While I currently live in New Jersey, I'm not from New Jersey so I thought it would be fun to enlist the help of NJ natives in choosing their state sweet. A great blog in Hoboken, www.hoboken411.com, agreed to post a survey to determine what sweet I should make.
The choices were:
Crumb Cake / Crumb Buns
Over 600 people voted and 257 chose Cannoli as their pick for NJ's state sweet! I have to admit, I was hoping Crumb Cake / Crumb Buns would win because it is a mild obsession of mine but, the people have spoken and Cannoli it is!
Cannoli are a Sicilian dessert consisting of fried pastry tubes filled with a sweet, creamy filling made primarily of ricotta cheese and sugar. Mix-ins like chocolate chunks or candied orange peel are common and Cannoli are usually kissed with a dusting of powdered sugar before serving.
In pastry school we made cannoli dough, shaped the shells and fried them before filling them - a lot of work but much easier in a professional kitchen. This time around, I cheated and outsourced the shells... luckily, in NJ you can buy empty cannoli shells at the grocery store bakery which made this a much easier recipe to complete in my home kitchen!
Now that we have the shells, time to make the filling!
2 lbs Ricotta cheese (Impastata if you can find it)
8 ounces confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 ounces semisweet chocolate
chopped pistachios for garnish
* this amount of filling should fill about 48 mini cannoli shells
- whip ricotta and confectioners sugar until light and fluffy
- mix in vanilla extract and cinnamon
- stir in chocolate and any other desired mix in's by hand
- no more than one or two hours before serving, fill the shells using pastry bag
- sprinkle the ends with chopped pistachios and dust with confectioners sugar
I had a great time making this local favorite and appreciate everyone's participation! Special thanks to Perry at Hoboken 411!