Not long ago, I made my version of a "comfort food."
It was pasta shells stuffed with ricotta, grated mozzarella and Parmesan, parsley, and basil.
I'd bought a 2-pound container of ricotta and still had 1 pound left.
What to make?
Of course, my brain went straight to cannoli.
Last time I made cannoli, I went with a coffee/mocha filling with chocolate and hazelnuts.
I wanted something a little different this time, so I'm going with maraschino cherries, toasted almonds,
and homemade candied orange peel.
Rosie Tip: Allow the ricotta to drain, covered and refrigerated, in a cheesecloth-lined sieve overnight, to remove excess moisture. Press down occasionally or put a weight on top.
Candied Orange Peel
1 cup sugar
Remove the skin off your oranges, being careful not to get any of the pith.
Place in a sauce pan and cover with cold water.
Set on high heat and bring to a boil.
Repeat two more times with fresh water.
Pour sugar into a clean saucepan with 1 1/2 cups water.
Stir to combine.
Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar has dissolved.
Add orange strips to the boiling syrup, reduce heat to low, and simmer until strips are translucent,
about 12 minutes.
Remove from heat and let strips cool in syrup.
Chop up the peel.
What you don't use on your cannoli will be quite good on your breakfast toast.
Chop the cherries.
Now, let's make the cannoli shells.
Makes about 2 dozen. For the dough:
2 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp kosher salt
4 TB unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
5 TB red wine
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 egg white, lightly beaten
Oil, for frying (I used peanut oil.) Whisk together flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Rub in butter with fingers until mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. Add in wine and 2 eggs and mix until a dough forms. Transfer dough to lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 10 minutes. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for one hour.
Divide dough into quarters and, working with one quarter at a time, pass it through the widest setting on your pasta maker. Run it through again at that setting starting with the opposite end of the dough. Decrease the setting by one level and repeat until about 1/16" thick. Using a 4-inch round cutter, cut circles out and transfer to parchment paper. Repeat with remaining dough.
Wrap a dough circle around each cannoli tube and brush edges with egg white to seal.
Pour oil in a large pan and heat over medium high until 350°. Working in batches, so as not to lower the temperature of the oil, fry the cannoli until light brown and crisp, 60-90 seconds. Drain on paper towels. While still hot, carefully remove the cannoli tube and let cool before wrapping the next dough circle around it. Let cannoli shells cool completely before filling.
Now for the filling.
For the filling:
1 lb. ricotta, drained overnight in a cheesecloth-lined strainer
3/4 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp orange zest
Maraschino cherries, chopped,
Candied orange peel strips, chopped
Toasted almonds, chopped
Combine ricotta, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and orange zest. Whisk until smooth. Pipe mixture into cannoli shells from each end to fill. Garnish each end with chopped cherries, chopped candied orange, and toasted almonds.