This was an interesting challenge! I, however, did not have any cannoli tubes to make proper traditional cannoli. I was thinking of buying them but then I decided I wouldn’t be using these very often. But to be honest, I really wanted to get a little more creative with the cannoli as the challenge allowed for plenty of creativity which was great!
I got the idea of making little Christmas trees which would make a nice Christmas dessert. But then as I was working with the dough I was tempted to try and make some swirly cannoli!
The November 2009 Daring Bakers Challenge was chosen and hosted by Lisa Michele of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives. She chose the Italian Pastry, Cannolo (Cannoli is plural), using the cookbooks Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and The Sopranos Family Cookbook by Allen Rucker; recipes by Michelle Scicolone, as ingredient/direction guides. She added her own modifications/changes, so the recipe is not 100% verbatim from either book.
THE DARING BAKERS NOVEMBER 2009 CHALLENGE: CANNOLI
This is my vegan (non-alcoholic) adaptation of the recipe:
Ingredients (I don't have an exact number but this yields loads of Christmas Trees! Probably more than 15 depending on the size)
2 cups (250g) flour
2 tablespoons (28g) sugar
1 teaspoon (5g) cocoa powder
½ teaspoon (1.15g) cinnamon
½ teaspoon (3g) salt
3 tablespoons (42g) oil
1 teaspoon (5g) rice vinegar
½ cup (59g) red grape juice (you can use Marsala or red/white wine which is what the original recipe called for)
¼ teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons (10g) egg replacer (Allergycare brand)
Oil for frying
Icing sugar (for dusting)
From the recipe instructions:
- In the bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, salt, baking powder and egg replacer.
- Stir in the oil, vinegar, and enough of the grape juice to make a soft dough.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and well blended, about 2 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge from 2 hours to overnight. (I left mine overnight)
- Cut the dough into two pieces. Keep the remaining dough covered while you work. Lightly flour a large cutting or pastry board and roll the dough until super thin, about 1/16 to 1/8” thick (An area of about 13 inches by 18 inches should give you that).
- To make the stacked Christmas trees, I cut triangular shapes grading the size. I also cut out some stars (I did those manually as I don’t have a star cookie cutter; they were alright after practicing 2 stars).
- For the swirly Christmas tree, I cut out long strips and threaded it through a skewer. Then gently lowered this into the oil to fry.
I don’t have a deep fry thermometer, so I got the right temperature by trying and testing. The first few cannoli puffed up like little pillows! They were cute though! But I reduced the temperature and they were fine.
- Fry the shells until golden, about 2 minutes, turning them so that they brown evenly.
- Remove and let drain on absorbent paper.
I used soy whipping cream as filling and some pomegranate seeds.
For the swirly Christmas tree, I started with a triangle shape for the base. Then I arranged the swirls on top with whipping cream as filling, and dusted the plate and shells with some icing sugar for decoration.
These cannoli were really nice! They tasted great and the pinch of cinnamon felt very Christmassy!
I would probably make this again and experiment with other fillings but not too often because of the deep frying bit!