Dining / Cannoli sweet, cannoli savoury!

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“Cannoli Brother” Josh Stefanou in the thick of things. Photo by Andrew Claridge of Claridge Photography

ANDREW Stefanou is nervous that the Italian mafia are going to get him. Get him for making savoury cannoli!

Wendy Johnson
Wendy Johnson.

Actually, Andrew isn’t at all nervous. He’s loud and proud about taking a traditional dessert and giving it a good old Aussie twist.

You see, cannoli are worshipped in Italy – and around the world – as a sweet, not a savoury. But Andrew, in his never-ending quest to keep the products made fresh and with love by the “Cannoli Brothers” decided this should change. And change it has.

“Our cannoli are a fine example of an Aussie version based on traditional methodology,” he says.

Andrew is known in the business as “Pappa Cannoli”. His two sons – Julian and Joshua – are the “Cannoli Brothers”. Together they handmake some of Canberra’s best (if not the best) cannoli.

Cannoli in the fryer. Photo by Andrew Claridge of Claridge Photography

Do try the savoury. The rare roast beef with wasabi mascarpone is sensational. Andrew has fresh wasabi flown to Canberra from Tasmania – from premier producer Shima Wasabi – micro-planning the root and adding it to creamy mascarpone. He roasts the beef and slices it thinly, too. Trust me, this is to die for.

Savoury options rotate depending on what Andrew can source and include Australian asparagus with lemon hollandaise. Produce is king and even though asparagus is technically out of season, Andrew has sourced some from up north. The Cannoli Brothers also make antipasto and vegetarian cannoli.

While I adore the savoury, I can’t go past the sweet cannoli. The Sicilian Ricotta Crema is wonderfully traditional, sweetened with nutmeg, finely grated chocolate, marsala and candied citrus. The chocolate custard is just as the Italians would have at nonna’s.

Yum. Yum. Yum, says Wendy Johnson. Photo by Andrew Claridge of Claridge Photography

Other sweet versions include a vanilla bean crema, fresh blueberry ricotta, coconut and chocolate crema, and a quince and pistachio mascarpone. Yum. Yum. Yum.

In the meantime, I’m hanging in for a new release made with local chestnuts and local honey.

In their commercial kitchen in the city, two types of shell are made – a blonde Italian (light and flavoured with vermouth and white sugar) and a brunette (dark and flavoured with cinnamon and marsala).

“For contrast, we put dark fillings in the blonde cannoli and light fillings in the brunette,” says Andrew.

The process is labour intensive and can involve up to five cooking up a storm in the kitchen. Dough is made and rolled to about 1.5 millimetres. Discs are cut and folded around tubes. The cannoli are then fried until crispy and decadent fillings piped in.

The cannoli are $4.50 each (gluten-free and vegan a bit extra) or $20 for 5.

The Cannoli Brothers are weekly at the Capital Region Farmers Market, Old Bus Depot Markets, the Southside Farmers Market and the relatively new Queanbeyan Market.

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Wendy Johnson
Wendy Johnson: Food reviewer for Canberra CityNews magazine since 2004, covering stories for true foodies to digest.

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