Monday, November 30, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
While I am not a fan of deep frying...partly because it seems so terribly bad for you....and partly because since I don't deep fry very often....it seems like such a waste of oil.....I don't have issues with trying something deep fried now and again. I was pretty interested to try this one out. It was not difficult, but with all the fillings and preparation....it was time consuming. Will I ever do it again??....probably for some special occasion, maybe even the neighbourhood Christmas dinner.
The recipe is provided below, plus a delicious sounding Pumpkin filling that I will try in the future.........for now, I chose to fill my cannoli with English custard using eggnog and rum flavouring rather than milk and vanilla, and omitting the sugar as the eggnog was more than sweet enough. I found the small amount of cocoa in the recipe below was enough to make the dough quite chocolaty in colour and you did need to be careful not to brown them too much. So far the Khrustyky have two thumbs up from the boys and the verdict is still to come back from the neighbours on the filled cannoli. If you'd like to see the results of some other Daring Bakers, have a look here, there are lots to choose from.
2 cups (250 grams/8.82 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons(28 grams/1 ounce) sugar
1 teaspoon (5 grams/0.06 ounces) unsweetened baking cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon (1.15 grams/0.04 ounces) ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon (approx. 3 grams/0.11 ounces) salt
3 tablespoons (42 grams/1.5 ounces) vegetable or olive oil
1 teaspoon (5 grams/0.18 ounces) white wine vinegar
Approximately 1/2 cup (approx. 59 grams/approx. 4 fluid ounces/approx. 125 ml) sweet Marsala or any white or red wine you have on hand
1 large egg, separated (you will need the egg white but not the yolk)
Vegetable or any neutral oil for frying – about 2 quarts (8 cups/approx. 2 litres)
1/2 cup (approx. 62 grams/2 ounces) toasted, chopped pistachio nuts, mini chocolate chips/grated chocolate and/or candied or plain zests, fruits etc.. for garnish
Note - If you want a chocolate cannoli dough, substitute a few tablespoons of the flour (about 25%) with a few tablespoons of dark, unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch process) and a little more wine until you have a workable dough (Thanks to Audax).
2 lbs (approx. 3.5 cups/approx. 1 kg/32 ounces) ricotta cheese, drained
1 2/3 cups cup (160 grams/6 ounces) confectioner’s sugar, (more or less, depending on how sweet you want it), sifted
1/2 teaspoon (1.15 grams/0.04 ounces) ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon (4 grams/0.15 ounces) pure vanilla extract or the beans from one vanilla bean
3 tablespoons (approx. 28 grams/approx. 1 ounce) finely chopped good quality chocolate of your choice
2 tablespoons (12 grams/0.42 ounces) of finely chopped, candied orange peel, or the grated zest of one small to medium orange
3 tablespoons (23 grams/0.81 ounce) toasted, finely chopped pistachios
Note - If you want chocolate ricotta filling, add a few tablespoons of dark, unsweetened cocoa powder to the above recipe, and thin it out with a few drops of warm water if too thick to pipe.
DIRECTIONS FOR SHELLS:
1. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer or food processor, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the oil, vinegar, and enough of the wine 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.
2 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). Cut out 3 to 5-inch circles (3-inch – small/medium; 4-inch – medium/large; 5-inch;- large. Your choice). Roll the cut out circle into an oval, rolling it larger and thinner if it’s shrunk a little.
3 Oil the outside of the cannoli tubes (You only have to do this once, as the oil from the deep fry will keep them well, uhh, oiled..lol). Roll a dough oval from the long side (If square, position like a diamond, and place tube/form on the corner closest to you, then roll) around each tube/form and dab a little egg white on the dough where the edges overlap. (Avoid getting egg white on the tube, or the pastry will stick to it.) Press well to seal. Set aside to let the egg white seal dry a little.
4. In a deep heavy saucepan, pour enough oil to reach a depth of 3 inches, or if using an electric deep-fryer, follow the manufacturer's directions. Heat the oil to 375°F (190 °C) on a deep fry thermometer, or until a small piece of the dough or bread cube placed in the oil sizzles and browns in 1 minute. Have ready a tray or sheet pan lined with paper towels or paper bags.
5. Carefully lower a few of the cannoli tubes into the hot oil. Do not crowd the pan. Fry the shells until golden, about 2 minutes, turning them so that they brown evenly.
8. Lift a cannoli tube with a wire skimmer or large slotted spoon, out of the oil. Using tongs, grasp the cannoli tube at one end. Very carefully remove the cannoli tube with the open sides straight up and down so that the oil flows back into the pan. Place the tube on paper towels or bags to drain. Repeat with the remaining tubes. While they are still hot, grasp the tubes with a potholder and pull the cannoli shells off the tubes with a pair of tongs, or with your hand protected by an oven mitt or towel. Let the shells cool completely on the paper towels. Place shells on cooling rack until ready to fill.
9. Repeat making and frying the shells with the remaining dough. If you are reusing the cannoli tubes, let them cool before wrapping them in the dough.
DIRECTIONS FOR FILLING:
1. Line a strainer with cheesecloth. Place the ricotta in the strainer over a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap and a towel. Weight it down with a heavy can, and let the ricotta drain in the refrigerator for several hours to overnight.
2. In a bowl with electric mixer, beat ricotta until smooth and creamy. Beat in confectioner’s sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and blend until smooth. Transfer to another bowl and stir in chocolate, zest and nuts. Chill until firm.(The filling can be made up to 24 hours prior to filling the shells. Just cover and keep refrigerated).
ASSEMBLE THE CANNOLI:
1. When ready to serve..fill a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain or star tip, or a ziplock bag, with the ricotta cream. If using a ziplock bag, cut about 1/2 inch off one corner. Insert the tip in the cannoli shell and squeeze gently until the shell is half filled. Turn the shell and fill the other side. You can also use a teaspoon to do this, although it’s messier and will take longer.
2. Press or dip cannoli in chopped pistachios, grated chocolate/mini chocolate chips, candied fruit or zest into the cream at each end. Dust with confectioner’s sugar and/or drizzles of melted chocolate if desired.
1/2 cup (123 grams/4.34 ounces) ricotta cheese, drained
1/2 cup (113 grams/4.04 ounces) mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup (122.5 grams/4.32 ounces) canned pumpkin, drained like ricotta
3/4 cup (75 grams/2.65 ounces) confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1/2 to 1 teaspoon (approx. 1.7 grams/approx. 0.06 ounces) pumpkin pie spice (taste)
1/2 teaspoon (approx. 2 grams/approx. 0.08 ounces) pure vanilla extract
6-8 cannoli shells
1. In a bowl with electric mixer, beat ricotta and mascarpone until smooth and creamy. Beat in confectioner’s sugar, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla and blend until smooth. Transfer to another bowl, cover and chill until it firms up a bit. (The filling can be made up to 24 hours prior to filling the shells. Just cover and keep refrigerated).
2. Fill the shells as directed above. I dipped the ends of the shells in caramelized sugar and rolled them in toasted, chopped pecans.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
America's Test Kitchen Yorkshire Puddings
3 large eggs beaten well
2 cups low fat milk warmed to 110F
3 T butter melted and set to cool
2 cups bread flour or all purpose
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
Preheat oven to 400F.
In a medium bowl, beat eggs well and then beat in the milk and melted butter. In a separate bowl, mix all the dry ingredients. Add 3/4 of the egg mixture into the dry ingredients and mix well with a whisk to remove the lumps. Add remaining egg mixture and stir till smooth. Cover bowl and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Stir batter before using. Pour batter into 6 greased and floured pop over pans, or 12 muffin cups.
Put pan in oven for 20 minutes at 400F....then reduce heat without opening the door of the oven down to 300F. Bake an additional 30 minutes. Remove from oven and poke a hole down through the top of each pudding with a skewer. Return to oven for another 10 minutes until nicely browned.
Remove from oven and serve immediately.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
We ended up making the 'sushi' on Remembrance Day and to my surprise, my local grocery store carried sashimi grade tuna....complete with instructions on how to slice it. Christine made rolls with California type fillings, and some with smoked salmon mixed with a bit of mayonnaise. The rolls all turned out well, but I found that forming the nigiri is a skill that I need a little practice with. Never the less, the rolls and nigiri were consumed without complaint. If you would like to see some other Daring Cooks and their creations check them out here.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
I have not knit much in my life........and certainly not much since I was little. All I knew were the few stitches my grama had taught me. I remember sitting in her rocking chair knitting mittens in the round without a pattern many times with all her left over balls of colourful acrylic yarns. Grama was thrifty about many things and practical too, and without a doubt one of the most interesting people I've had the privilege to know (although I bet she never knew it). No doubt, for her, acrylic yarn offered a good long life to her many projects. I wonder if she would find my attraction to wool yarns wasteful. With this project I did manage to learn a new cast on and a new bind off and it's the first time I've used the technique of holding stitches by knitting them onto scrap yarn, so it has been a learning experience as well. Thank goodness for utube! So helpful to see a stitch being done....much more so than reading about how to do it.
Soon my little project will be done and I can show you the finished product and stop taunting the cat with what appears to be a delicious ball of yarn!