Saturday, August 13, 2011

Chocolate Chip-Orange Cannoli

I've had "make cannolis" on my list of things to cook for about three years now. It felt damn good to finally hit that delete button. Right after I did, I found out that there's no such word as cannolis anyway. Turns out cannoli is already plural and the singular is cannolo (which I've never heard anyone say and sounds weird to me). Of course I don't think anyone will challenge you if you inadvertently offer them a single cannoli (not if they want you to hand over that crispy little pastry tube with sweet, creamy filling peaking out the ends). If you're a real stickler for grammar and just can't let it go, I recommend you bring it up after you eat it (and stop being so persnickety, no one appreciates it).

Yield: about 12

For dough:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1/2 cup limoncello (or other lemon or orange liqueur), plus more if needed

For filling:
1 lb. fresh sheep's or cow's milk ricotta, drained overnight in fine sieve or cheesecloth
3/4 cup superfine sugar
1/3 cup miniature chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped candied orange peel (or finely grated zest of 2 oranges)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To fry and serve:
approx. 8 cups vegetable oil
1 egg white, lightly beaten
confectioners' sugar for dusting (optional)

Special equipment:
deep-fat thermometer
4-inch diameter round cookie cutter
6 (roughly 5 5/8” x 5/8”) metal cannoli tubes

Make dough:
1.       In medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, and cinnamon. Using fingertips or pastry blender, blend in butter just until mixture resembles coarse meal (or pulse in food processor.) Drizzle limoncello over mixture and gently stir with fork until incorporated.

2.       Turn out dough onto sheet of plastic wrap. (Dough will still look somewhat dry and crumbly.) Gather together into ball, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate 45 minutes to 1 hour. 

Make filling:
3.       In medium mixing bowl, stir together ricotta, sugar, chocolate chips, orange peel, and vanilla. Spoon mixture into pastry bag fitted with 1/2-inch round tip and refrigerate until ready to use. (Filling can be made up to 1 day ahead and refrigerated, covered.)

Form, fry, and fill shells:
4.       Cut dough into 4 even pieces. On lightly floured surface, roll out 1 piece to 1/8-inch thick. Using floured cookie cutter, cut out 2 to 3 rounds from dough. Transfer rounds to baking sheet and keep covered with plastic wrap. Roll out remaining dough and cut rounds in same manner, then gather scraps, roll out, and cut again.

5.       Fill heavy 4-quart pot with oil to depth of 3 inches. Heat over moderate heat until thermometer registers 375° F.

6.       Meanwhile, brush bottom edge of 1 dough round with egg white. Wrap dough around 1 cannoli tube with egg white–brushed end overlapping other end and gently press edges together to seal. Make 5 more shells in same manner. (Keep remaining rounds covered with plastic.)

7.       Working in 2 batches, fry formed shells in hot oil until deep golden brown, about 1 minute. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate to drain and cool 5 minutes. Stand tubes upright and tap gently against countertop to loosen shells. Twist molds to remove shells.

8.       Wrap remaining dough around tubes and fry in same manner. (Shells may be made 1 day ahead and stored at room temperature, unfilled and uncovered.)

9.       When ready to serve, pipe filling into one end of cannoli shell, filling shell halfway, then pipe into other end. Repeat to fill remaining shells. Dust with confectioner's sugar and serve immediately.

from Mario Batali
draining the ricotta
dry ingredients for the dough
butter already pulsed in
limoncello (neon lemon liquor)
pouring in the limoncello
mixing the dough

It should be a little dry, but if necessary, add a little more limoncello
(just a teaspoon at a time), until you're able to form it into a disk.
dough disk (still slightly dry/crumbly, but it worked)
chopped candied orange peel
(I finally used what I made last week.)
all the filling ingredients
filling mixed
filling in a ziploc bag
dough rolled, cutting out circles
brushing the edge with egg white
folding the top over the cannoli tube
bottom/brushed edge sealed on top
cannoli tubes are very cheap (I bought 4 for $3.49)
about to take the plunge in the hot oil
cannoli shells draining on paper towels
I was nervous, but none of them broke when
I (gently) twisted the shells off the tubes.
shell's eye view
piping filling into a shell

Don't fill your cannoli shells until ready to
serve (otherwise the shells will get mushy).
sprinkling filled cannolo with powdered sugar
three cannoli are always better than one cannolo


Judie Cleland said...

These look super delicious. Shall we come back this weekend too?

Randi said...

Candied orange peels a mystery no more.

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