ruined a few batches because the dough would not stick to the forms.

I used canola oil to fry with instead of shortening because it's healthier.
I only had four forms, so it was a long process of rolling, wrapping, frying and cooling.

Here are the cannoli waiting to be filled. A note about the filling: drain the ricotta overnight or you will be left with a soggy filling that will not hold its shape. I luckily found out about a trick to thicken it if you forget, just add a few tablespoons of vanilla pudding mix - it worked like a charm and saved me. I also added a pinch of cinnamon for more flavor.

Here is my messy bowl and pastry bag. I started out with a star tip, but it kept getting clogged because of the chocolate chips so I had to switch it out while the bag was still filled which was a complete mess!

Here they are filled and all ready to go. Next time I will fill right before serving because the shell becomes too soft otherwise. They were still really good and everyone couldn't believe they were homemade!


Shawn said...

Oh man ...

"You are killing me with these pictures!" Says the guy who visits the Giant bakery far too often.

Anonymous said...

Wow, very impressive. I love that you're adventurous enough to tackle that kind of project. Can we make fresh pasta together sometime?

Desiree said...

thanks! I would totally love to make pasta with you! A pasta maker would of come in handy for these. I couldn't seem to roll the dough thin enough.

j. almodovar said...

yummmmm!! good job!