Desserts, Great British Bake Off Challenge: Season 8

Great British Bake Off Challenge Week 7 Signature: Cannoli


The Great British Bake Off is one my favorite shows, inspiring new bakes, new flavors, and new techniques! Join me on my journey to bake through all the Season 8 Challenges

Total Cooking Time:1 hour 45 minutes

The Great British Bake Off is a classic show for bakers and those looking for a friendly competition. All the bakes on the show look delicious and I often want to try baking them myself! I finally got off the couch and into the kitchen to recreate some of the recipes from Bake Off! I chose to start with season eight of Bake Off as it is my favorite season and the one with some of my favorite challenges!

I’ve made it to week Seven! I honestly cannot believe how much I’ve done so far. This challenge was a lot more than I expected and I’m still three weeks away from the finale! But Week Seven is one that I have been both excited and nervous for; it’s Italian week! And the Signature challenge of Italian week is Cannoli!

The show has each competitor create eighteen cannoli in three different flavors. So decided to go with flavors that I liked so I ended up doing a caramel-chocolate-hazelnut cannoli, a lemon-white chocolate cannoli, and a chocolate-vanilla cannoli. While I normally do multiple posts with the parts of dish, I think I don’t like doing the posts like that so I’m going to switch over to putting everything in one place. Plus, the filling is a super easy step, so it doesn’t make much sense to separate them out!



Ingredients

There is a decent amount of ingredients that go into cannoli. Of course, half of that is just for the filling so it’s easy to blow everything out of proportion, especially if you choose to do multiple fillings like I have.

Most of these ingredients are common staples in the kitchen but there are two unique ingredients that were not in my normal wares. The first was ricotta. Ricotta is a classic Italian cheese that is commonly used for cannoli. I have also seen mascarpone used as a substitute for ricotta if that’s something that is desired.

The second surprise ingredient was white wine. I can’t say that I’m surprised to see that Italian cooking has wine in it. But I didn’t expect the wine to be in the dough. From what I can tell, the wine is responsible for the bubbling that is commonly seen on the outside of the cannoli shell.

Process

01

Making the Dough

Cannoli are made from a classic pastry dough and start off with butter being rubbed into the dry ingredients. This creates a crumb like texture which I feel is the base for most pastry. The wet ingredients that bring the dough together is egg yolk and white wine. After a bit of mixing, a smooth dough comes together.

Coming off pastry week, this feels like something I am used to. It feels very familiar to the doughs I had previously made. And just like the doughs I previously made; this one also needs to chill. I wrapped the dough in clingfilm and allowed to rest in the fridge while I made my fillings.

02

Making the Fillings

To stay true to the challenge, I made three different types of filling. Each of the fillings had the same base ingredients and only really differed for the flavorings found inside each one. Each has a base of ricotta and powdered sugar. I also only made one batch of heavy whipping cream to split between the three recipes. It seemed easier.

The first filling was one made with caramel. For this recipe, I whipped up a quick caramel on the stove and then poured it into my ricotta mixture. For the lemon filling, I mixed a combination of lemon juice and zest into the filling. And for the vanilla filling, I just used vanilla extract and a pinch of cinnamon to keep it simple with the flavors.

03

Prepping and Frying

The next step is the hardest part of the recipe, frying the dough. First, I had to roll out the dough on a prepared surface and cut out circles. Each circle is about three to four inches in diameter. I used a stamper, but I’ve also seen cups or small bowls used as well.

The circle was then wrapped around my cannoli mold. To ensure that the dough would stay together, I used a little bit of the egg wash between the dough layers. I also flared out the edges of the dough away from the cannoli mold. This allows for the oil to penetrate under the dough as well and really get that crisp texture all the way around.

And then it’s time to fry! I submerged the cannoli into the oil for about two to three minutes to get that golden, bubbly, and crisp shell. Then I let the shell cool while I fried the next one. And the next one. And the next one.

04

Filling the Shells

The last step for the cannoli is finishing the shells and added in those final touches. Before adding in the filling, I melted some chocolate over a double broiler and dipped the end of the shells into the chocolate. This was just to give the cannoli some extra flavor. I let the chocolate cool and harden before adding the filling.

I put each filling into their own pastry bag. There wasn’t a need to use a piping tip, so I just cut off the end of the bag and used that to fill each shell. I filled the shells from both sides to ensure that the cannoli were filled to the brim with creamy goodness.

For the hazelnut, caramel, and chocolate cannoli, I sprinkled the chopped hazelnuts along the edges to give these cannoli that extra flavor and texture.

Reflections

This process took a little bit of a toll on me. Frying each shell one at a time was a draining and I felt a little overwhelmed during the whole process. This recipe really pushed me out of my comfort zone especially with the fillings are parts of the dessert that required a bit more finesse.

Am I ready for bake-off? While they didn’t look like the best cannoli in the world, the flavors were good, and the filling were mostly the correct thickness. I think all cannoli drip a little bit from the filling so it’s hard to say what was my mistake and what is classic to a cannoli.

Lessons

What if I don’t have a cannoli mold?

So, I don’t have cannoli molds in my house, and I honestly didn’t feel like buying another new tool. Especially since I didn’t know how often I would use these molds. I used an alternative: tin foil! This process was a little involved but since I already have a lot of tin foil, it was a very inexpensive option.

What I ended up doing was rolling the tin foil into the mold shape. It ended up becoming a cylinder that was about 6 inches in length. I made a couple so I could get ahead when frying and tried to smooth out the shape a much as possible. Worked like a charm!

recipe

Homemade Cannoli

Cannolihave a wonderfully thin and crispy shell containing a filling rich in flavor.
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 45 mins
Servings 12 Cannoli

Equipment

  • Cannoli Molds

Ingredients
  

Cannoli Shells

  • 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Tablespoon Granulated Sugar
  • ¼ Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon plus 2 Teaspoons Butter diced
  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • ½ Cup Dry White Wine
  • 1 quart sunflower oil for frying
  • 1 egg lightly beaten

Filling – Caramel, Chocolate, Hazelnut – For 1/3 of the Shells

  • 2/3 Cup Ricotta Cheese
  • ¼ Cup Powdered Sugar
  • ¼ Cup Heavy Whipping Cream divided evenly between all fillings
  • ¼ Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ Cup Chocolate melted
  • 10 Hazelnuts finely chopped

Filling – Lemon, White Chocolate – For 1/3 of the Shells

  • 1 Cup Ricotta Cheese
  • Cup Powdered Sugar
  • ¼ Cup Heavy Whipping Cream divided evenly between all fillings
  • 1 Lemon juice and zest
  • ¼ Cup Chocolate melted

Filling – Vanilla, Chocolate – For 1/3 of the Shells

  • Cup Ricotta Cheese
  • ¼ Cup Powdered Sugar
  • ¼ Cup Heavy Whipping Cream divided evenly between all fillings
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • ¼ Cup Chocolate melted

Instructions
 

Shells

  • In a medium bowl, mix the flour, sugar, and salt.
  • Add in diced butter pieces and work with hands until the mixture becomes fine and has a crumb like texture.
  • Add the egg yolk and white wine. Mix until the ingredients come together to form a smooth dough.
  • Pressed the dough into a thick oval, wrap, and chill for a few minutes while making the filling. For the fillings see below. To use only one filling, triple the ingredients required for the recipe.
  • In a medium pot, heat the sunflower oil to 360 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Roll out the dough onto a prepared surface until about 1/8 of an inch thick. Cut the dough into fourths and work in small batches.
  • Punch out circles in a 3-to-4-inchdiameter, this can be done using a glass or bowl as well.
  • Wrap each circle around a cannoli mold. Use a little of the egg wash to seal the dough shut and assure it will stay on the mold while cooking.
  • Flare the edges of the dough slightly away from the dough.
  • Using a pair of tongs, submerge and fry the shell in oil until crispy – about two to three minutes.
  • Carefully slide the shell off the mold and set aside to cool. Repeat for all of the sough circles.
  • Dip Shell edges into the melted chocolate for the desired flavor. Sprinkle nuts onto the chocolate before the chocolate hardens
  • Place fillings in a pastry bag and fill each shell from both sides so the cream runs through the entire cannoli. Dust with powdered sugar if desired.
  • Enjoy!!

Filling– Caramel

  • In a medium bowl, whisk the ricotta until smooth. 
  • Add in the powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Mix to blend. Warm in the microwave.
  • In a pan, add sugar and 2 tbsp water, and place on medium to low heat. Allow the mixture to caramelize.
  • Add ricotta to the pan and cook until combined. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the heavy cream until it reaches a stiff consistency. Because of the amount required, the cream was divided evenly among the three fillings.
  • Gently fold 1/3 of the cream into the ricotta mixture.
  • Refrigerator for half an hour to an hour.

Filling– Lemon

  • In a medium bowl, whisk the ricotta until smooth. 
  • Add in the powdered sugar and juice from 1 lemon. Mix to blend.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the heavy cream until it reaches a stiff consistency. Because of the amount required, the cream was divided evenly among the three fillings.
  • Gently fold 1/3 of the cream into the ricotta mixture.
  • Stir in the lemon zest of one lemon into the mixture.
  • Refrigerator for half an hour to an hour.

 Filling – Vanilla

  • In a medium bowl, whisk the ricotta until smooth. 
  • Add in the powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Mix to blend
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the heavy cream until it reaches a stiff consistency. Because of the amount required, the cream was divided evenly among the three fillings.
  • Gently fold 1/3 of the cream into the ricotta mixture.
  • Stir in the lemon zest of one lemon into the mixture.
  • Refrigerator for half an hour to an hour.

Notes

I would recommend filling the shells right before serving. The cream will sit in the shell and will cause it to soften if left out too long!

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