Wednesday, March 13, 2013

DIY Cannoli

When I found out how easy homemade mascarpone was, I knew I had to try my hand at cannoli.  I found a recipe on www.foodnetwork.com and adapted it.  Here is the link to the original recipe:

I am giving you step by step photo instructions here, but if you scroll to the end of the post, I have a printer-friendly version of the recipe.  Just highlight and click "print selection."

Preparation
Make (or buy) cannoli tubes.  You need metal or wooden tubes to fry your cannoli.  My husband cut the bottom out of a disposable casserole dish.  As you can see, we were able to make two tubes from the one pan.
 Take a broom handle and wrap the metal tightly around it.  Temporarily tape in place with masking tape.
Slip the tube off the handle (you may have to unscrew the end off the broom).  Staple each end of the tube, then remove the tape.  Voila, two complete cannoli tubes.  You can make as many as you like, though you will probably only be frying 2-4 at a time.



Shell Instructions
Step 1: Whisk together 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 Tbsp granulated sugar, and 1/4 tsp salt.
Step 2: Cut 2 Tbsp unsalted butter into small pieces.  Using your fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture until it makes coarse crumbs.
 Step 3: Separate one egg.  Set the white aside and add the yolk to the flour mixture.
Add either 1/2 cup of dry white wine or 1/2 c water plus 1 Tbsp rice vinegar.  Mix until you have a smooth dough.
 Step 4: Wrap the dough with plastic wrap and flatten slightly. Refrigerate until you have finished the filling.



Filling Instructions
Step 1: Combine 12 oz mascarpone cheese (I used all that my homemade recipe yielded), 3/4 c powdered sugar, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp allspice.
 Step 2: Beat 1/4 c heavy whipping cream until fairly stiff.
 Gently fold whipping cream into cheese mixture.
 Step 3: Zest one lemon.
 Add lemon zest to cheese mixture.
Step 4: Add 1/4 c mini semisweet chocolate chips to the cheese mixture.  Stir gently to combine.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you have finished making the shells.

Frying the Shells
Step 1:  Heat one quart of oil (I used peanut oil) to 360 degrees F. (Watch the temperature so it doesn't become too hot.)
Roll half the dough on a lightly floured surface as thinly as possible.  It needs to be as close to paper thin as you can manage because it will puff up as it fries.  Use a circle jar, bowl, lid, etc. to cut your shells.  (As you can see, my husband bought a container of mascarpone to compare ours to because he wasn't convinced it was supposed to taste the way it does.  It did.  : )
Cut and reroll until you have all the circles cut out.  If you have someone helping you, you can do this while you have someone else frying the ones you have already finished.
Step 2: Make an egg wash using the white you saved earlier and about a tablespoon of water.  Take one of the circles and roll it out a little more.  (They tend to shrink up after you cut them, so you need to reroll to keep them very thin.)  Roll the circle around the tube.  Use your finger to rub some egg wash onto the part of the circle that will overlap.  Finish rolling and press to seal.  Flute the edges slightly to allow the oil to penetrate the tube.
Step 3: Place up to four tubes in the hot oil (as many as your skillet can handle).
Once the tubes have become golden brown, flip them over to cook the other side.  After it has finished cooking, carefully lift the tube from the oil using tongs.  Slip the shell off using a kitchen towel.  Let it drain on paper towels.
Finishing the Cannoli
Step 1: Fill a pastry bag (or large, sturdy ziplock bag) with the filling mixture.  Cut a large hole in the end of the bag.  Pipe the filling into the cannoli.  Only fill the cannoli you plan to eat immediately.  Save any leftover filling in the refrigerator.  Extra shells can be saved in a ziplock bag.  If you want to crisp up the leftover shells, you can stick them in the toaster oven for a little while, then let them cool before filling.
Step 2: Dust with powdered sugar and ENJOY!!!  This is probably the best dessert I have ever made.  No, this IS the best dessert I have ever made, hands down.

Printer-Friendly Recipe:

DIY Cannoli

Equipment
2-4 cannoli tubes or 1-2 foil casserole pans to make them (I buy mine in bulk for cheap)
Masking tape and staples (if making your own tubes)

Ingredients
Shells:
2 c all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp granulated sugar (use cane to ensure non-GMO)
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg separated (save white for later)
1/2 c dry white wine, or substitute water + 1 Tbsp rice vinegar (add the vinegar to your measuring cup first, then fill with water to reach 1/2 cup)

Filling:
12 oz mascarpone cheese
3/4 c powdered sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 c heavy cream (use organic if possible to ensure non-GMO)
1/4 c mini semisweet chocolate chips
1 lemon
1 quart oil for frying (NOT canola or other GMO oils; I used peanut oil)
Flour, for rolling
Egg white (left over from separated egg used in shell)
Powdered sugar, for dusting

Shell Instructions
1. Whisk together 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 Tbsp granulated sugar, and 1/4 tsp salt.2. Cut 2 Tbsp unsalted butter into small pieces.  Using your fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture until it makes coarse crumbs.
3. Separate one egg.  Set the white aside and add the yolk to the flour mixture. Add either 1/2 cup of dry white wine or 1/2 c water plus 1 Tbsp rice vinegar.  Mix until you have a smooth dough.
4. Wrap the dough with plastic wrap and flatten slightly. Refrigerate until you have finished the filling.

Filling Instructions
1. Combine 12 oz mascarpone cheese (I used all that my homemade recipe yielded), 3/4 c powdered sugar, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp allspice.
2. Beat 1/4 c heavy whipping cream until fairly stiff. Gently fold whipping cream into cheese mixture.
3.  Zest one lemon. Add lemon zest to cheese mixture.
4.  Add 1/4 c mini semisweet chocolate chips to the cheese mixture.  Stir gently to combine.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you have finished making the shells.

Frying the Shells
1. Heat one quart of oil (I used peanut oil) to 360 degrees F. (Watch the temperature so it doesn't become too hot.)  Roll half the dough on a lightly floured surface as thinly as possible.  It needs to be as close to paper thin as you can manage because it will puff up as it fries.  Use a circle jar, bowl, lid, etc. to cut your shells. Cut and reroll until you have all the circles cut out.  If you have someone helping you, you can do this while you have someone else frying the ones you have already finished.
2.  Make an egg wash using the white you saved earlier and about a tablespoon of water.  Take one of the circles and roll it out a little more.  (They tend to shrink up after you cut them, so you need to reroll to keep them very thin.)  Roll the circle around the tube.  Use your finger to rub some egg wash onto the part of the circle that will overlap.  Finish rolling and press to seal.  Flute the edges slightly to allow the oil to penetrate the tube.
3.  Place up to four tubes in the hot oil (as many as your skillet can handle). Once the tubes have become golden brown, flip them over to cook the other side.  After it has finished cooking, carefully lift the tube from the oil using tongs.  Slip the shell off using a kitchen towel.  Let it drain on paper towels.

Finishing the Cannoli
1. Fill a pastry bag (or large, sturdy ziplock bag) with the filling mixture.  Cut a large hole in the end of the bag.  Pipe the filling into the cannoli.  Only fill the cannoli you plan to eat immediately.  Save any leftover filling in the refrigerator.  Extra shells can be saved in a ziplock bag.  If you want to crisp up the leftover shells, you can stick them in the toaster oven for a little while, then let them cool before filling.
2.  Dust with powdered sugar and ENJOY!!!

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