The November 2009 Daring Bakers Challenge was chosen and hosted by Lisa Michele of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives. She chose the Italian Pastry, Cannolo (Cannoli is plural), using the cookbooks Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and The Sopranos Family Cookbook by Allen Rucker; recipes by Michelle Scicolone, as ingredient/direction guides. She added her own modifications/changes, so the recipe is not 100% verbatim from either book.
This was my very first time making cannoli. I've eaten them a few times, and my favourite by far was the Sicilian cannoli that Mr. T and I shared while standing on a street corner in Rome. It was crispy and the filling was rich, not too sweet, and had a nice cinnamon flavour.
I do loathe to deep fry at home. That's not to say that I don't love eating all things deep fried, I just don't like the large amount of oil that gets tossed out afterward, not to mention the smell in the house. Is it just me or does anyone else not like their homes to smell like food? This seems a little contradictory since home is where food should be made and enjoyed but while I'm cooking I'll close off all of the doors and open the windows in the kitchen, even if it's minus 30 degrees out.
Anyhow, I ended up using cannelloni shells as my cannoli forms since I had forgotten to go online to purchase some. I wrapped the cannelloni in foil so that the dough would not stick to them and it worked like a charm. My cannoli dough fried up and blistered like they were supposed to. I think the holes were bigger than I would have liked and took a lot of filling to fill them all but that's kind of ok since the filling tasted very good.
I decided to use mascarpone cheese instead of ricotta since I wanted a really smooth and creamy filling. I really liked the taste and I thought the creaminess of the cheese went well with the pistachio, cinnamon, and orange flavourings that were added. I'm not sure if I'd make cannoli again because of the whole frying thing but other than that, I would say that this was a success.