Well, school is cancelled again tomorrow here in Minnesota due to the extremely cold temperatures, so it's a perfect opportunity to stay inside and bake.

I recently ordered some cannoli molds, and I can't wait to try out making cannolis for the first time.
I'm also working on some DIY projects that I think I'm going to make a post about soon as well.

For this week, though, I saw these cream puffs in my blogger feed and knew I had to make them! I love making pate a choix (cream puff dough) and even more so love its taste.

I'm also going to try something new out for this blog for a couple weeks: recipe highlights. I'm just going to make a list of 3 or 4 things to really watch out for in a recipe to make it easier for you to make these pastries at home!

Cannoli Cream Puffs

Yield: 20-30

Recipe Notes:

1. Be sure to strain the ricotta cheese very well. I had some issues with this, as my ricotta wasn't strained enough and became very runny. Be sure there is very little moisture left.

2. After adding the flour mixture into your boiling ingredients, the dough will gradually come together. Do not touch the dough at this time as it can get to an upwards of 500 degrees F.

3. While baking the creme puffs do not open the oven. Pressure changes can cause the dough to collapse. If you take it out of the oven too early as well, the dough will collapse. I personally had to redo pate a choix recipes a couple times before the dough didn't flatten!

For the Cannoli Cream Filling:
24 oz. whole milk ricotta, strained*
16 oz. mascarpone
1 cup powdered sugar

In a mixing bowl, using a rubber or silicone spatula, blend together ricotta and mascarpone cheese while running and pressing mixture along bottom of bowl to remove any lumps. Fold in powdered sugar. Cover and chill 30 minutes (or until ready to use).

(1)*To strain, work in two batches, place the ricotta over several layers of paper towels then add more paper towels and squeeze some of the excess moisture out.

For the Pastry:
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, diced into 1 tbsp pieces
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 large eggs

Mini semi-sweet chocolate chips or finely chopped chocolate (optional)
Powdered sugar, for dusting (optional)

Preheat oven to 410 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder and cinnamon, set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine water, milk, butter, sugar and salt and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally to melt butter and dissolve sugar. Reduce heat to low, add flour mixture all at once and continue to cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture forms a ball, about 2 minutes. Transfer mixture to the bowl of an electric stand mixer and using the paddle attachment, stir dough on low until the steam stops rising, about 4 minutes.
With mixer still set on low speed, beat eggs into dough one at a time (dough will separate after each egg is added, then it will slowly come together and become smooth)(2). Transfer mixture to a large piping bag fitted with a round tip. Immediately pipe onto rounds, approximately 1 1/4-inches each, and spacing them 2-inches apart.
(3)Bake in preheated oven 10 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 375 and continue to cook 10 minutes longer. Remove from oven and pierce with a small knife to release steam. Cool completely on a wire rack then cut each in half. Pipe or spoon in cannoli cream filling. Sprinkle chocolate chips  around edges of cream filling. Dust with powdered sugar and for best results serve within 1 hour of filling.

These pastries are very good, and make a great weekend treat! I ran some down to a few neighbors, and everyone loved them!

Until next week!

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