Friday, July 12, 2013

Cannoli Cronuts with Homemade Citrus-Mini Chocolate Chip Ricotta Filling, Tossed in Cinnamon Sugar with Bittersweet Ganache + Pistachio Confetti

Cannoli Cronuts with Homemade Citrus-Mini Chocolate Chip Ricotta Filling, Tossed in
Cinnamon Sugar with Bittersweet Ganache + Pistachio Confetti
My Cronut craze hasn't taken over my body, literally. I have this compulsion to make these. It's so unhealthy, but so satisfying. I mean, if I'm going over to the dark side, I'm taking one of these with me. Okay, scratch that maybe a dozen... a baker's dozen. Prior to last week, I hated Cannoli's. Mainly because I hate ricotta, so I just turned my nose up at them instead of actually giving them a shot. But then, we went to one of our favorite pizza places in Atlanta, Antico, and everything changed. I loved their cannoli's and I just had to make some for myself at home. But no no no, not any ordinary Italian cannoli... a CANNOLI CRONUT. Boom. Best idea ever. I followed my same recipe as before, but instead I filled it with a traditional ricotta cream that was kicked up a notch with tangy cream cheese, sweet mascarpone, citrus zest, & mini chocolate chips. After they were fried, I rolled them in cinnamon sugar and topped them with a sexy, sultry bittersweet chocolate ganache. And please don't forget the pistachio "confetti" (I know I'm just trying to sound fancy, you see right through me). I love the color the nuts provide and the slight crunchy texture. Why eat a cannoli when you can eat a cannoli cronut? There simply is no logical reasoning for that, trust me!! Enjoy :)

For the Quick Croissant Dough:
½C + 1t Lukewarm Whole Milk
6g Instant or Active Dry Yeast
1t Vanilla Extract
1C AP Flour
1C + 2T Bread Flour
2T Sugar
½t Salt
½C + 3T Unsalted Butter, Diced & Chilled
Canola Oil or Vegetable Oil, For Frying

For the Homemade Citrus-Mini Chocolate Chip Ricotta Filling:
1 ½C Homemade or Store-bought Ricotta (drained for 12-24 hours with a cheesecloth)
½C Homemade or Store-bought Mascarpone Cheese
4oz Cream Cheese, Room Temperature
¾C Confectioners’ Sugar, Sifted
½t Ground Cinnamon (scant)
¼t Ground Allspice
¼C Heavy Cream
1T Lemon Zest + 1t Orange Zest
Pinch of Salt (to taste)

For the Cinnamon Sugar:
½C Sugar
1-2T Ground Cinnamon
¼t Ground Allspice
Big Pinch of Salt (this is optional, but I love the balance)
For the Bittersweet Ganache:
½C Heavy Cream
4oz Bittersweet Chocolate, Finely Chopped
Pistachios, Chopped into Confetti

1. For the Quick Croissant Dough: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the warm milk, water, vanilla, and yeast until combined. Set it aside. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together the AP flour, bread flour, sugar, and salt until mixed throughout. Add the chilled butter and pulse until the butter is in small pieces. It is very important that you do not over-process the mixture because you need to see chunks of butter, about 1cm in size. After you have processed the flour and butter mixture, add it into the bowl of the yeasted liquid. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, making sure to get the dough together without making the butter pieces any smaller. Once it is roughly combined, dump the mixture onto a floured work surface and lightly knead to form a ball of dough. Place the dough ball back into the mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours. After it has chilled, place the dough ball back again onto a well-floured surface. Roll the dough out into a rough 20x40cm rectangle. Fold the dough into thirds, like a business letter, making sure to brush off any excess flour. This is the first turn of a total three turns. Rotate the dough 90 degrees, so that the folds are facing you. Repeat the rolling and folding process two more times. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight before using.
2. For the Ricotta Filling: In a medium bowl, beat together the ricotta, cream cheese, and mascarpone until smooth. Sift in the powdered sugar, cinnamon and allspice. Mix to blend. In a separate bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment), beat the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the cream into the ricotta mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips. Zest the lemon & orange and stir it into the ricotta. Season it with a pinch of salt to taste. Refrigerate for an hour or two. Place the ricotta filling into a piping bag or squeeze bottle (make sure the tip is large enough for the mini chocolate chips to push through though).
3. For the Cinnamon Sugar:Mix together all of the ingredients and put it into a mixing bowl, and use a spoon to toss the fried Cronuts.
4. The Next Day: Remove the dough from the refrigerator after it has chilled overnight and place it onto a well-floured surface. Roll it out into large rectangle that is roughly 1cm thick. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat and lightly flour it. Set it aside. Dip a doughnut cookie cutter into flour and cut out rounds from the rolled out dough, you should be able to get roughly 10-12 Cronuts from this batch of dough (not including a whole bunch of doughnut holes for snacking). Place the cut doughnuts onto the floured sheet pan and lightly cover with a kitchen towel. Let the Cronuts rest in a warm place until they have doubled in size, about 1-2 hours.
5. For the Bittersweet Ganache:Make the ganache by heating the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove before it starts boiling, and pour over chocolate setting in a bowl, let sit for a couple minutes, and then stir until chocolate is fully melted, and the ingredients are combined. Pour into a squeeze bottle for easy drizzling and decorating. Meanwhile, finely chop up some pistachios for a confetti garnish.
6. Frying the Cronuts: Heat the oil to 325 degrees in a deep pot or sauté pan while you’re Cronuts are almost done resting. Fry the Cronuts, two at a time, for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until they reach a deep golden brown color and are completely cooked through in the center. Remove from the oil to a baking sheet that is lined with paper towels and a wire rack. Let them cool enough to handle.
7. Assembling the Cronuts: It is now time to start filling the fried Cronuts. I did this “Twinkie-style” by using the squeeze bottle that is filled with the chilled Cannoli ricotta cream. Gently poke holes into the bottom of a Cronut and fill them all the way through with cream. Repeat this process until you have about 5-6 cream filling holes in each Cronut. Scrape off any excess cream that begins to ooze out. Now that all of the Cronuts have been filled, roll them in the cinnamon sugar until all the sides are covered. Place them back onto the cooling rack and squeeze some bittersweet ganache in a circle around the top of the Cronut. Garnish with pistachio confetti.

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