Saturday, August 18, 2012

Leave the gun, take the (baked) cannoli!

So, I had been eyeing Joe Pastry's recipe for cannoli shells for quite some time.  They're one of my favorite pastries, but I'm incredibly picky about them and so the opportunity to make my own grants maximum opportunity for customization.  There was only one problem--it was way too hot to fry.

This lead me to a fantastic innovation--cannoli cups!  I rolled out Joe's dough recipe using my pasta machine, sliced it into squares, and baked them in a mini muffin pan until they were golden.  I was surprised how crunchy and realistic the texture ended up being.  The bottoms of the cups did puff up a bit during baking, so it's not a bad idea to throw some rice or beans inside to keep them flatter.

Here's Joe's recipe, with my edits in parentheses:
6.25 ounces (1 1/3 cups) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt (I omitted)
1 tablespoon superfine sugar (I used powdered)
2 tablespoon vegetable shortening
6 to 7 tablespoons Marsala wine (I subbed brandy + wine)
1 to 2 large egg whites, lightly beaten (You don't need those if you're baking)

It's made very similarly to an enriched pie crust--cut/rub the shortening into the flour (with the salt if using).  Beat in the wine until the mixture becomes cohesive.  If you're using a pasta roller, this will do some of the kneading for you, but you should let it rest (just like a pasta dough) before using the machine to make it thinner.  My pasta roller goes to 7, I do ravioli on 6, and on that scale, these should definitely go to 7. 

Cut squares (about 2 inches each works for mini tins) and press into muffin pans.  Bake at 375 degrees until the tips begin to brown (12-18 minutes).  Sorry for the cell-phone photos and lack of food styling--this is my office kitchen.

Pipe with your preferred ricotta cream recipe just before serving (make sure you press/drain the ricotta for at least 3 hours, and use powdered sugar, not granulated).  If you want to add mini chocolate chips or citron, I recommend doing that after you pipe the cream (they clog the tip).  Here I just garnished them with a few chips on top.  If you plan on going the traditional route, I highly recommend checking out Joe's page--he has a hilarious rendition of "Paulie the Sicilian" that makes for great reading.  But if you want a one-bite no-fry cannolo, give this method a try!


  1. Those look delicious! I can't wait to give this recipe a try. :)

  2. Thanks! Let us know how they turn out!