Posts Tagged ‘italian’

Homemade Cannolis

June 2, 2011

As promised, here it is.  Homemade Cannolis.  Real, completely from scratch, everything homemade cannolis.  Let me be honest and say that it didn’t start out this way.  My cousin was celebrating her graduation and she wanted to treat herself to some cannolis.  I, of course, told her that I would make her some.  By “make,” I obviously meant, buy some premade cannoli shells, get some ricotta from the store, whip some sugar in it, fill the premade shells, and ta da: “homemade” cannolis.

But karma, I tell you.  It really comes back to bite you in the butt.  I said homemade, and karma made sure that homemade would happen.  Turns out that no one sells fresh ricotta these days.  (I’m not sure if any of these stores ever sold fresh ricotta, but that’s neither here nor there).  And on top of that, our Italian bakery was out of cannoli shells!  Has that ever happened?!

But no fear.  I turned to the Italian dessert cookbook that my cousin gave me (I think she was giving me a hint long ago to make cannolis), consulted other cannoli recipes,  bought all of the supplies I needed and got to work.

Let me start by saying that this was maybe one of the most delectable things to have every come out of my kitchen.  But, this is also time consuming.  And you need special equipment to make them.  But goodness, was I ever proud!  I mean, they’re so so delicious, which is why it was so gratifying.  And against the odds!  I overcame many obstacles to make these!  Pushing it?  Maybe.  But it’s all so tasty and worth it.  Good call, karma.

Homemade Cannolis

If you don’t feel like going out to buying your own cannoli equipment, you should buy the cannoli shells (after hoping that your local Italian bakery is not out), but don’t cheat yourself out of this filling.  It’s that good.  But if you do decide to go the completely homemade route, this is what cannoli forms look like.

Homemade Ricotta (recipe from 101 Cookbooks)

1/2 gallon whole milk

1/2 quart whole milk buttermilk

Coat the bottom of a large heavy-bottom pot with cold water.  Combine both milks in the pot.  Place over medium high heat.  Stir to make sure that it doesn’t set on the bottom.  While the milks are heating, place a very thin piece of cloth, or several layers of cheese cloth, on a large colander.  Place the colander over a pot.  As the milk heats, the curds will begin to separate.  Continue to stir and heat until the separated water is almost clear.  Take off heat and pour through the cloth, catching all of the curds.  Let it drain for several minutes until most of the water has come out.  Take both ends of the cloth and tie it on a faucet to let the remaining water drip out.  Take out of the cloth and place into a tight-fitted container.  Place into refrigerator until ready to use.

Ricotta Filling (adapted from Gale Gand)

2 cups fresh ricotta

2/3 cups sugar

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Whip everything except chocolate chips in a food processor until smooth.  Fold in chocolate chips and place in refrigerator until ready to use.

Cannoli Shells (adapted from The Italian Dish)

1 cup all purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons cold butter

1 tablespoon distilled vinegar

1 egg

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

Blend the dough in an electric mixer with dough hook attachment for about 10 minutes on medium low speed.  Take out and knead to form a ball.  Wrap in plastic wrap and let it chill for about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  Take cannoli forms and grease with oil or cooking spray.

Take dough out and roll, using flour as needed, until it is at thin as possible: 1/8 inch thick or thinner.  Cut out round shapes, using a biscuit cutter or a glass.  Carefully wrap the shapes around the prepared cones until the ends meet.  Press the ends down.

Place the forms on the prepared baking sheet, seam side down.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the form starts pulling away from the dough and it is lightly browned.  Using oven mitts, pick up the forms and gently slide the cannoli shell off.  Set on a baking rack to cool completely.

To Assemble: Pipe prepared cannoli cream into the prepared shell.  Dip both ends into mini chocolate chips.

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Tiramisu

February 2, 2011

Picking the right dish to bring to a potluck can be very tricky.  I always want to bring something that not only tastes great, but is also outwardly spectacular.  The dish has to be striking enough for people to ask me for the recipe, but accessible enough for the other guests not to think that I went out of my way just to impress them.  And the entire time, I have to act cool about the whole thing.  It’s seriously such an extremely delicate balancing act!

You know what I’m talking about.  Or…do you?  …am I a potluck snob?

Regardless, bringing tiramisu will accomplish all of these potluck requirements.  Seriously.  Can you think of a classier dessert than tiramisu?  It has espresso and marscapone and shaved chocolate.  This dessert is practically screaming class!  A five star dessert that is surprisingly simple to throw together.  Honestly, it really did just take minutes to make!  Oh!  And it’s delicious.  All points accomplished!  Next stop, dinner party.

Tiramisu (minimally adapted from David Lebovitz)

1 cup prepared espresso, at room temperature
1/4 cup Kahlua, or any coffee flavored liqueur
4 large eggs, separated and at room temperature
pinch of salt
1/2 cup sugar
8 oz. marscapone
14 ladyfingers
barred chocolate (to use to for shaving on top)

1. Mix together the espresso and Kahlua.

2. With an electric mixer, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they begin to get stiff. Beat in half of the sugar until stiff. Scrape the egg whites into a small bowl.

3. In the same bowl, beat the egg yolks with the remaining sugar until stiff and light-colored.  Mix in the mascarpone until the mixture is smooth.

4. Fold in half of the beaten egg whites, then the remaining half, just until fully incorporated.

5. Place a spoonful of the marscapone mixture on the bottom of a standard loaf pan.

6. Dip each ladyfinger into the espresso mixture.  Really keep them in there and flip them until they are completely absorbed by the espresso liquid.  It will be delicious this way, believe me.  Place the ladyfingers in a single layer over the marscapone.

7. Place another spoonful of the marscapone mixture until the ladyfingers are covered.  Shave a generous amount of chocolate on top of the marscapone.

8. Repeat with remaining ladyfingers and cream.

9. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or at least for four hours.

Baked Rice Balls

August 11, 2010

I apologize for the delay with this post.  I know I promised you a recipe with the leftover sushi rice, and you are probably thinking that your sushi rice is over a week old now.  But the truth is, I didn’t post because I wasn’t inspired by the name of this recipe.  I mean, “baked rice balls”.  That’s what is going to motivate you run into your kitchen and start pulling things out of your fridge?  That name was going to make you believe that if you make these, you are going to have delicious goodness coming from your oven?  And to top it all off, this is the only picture I have from the prep.  Appetizing.

I wasn’t convinced, and don’t really think that you should be either.

But believe this.  These little goblets of starchy, seasoned rice, with a surprise bite of smoked cheese inside are the best, most delightful, certainly the most delicious savory snack that has come out of my kitchen since…well, ever.  You should be walking, no running to your kitchen right now to get these started.  They’re that good.  And if this doesn’t convince you, well, then, the name will have to do.  Your choice.

Baked Rice Balls (adapted from Giada De Laurentis)

The original recipe was to use up leftover risotto.  Feel free to use that as the rice base, omitting all of the seasoning.  And play around with the cheeses – smoked cheese just happens to be one of my favorites.  Also, the original recipe was for frying.  I don’t do that – mostly because I don’t know how.  So I’ve adapted the recipe for the oven.  Like all things that are supposed to be fried and are baked instead, I’m assuming that these do not have as much crunch as their fried original.  But, my gosh, they are tasty.  So give this method a whirl.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Italian-style seasoned bread crumbs
  • 2  cups cooked and cooled sushi rice or short-grain rice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • sprinkling of red pepper flakes – to taste
  • 1/2 cup Italian-style seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature, beaten
  • 4 ounces smoked mozzarella, at room temperature, cut into 10 1/2-inch) cubes
  • 3 tbsp olive oil

Method:

Preheat oven to 420.

Breading: Put the bread crumbs in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Filling: In a medium bowl, combine the sushi rice, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper, bread crumbs, Parmesan, and eggs. With damp hands, using about 2 tablespoons of the risotto mixture, form the mixture into 1 3/4-inch diameter balls. Make a hole in the center of each ball and insert a cube of smoked mozzarella. Cover up the hole to completely enclose the cheese. Roll the balls in the breading to coat.

Line a baking pan with olive oil.  Put the prepared balls in the baking sheet, making sure that they are all fully covered with the oil.  Bake for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown, making sure to turn the balls mid way through the baking.