November 27, 2009

Cranberry Riesling Cannoli


A Daring Baker's November Challenge

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.

Cannoli are known as Italian-American pastries, although the origin of cannoli dates back to Sicily, specifically Palermo, where it was prepared during Carnevale season, and according to lore, as a symbol of fertility. The cannoli is a fried, tube-shaped pastry shell (usually containing wine) filled with a creamy amalgamation of sweetened ricotta cheese, chocolate, candied fruit or zest, and sometimes nuts. Although not traditional, mascarpone cheese is also widely used, and in fact, makes for an even creamier filling when substituted for part of the ricotta, or by itself. However, cannoli can also be filled with pastry creams, mousses, whipped cream, ice cream etc. 

I made my cannoli as an accompaniment to our Thanksgiving dinner. I served turkey, cornbread dressing, roasted potatoes, roasted brussel sprouts and corn. The white wine I served with dinner, is also the same wine I used to make the cannoli. I chose our favorite Riesling-Traminette-Vidal Blanc white wine, called Our Dog Blue from Chateau Morrisette Winery in  Floyd County, Virginia. It's a wonderful wine that goes well with turkey, fish, fruits and cheeses - in other words, perfect for cannoli. 

I hope you enjoy this month's Daring Baker Challenge recipe as much as we did. Happy Thanksgiving from my house to yours.


Cannoli forms/tubes - optional, but recommended if making traditional shaped cannoli.
Deep, heavy saucepan, enough to hold at least 2-3-inches of oil or deep fryer
Deep fat frying thermometer. although the bread cube or bit of dough test will work fine.
Metal tongs
Brass or wire skimmer OR large slotted spoon
Pastry bag with large star or plain tip, but a snipped ziplock bag, butter knife or teaspoon will work fine.
Cooling rack
Paper bags or paper towels
Pastry Brush
Sieve or fine wire mesh strainer
Electric Mixer, stand or hand, optional, as mixing the filling with a spoon is fine.
Food Processor or Stand Mixer – also optional, since you can make the dough by hand, although it takes more time.
Rolling pin and/or Pasta roller/machine
Pastry or cutting board
Round cutters - The dough can also be cut into squares and rolled around the cannoli tube prior to frying. If making a stacked cannoli, any shaped cutter is fine, as well as a sharp knife.
Mixing bowl and wooden spoon if mixing filling by hand
Plastic Wrap/Clingfilm
Tea towels or just cloth towels

Lidisano’s Cannoli

Makes 22-24 4-inch cannoli
Prep time:
Dough – 2 hours and 10-20 minutes, including resting time, and depending on whether you do it by hand or machine.
Filling – 5-10 minutes plus chilling time (about 2 hours or more)
Frying – 1-2 minutes per cannoli
Assemble – 20–30 minutes


1/3 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup arrowroot starch
1/4 cup sweet rice flour
2 Tb almond meal
2 tablespoons(28 grams/1 ounce) sugar
1 teaspoon (5 grams/0.06 ounces) unsweetened baking cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon (1.15 grams/0.04 ounces) ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon (approx. 3 grams/0.11 ounces) salt

1 teaspoon chia seed powder

1/4 teaspoon agar agar powder
3 tablespoons (42 grams/1.5 ounces) vegetable or olive oil
Approximately 1/2 cup (approx. 59 grams/approx. 4 fluid ounces/approx. 125 ml) Riesling wine
1 large egg, separated (you will need the egg white but not the yolk)
Vegetable or any neutral oil for frying – about 2 quarts (8 cups/approx. 2 litres)
1/2 cup (approx. 62 grams/2 ounces) toasted, chopped pistachio nuts, mini chocolate chips/grated chocolate and/or candied or plain zests, fruits etc.. for garnish
Confectioners' sugar

2 lbs (approx. 3.5 cups/approx. 1 kg/32 ounces) ricotta cheese, drained
1 2/3 cups cup (160 grams/6 ounces) confectioner’s sugar, sifted

1/4 - 1/3 cup Riesling wine

3 tablespoons (approx. 28 grams/approx. 1 ounce) finely chopped good quality chocolate of your choice
2 tablespoons (12 grams/0.42 ounces) of finely chopped, candied orange peel, or the grated zest of one small to medium orange
3 tablespoons (23 grams/0.81 ounce) toasted, finely chopped pistachios

Note - If you want chocolate ricotta filling, add a few tablespoons of dark, unsweetened cocoa powder to the above recipe, and thin it out with a few drops of warm water if too thick to pipe.


1 - 8 oz package frozen cranberries
1 tangerine, peeled & diced
1/4 cup pecans, roughly chopped

1/2 cup cane sugar
1/4 cup Riesling wine


Place the cranberries, tangerine, pecans, sugar and wine into a small saucepan. Heat the sauce until it comes to a simmer. Cook until the cranberries have popped and the sauce has thickened.


1. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer or food processor, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the oil, vinegar, and enough of the wine to make a soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and well blended, about 2 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge from 2 hours to overnight.

2. Cut the dough into two pieces. Keep the remaining dough covered while you work. Lightly flour a large cutting or pastry board and roll the dough until super thin, about 1/16 to 1/8” thick (An area of about 13 inches by 18 inches should give you that). Cut out 3 to 5-inch circles (3-inch – small/medium; 4-inch – medium/large; 5-inch;- large. Your choice). Roll the cut out circle into an oval, rolling it larger and thinner if it’s shrunk a little.

3. Oil the outside of the cannoli tubes (You only have to do this once, as the oil from the deep fry will keep them well, uhh, Roll a dough oval from the long side (If square, position like a diamond, and place tube/form on the corner closest to you, then roll) around each tube/form and dab a little egg white on the dough where the edges overlap. (Avoid getting egg white on the tube, or the pastry will stick to it.) Press well to seal. Set aside to let the egg white seal dry a little.

4. In a deep heavy saucepan, pour enough oil to reach a depth of 3 inches, or if using an electric deep-fryer, follow the manufacturer's directions. Heat the oil to 375°F (190 °C) on a deep fry thermometer, or until a small piece of the dough or bread cube placed in the oil sizzles and browns in 1 minute. Have ready a tray or sheet pan lined with paper towels or paper bags.

5. Carefully lower a few of the cannoli tubes into the hot oil. Do not crowd the pan. Fry the shells until golden, about 1 minutes, turning them so that they brown evenly.

6. Lift a cannoli tube with a wire skimmer or large slotted spoon, out of the oil. Using tongs, grasp the cannoli tube at one end. Very carefully remove the cannoli tube with the open sides straight up and down so that the oil flows back into the pan. Place the tube on paper towels or bags to drain. Repeat with the remaining tubes. While they are still hot, grasp the tubes with a potholder and pull the cannoli shells off the tubes with a pair of tongs, or with your hand protected by an oven mitt or towel. Let the shells cool completely on the paper towels. Place shells on cooling rack until ready to fill.

7. Repeat making and frying the shells with the remaining dough. If you are reusing the cannoli tubes, let them cool before wrapping them in the dough.

For stacked cannoli:

1. Heat 2-inches of oil in a saucepan or deep sauté pan, to 350-375°F (176 - 190 °C).

2. Cut out desired shapes with cutters or a sharp knife. Deep fry until golden brown and blistered on each side, about 1 – 2 minutes. Remove from oil with wire skimmer or large slotted spoon, then place on paper towels or bags until dry and grease free. If they balloon up in the hot oil, dock them lightly prior to frying. Place on cooling rack until ready to stack with filling.


1. Line a strainer with cheesecloth. Place the ricotta in the strainer over a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap and a towel. Weight it down with a heavy can, and let the ricotta drain in the refrigerator for several hours to overnight.

2. In a bowl with electric mixer, beat ricotta until smooth and creamy. Beat in confectioner’s sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and blend until smooth. Transfer to another bowl and stir in chocolate, zest and nuts. Chill until firm. (The filling can be made up to 24 hours prior to filling the shells. Just cover and keep refrigerated).


1. When ready to serve..fill a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain or star tip, or a ziplock bag, with the ricotta cream. If using a ziplock bag, cut about 1/2 inch off one corner. Insert the tip in the cannoli shell and squeeze gently until the shell is half filled. Turn the shell and fill the other side. You can also use a teaspoon to do this, although it’s messier and will take longer.

2. Press or dip cannoli in chopped pistachios, grated chocolate/mini chocolate chips, candied fruit or zest into the cream at each end. Dust with confectioner’s sugar and/or drizzles of melted chocolate if desired.


aTxVegn said...

Your gluten free shells look so good!

Lauren said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed them =D. Your cannoli look fabulous!

Judy@nofearentertaining said...

Great job on the cannoli! Love it with the cranberries!

Anonymous said...

Fancy! Sounds like a major challenge!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Those look lovely! I love your choice of filling and the cranberries!



glamah16 said...

Your take on the canolli is very elegant. I hope you and you and family had a Happy Thanksgiving.

Audax said...

WOW white wine and cranberries now that is fancy and classy well done. And I love your pics Cheers from Audax in Australia.

Esther said...

Those look lovely and the flavours sound great.

Anonymous said...

Your cranberry chardonnay cannoli are beautiful, and I'm so glad they served as a wonderful accompaniment to your T-Day dinner! Thank you so much for deep frying with me this month!

Mimi said...

Great looking cannoli. I love the cranberry filling.

Cheryl Harris said...

that looks lovely--you are such an artist!

Esi said...

I love the Thanksgiving spin you put on these. Sounds really delicious!

Anonymous said...

Mmm beautiful -- bet that was delicious with Thanksgiving dinner!

Anonymous said...

Mm, what killer flavors, and it all sounds so perfect for Thanksgiving, too. Nicely done! :)

Cakelaw said...

Cranberry and chardonnay cannoli - now that's a celebration dessert! Love it.

Sue Sparks said...

Wow, what a great idea to have your cannoli featured at your Thanksgiving dinner! They look so good!

emicat said...

What elegant looking cannoli! That cranberry topping sounds awesome. I make a cranberry sauce every year that you cook in a few cups of zinfandel. I'll have to give this one a shot!

Thanks for visiting and commenting on my blog :)

chef_d said...

oh yummy filling, and i looove riesling, i can drink one bottle if i had my way :)

natalia said...

Ciao Natalie ! you made the best cannoli I can't believe they are gluten free !! I must make them for my friend !! Grazie !

Anonymous said...

That's a great idea to make a Thanksgiving themed cannoli for this time of the year. It looks delicious! :)

Y said...

Yum, that cranberry riesling topping sounds so delicious!

Olive said...

your cannoli sound so sophisticated and they do look it :) glad you enjoyed the challenge :)

Anonymous said...

Your gluten free shells look amazing! and I love your serving idea.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful photos and that cranberry-orange reisling topping sounds wonderful!

Suzler said...

That looks and sounds lovely! Mm, I bet the cranberry went beautifully with the cream cheese.

Belated Happy Thanksgiving!

Anita said...

Interesting choice of topping. It works well with a Thanks Giving theme :)

Dharm said...

Oh yum!! That looks so good! I didnt have time to do the challenge this month... pout!

berry lovely said...

Your filling combo sounds really delicious, great idea!

vibi said...

WOW! You went elegent on us with that custom cannoli creation! And the flavors... how fancy! Bravo!

Carla Spacher said...

I have a great recipe for a gluten-free cannoli shell, but was just looking for a new take on a filling. I love your idea of a cranberry topping. Easter dessert just may be solved!