Today is ‘Gudhi Padwa‘, it is the New Year for us. We believe that today is the day when Lord Brahma began the creation of the world. This day people start new ventures, buy new things even buy new homes. People from Iran also celebrate their new year, Nowruz today. I guess because it is based on Lunar Calendar and we also follow Lunar Calendar in India.
I always find it fascinating that my mother tongue Marathi has so many words from Persian language. It was also interesting to know that the community I belong to, traces some of its genes way back to Iran. I love learning about such connection and then observing the similarities in foods, rituals etc.
My work took me to Sicily a couple of years ago and needless to say I loved it. I was in Catania which has a very rustic cute downtown. Cobblestone streets, open cafe, small pastry shops- it was amazing. This is where I tried the famous Sicilian Cannoli.
I loved that contrast of Crisp, flaky pastry filled with creamy, fluffy Ricotta cheese with a crunch of chopped pistachios.
Cannoli comes from Siciliy but originated probably from Iran. There is a Iranian Pastry which sounds very similar to Cannoli, ‘ Qanawat’, I thought it was very interesting.
Going back to my new year story, I decided to celebrate Gudhi Padwa and Navroj this year with a desert which is a fusion of ‘Shrikhand & Qanawat’.
Cannoli filled with Shrikhand
64 oz yogurt ( I prefer whole milk yogurt for this recipe)
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 Tsp salt
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp Saffron
Hang the yogurt the night before you plan to make it. You can keep it outside or in the fridge.
Take the saffron and warm it gently. Crush it and mix with 1 tbsp of milk.
Take the thickened yogurt and mix in sugar, salt, spices and mix well.
Your Shrikhand is ready.
The cannoli shell recipe is based on Mario Batali’s recipe. It is very simple and easy.
2 cups All purpose flour
1 1/2 tbsp cold unsalted butter
1 tbsp sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup white wine
1 egg white optional
Cut butter in small pieces.
Mix flour & sugar. Take butter and cut into the flour till it resembles grains of sand.
Add egg yolk and mix a little.
Add the wine and mix it very lightly barely till the dough comes together.
Now take a plastic wrap and put the dough in the wrap and keep it in the fridge for an hour.
Making the cannolis
If you check any recipes for cannoli you will see that it needs Cannoli molds. Since I don’t have the molds, I decided to make my own.
My son who also loves cooking had an idea. He went to the hardware store and got a 1″ inch pipe and got it cut in 5″ pieces, and there we had our cannoli molds.
Heat oil in a pan. Make sure there is enough oil that the dough with the pipe is submerged.
Take the dough out is the fridge and knead very lightly. Roll it out very thin.
Use a bowl to cut a circle.
Take the cannoli mold and wrap the rolled out circle around it. Make sure there is some overlap and use water or egg white to seal that overlap in place.
Also, flare out the ends so it is easy to take out the mold after the pastry is cooled.
Fry in the oil till golden brown.
Let it cool and then take the mold out gently.
You can make the cannoli shells ahead but fill them up when you are ready to serve.
Filling the shells
Take a pastry bag or a plastic bag and fill with the Shrikhand. Use a big star tip and fill up the shells from either sides.
Take chopped pistachios and dip both ends of the cannoli.
Enjoy your Shrikhand Canoli & Happy New Year!