Professionally trained chef and owner of Food Lover's Odyssey Vacations. Sharing my love for the food, wine and culture of Italy and France with travelers since 2009.Read More
How appropropriate that my first Daring Bakers’ Challenge is cannoli. Having recently returned from Sicily and much sampling, sampling, and sampling (you get the idea) of cannoli, I was thrilled to see them as the November Daring Bakers Challenge. It also gave me a chance to use my new cannoli forms, a gift from my Roman friend Stefania.
For those that are unfamiliar with the Daring Bakers, it’s a group of bakers who bake the exact same recipe each month and share the results. Many in the group, numbering in the thousands, have a blog and share their experience via their blogs.
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: As Compiled by Artie Bucco by Allen Rucker; recipes by Michelle Scicolone. She also added her own modifications and changes.
I used the same filling that I used for the Cassatelle alla Siciliana because I prefer chocolate in the ricotta cream instead of candied fruit. I think current day Sicilians aren’t big fans of the candied fruit either because the cannoli I found throughout the island had only ricotta cream, and some had chocolate in the cream, but no candied fruit.
This was the second time I made cannoli. The other was many years ago with my grandmother’s recipe. It was before I had ever been to Sicily, so I had only store-bought mushy cannoli to compare. My new standards are quite a bit higher, but these were delicious. I was really pleased with the filling. I drained the ricotta in a cheese cloth overnight. I am still searching for a sheep’s milk ricotta that isn’t too grassy tasting, so I used a cow’s milk ricotta from Trader Joe’s instead.
The shells were crunchy and just sweet enough and extremely close to those in Sicily (they use lard, strutto in Italian, there). I would have liked the shells to have more blisters, but I need to practice a bit more with the dough. Here are a few things that help to get the blistery outer shell. The dough should be as thin as possible. I used my pasta machine to roll out the dough, which made it extremely easy. I found that the shells blistered better when the oil temperature was 375 degrees F and the dough was loosely wrapped around the cannoli forms.
You can find the filling recipe I used here. Below is the recipe the Daring Bakers used that Lisa Michele adapted for us. By the way, the name ‘Lidisano’ (the recipe name) is a combination of Lidia, Lisa and Sopranos. Thanks again Lisa Michele! And, grazie mille Stefania for the Italian cannoli forms!
Makes 22-24 4-inch cannoli
RECIPE NOTE: THE EQUIVALENTS FROM THIS RECIPE WERE PREPARED USING THIS CONVERSION SITE
2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons(28 grams) sugar
1 teaspoon (5 grams) unsweetened baking cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon (1.15 grams) ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon (approx. 3 grams) salt
3 tablespoons (42 grams) vegetable or olive oil
1 teaspoon (5 grams) white wine vinegar
Approximately 1/2 cup (approx. 59 grams) sweet Marsala or any white or red wine you have on hand
1 egg white
Vegetable or any neutral oil for frying – about 2 quarts (8 cups/approx. 2 litres)
1/2 cup (approx. 62 grams) toasted, chopped pistachio nuts, mini chocolate chips/grated chocolate and/or candied or plain zests, fruits etc.. for garnish
DIRECTIONS FOR SHELLS:
Pasta Machine method:
ASSEMBLE THE CANNOLI:
Cassatelle alla Siciliana
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Involtini di Melanzane and a Sicilian-Inspired Holiday Dinner Menu
Italian Biscotti From Tuscany
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Gianduja and Nutella Cheesecake for World Nutella Day