Once a month a group of my girlfriends get together and have dinner. We take turns hosting at our houses where everyone brings something, and there are usually a dozen kids between the ages of 1 and 12 running around as well as a couple of husbands on the side lines.
In December we had our Christmas get-together which is when I made my Triple Chocolate Tres Leches Trifle. This month we had an Italian theme. Since everyone liked my dessert so much I was assigned to do it again, so of course I decided to go the way of the cannoli.
I found a recipe that allowed me to make my own cannoli shells. I always prefer to make something as opposed to buying it full of preservatives and junk. But it didn’t take me long to realize that it wasn’t going to work out very well. First of all, I have no metal cannoli tube to fry the shells with, not to mention the idea of frying each shell didn’t really appeal to me a whole lot. But I was still in a jam because you can’t just walk out to the nearest store and buy cannoli shells around here.
So I decided to make tarts with the shell dough. Yeah, that dough was not good. I don’t know what I did wrong (well, I guess if I really thought about it…) but I was determined I was going to make these little cannoli tarts, I just needed a proper shell. With resources being as limited as they are in my town I decided to use eggroll wrappers. Yep, it worked.
4 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
1 & 1/2 cups powered sugar
1 T vanilla extract
1/3 cup finely chopped maraschino cherries
1/4 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips
Chocolate for grating, optional
1 package Eggroll Wrapper Shells
1. Drain ricotta if it has liquid. Use a cheese cloth. Also, rinse and drain the maraschino cherries. Squeeze out the excess liquid with your hands.
2. Combine ricotta, powdered sugar, and vanilla until combined.
3. Stir in cherries and chocolate chips. Be careful not to over mix.
4. For an even lighter filling you can whip up 1 cup of heavy cream and fold into the mixture.
5. Chill for at least 30 minutes before you fill shells.
6. Using a drinking glass (I used a wine glass because it was the best size) cut out 4 circles from each wrapper sheet.
7. Using a tart shaper, push the circles into a mini muffin pan. Bake the tarts at 350* for 5 -8 minutes. Watch to keep them from burning. Edges will get browned. Cool completely.
8. Fill each with a tsp of ricotta filling. I used my 1-inch melon baller for a perfect proportion. Dust the tops with some grated chocolate.
Tart shells may seem a bit hard at first, but if you make the tarts and refrigerate them for some time before serving, they will soften up a bit. This recipe will make 5 -6 dozen tarts (or 24 cannoli).
I’ve mentioned my melon baller a lot in my posts. It is such a great, handy little tool. The above picture is what I’m referring to if you didn’t know what the heck I was talking about. This one, and mine, is from Pampered Chef, but you can find them in most kitchen stores. They also come in a regular ice cream scoop size as well, which is perfect for filling cupcake/muffin tins.
It’s rumored that February’s theme will be Mexican (squeeeeeeeee!) and I think I may have been tasked with dessert again. Stay tuned to see what I make