I'm not a huge fan of pastries, but I adore cannoli. They are creamy, crunchy and not-too-sweet; I probably only have a cannoli a couple of times a year but, man, do I enjoy them! My friend Robin over at Knead to Cook has a great recipe for cannoli filling that I Pinned a while back; that simple but fabulous recipe prompted me to develop my own for an ice cream version. Because the only thing I love more than cannoli is ice cream!
This frozen dessert is super easy; you don't even have to make a custard since it's mostly ricotta. And if you've only ever had ricotta in lasagna, you are in for a treat: it makes for a wonderful dessert, whether in cannoli or Italian cheesecake! Ricotta is also a fantastic source of calcium, protein, and B vitamins.
For the record, I used both whole milk and whole milk ricotta; I always use whole dairy products. I do this for a number of reasons, including taste (holy cannoli, it tastes so much better!), satisfaction (fat is very satiating, so you'll be satisfied with a smaller serving), and nutrition. Now, that last one might sound counterintuitive to a lot of you; after all, we've been told for decades now that we should be cutting fat. But it's simply not the case. Just one reason that whole milk dairy makes sense nutritionally: vitamins A and D are fat-soluble, so your body needs that fat to actually absorb them.
yield: about a pint
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- small pinch of salt
- 1 3/4 cups good-quality ricotta (homemade is best, but not necessary)
- 1/4 cup pistachios, raw
- about 2 ounces dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa
- additional chopped pistachios and chocolate, for garnish (optional)
Place sugar, vanilla, salt and milk in blender and blend until sugar is dissolved. Add ricotta and puree until very smooth; it should be a similar consistency to cake batter. If you taste it, be careful not to just sit down with a spoon and eat the whole thing. Yeah, it's that yummy.
Pour in your ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer's instructions to freeze.
In the meantime, roughly chop your pistachios and chocolate—both traditional additions to cannoli filling—into small chunks. About five minutes before the ice cream is done, add these.
|Pistachios add protein, calcium, and even folate!|
Once the ice cream is finished it will be a thick, soft-serve consistency. You can fill some organic cones, dip into additional chopped nuts and chocolate, and freeze to make "ice cream cannoli."
|"Cone-oli" — much better than a junky King Cone!|
Or you can further freeze it (just spoon it into a freezer-safe container) for at least a couple hours, till it's very firm. Then you can scoop and serve on cones or in bowls. Garnish with additional chopped nuts and chocolate!
UPDATE: Donika at Mom What's For Dinner tried out our recipe and loved it! Check out her review here.
UPDATE: Culture Magazine: The Word On Cheese featured our ice cream on their website!