With school starting again, the sweet taste of summer is becoming a distant memory. To wrap up August, Montreal’s annual Italian Week showed residents of Little Italy and beyond how important good, home-cooked treats can be. Because cannoli took center stage at this year’s festivities, The McGill Tribune rolled out the dough to see if they could do these artisan pastries justice.
- For the dough:
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons softened/melted butter
- 2 eggs
- 1 and ½ cup white wine
- For the Filling:
- 4 cups ricotta cheese
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- For the Shells:
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 5 tablespoons shortening
- 5-10 small metal tubes (you can get these at Dante’s Cooking Supply Store, or you can buy a tube of metal at a hardware store and cut it into three or four-inch length small tubes–just make sure the metal you buy is safe for cooking in hot oil)
Part 1: Dough
1. Thoroughly mix the flour, sugar, salt, butter, and eggs in a large bowl.
2. As you mix the dough, stir in ½ cup of wine in small splashes.
3. Form the dough into a ball with your hands, gradually adding the remaining 1 cup of wine. Add more wine as needed until the dough sticks together.
4. Let the dough stand for 30 minutes.
Part 2: Filling
1. If the ricotta cheese is watery, drain it with a cheesecloth before prepping the filling.
2. In a large bowl, thoroughly mix the ricotta cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract.
3. Stir in the chocolate chips, spreading them evenly throughout the filling.
4. Pour in the heavy whipping cream and whip until stiff peaks begin to form. This takes a lot of time and energy to whip by hand; it may be a good idea to use an electric mixer rather than a whisk.
5. Chill the filling in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to allow it to thicken.
Part 3: Shells
1. Use a rolling pin, or whatever cylindrical object you might have, to roll out the dough on a well-floured cutting board or countertop. As you roll, sprinkle flour generously whenever the dough feels sticky.
2. Find a cup with a diameter equal to the length of the cannoli tubes you’ll be using. Press the rim of the cup into the rolled dough, making circles.
3. Cut out the circles and set them aside. Clump the remaining dough together again so it can be rolled out again.
4. Brush the surface of each dough circle with olive oil. Wrap the dough circles around canoli tubes, Making sure the two sides of the circle slightly overlap. Press the sides together to form a seam together.
5. Melt the shortening in a pot at about 170 degrees Celsius or medium-high heat. Allow the shortening to melt into an oily consistency.
6. Using a pair of metal tongs, individually place the shells (still wrapped around the tubes) in the oil. Hold the seam together with the tongs so that the shell does not unfold, and continuously flip the shell until all sides are fried and the entire shell is golden brown. This should take between 30 seconds and one minute.
7. After frying, place the shells on a paper towel with the seam side facing down, to allow the oil to drain off of them. Once the shells have cooled, remove the tubes from inside of them. .
8. Next, put the filling in a Ziploc bag, then cut off a small corner of the bag so you can squeeze it out. Stick your makeshift piping bag into one end of the shell, then gently squeeze the bag, slowly pulling it out as you go, until the filling just barely flares over the edge of the shell. Repeat on the other side.
9. Garnish your cannoli with powdered sugar, chocolate sauce, and whatever else might suit your fancy. When storing, keep them refrigerated, to ensure that the filling does not melt out.
This recipe has been adapted from Food.com.