21 June 2012

From the Chef ~ Homemade Cannoli!


Good news!  Cannoli sightings are becoming more and more prevalent here in the Emerald City!  It used to be that you’d have to make an order from Brooklyn or catch a flight to the island of Sicily to get one.  Truth be told, cannoli are relatively simple to make.  And a homemade cannoli made with quality ingredients is a real treat.  I come from Barese and Napolitano roots, so we had no secret Sicilian recipe in the family.  Thus, I headed out on the internet and bumped into several recipes I liked.  This one is quite close to Mario Battali’s recipe, though I’ve backed off on some of the flavorings to allow the richness of the ricotta to rise to the top.  Questions?  Let me know!

1. Drain 1 lb. whole milk ricotta of all excess moisture for 30-60 minutes, depending on the level of moisture in your ricotta.  You could even skip this step and the filling will still be great.  I like to use the best quality ricotta I can find, and homemade ricotta is usually it (posted below on 3/19/12 on CasaFioreOnline.com).  However, I’ve had great results with stuff as pedestrian as Whole Foods 365 label ricotta.
2. Mix ricotta with 1/2 cup superfine sugar, 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice, 1 tbsp. orange zest, 2 tsp. vanilla, and 1/4 cup tiny chocolate chips (or chop up regular chocolate chips).  Place mixture in a gallon zip lock bag and chill for 1 hour or more.  Small amounts of cinnamon, candied citron or lemon peel, and pistachios can add variety.
3. Purchase a box of six cannoli shells; I’ve found them at Metropolitan Market and PFI.  If you are ambitious, there are plenty of recipes on line.  Snip off a corner of your bag and pipe in the filling just when ready to serve.  Soggy cannoli really bum me out.  Enjoy with caffè e liquori.

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