Saturday, January 01, 2005

Dessert Cannoli

I recommend making the dough, wrapping it in waxed paper and chilling for 24 hours.

To make the dough, sift the dry ingredients together. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the liquid inside. Little by little, stir the dry ingredients into the liquid until all the liquid is absorbed. Knead the dough for five minutes to ensure that it is smooth. This is a fairly stiff dough. Wrap and chill dough overnight.

Now comes the fun part. With a rolling pin, roll dough to about 3/16 inch thick. Make sure the dough and table are well floured. The dough will probably spring back a lot. If this happens, let the dough rest for ten minutes and then come back to it and roll again. We have an adjustable
hand crank pasta maker that works well for this. Adjust the rollers to a thinner setting each time you put the dough through the rollers.

Once the dough is the proper thickness, cut circles with a 3" round cutter. Next you'll need cannoli tubes. These are metal tubes approximately 5" long and 3/4" in diameter, and come in a package of 6 or 12. You can get them at a good culinary store, perhaps the Pastry Chef: The old Sicilians used to use a wooden dowel or broom handle cut to size.

Take a circle of dough and wrap it around the tube, but not tightly. The dough should be slack around the tube, because it needs room to puff when it deep fries. Moisten one edge of the dough and press the two overlapping edges together.

Deep fry the shells in 375F oil until light golden brown. Remove from oil and let cool a couple of minutes. Slide the shells off the tube. Voila! You have a cannoli shell. This pastry is very delicate and breaks easily, so be careful when stuffing them.


3 Cups Flour
1/4 Cup Sugar
1 tsp Cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
3 TBS Shortening
2 Eggs well beaten
2 TBS White vinegar
2 TBS Cold water
¼ Cup Tangerine liquor

Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl. Cut in shortening to pieces the size of peas. Turn dough on to a floured counter and knead to smooth. Wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate for 30-minutes. or more.

You can roll the dough out with a rolling pin, but I find the best method is using a hand-crank pasta maker. Roll first on the widest setting (5) and then in increments all the way to setting (1).

FILLING (for 20)

1-1/2 lbs ricotta cheese
1 -1/4 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 Cup chocolate shavings or mini-chocolate bits
1 TBS orange or lemon zest
1/2 Cup Chopped candied citron (Optional)

Unless you have purchased DRY ricotta, DRAIN THE RICOTTA IN CHEESECLOTH for 2-3 days before making the filling!! Mix well by hand with a wooden spoon. If the ricotta has been drained, use your mixer and the beaters. If you use the beaters and the ricotta has NOT been drained, you will end up with "soup!"

Stuff the shells with filling, being careful not to break them. An iced tea spoon works well here. Arrange on a large serving plate, and then dust with confectioner’s sugar. A demitasse cup of espresso or a dry Marsala wine is the perfect accompaniment.


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