Monday, May 12, 2014

Rosie Makes Cannoli.

I love a recipe with a story
and this cannoli recipe comes with a story.

Last month,
I received an email from Kara McKenna,
the assistant account executive at 
a New York City based public relations firm
specializing in food, wine, and spirits -
only three of my favorite things.
Apparently, Ms. McKenna had read my February column 
in which I used Nutella hazelnut spread.
Would I be interested in trying Nocciolata?
Why yes, Ms. McKenna,
 I certainly would,
thank you very much.

And that's how I ended up with my free samples of Nocciolata.
Thank you very much!

Nocciolata is an Italian, organic chocolate/hazelnut spread.
"It is crafted using carefully selected ingredients
 such as dark chocolate from the Antillean Islands,
Italian hazelnuts (16%), brown sugar,
skim milk, and Bourbon vanilla extract.
...[it is] gluten-free, kosher, and has no palm oil,
hydrogenated far, artificial flavors or artificial colors."
Here's the Nocciolata website,
which I recommend you visit.

What to do?
What to do?

Cannoli come to mind.
With my morning cup of coffee.

Whenever I make cannoli,
I start the day before with the filling.
The ricotta needs to drain overnight.

Cannoli Shells
2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1 TB sugar
1/4 tsp Kosher salt
1 TB plus 2 tsp cold unsalted butter, small dice
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup dry white wine

Sift the flour, sugar, and salt.
Work butter pieces into the flour mixture
with your fingers until you get a crumbly meal.
Add yolk and white wine
and mix until it becomes a smooth dough.
Press into a disk, cover with plastic,
and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Cannoli Filling
2 cups whole milk ricotta
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 ounce semi sweet chocolate, zested
zest of one small orange
1/2 tsp coffee, dissolved in 1/2 tsp hot water
1/4 cup heavy cream

The night before,
I wrap the ricotta in cheese cloth,
set it in a sieve, cover in plastic,
refrigerate, and let it drain overnight.

The next day,
whisk the drained ricotta until smooth.
Sift in the powdered sugar and cinnamon.
Add the vanilla.
Blend well.
Grate the chocolate and
zest the orange into the ricotta mixture.
In a small bowl, whip the cream until fairly stiff.
Fold into ricotta mixture
and refrigerate for an hour.

To roll and fry the shells
Roll out the dough until very thin - less than 1/8 inch.
Cut out 4" rounds and then I use the cannoli tube as a rolling pin
and thin the rounds a bit more.
Wrap each circle around a cannoli tube,
sealing with an egg wash along the edge.
Flare the ends slightly out to allow 
the oil to penetrate each shell as they fry.
Heat a pot of oil (vegetable or canola) to 350°.
Drop cannoli into oil,
being careful not to crowd the pan.
Cook until golden brown, about two minutes.
Drain on paper towels.

To fill the cannoli 
Ricotta mixture
powdered sugar
chopped, toasted hazelnuts

Just before serving, fill the cannoli.
Fill a pastry bag with the ricotta filling
and pipe filling into cannoli from both ends.
Dust with powdered sugar.
Dip ends in warmed Nocciolata
and then dip in chopped hazelnuts.

Now for the step by steps:
Work the chilled butter into the flour mixture.
Your hands are your best tools.

Add in the yolk and wine.

Pull it all together.

Flatten into a disk, cover with plastic, and refrigerate
for at least thirty minutes.

Make the filling:
2 cups drained ricotta
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup heavy cream
zested semi-sweet chocolate
zested lemon orange
And then I decided to add in a little coffee.

Look at all the liquid from the ricotta.

My "recipes" are never etched in stone.
I opted out for a Mandarin orange, instead of the lemon.

Add in the zested orange and grated chocolate.

Then I got interested in my cannoli tubes.

Rosie is easily distracted.

But I was very interested in the way 
the light was coming through the tubes.

Whup the heavy cream.

Gently fold the whipped cream into the ricotta mixture.

Rested dough.

After the first batch,
I decided my cannoli needed to be thinner.
That's when I took to rolling
 the rest of the rounds with a cannoli mold.

That's the ticket.
Much better.

Rosie Cannoli Hands.

Be sure you use the scraps.
I liked the last part of the dough -
that little spiral.

Fill up a pastry bag.

Fill from both ends.

Now for my samples.

Dip the ends into warmed Nocciolata,
give it some powdered sugar lovin',
and sprinkle chopped, toasted hazelnuts over the Nocciolata.

I have to say,
these are fabulous.

Mr. Hawthorne and I did a taste-testing
comparing Nocciolata and Nutella.
Nocciolata is creamier, richer, and the flavor is a bit deeper -
smoother and more complex.
 Nutella has a nuttier flavor.
Nocciolata is more chocolate.


Catherine said...

Rosie, Those are heavenly!! What a delicious treat!
I love the cannoli hands too! I am easily distracted as well!
Blessings dear. Catherine xo

Tammy said...

Hahaha the Rosie Cannoli Hands were the best!

Ahhh Rosie you are magic! These cannoli look irresistible. Nocciolata is delicious and perfect drizzled over these.

Happy Mother's Day to you!


Rosie Hawthorne said...

Thank you, Catherine. I hope you'll make these. I get distracted by shiny things!

And thank you, Tammy. I made an extra batch of filling and used that for a jelly roll. Recipe up soon.