Friday, September 28, 2012

FROSTED: Holy Cannoli...Italian Style Pastry Inspirations

As I am in the process of planning my fiance and I's wedding, I have come across tons of cultural traditions that are seen at many ceremonies and receptions.  I am of German and Irish decent and my fiance is of Italian, German, and Irish decent. While looking at some of the Italian traditions (to honor his family), I kept coming across pictures of HUGE Italian weddings and gatherings with dishes of a variety of different pastas and breads....and of course Cannolis!

Seeing images of these creamy, pastry filled desserts made me wish that I had a little Italian bakery down the street where I could buy a dozen of these to enjoy. But in Knoxville, Tennessee a good cannoli is hard to find. So I did some research and I came across these delightful cannoli inspired dessert recipes that taste like those traditional ricotta filled confections that we love...but with an American twist.

Try a nibble of these desserts...and enjoy your family and friend's Italian culture with every bite.

Cannoli Dip
(Recipe by One Lovely Life)

  • 1 (15oz) package of whole milk ricotta
  • 1/4 cup of plain yogurt or sour cream
  • 1/3 cup of powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1/3 cup of mini chocolate chips

1.  In a small bowl, beat together ricotta, yogurt, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Fold in chocolate chips, reserving a few to sprinkle on top. Variations: stir in 1/2 teaspoon of orange zest, or fold in a few chopped pistachios with or instead of miniature chocolate chips.

 (Image from Dainty Chef)

Mini Cannoli Cream Cups
(Courtesy of Cooking With Sugar)

Cup Ingredients:
(Makes approximately 16 mini cups)
  •  Flour for dusting surface
  • 1 pack of refrigerated pie crusts
  • 3 tablespoons of coarse natural sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
Filling Ingredients:
(Makes around 16 mini cups)
  • 1 (15oz) container of whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup of confectioners’ sugar, plus extra for dusting finished cups
  • 2 Tablespoons of white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

1.  In a large bowl with an electric mixer combine all ingredients for the filling except the chocolate chips and mix well until creamy. Place the filling in a 1-gallon plastic storage bag and chill while you make the cups. Filling may seem thin but will firm up slightly when it’s refrigerated.

2.  Heat oven to 425°F. Unroll the pie crusts onto a lightly floured surface and sprinkle the top of each crust with the natural sugar and the cinnamon. Lightly roll over it with a rolling pin so that sugar and cinnamon are pressed into the dough.

3.  With a 2 1/2-3 inch round biscuit cutter or cookie cutter, cut out circles and lightly press them inside an ungreased mini muffin or mini cupcake pan to create a pastry cup.

4.  Bake for about 10 minutes or until cups are golden. Remove from oven and allow cups to cool. Once cups are cool they can be removed from tin and filled. Remove filling from refrigerator, cut one of the bottom corners off the bag and pipe a little less than a tablespoon of filling into the cooled cannoli cups.

 5.  Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips, dust with powdered sugar and serve.

Tips: Cups should be filled shortly before they are eaten so the don’t get soggy. If you wish to make them ahead of time, you can make the cups and the cream and keep them separate. Once you are ready to eat, you can fill, decorate and serve.

Cannoli Ice Cream Sandwiches
(Recipe by Cherry Tea Cakes)

Ricotta Ingredients:
  • 2 quarts of whole milk
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
Cookie Ingredients:
  • 1 cup of all purpose-flour (plus additional for dusting)
  • 3 Tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch processed)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon 
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg, separated
Ice Cream Ingredients:
  •  3/4 cup of whole milk ricotta
  • 1/4 cup of cream cheese, softened
  • 6 Tablespoons of confectioner sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Add the butter and blend in with your fingertips until combined. Add the yolk and stir until a dough forms.

2.  Turn out dough unto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 5 to 7 minutes. Roll out between two sheets of wax paper, cut into rounds, and place on parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Bake for 8 minutes. Allow to cool.

3.  While the cookies are cooling, make the filling. Stir together the ricotta, cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Allow to chill for a half an hour.

4.  Place filling into a piping bag and pipe onto inverted cookies, placing a second cookie on top to form a sandwich. Place cookies on a lined baking sheet in the freezer for one hour. If desired, you can melt chocolate and dip on half of the frozen cookie in and refreeze.

 Cannoli Cupcakes
(Courtesy of  Sugar Crafter)

 Dry Ingredients:
(Makes around 24 cupcakes)
  • 2 1/2 cups of flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 3/4 cups of sugar
Wet Ingredients:
(Makes about 24 cupcakes) 
  • 1/2 cup of butter, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1 Tablespoon of Marsala wine
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 cup of ricotta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon of orange zest
  • 2 Tablespoon of powdered sugar
  • 1 cup of chocolate chips 
Frosting Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 sticks of butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup of shortening
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 6 cups of powdered sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons of milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped 

1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and line two muffin pans with cupcake wrappers. Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl.

2.  In a different, larger bowl, mix together the butter, eggs, vanilla, Marsala wine, and milk. Add in the ricotta cheese, orange zest, and powdered sugar. Mix in the dry ingredients, and then stir in the chocolate chips.

3.  Pour the batter into cupcake liners. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the muffin pans to a cooling rack.

4.  While the cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting. Cream the butter and shortening together, and then add in the vanilla extract. Gradually add in the powdered sugar. Mix in the milk, and then mix in the vanilla from the vanilla bean.

5.  Frost the cupcakes once they have cooled completely, and top with additional chocolate chips if desired.

Cannoli Cake
(Recipe from Dainty Chef)

Cake Ingredients:
  •  1 box French vanilla cake mix or your favorite homemade recipe
Filling Ingredients:
  • 1 carton (16 oz.) of ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup of confectioners' sugar
  • 2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon of rum extract
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 2 oz. of semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
Frosting Ingredients:
  • 2 cartons (8 oz. each) of Mascarpone cheese
  • 3/4 cup of confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup of whole milk
  • 2 teaspoon of almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Decorating Ingredients:
  • 1 cup of sliced almonds
  • 2 Tablespoons of mini semisweet chocolate chips

1.  Grease and flour 2 9-inch round baking pans. Prepare and bake cake mix according to the package directions.

2.  While the cakes are baking, prepare the filling. In a large bowl, combine ricotta cheese, 10x sugar, cinnamon, and extracts. Stir until combined, fold in the chopped chocolate. In another bowl, cream together Mascarpone cheese, sugar, milk, and extracts until smooth. Cover and refrigerate both until frosting reaches a spreading consistency and cakes are completely cooled.

3.  When cakes are done baking, allow them to cool for ten minutes in the pans, transfer to a wire rack & cool completely. Once cooled, place one cake layer on a serving plate, spread 1 cup of filling over it evenly. Top with the second cake layer and top with remaining filling leaving a 1 inch edge around the cake. Frost sides and edges of the cake with frosting reserving some for decorative purposes.

4.  Press the almonds into the side of the cake; pipe swirls of remaining frosting and sprinkle chocolate chips over top. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

What a scrumptious way to celebrate your Italian heritage and enjoy some delicious desserts at the same time!

These cannoli inspired treats would make a mouth-watering addition to any bridal shower to honor the bride and groom's Italian culture, an amazing dessert for the buffet at your yearly family reunion, or as a perfect ending to any pasta and prosciutto-served dinner party.

So put away that passport and leave your bags at don't have to be from a country that is shaped like a boot to create and enjoy tasty sweets! Just get our your bowls and measuring cups and whip up some of these tasty cannoli inspired desserts...that will make your guests think you got this recipe from your Italian grandmother's old cookbook! Have a wonderful weekend!


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