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Dining Tip: Wine-Friendly Savory Cannoli

This Italian-inspired, elegant snack pops with a fruity California Sauvignon Blanc
Photo by: Ed Anderson
Sauvignon Blanc's crisp acidity provides an ideal foil for the rich cannoli.

Posted: September 4, 2017

Note: This recipe originally appeared in the June 15, 2017, issue of Wine Spectator, "Andy Beckstoffer."

Recipe courtesy of Dominic Orsini, executive chef of Silver Oak winery in Napa Valley

Savory Cannoli

Dry Jack is an offshoot of Monterey Jack, developed as a California alternative to Parmigiano-Reggiano during World War I and mastered by Tom Vella at his Sonoma creamery.

For the mousse
• 1 teaspoon powdered gelatin
• 3 egg yolks
• 1 cup heavy cream
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 3 ounces Vella Dry Jack Cheese, grated, plus extra for garnish
• 1 cup crème fraîche
• 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh chives, plus extra for garnish

For the cannoli shells
• 6 ounces Vella Dry Jack, grated

To make the mousse
1. Place 1 tablespoon of cold water in a small ramekin and stir in the powdered gelatin.

2. Lightly whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl. Bring the cream to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk the cream into the egg yolks, a few teaspoons at a time.

3. Return the mixture to the saucepan; add the bloomed gelatin, salt and grated cheese. Place over medium heat, stirring constantly, until just bubbling around the edges. Return the custard to the bowl; place in the refrigerator, stirring every 5 minutes, until cooled to room temperature.

4. Whip the crème fraîche with an electric mixer until it reaches medium-stiff peaks. Gently fold a third of the whipped crème fraîche into the custard until fully incorporated. Fold in the remaining two-thirds of the crème fraîche and the chives. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

To make the cannoli shells
1. Place a nonstick pan over medium heat and sprinkle a small handful of the grated cheese into the center to form a disk 4 inches in diameter. Cook for 60 to 90 seconds until the disk shows oily bubbling in its center and gives off a nutty, toasty aroma.

2. Working quickly, slide a thin metal spatula gently under the melted-cheese disk and transfer it to a wood or plastic cutting board. Place a wooden spoon handle across the center of the melted disk and wrap the disk's sides up around the handle to form a cylindrical shell. Turn the whole assembly over so that the edges of the shell are sealed underneath the spoon handle. Allow the shell to cool for 90 seconds before removing it from the handle. Repeat the process with the remaining grated cheese.

To assemble the dish
Use a pastry bag to fill each cannoli shell with mousse. Pipe equal portions of the remaining mousse onto each plate. Position equal numbers of the filled cannoli on top; garnish with a sprinkling of chives and freshly grated cheese. Makes 12 cannoli.

Recommended wine pairings

Aperture Sauvignon Blanc Sonoma County 2016 (92, $35)

Cattleya Sauvignon Blanc Sonoma County Alma de Cattleya 2016 (91, $20)

Cliff Lede Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley 2016 (89, $25)

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