sweets for every tooth.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Adventures in Deep-Frying

I have never deep-fried anything. And I don’t very often eat anything deep-fried, for that matter. So I dug around a bit, searching for a baked or pan-fried version, as I prepared to make Cannoli for my fabulous actors in the show I’m currently stage managing (they’ve had enough of the prop cannoli by now). I also was a little hesitant to use cooking wine (don’t use it that often, on a budget, why buy what I’m not going to use?). BUT, I decided to take the risk of deep-frying! (I only sustained one burn.) AND, I did a little research and found that the red wine is what gives the dough it’s bubbly quality, which is oh so appealing in cannoli. So, be bold! Go forth into a land of hot oil! And have fun!

The Shell

1 ½ Cups Flour
1 Tablespoon Butter, softened
Pinch of Salt
½ teaspoon Sugar
¾ Cups Dry Red Cooking Wine (Marsala or Red Cooking Wine)

The Fill

1 ½ Pounds Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese (buy a two pounder, drain it, comes to abt a pound and a half)
½ Cup Powdered Sugar
½ Cup Mini Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 ½ teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
Pinch of Cinnamon

You’ll also need:
Oil. For frying.
Extra chocolate chips, melted, or powdered sugar. For decorating.
Cannoli Molds. These are basically metal or wooden tubes that you’ll wrap the dough around for deep-frying. The cheap, aka my, version? Go to a hardware store and buy a 4 to 5 foot long rod, diameter of 1-1 ½ inches (depending on how large you want your cannoli), and have them cut it into 12 pieces, 3 to 4 inches in length each. They’ll do it for free. Total cost of 12 cannoli molds? $3.67.

1. Do this the night before. Place ricotta in cheese cloth or in a very fine strainer and hang over a bowl. Press plastic wrap on top of the cheese, making sure entire bowl is covered, and place in fridge to allow some moisture to drain out of the cheese. If you don’t have cheese cloth or a fine strainer, don’t worry, it’s not the end of the world. Your filling will just be a bit more thin.

2. Combine flour, butter, salt and sugar. Add ½ Cup of red wine and mix. Add more wine as necessary, until you have a firm but workable dough. Shape into a ball, wrap in plastic, and chill for at least one hour. (Like pie dough, this dough is easier to work with when cold!)

3. Prep your deep-fryer. If you don’t have one (I don’t), pour vegetable oil into a deep pot to a depth of at least four inches. Place over medium heat so oil reaches a temperature of 375 Degrees Fahrenheit by frying time.

4. Combine half of the cheese and powdered sugar in large mixing bowl and mix until well combined. With mixer still on, add vanilla and a small pinch of cinnamon (we’re going for the essence of cinnamon here, not a cinnamon flavored filling) and mix for 15 seconds. Add remainder of cheese and sugar and mix until fully incorporated. Gently stir in chocolate chips. Cover and place in fridge until you’re ready to fill the shells.

5. Take about half of the dough, leaving the rest in the fridge, and roll it out to 1/8” thickness. Cut into rectangles, approximately 6, though you may have as many as 8, and roll around the cannoli molds at an angle, using a little water to seal edges together. **The dough will start to shrink back as you cut it, so re-roll each individual rectangle if necessary, right before rolling onto mold.

6. Drop shells in oil one at a time, frying until dough is bubbly and golden brown. Use tongs (but wear protective gloves, an oven mitt perhaps) to rotate, enduring even frying on all sides. Remove from oil and place on parchment-paper-covered baking sheet to cool for one minute. Carefully slide off of mold when cool enough to touch and leave on baking sheet to cool completely.

7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 until all dough has been fried. Allow shells to cool completely before filling.

8. Fill the shells! If you have a pastry bag, put the filling in the bag, use your fancy nozzle design of choice, and fill. If you don’t have a pastry bag, spoon filling into a ziplock baggie. Snip off one tip of the bag and squeeze the filling into the shells.

9. Top the cannoli off with a little drizzle of melted chocolate or a sprinkle of powdered sugar. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for up to one hour, and ENJOY!


Margaret said...

hooooly crap. i want to eat these NOW. they look delicious!!! cannolis are hard to make too; well done engly! i'm super impressed!

Nakita said...

I ran across this recipe on a search and made them for my class... absolutely AMAZING!!! Gratzi!