- Yield: 10-15 servings with 3 cannoli and one tuile per plate
Sweet Potato Cannoli with beet molasses, sweetened watercress, grapefruit ice and pistachio dust
Recipe courtesy of Jon Maley, Executive Chef, The University of Washington Club, Seattle, Wash.
- For Cannoli and Tuile
- medium sweet potato - 1
- granulated sugar - 1/2 cup
- water - 3 cups
- For Reduced Beet Juice
- whole beets - 12 to 15 (Note: You will only need a little over half a cup of reduced beet juice for this recipe. Put the remaining beet juice aside; it can be used to bring out the color in items such as pickled shallots.)
- For Watercress Puree
- upland watercress - 3 bunches
- water - 1 Tbsp.
- xantham gum - 1 to 2 tsps. (1 tsp. per 500 grams of product)
- For Meringue
- egg whites - 8 ozs.
- granulated sugar - 16 ozs., divided into two 8oz. portions
- reduced beet juice - 1 Tbsp.
- watercress puree - 2 Tbsps.
- For Grapefruit Ice
- granulated sugar - 1 lb.
- water - 2 pints
- grapefruit juice - 12 ozs.
- grapefruit zest - 1 tsp.
- For Lemon Curd
- water - 1 pint
- granulated sugar - 4 ozs.
- egg yolks - 2
- whole egg - 1
- cornstarch - 1.75 ozs.
- granulated sugar - 2 ozs.
- lemon zest - 1 tsp.
- butter - 1 oz.
- lemon juice - 2 ozs.
- For Cannoli Filling
- cream cheese - 1 1/2 lbs.
- granulated sugar - 1 cup
- watercress puree - 2 Tbsps.
- beet juice - 2 Tbsps. (not reduced)
- For Berry Gel
- blackberries - 2 pints
- powdered sugar - 1 cup
- water - 1/2 cup
- agar agar - 2 tsps.
- reduced beet juice - 1/4 to 1/2 cup
- For Pistachio Dust
- ground pistachios - 1 cup, passed through a fine mesh sieve
Chef's Note: This dessert takes two days to produce. On Day One, make reduced beet juice, watercress puree, meringues, sweet potato cannoli and tuiles, grapefruit ice, berry gel and lemon curd. On Day Two, make cannoli filling and pistachio dust.
For Cannoli and Tuile:
- Heat sugar and water in a pan to boil.
- Thinly slice the sweet potato on a mandolin and place in a two-inch hotel pan.
- Once the liquid comes to a boil, take off heat and pour onto the sweet potatoes. Set aside and let cool.
- Once cool to the touch, dry off the sweet potatoes and roll them, leaving room for filling. Put the rolled sweet potato slices into mini-cupcake tins, so they will keep their shapes in the oven.
- To make tuiles, roll a few sweet potato slices tightly and place on a half-sheet pan lined with parchment paper or Silpat.
- Bake for a total of 50 minutes at 290º F. with no fan. Rotate the pans every 20 minutes.
For Reduced Beet Juice:
- Braise beets in 90% water and 10% vinegar until a toothpick goes in and out smoothly, but the beets are still slightly firm.
- After the beets are cooled, strain the liquid and reduce slowly, until it is reduced to the consistency of a syrup or molasses.
For Watercress Puree:
- Blanch watercress for two minutes. Chill in an ice bath and strain out watercress.
- Puree with 1 tbsp. water and xantham gum until it has a smooth texture. Let set in the fridge at least one hour or overnight.
- Whip egg whites with first 8 ozs. of sugar. Once you reach stiff peaks, fold in the remaining 8 ozs. of sugar.
- Split into two equal batches; add reduced beet juice to one and watercress puree to the other.
- Pipe meringues onto sheet pans lined with parchment and pan spray. Bake in a 180 to 200º F. oven with no fan for two hours (or until hard with no color).
For Grapefruit Ice:
- Bring sugar, zest and 1 pint of water to a boil. Take off heat and chill, then add the rest of the water and grapefruit juice. Place in the freezer overnight.
For Lemon Curd:
- Bring water and 4 ozs. of sugar to a boil in a saucepan.
- Whisk egg yolks, whole egg, cornstarch, 2 ozs. of sugar and zest together.
- Add the boiling liquid to the egg mixture and stir until fully incorporated. Place the mixture back in the saucepan and heat on medium-high until thick.
- Take off the heat and add butter and lemon juice, then pour into a pan to cool. Place covered in the fridge overnight.
For Cannoli Filling:
- Whip cream cheese with sugar until pale white and smooth. Split into two parts and add reduced beet juice to one and watercress puree to the other.
For Berry Gel:
- Place blackberries, powdered sugar and water in a saucepot and cook on low heat for 35-40 minutes. Take off the heat, puree and strain. Place the mixture back into the saucepot, add the agar agar and simmer for 2 minutes. Take off the heat and cool down the mixture in a pan, storing in the fridge overnight.
- Place solidified berry gel in a blender and add beet juice. Blend until smooth.
Final assembly and service:
- Place three sweet potato cannoli on the plate, fill, alternating the beet and watercress fillings. You’ll have two that are the same.
- Next place drops of lemon curd and blackberry gel around the cannoli to form a circle. Place meringues between the drops of curd and gel.
- Add some pistachio dust in the center of the plate and place grapefruit ice on top of it. (The dust will make sure that the ice does not slide around.)
- Sprinkle more pistachio dust on top of the grapefruit ice, and top off with a tuile.