I have been in the Daring Bakers for 3 months. The first month I chickened out and didn’t do the challenge (vous-au-vent). Then in October I did the challenge (macarons). Or, I tried the challenge and failed. Those macarons are difficult, but I am not giving up. I have some almond meal in my cupboard just waiting to be used for them. And this month was Cannoli. After reading through the recipe I thought, “I can do this!” The only part I hesitated on was the frying.
I knew I could make some little flat cannoli shells instead of using the cannoli tube (since I don’t have one). But frying them, I have never fried anything in my life. I don’t like to eat fried food, let alone make it in my house. But, I sucked it up and did it. I filled the deep frying pan about 2 inches high with vegetable oil and cranked up the heat. And you know what? I’m glad I did fry them. I thought of baking them. But I talked myself out of it because I wanted to follow the directions as much as possible. And my little cannoli disks were delicious. I used red wine in the dough, ad it gave it such a depth of flavor!
So then I had to decide what I was going to ‘fill’ my cannoli with. Since I made them just the day after Thanksgiving, I was still on the Thanksgiving theme bandwagon. So I went for some ‘deconstructed’ sweet potato and apple pie. I don’t have a recipe for the fillings b/c I just sort of threw some stuff together. With the leftover cannoli disks, I served them on a plate with some pumpkin butter for dipping. It was like a little dessert cracker and dip. Yummy!
Recipe from the Daring Bakers Kitchen
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon unsweetened baking cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
Approximately 1/2 cup sweet Marsala or any white or red wine you have on hand
DIRECTIONS FOR SHELLS:
1. Heat 2-inches of oil in a saucepan or deep sauté pan, to 350-375°F (176 – 190 °C).
2. Cut out desired shapes with cutters or a sharp knife. Deep fry until golden brown and blistered on each side, about 1 – 2 minutes. Remove from oil with wire skimmer or large slotted spoon, then place on paper towels or bags until dry and grease free. If they balloon up in the hot oil, dock them lightly prior to frying. Place on cooling rack until ready to stack with filling.
My first few dough disks bubbled up a lot. So I started to poke holes in each disk with a fork. It helped the bubbling effect.