One of New York’s mutual talents is a respect and disregard for tradition. Take cannoli. Adopted by New Yorkers as if their own, the sweet migrant classic is immortalised in the must-see gilded Italian bakeshops of yesteryear in Little Italy and beyond. But it is also reworked in mod restaurants in bold new flavours, including Santina, where mini waffle batter tubes come with cherry, pistachio and coconut-enriched ricotta (loved this), and Quality Italian’s pumpkin take, finished tableside on a cannoli cart (so fun). Likewise, my cannoli, filled with luscious peanut butter mousse and sweet strawberry conserve, is the ultimate New York-Italian mash-up. A little bit old school, a little bit cool. You will need cannoli moulds or cannelloni pasta tubes to shape the cannoli.
Filled with luscious peanut butter mousse and sweet strawberry conserve, this is the ultimate New York-Italian mash-up.
- 150 g (5½ oz/1 cup) plain (all purpose) flour
- 2 tsp unsweetened (Dutch) cocoa powder
- 25 g (1 oz) unsalted butter, chopped, softened
- 2 tbsp pure icing (confectioners’) sugar, sifted
- 1 pinch fine salt
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- 60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) water
- canola oil, to deep-fry
- 1 eggwhite, lightly beaten
- strawberry preserve or jam, to fill
- finely chopped toasted peanuts,
- to serve (optional)
Peanut butter mousse
- 110 g (4 oz/½ cup) caster (superfine) sugar
- 80 ml (2½ fl oz/⅓ cup) water
- 1 egg
- 2 egg yolks
- 140 g (5 oz/½ cup) smooth peanut butter
- 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) thickened (whipping) cream
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Chilling time: 1 hour
Sift the flour and cocoa into a bowl. Add the butter and, using your fingers, rub into the flour mixture until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the icing sugar and salt. Add the vinegar and water and stir to form a dough (add an extra 1–2 teaspoons water if necessary). Using your hands, knead for 2 minutes or until smooth, then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
To make the peanut butter mousse, place the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium–high heat. Bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves, then cook, without stirring, for 7 minutes or until the syrup reaches 115°C (240°F).
Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, whisk the egg and egg yolks for 5 minutes until pale and tripled in volume. Whisking constantly, gradually add the hot syrup until combined, then whisk for 3 minutes or until cool. Add the peanut butter and whisk until just combined.
In a clean bowl, whisk the cream to stiff peaks, then fold into the peanut butter mixture. Transfer the mousse to a piping (icing) bag fitted with a 1 cm (½ in) plain nozzle, then freeze for 1 hour to firm.
Meanwhile, fill a deep-fryer or saucepan one-third full of canola oil and heat over medium heat to 160°C (320°F). Divide the dough into two portions, then work with one portion at a time (refrigerate the remaining dough until needed). On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough until 1 mm thick (it should be so thin you can almost see through it). Using a 10 cm (4 in) round cutter, cut out five rounds. Alternatively, using a sharp knife, cut into 10 cm (4 in) squares. Working with one round or square at a time, wrap around a cannoli mould, brushing one edge with egg white (make sure the egg white doesn’t touch the mould or the cannoli shells will be hard to remove), then press the edges to seal.
Fry the cannoli on the moulds, in batches, for 2 minutes or until crisp and blistered. Drain on paper towel and set aside to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough. Carefully remove the cannoli shells from the moulds and store in an airtight container until needed.
Just before serving, using a teaspoon, spoon in a little jam, then pipe in some mousse. Scatter the ends with peanuts, if using, and serve immediately.
• A good cannoli relies on a shatteringly crisp shell, so roll out the dough as thinly as possible (it should be almost translucent), return the oil to 160°C (320°F) between batches, and pipe ‘à la minute’ (to order) to prevent softening.
Recipe from The Desserts Of New York by Yasmin Newman (Hardie Grant Books, $39.99). Photography © by Yasmin Newman (location) and Alicia Taylor (studio).
This recipe is part of our feature, Readable feasts: The Desserts of New York.