Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Cannoli Conundrum

When I took a recent cooking class dessert was homemade cannoli. I'm not a big fan but being a good sport I ate the offered pastry..and I really enjoyed it. I decided to make the cannoli cream on my own choosing to purchase the shells from a nearby store  - after all, the pastry chef made it look so easy! 

Just a few ingredients and about 5 minutes and I'd be done. I checked the recipe given to us that evening with online recipes as I usually do and they were amazingly the same. My first effort (note the word first)
was a disaster. The ricotta cheese and powdered sugar mixed well but as it sat for a few minutes while I  retrieved the pastry bag, it started to get watery. So I froze the mix.

Second effort: I unfroze the cream just enough to get it through the pastry bag but as I piped it into the cannoli shell it again turned to mush. I decided to toss the whole thing and try another day.

Meanwhile, I heard rumblings that the ricotta cheese needed to be drained though I wondered why it was never mentioned any of the directions I read.  My next time out, I drained the cheese between two sheets of paper towling for two days. 

Today I began attempt number three with the (hopefully) dried ricotta cheese. I added the sugar, vanilla and chocolate chips.. The mixture was solid enough to pipe into the cannoli shell and I quickly photographed the lot. But it seemed as if the cream was dissolving again, not as much, but not like ones purchased in a bakery. So I froze them again!

I'll serve the cannolis this weekend but I'm convinced there's a step missing...will check further and try again. After all, Christmas Eve is still a month away and I have enough time to perfect my cannoli to impress family and friends!

Here's the recipe:

Cannoli Cream

1 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp almond extract
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 cups ricotta cheese
cannoli shells

  • In a large bowl combine all ingredients together.
  • Place the filling in a ziplock bag.
  • Chill the filling for 30 minutes.
  • Cut a corner off the bag and pipe the filling into cannoli shells.
  • Sprinkle with powdered sugar and place maraschino cherries on the ends

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