The November 2009 Daring Bakers Challenge was chosen and hosted by Lisa Michele of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives. She chose the Italian Pastry, Cannolo (Cannoli is plural), using the cookbooks Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and The Sopranos Family Cookbook by Allen Rucker; recipes by Michelle Scicolone, as ingredient/direction guides. She added her own modifications/changes, so the recipe is not 100% verbatim from either book.
Cannoli are known as Italian-American pastries, although the origin of cannoli dates back to Sicily, specifically Palermo, where it was prepared during Carnevale season, and according to lore, as a symbol of fertility. The cannoli is a fried, tube-shaped pastry shell (usually containing wine) filled with a creamy amalgamation of sweetened ricotta cheese, chocolate, candied fruit or zest, and sometimes nuts. Although not traditional, mascarpone cheese is also widely used, and in fact, makes for an even creamier filling when substituted for part of the ricotta, or by itself. However, cannoli can also be filled with pastry creams, mousses, whipped cream, ice cream etc. You could also add your choice of herbs, zests or spices to the dough, if desired. Marsala is the traditional wine used in cannoli dough, but any red or white wine will work fine, as it’s not only added for flavor or color, but to relax the gluten in the dough since it can be a stiff dough to work with.
Despite not technically a “baking” challenge, I was SO excited to see this month’s challenge recipe at the Daring Kitchen. I have only had cannoli a few times, but have always loved their delicate crispy shell and creamy fillings. We had a choice of fillings, so I made half with vanilla and half with chocolate, and dipped the ends of both in melted dark chocolate. For the cannoli with chocolate filling, I then dipped the ends into candied orange peel also for a bit of a jaffa flavour. YUM YUM!!
Anyway, if you would like a printable copy of the recipe, you can find it here.
My first batch, I tried the forming them around the premade cannelloni tubes. Unfortunately, they blistered and cooked along with the cannoli and I was unable to separate the two without smashing the entire thing into smithereens. Luckily, I had some stainless cream horn shapes in my cooking stash, and they worked a treat. Had they not worked, I would have opted for the flat, layered version aka millefeuille/napoleon style. All in all, a great hit with the family and definately will be made again. Am hoping Santa will bring me an ice cream maker for Christmas, as I can really imagine these with a yummy home made ice cream filling!! Delish!