I’ve been feeling a bit nostalgic as I scroll through social media with updates of Europe-trotting which brings me in dire need of Italian food. And for some odd reason I started craving for cannoli – the perfect salty-sweet-chocolate and light small bite that satisfy that afternoon hunger pang and can also end a heavy dinner with just the perfect amount of sweetness.
Ironically, my first introduction to this delightful pastry was in Boston, at the great Mike’s Pastry, the best place for cannoli. As a student, I often spent a ridiculous time out at night, and invariably made a stop at the famous North End where this little shop had a line that stretched around Hanover Street. The crowd is buzzing and every tourist has a white box with a blue ribbon filled with one of its’ gazillion filling options within a classic crispy thick shell. It was my first taste, and needless to say I wanted more.
So I ventured further into the North End Italian restaurants and discovered more hidden gems, that served a variety of cannolis – mini, praline, with candied fruit, berry coulis, more filling, thinner pastry, thicker pastry… ahh… the endless research that went in this adventure was quite impressive and of course, so was all that pasta, risotto, grappa that accompanied it!
But making cannolis at home, means bringing out the deep fryer, finding a wooden stick and a few extra minutes and while my fear of hot bubbling oil is now a distant memory, it’s still not something I would choose to go towards for a ‘small’ dessert bite.
So, I created a different version using pie dough to bake mini tarts for the cannoli filling. After baking the tart, I line the inside with a coating of melted dark chocolate and let it solidify in the fridge for about 10 minutes. Then the delicious, airy and light ricotta filling (which is incredibly easy to whip up) goes in with chocolate chips.
It’s a tiny bite with a lasting impact on the taste buds!
- Pie Dough
- 1 cup Flour
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tbsp Icing Sugar
- 200 gms Cold Cubed Butter
- 2-4 tbsp Cold Water
- 3/4 cup Ricotta Cheese
- 1/2 cup Icing Sugar
- 1 tbsp Castor Sugar
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 tbsp Yoghurt
- 1/2 cup Dark Chocolate Chips
- 100g Dark Chocolate Melted
- With a fork, stir all the dry ingredients together.
- Add the butter, and rub the butter into the dry ingredietns using your fingertips, until you achieve coarse crumbs.
- Bit by bit, add the cold water and bring the dough together with the fork.
- Shape into a flattened disc and wrap in a cling film and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 200C.
- Then roll the dough out and cut circles to place into the muffin tin.
- Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top
- Bake for 10 mins and remove and let cool completely.
- Line the insides of the cooled tarts with melted dark chocolate and place in the fridge for 10 minutes to set.
- Meanwhile, whip the ricotta cheese with the sugars and vanilla until well combined. Then add in the yoghurt and chocolate chips and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- When ready to serve scoop the ricotta filling into the cups and sprinkle some extra chocolate chips on top.