Monday, August 6, 2012

Carmela Soprano's Cannoli Dessert with Ricotta Cream Filling


Cannoli was a holiday staple at Aunt Betty's house.
They came fresh in a nice white box.
From a local bakery.
And we ate them right away.

They don't keep well.
The shells get soggy.


In Malta we also have a dessert called Cannoli.
It's way easier than Carmela's recipe.
And healthier.
Easy, right?


Italian Cannoli, like doughnuts, are a much loved dessert.
But, Italian cannoli, like doughnuts, are usually bought.

Well, not according to The Sopranos Family Cookbook.
In the If I Couldn't Eat, I'd F**king Die chapter, the cannoli are home made.
Right.
Okay, cooking is Artie's job.
I really, really doubt if Carmela made them.
If you are curious about how they're made - here's the recipe.

Some hints:
The filling can be made up to 24 hours before serving.

If you do not have enough cannoli tubes for all of the dough, 
lay the pieces of dough on sheets of plastic wrap and keep them covered 
until you are ready to use them. 
Reusing the cannoli tubes?  Let them cool before wrapping them in the dough. 
The cannoli shells can be made up to 2 days before serving. 
Store in a sealed container in a cool, dry place before filling.
Fill within 1 hour of serving. 

Cannoli tubes are available at kitchenware shops, generally in sets of four. 
You can reuse them, but it is easier if you have at least eight to work with.

It's even easier to buy Cannoli at a good Italian bakery.


                        Cannoli

Makes 16

Shells

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, combine
2 Cups flour (plus more as needed)
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
Stir in
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
About 1/2 Cup dry white wine, to make a soft dough
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
Knead it until smooth and well blended, about 2 minutes.
Shape the dough into a ball. 
Cover with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. 

Cut the dough into 4 pieces. 
Roll a piece so that it's 4 inches wide and thin enough to see your hand through. 
Measure the length of your cannoli tubes.
Cut the strip of dough crosswise into pieces about 1 inch shorter. 
Continue rolling out the remaining dough. 

Oil the cannoli tubes. 
Place a cannoli tube on one piece of dough at an angle, from corner to corner. 
Fold the two other corners of the dough around the tube, 
being careful not to stretch the dough or pull it tightly. 

Dab a little of 
1 egg white, beaten
on the dough where the edges overlap.  
Avoid getting egg white on the tube, or the cannoli will stick to it. 
Press the overlap to seal. 
Repeat with the remaining dough.

Line a baking pan with paper towels. 

Into a deep fryer pour 2 inches of
Vegetable oil 
Heat to 375°F on a deep-frying thermometer. 
Carefully lower a few of the cannoli tubes into the hot oil. 
Do not crowd them. 
Fry the shells until golden, about 2 minutes, turning so they brown evenly.

With tongs remove the cannoli tubes.
Hold them straight up so that the oil flows back into the pan. 
Drain the tubes briefly on the paper towels.

While they are still hot, carefully slide the cannoli shells from the tubes: 
Grasp each tube with a pot holder and pull the cannoli shell off the tube with 
a pair of tongs, or with your hand protected by an oven mitt or towel. 
Cool the shells completely on the paper towels. 

Repeat with the remaining dough. 
Set aside. 


Ricotta Cream Filling

Line a large strainer with cheesecloth. 
Place the strainer over a bowl. 
Scrape into the strainer
2 pounds whole or part skim milk ricotta
Cover with a piece of plastic wrap and a small plate. 
Weight the plate with a heavy can. 
Let the ricotta drain in the refrigerator for several hours.

Put the ricotta in a food processor and blend it until creamy. 
Add 
1 1⁄2 Cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Blend until smooth. 
Transfer to a bowl.
Stir in 
1 ounce semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 Tablespoons chopped candied orange peel
Cover and refrigerate.


To assemble

Fill a heavy-duty plastic storage bag, with the ricotta cream. 
Cut about 1⁄2 inch off one bottom corner. 
Insert the bag's tip in a cannoli shell; squeeze gently until the shell is half-filled. 
Turn the shell and fill from the other side. 
Smooth the cream with a small spatula. 
Repeat with the remaining shells and cream. 

If desired, decorate the ends with 
Chopped candied cherries or candied orange peel 

Place the cannoli on a serving platter and sprinkle with 
Confectioners’ sugar 
Serve within 1 hour. 


Would I make Carmela's Cannoli?
NO.
But, the Ricotta Cream Filling is nice on sponge cakes.

One recipe down.  Ninety-two more to go. 

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