Cannoli reign supreme among Italian pastries. I have adapted this recipe from one given to me many years ago by Sanford D’Amato of Sanford Restaurant in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Sanford has elevated cannoli to a new level of refinement. I much prefer the buttery and brandied caramel flavor and delicate chewy-crisp texture of a brandy snap shell to the traditional fried pastry shell. The mascarpone pastry cream filling is also lighter than the traditional ricotta filling, and the dried currants and dried cherries that replace the usual citron or candied fruit add a welcomed tartness. The burnt orange color of the brandy snap shell and the bright green pistachios that garnish the piped cream filling peeking out from the edges make these cannoli as elegant visually as they are refined in flavor and texture.
Plan Ahead The cannoli shells, the pastry cream, and the pistachio garnish can be prepared 3 days ahead. The shells should not be filled more than 2 hours ahead of serving to maintain crispness.
|vanilla bean, split lengthwise (or pure vanilla extract)||.||.|
|fine sea salt||.||.|
Two 15 by 12 inch cookie sheets, nonstick or lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray (avoid insulated or cushioned sheets) | One ¾ inch diameter dowel or cannoli mold, lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray | A large pastry bag or gallon-size reclosable freezer bag, fitted with a ⅝ inch star pastry tube
Twenty minutes or longer before baking, set oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and
Set the cookie sheets on wire racks and let the cookies cool on the sheets for about 1 minute or until they can be lifted without wrinkling but are still flexible. Use a pancake turner to lift each cookie from the sheets, shaping it before removing the next one so that they stay warm and flexible.
Roll each cookie loosely around the dowel, with the smooth bottom side against the dowel, so that its edges just overlap enough to seal. The wrapped cookie shell should be no more than
As soon as it is rolled, place each cookie, seam side down, on another wire rack to cool. If the cookies become too rigid to roll, return them briefly to the oven. If a cookie begins to sag while cooling, reshape it to a cylindrical shape. Alternatively, if you have more than one dowel, leave the dowels in the cookies until they harden enough to keep their shape.
The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
Have ready a fine-mesh strainer suspended over a small bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and cornstarch. Gradually add
In a medium saucepan, place the sugar and vanilla bean pod. Use your fingers to scrape and rub the seeds into the sugar. Stir in the remaining half-and-half and the salt. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a full boil, stirring constantly. Whisk
Bring the half-and-half mixture back to a boil over medium heat. Remove the vanilla pod (rinse and dry it for future use). Quickly add all of the egg mixture, whisking rapidly. Continue whisking rapidly for about 20 to 30 seconds, being sure to go into the bottom edge of the pan. The mixture will become very thick. Remove the mixture from the heat and whisk in the butter. (If not using the vanilla bean, whisk in the vanilla extract.) Immediately pour the mixture into a bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray directly on the surface of the cream to keep a skin from forming. Let the mixture cool to room temperature, about 45 minutes, then refrigerate until cold.
Twenty minutes or longer or longer before baking, set an oven rack in the middle of the oven and
Up to 2 hours before serving, place the filling in the prepared pastry bag and pipe the mixture into the brandy snap shells. To make a decorative star finish, as you reach the end, gradually ease the pressure as you pull the tube away. Pipe another star into the opposite end. Sprinkle the ends with the chopped pistachios and dust the shells lightly with the powdered sugar.
Room temperature, 2 hours. (The completed cannoli filling can be refrigerated for 24 hours.)
Copyright © 2014 by Cordon Rose, LLC. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.