My daughter has recently decided to get in touch with her Italian roots. While these do not come from me, I am fully benefiting from this motivation. Each Sunday she prepares a large Sunday dinner and and we sit around to break bread, share wine, and eat the delicious food of my husband's ancestors. There are ten of us in total, my two daughters, their husbands, each of their two children, and my husband and I. This Sunday my grandson decided to get in on the cooking and make cannoli's for all of us. His mom had limited hopes on how they would turn out. To everybody's fortunate surprise, he (with a "little" help from his father) made them and they turned out amazing! I should note that we did not have a cannoli mold, so they made one out of a wooden dowel and some tinfoil which worked great, though it would have been better to have more than just one! I am sharing this recipe here in the case another child wants a challenge that is sure to impress!
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup dry white wineFilling:
2 cups ricotta cheese, preferably whole milk
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup small semisweet chocolate chips
1 quart canola oil, for frying
Flour, for rolling
1 egg, lightly beaten, for egg wash
Powdered sugar, for dusting
- For the shell dough: In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, sugar and salt. Work the butter pieces into the flour with your fingers until the mixture becomes coarse and sandy. Add the egg yolk and the white wine and mix until it becomes a smooth dough. Spread a piece of plastic wrap on a flat surface and place the dough in the center. Wrap the plastic loosely around it and press the dough to fill the gap. Flattening the dough will mean less rolling later. Let it rest in the fridge for a few minutes while you make the filling.
- For the filling: In a medium bowl, whisk the ricotta until smooth. Sift in the powdered sugar, cinnamon and allspice. Mix to blend. In a separate bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment), beat the heavy cream until fairly stiff. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the cream into the ricotta mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips. Lightly zest the exterior of the lemon and stir it into the ricotta. Refrigerate for a half hour to an hour.
- To roll and fry the shells: In a medium pot with a heavy bottom, heat the canola oil to 360 degrees F. Meanwhile, sift an even layer of flour on a flat surface. Flour a rolling pin. Roll the dough until it is very thin (about 1/8-inch thick). Cut the dough into fourths and work in small batches. Use any glass or small bowl that has a 3-to-4-inch diameter. Cut rounds, tracing around each one to assure the dough has been fully cut. You should have about 24 circles. Wrap each circle around a cannoli mold. Use a little of the egg wash on the edge of each round to seal it shut and to assure it won't slide or fall off the mold before pressing it closed over the mold. Flare the edges out slightly from the mold. Flaring will allow the oil to penetrate each cannoli shell as they fry. Use a pair of tongs to hold the edge of the mold as you submerge and fry the shell in the oil until crispy, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the oil, and holding the mold in one had with your tongs, gently grip the shell in your other hand with a kitchen towel and carefully slide it off the mold. Set aside to cool. Repeat with all of the circles.
- To fill the cannolis: Just before serving, use a pastry bag without a tip to pipe the ricotta into the cannoli molds. Fill the cannoli shells from both ends so the cream runs through the whole shell. Dust with powdered sugar. Powdered sugar gives that little extra sweetness and added texture to the exterior. It also makes me feel like I have a professional bakery touch in my own home. Serve immediately.
The entire recipe can be found here:
As we sat around enjoying this meal I looked around and saw all four of my grand children outfitted in clothing from Childish Things. This is a rare sight as the two older boys have outgrown most of what we consign at the store, though at times we will still get in a piece that snags their attention. The family used to joke when I bought the store that we would still have it when my girls grew up and had their own children, and now I do!
It was a nice circle, to feel fed by my daughters while clothing their children. I promise to keep operating Childish Things as long as I get paid in family dinners for as long as I live!