An authentic, easy Sicilian cannoli cream filling recipe / dip, I picked up while in Sicily last summer, served with chocolate dipped pizzelle cookies.
How to make cannoli filling or dip, the simple Italian way!
Because who doesn’t love cannoli right ? Authentic Cannoli Siciliani that is, filled with the freshest sheep’s milk ricotta cheese and candied fruit or nuts.
Before I hear it from the “Cannoli Police” I would like to tell you that there is nothing groundbreaking about this recipe.
True cannoli cream filling is simply the freshest creamiest sheep’s milk ricotta, mixed with sugar and then stuffed inside fried pastry shells that are usually dipped in chocolate and nuts and sprinkled with powder sugar.
Oh, that heavenly smell of powdered sugar flying through the morning breeze from the local Pasticceria who made the best Cannoli in town lingers with me to this day.
Walking 10 minutes uphill early in the morning gave me all the justifications I needed to have Cannoli for breakfast in Sicily. Stuffed right in front of my eyes with the creamiest ricotta filling and dusted with a velvety layer of powdered sugar.
But now I’m in California, and finding sheep’s milk ricotta cheese isn’t exactly as easy as riding my bike to the corner store. But that isn’t going to stop us from making the best cannoli filling here at home, right kids ?
So we are gonna need to bring out the food processor, or a hand held mixer with a whisk attachment to whip up some regular ricotta cheese you can find at the market. Easy, right?
- Make sure you have whole milk ricotta cheese or if you can, always better to make your own.
- Remember to strain the ricotta, so it isn’t watery.
- Sift the powder sugar on top of the ricotta cheese before whipping it into the fluffiest cannoli filling you ever had!
- Refrigerate and chill until ready to serve or fill cannoli shells.
- Never, ever fill the cannoli in advance because they will become soggy. Do it just before serving!
To make my life really easy this time, I used some pizzelle cookies that I dipped in dark chocolate and sprinkled with chopped pistachios. You will get a similar effect except you don’t need to fry any cannoli shells. Kids love them too!
- How to thicken your cannoli filling or dip ? – Whip up 1 cup of heavy cream with 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar until stiff. Fold into the filling and chill for about an hour or so.
- Why is my filling grainy or gritty ? – I suspect you might have used granulated sugar instead of powdered sugar. Don’t do that!
What to serve cannoli cream with beside pizzelle ?
- Chocolate Dipped Cannoli shells
- Italian vanilla wafers
- Milano or Ricotta cookies
- Fresh strawberries
- Italian wedding cookies
- Blueberry Ricotta Muffins
- Graham crackers or Pita chips
- Fold in mini chocolate chips, orange zest or dried fruit.
- Coconut Date Balls
P.S. Contrary to American belief there is absolutely NO MASCARPONE in Cannoli Filling! I am a mascarpone freak you guys, but for realsss, use it in Tiramisu but leave it out of the Cannoli! Grazia!
Cannoli Cream Filling / Dip
- 2 lb sheep’s milk ricotta
- 1 c powder sugar
- 1 c dark chocolate roughly chopped
- 1/2 c pistachios or candied fruit chopped
- 2 tsp cinnamon optional
- 12 pizzelle cookies
- 5 oz dark chocolate bar
- 1 tbsp butter
- Line a large strainer with cheese cloth and strain the ricotta cheese for a couple of hours in the refrigerator.
- Add the ricotta cheese to the bowl of a food processor. Sift in the powder sugar and process together for about 45 seconds until incorporated and fluffy.
- Alternately you can add the ricotta cheese and sugar to a bowl and using a hand held blender with the whisk attachments beat together until combined and fluffy.
- Serve as is with the chocolate pizzelle cookies or stuff inside freshly made cannoli shells.
- To make the chocolate pizzelle: prepare a double boiler on the stove top.
- Break the chocolate into chunks and add them to the double boiler bowl. Allow it to gently melt in the bowl over the steam. As soon as the chocolate is smooth turn off the flame and stir in the butter until melted. It will melt from the heat of the chocolate.
- Take each pizzelle cookie and dip it half way in the melted chocolate. Place them a parchment paper lined baking sheet and sprinkle with some chopped pistachios. Place in the refrigerator for a few minutes to allow them to cool off and for the chocolate to set.
- Serve the chocolate pizzelle with the whipped cannoli filling as a dip or simply spooned on top.
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