Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Cheese Plate Cannoli. cannoli piatto di formaggi.

New, cannoli flavor!

 The Cheese Plate Cannoli©

There is nothing Southwest about this or even Filipino. I guess this is very much American instead of Italian! I made and served this on New Year's eve dinner for dessert. And I have been meaning to make this since the beginning of last year but was just too busy to do so or I was just wary of implementing this project. The idea of this cannoli was inspired by the Iona cupcake I made 2 years ago on my birthday.

Being wary, this was a process: I bought the cannoli shells early fall last year (it kept well until New Year) in a local Italian shop in town since I don't have the metal tubes to mold the cannoli (yet!) if I chose to make them myself. And the place really sells this authentic-looking cannoli shells anyway (with 'bubbles' jutting out of the shells; and so much more Italian delicacies too!). 

Then I bought a small tub of mascarpone cheese, ricotta cheese, and 5 oz. (really small cut) of Edam cheese-just a couple days before new year.

Being Filipino, the Edam cheese was a cultural, Christmas thing. Again, it's something the Spanish colonizers left to the Motherland. (It's even more a Dutch thing actually!). I read it's because of the "red" wax which covers the cheese that make it symbolic for Christmas. 

Anywho... I'd rather call these guys a "cheese plate cannoli" instead of naming it after Robicelli's Iona cupcake since most of the ingredients are made of "cheese" (like the Stilton called for in the original Iona cupcake). 

Yup-these has some stinky stuff, but seriously worth for you to try!

 * Option 1: Cheese Plate cannoli dusted with powdered sugar (only). The port wine was not reduced but stirred in the mascarpone-ricotta filling. No walnuts.

 Equipment:  
  • electric hand mixer or stand alone mixer
  • pastry bag or half-gallon resealable bag
  • coffee mug
  • bowls, rubber spatula, measuring spoons, etc called for in the recipe.

Filling:

6-8 cannoli regular sized shells
1 small tub of ricotta cheese
1 small tub of mascarpone cheese
1/4 t guar gum (natural thickeners)
1/4 t xanthan gum (natural thickeners)
4 T crumbled Stilton or blue cheese of your choice
3 T finely shredded Edam cheese
1 small Anjou pear-peeled & shredded + lemon juice
1/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries, finely chopped
3/4-1 c powdered sugar
1/4 c candied walnuts , coarsely chopped (recipe below)
1/4 c powdered sugar for dusting (more or less)

Port Wine Reduction:

Port (ruby) wine of your choice (I just bought the affordable kind; you can splurge if you want.)

Procedure:

1. Read recipe from beginning to end.
2. Prepare your ingredients (Reduce the wine; prepare the pear and candied walnuts; shred the Edam cheese, chop the cranberries, etc...)
3. In a large bowl, dump the mascarpone and ricotta cheeses in it. Add the 3/4 c powdered sugar, guar and xanthan gum too. Using your electric mixer on low speed, blend and combine until creamy and thick. About 2 minutes.
4. With all the other ingredients prepared, ready and cooled (hopefully)-dump them on the mascarpone/ricotta mixture EXCEPT the Port reduction and the powdered sugar for dusting. Fold (do not mix) them into the creamy mixture until well combined. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
5. After an hour, take it out and stir on low one last time for 15 seconds with the electric mixer before scooping it in the pastry or resealable bag. *4­­
6. For 6-8 cannoli shells, scoop and dump 1 cup of the filling in the bag careful not to reach the corner at the bottom of the container.  7. Lift the bag with filling and cut a small (about 1 cm.) hole at the corner then slightly seal the top of the bag; squeeze out the air pockets by pushing the filling until it just barely reaches the hole.
8. Pick up 1 cannoli shell with your other hand, then fill both ends with the 'cheese plate' mixture-making sure you start in the middle of the shell but also careful not to overflow both ends. Set aside on a big, flat serving plate; repeat #8 with the remaining shells.
9. When all of them are filled, decide how you want it served with the remaining ingredients: the port reduction, powdered sugar and candied chopped walnuts.

I have included some ideas and options for you to choose how you would like to serve them. Unfortunately, there are only 2 photos of the several serving options I included here. For some reason-I can't seem to find the other memory card of my camera. But I am sure you get the idea

Will definitely post more photos if I find that memory card.  

Filling recipe is for more than 8 regular sized cannoli shells; it will keep in the fridge for 3 days. Please DO NOT freeze.
*² After shredding the pear, squeeze 1 T of lemon juice in it; stir and then drain using a strainer by pushing out the liquid with a tablespoon. Set aside.
*³ 1 cup walnuts, 1/4 cup white granulated sugar, 1 Tbsp unsalted butter. Coat walnuts with the butter-sugar using your fingers; bake in 350° oven for 20 mins. Cool completely before coarsely chopping. Set aside. 
*4 Open wide your pastry or resealable bag with one of the corners resting at the bottom of the coffee mug. Let the mouth of the bag hang out and rest on the rim of the mug.




* Option 2: ends dipped on candied, chopped walnuts; dusted with powdered sugar and drizzled with port wine reduction. 1st photo and similar 3.
 
* Option 3: naked. Drizzled with Port wine reduction-only; photo below has walnuts.




* Option 4: both edges lightly dipped on chopped candied walnuts; drizzle the port wine reduction in a zigzag motion on top of the cannoli, sprinkle a pinch or 2 with chopped candied walnuts (so it sticks to the reduction) and dusted w/ powdered sugar. Highly recommended. 

* Option 5: dusted with powdered sugar, drizzled with port wine reduction (vise versa), sprinkled with candied walnuts.

* Option 6: pour the reduction inside a squirt bottle and make some solid circles/dots on the sides of a cannoli; a skewer dipped on the port reduction will work to make the solid rounds/dots too!

* Option 7: make this a totally 21st century Italian cannoli by using Italian solid semi-firm cheeses like Gorgonzola and Fontina; pistachio instead of walnuts; Lambrusco wine instead of Port. Note: I have NOTHING against the traditional cannoli recipe; in fact the basic Italian cannoli is the starting recipe I always go back to. Highly recommended.

However you want to serve them, enjoy with a glass of port or any red dessert wine. Honestly, I had 2 of these with a mug of steaming hot cocoa spiked with a few tablespoons of Port!

Well you read this here first: all photos, ideas and recipe about this post can be re-shared and adapted provided you give credit to whom it is due: yours truly.

Thanks much! 
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