I think I have Ghostbusters on the brain because Kevin and I recently went to the Rec Room in downtown Toronto and did their fully immersive VR Ghostbuster experience thing (It’s a little pricey, but super cool and totally worth doing at least once. You get to shoot at the Marshmallow Man – at which point you smell toasted marshmallows, Slimer passes through you while you’re in an elevator which gets you slightly misted, so a pretty unique experience if you’re in Toronto and looking for something to do).
Not to worry though, although I’m sure by my Ghostbusters reference you were worried that I was going to be yet again providing you with some sort of marshmallow or S’mores based dessert. You may feel free to rein in your terror on that front, as there is not a marshmallow in sight this week.
In case my title was just way too obscure for you, what I bring to you this week Cann-oli be described as fancy decadence that is actually surprisingly easy to make. The humble (aka not-so-humble) cannoli. OK, as per usual, my full disclosure must inform you that I initially tried to make these in the authentic, deep-fried way, but a) I don’t really love deep frying things (I’m fine with the consumption of such things, but it’s just really messy, and I always seem to get oil all over myself. There’s having a healthy glow, and then there’s coating your whole face and body unintentionally with cooking oil 😉 ), and b) To me, deep fried things always seem like they’re the best if you can consume them immediately, otherwise, it’s just not quite the same and I wanted these to have a bit more longevity than that.
So, how to “solve” this dilemma? Oven baking of course! Now because I wanted to be absolutely certain that I was not going to be making an inferior product compared to a deep fried version, I did opt to use the exact recipe below and deep fry a half dozen or so for comparison (so if you really want to deep fry them instead, I say have at it!). Probably partly due to the fact that I don’t deep fry a lot, so I’m not that good at it, and not the greatest at temperature control of oil in a pan, the deep fried ones were actually the far inferior ones. They didn’t get crispy enough before they were burning (mmmm…burning outside and squishy inside. Just what I was going for… . The oven ones though…sheer perfection. Super crispy with that satisfying snap when you break through that cannoli crust with your teeth before they sink into the sheer decadence of your filling of choice. Filling of choice here for me was chocolate orange, but you can really fill them with whatever floats your boat (savoury or sweet – so versatile!).Now where did the idea of making these come from? First off, I’d never made them before, and I love trying out new things. But the main reason? Kevin and I were having our fourth Scotch themed party, and (as a lover of all things themed) I wanted to make something that fit the bill. So what goes great and is a natural pairing for Scotch? Much like salt and pepper, Bonnie and Clyde and wine and cheese, Scotch and cigars are just meant to be. Not to worry though, I am not including cigar ashes in my cannoli 😉 (I know I’ll do some crazy things sometimes, but even I won’t go that far…which is not to say however, that the thought of somehow incorporating liquid smoke didn’t cross my mind, but I resisted 🙂 ). Rather, I opted to make them because, particularly if you dip the ends in some chocolate and crushed pistachios, they have a tendency to look like cigars, but without all the fuss of worrying about getting smoke infused into your furniture and accidentally setting your house on fire (although if you’re the type who is apt to get drunk on Scotch and spill cannoli filling all over yourself, I can’t help you there).
So put on your smoking jacket, pour yourself a big ol’ glass of Scotch and kick back with some lung-cancer free “cigars” as a chaser. I (Ci)guarantee you won’t regret it.
Yield: 2 dozen mini cannoli
- metal cannoli tubes (or something similar)
- 3/4 cups flour
- 1 tablespoon cane sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon vegan butter
- 1/2 egg replacer
- 2 tablespoons amaretto (or almond flavoured liqueur)
- 3/4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons water
- 1/3 cup chocolate, melted
- 1/4 cup finely chopped pistachios
- 1/4 cup vegan butter
- 1 1/2 tablespoons melted chocolate
- 1/2 teaspoon orange oil/extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon orange zest (or zest from about 1/2 a large orange)
- 1-2 tablespoons orange liqueur
- 1-2 tablespoons non-dairy milk
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 2/3 cup icing sugar
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, sugar and cinnamon.
- Cut in the butter until it is in pieces no larger than peas.
- Make a well in the center, and pour in the egg replacer, amaretto, vinegar and water. Mix with a fork until the dough becomes stiff, then finish it by hand, kneading on a clean surface for about 10 minutes. Add more water or amaretto if needed to incorporate all the dry ingredients.
- Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat.
- On a clean surface lightly dusted with flour, roll out your cannoli dough as thin as you can get it (about the thickness of a dime, or even thinner). Using a 2 1/2 inch round cookie cutter (or a similar sized glass) cut circles of cannoli dough. Wrap dough around cannoli tubes sealing the edges together with a bit of water or non-dairy milk. Place on baking sheet seam side down.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until shells brown and get a bit crispy. Allow to cool before removing from tubes. Continue until all dough is used up.
- While shells are cooling,make the chocolate orange filling. In a small bowl, beat together butter,chocolate, cocoa,orange and vanilla extracts and orange liqueur.
- Beat in cocoa powder,then icing sugar. If needed, beat in non-dairy milk until pipeable consistency is achieved.
- Using a pastry bag, or plastic sandwich bag with a small corner cut off, pipe filling into center of each cannoli. Refrigerate (or toss in the freezer even) for 10-15 minutes to allow the filling to firm up.
- Place melted chocolate in a small bowl and chopped pistachios in another small bowl. Dip ends of each cannoli in melted chocolate, then roll in pistachios.
- Store in the refrigerator.