Our Italian dinner party was quite a success, and my cannoli were voted tastier than those a guest bought from the fancy grocery store in town. I was surprised, however, to find that my first thrown-together batch of tuile was much tastier than the second. Better in all accounts, in fact, except perhaps aesthetics, but that’s easily debatable.
To recap, Friday I made this batch: tasty batter, crispy tuile, but they stuck to the parchment paper and were hard to fold. Saturday I messed around with a few ingredients (used two egg whites, found almond meal at the grocery store without the large chunks my food processor leaves behind, and replaced half the almond meal with more flour, I also saved 1 tablespoon to add later for adjusting the consistency). I have to say, the batter wasn’t as tasty, the tuile not as crunchy, but the batter was much easier to spread on the baking sheet and roll around spoon handles. The second batch didn’t stick at all to the parchment paper, and so I baked them less, trying to make a beautiful, all-white cannoli roll. The cannoli with some browned edges were crunchier than the all-white ones, so perhaps I didn’t bake them long enough to have the perfect crisp. I’m not sure how to balance even browning and crispness. In any case, I think I will stick to batch 1, as tastiness never fails!
Lastly, filling the cannoli. You really need a pastry bag or a plastic bag with the corner cut off to pipe the filling into the tuile tubes. I bought myself a little set of pastry tips (which I’ve been meaning to get for a while) just for this occasion. Add the filling just before serving, and sprinkle with any variety of confections: powdered sugar, cocoa powder, chocolate chips, or chopped candied fruit.
Almond Tuile: Recipe #2
1/4 c. almonds meal
1/2 c. (save 1T) all-purpose flour
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 t. salt
2 egg whites
5 T. melted butter
1/4 t. almond extract
Preheat oven to 325. Whisk together the almond, flour, sugar, and salt. Beat in the egg whites, butter, and almond extract until smooth. Add in the saved tablespoon of flour if the batter seems too liquidy. My batter dropped off the whisk in large plops. Drop a rounded teaspoon size onto parchment paper and spread out with the back of the spoon to make a 3-4in diameter circle. Bake 6-8 minutes, until edges just start to show a hit of brown. Thinking about it now, you might be able to leave them in just a bit longer, as long as you are ready to roll them as soon as they get out of the oven. Something to try another time.
Immediately after removing from the oven, form over desired kitchen object and leave to cool for about 1 minute. If the tuile gets too hard, pop it back in the oven for about 30 seconds to soften. Let formed tuile cool completely and store in an airtight container.
8-9 oz ricotta, as fresh as possible and drained of any extra juices. I found some locally made goat cheese ricotta.
8 oz marscapone. This cheese I could only find from commercial brands.
1/2 c sugar
1 t Vanilla
zest of 1/2 lemon
Mash everything together, adjust sugar to taste. Other recipes call just for ricotta, some for half as much Marscapone, others for twice as much sugar. I almost thought I added too much sugar, so I suggest starting the sugar at a 1:4 ratio with the cheese, or even less, and add more to taste.
Just to let you know, this was not enough filling to fill the two batches of tuile I made. It probably is enough for one-and-a-half batches (again, I was snacking on the filling). Both shells and filling are tasty on their own, so in the end, it doesn’t really matter.