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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Mama Mia! Chocolate Cannoli

What is it about cannolo?

Cannoli are Sicilian pastry desserts. The singular is cannolo (or in the Sicilian language cannolu), meaning "little tube", with the etymology stemming from the Latin "canna", or reed. Cannoli originated in Sicily and are an essential part of Sicilian cuisine. They are also popular in Italian American cuisine and in the United States are known as a general Italian pastry, while they are specifically Sicilian in origin (in Italy, they're commonly known as "cannoli siciliani", Sicilian cannoli).

Cannoli consist of tube-shaped shells of fried pastry dough, filled with a sweet, creamy filling usually containing mascarpone. They range in size from "cannulicchi", no bigger than a finger, to the fist-sized proportions typically found in Piana degli Albanesi, south of Palermo, Sicily.

I have found a few…

check them out!


crushed pistachio nuts

2 tbsp. chopped bitter chocolate

2 tbsp. candied orange and citron

1 tbsp. orange essence

250 g fresh ricotta

1 tsp. coffee powder

1 tsp. cocoa

dry white wine

2/3rds cup icing sugar (powdered sugar)

150 g flour


peanut oil

almond oil

1 tbsp. sugar

1 pinch salt

1 tbsp. butter


First, to make the pastry case: Place the flour, cocoa, coffee powder, a pinch of salt and the sugar on a pastry board or work surface and mix.

And then, form a well and work in the smoothed butter and enough wine to make a firm dough. Also, form a ball wrap in cling film and refrigerate for an hour.

For the Filling, dice the candied fruit and the chocolate.

After that, sieve the ricotta and then whisk in the icing sugar, the orange essence and then add the candied peel and chocolate dice. Refrigerate.

Next, for the Cannoli case, roll out the pastry and using a round 9′/18cm pastry cutter, cut 18 disks, kneading the dough each time.

And then, stretch each disk out into an oval, brush with almond oil and roll around the bamboo or tin tubes. Brush with a little egg yolk where they overlap and press down to make them stick properly. Lift the ends of the pastry slightly curling them back.

Meanwhile, heat the peanut oil in the frying pan and deep fry the cannoli, two at a time. When they are golden brown remove them and drain on kitchen paper.

As soon as they cool enough to be able to hold them in your fingers, remove them from the tubes, oil the tubes again and wrap them in more pastry to fry some more.

For assembling the cannoli, fill only the cannoli when you are ready to eat them or they go soggy. Decorate the ends with a little crushed pistachio nut.

Lastly, Italian Cannoli is ready to serve!




Cannoli Martini Dessert


20 sheets phyllo dough, thawed

1 stick margarine

2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese

1 tablespoon light cream

½ teaspoon vanilla

¾ cup confectioners sugar, to taste

1½ bars 3½ ounce Lindt Intense Orange dark chocolate

1-ounce Vino Cotto di Montillo, optional


Thaw 1 packet of dough following the manufacturer’s directions.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Using non-stick cooking spray, lightly coat a cookie sheet. Wipe a napkin over the surface of the cookie sheet to evenly spread the spray.

In a large bowl, thoroughly mix ricotta cheese, light cream, vanilla and confectioners sugar. Cover ricotta mixture with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Grate 4 to 5 chocolate squares and place in a small bowl.

In a small sauce pan, melt the margarine over low heat.

While the margarine is slowly melting, carefully unroll dough and place it on a flat, dry surface.

Remove the melted margarine from the heat. Place the first dough sheet onto the greased cookie sheet. Dip a pastry brush (soft bristled brush) into the melted butter and spread butter evenly over the entire surface of the first sheet of dough. Place the second sheet on top of the first and generously apply butter with the pastry brush until this layer is evenly coated. Repeat these steps until all the sheets are layered, buttered (including the top sheet) and stacked on the cookie sheet.

Press a sharp knife into the buttered dough stack down the center vertically and horizontally to create 4 sections.

Place the cookie sheet in oven. Every 10 to 15 minutes, remove cookie sheet from the oven. Using a spatula, flip each stack of dough to evenly cook. It’s alright if pieces crumble during this step. Repeat this step until the dough becomes deep, golden brown and crispy. Some pieces will become crispier sooner than others. Remove these so they won’t burn, place them into a bowl and set aside.

If the center of each stack isn’t browning up, split stacks in half using a fork or butter knife. Lay the uncooked side facing upward on top of the other sections. Keeping each stack in tact is not necessary. The goal is to brown it up.

When the dough appears light, crispy and dark golden brown, remove cookie sheet from oven and allow dough to completely cool at room temperature. Important: Do not refrigerate.

Place all cooled stacks into a large freezer bag. Using a rolling pin, crumble into small pieces. If there are any pieces that aren’t brittle enough to crumble, remove them.

To serve, use 6-ounce martini glasses. Fill the bottom half of the glasses with dough crumbles. (If using Vino Cotto, drizzle about 1 teaspoon over the pieces.) Next, sprinkle a thin layer of grated chocolate over the pieces. Spoon the chilled ricotta mixture over the grated chocolate leaving about a ½-inch space from the top of each martini glass. Sprinkle another thin layer of grated chocolate over the ricotta surface.

To garnish insert 1 chocolate bar square at an angle into the ricotta.

Makes 5 to 6 servings



Paulo’s Cannoli

Ingredients for Peanut Butter Mousse:

3 cups soymilk

12 oz. cocoa butter, chopped into pieces

¾ cup plus 2 Tbs. organic sugar

1 Tbs. pure vanilla extract

½ cup smooth or chunky peanut butter

3 Tbs. maple syrup

Ingredients for Cannoli Shells:

2 Tbs. peanuts

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

2 Tbs. cocoa powder

¼ tsp. salt

¾ cup organic sugar

¼ cup plus 1 tsp. canola or grapeseed oil

¼ tsp. egg replacer powder

1/8 tsp. guar gum

½ cup water

½ cup soymilk

1 Tbs. maple syrup

1 ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract

Ingredients for Cannoli:

1 batch Peanut Butter Mousse

2 blood oranges, segmented and juice reserved

2 Tbs. agave

2 Tbs. cacao nibs for garnish


To make Peanut Butter Mousse: Place 1 cup soymilk in 2-cup measuring cup. Add cocoa butter until contents reach 1¾ cups. Fill bottom of double boiler with water, and bring to a simmer over low heat. Place soymilk–cocoa butter mixture, remaining soymilk, sugar and vanilla in top half of double boiler, making sure water does not touch top half. Stir until mixture is melted and heated through. Let cool to to maximum 100F—a very important step. When cool, beat 2 minutes. Add peanut butter and maple syrup, mixing well. Pour mixture into container, and let cool at room temperature 15 minutes. Refrigerate overnight to firm.

To make Cannoli Shells: Preheat oven to 350F. Toast peanuts in oven, 5 to 7 minutes, until lightly brown. Grind in food processor about 30 seconds, or until coarsely chopped.

Sift together flour, cocoa powder, salt and sugar. Brush sheet pan with 1 teaspoon oil, and line with sheet of parchment paper.

Place egg replacer, guar gum, water, ¼ cup oil, soymilk, maple syrup and vanilla in blender. Process on high about 1 minute, or until thoroughly emulsified. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, and whisk until smooth.

Using offset metal spatula, spread about ½ teaspoon of batter in circle on parchment, 2 to 3 inches in diameter and about 1/16-inch thick. Repeat with remaining batter until sheet pan holds 4 to 6 shells. Sprinkle shells with ground peanuts, and bake about 7 minutes. Rotate tray, and bake 3 or 4 more minutes, or until cannoli shells look dry, but are still malleable. Using metal spatula, loosen shells from sheet pan.

To assemble shells, wearing oven mitts, wrap first shell around handle of whisk, and hold 2 or 3 seconds, or until set. Slide shaped shell off whisk handle, and set aside to cool. Repeat with remaining shells, working quickly before shells harden. If too firm, place shells back in oven 2 minutes at a time.

Place Peanut Butter Mousse in pastry bag fitted with star tip, and pipe mousse into each cannoli shell.

To serve, toss blood orange segments, reserved blood orange juice and agave in bowl. Distribute evenly between six dessert plates. Place two cannoli on each plate, and sprinkle with cacao nibs.




Ingredients for Shells:

4 cups all-purpose baking flour, plus extra for rolling

3 Tbsp. sugar

½ tsp. cinnamon

¼ tsp. salt

4 Tbsp. butter, softened

3 egg yolks (reserve the whites in a small bowl, as you’ll need them to seal the shells)

1 cup dry white wine or Marsala cooking wine

2 to 3 cups safflower or other high-heat vegetable oil, for frying

Ingredients for Filling:

2 cups whipping cream

32 oz. good-quality ricotta (drain off excess liquid with a cheesecloth or a small sieve)

1½ cups powdered sugar

1 Tbsp. vanilla or orange extract

Filling mix-ins (optional; choose one, or divide the ricotta filling into three portions)

½ cup miniature semisweet or dark chocolate chips

½ cup finely chopped pistachio nuts

½ cup finely chopped maraschino cherries

Garnishes (optional)

Melted chocolate

Orange zest

Powdered sugar, for dusting


Make the shells: Sift together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Cut in the butter, then add the egg yolks. Mix (using a stand mixer or a handheld mixer on low speed) and spoon in the wine, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough begins to stick together. Roll the dough into a ball and chill for 30 minutes.

Cut the dough into quarters. On a generously floured surface, roll each quarter out as thin as possible (about ⅛ inch). Using your prepared cardboard circle (see Introduction, above), trace out circles on the dough and cut them out with a paring knife.

Wrap each dough circle around a cannoli tube and use the egg whites and a pastry brush to seal the overlapping edges. With your fingers, flare each end out a bit from the tube.

Heat the vegetable oil in a deep skillet or wok to about 325 or 350 degrees. Fry the shells, two or three at a time, for about 90 seconds, turning constantly for consistent browning. When the shells turn a honey-brown color, remove them from the oil to paper-towel-covered plates.

Let cool for a few moments. Holding the shell gently but firmly in one hand, loosen and remove the cannoli tube. Cool the shells completely before filling or storing.

Make the filling: Whip the cream until it holds soft peaks. In a separate bowl, mix together the ricotta and powdered sugar until fully blended. (Do not over mix the ricotta, or it will become runny.) Fold in the whipped cream, stopping when the mixture has a consistency somewhere between whipped cream and frosting. (Depending on the density of your ricotta, you may not need all of the whipped cream. If you have any left over, use it as a garnish.) Add the optional mix-ins, if desired.

Assemble the cannoli: When the shells are completely cool — completely being the operative word here, as the filling will melt easily and you’ll have a soggy mess if the shells are still warm — spoon some of the filling into a pastry bag and squeeze filling into each tube, starting in the middle of each tube, filling outwards, and then turning the tube to fill the other half. Add your choice of garnish (I like melted chocolate drizzled over the cannoli, then sprinkled with orange zest and dusted with powdered sugar). Serve immediately, or store in the refrigerator for up to a few hours.


Cannoli shells can be made ahead of time and stored, once completely cool, in an airtight container for up to three days. Once they are filled, they should be served that day, as the shells will get soggy.





30 oz. ricotta cheese, drained overnight

4 oz. mascarpone cheese

1/2 c. confectioner’s sugar (plus additional for sprinkling)

1 tsp. vanilla

1 tbsp. Grand Marnier

1 tsp. freshly grated orange zest

2 packages (of either 6 regular or 12 mini) cannoli shells

Miniature chocolate chips


Using a strainer and paper towels (or cheesecloth), set the ricotta cheese in the refrigerator to drain overnight. It should be mostly dry when finished, with no additional whey able to be extracted from it. Mix the dry ricotta with the mascarpone cheese, confectioner’s sugar, vanilla, Grand Marnier and orange zest and set aside.

Pipe cheese mixture into the cannoli shells, and then sprinkle exposed ends with mini chocolate chips and entire dessert lightly with additional confectioner’s sugar. Eat fairly quickly or share with someone you care about, as these are best fresh and will start to get soggy if allowed to sit.


We cannot go wrong with this almost all-time favorite Italian chocolate dessert.

Delicious, huh?! Mmmm!

In case you didn’t know, cannoli stands for plural, cannolo is single.

Hope you all had a nice Memorial Day weekend. We did!

More to come…

happy chocolate day!


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