One of the fond memories I have of my mother is her making cannoli cream. The first time she made it, I remember being amazed for two reasons: 1) we usually bought cannolis at the bakery, and I was still young enough then to think anything made at a bakery or restaurant was impossible to make at home, and 2) the principal ingredient in cannoli cream is ricotta cheese. Until that point in my life, ricotta was something I knew only as the cheese inside ravioli and manicotti, and the idea that it could be made into a dessert blew my mind.
I still have a soft spot in my heart for cannolis, and I do love to make the cream. Note that it is only the cream I make — I always buy the shells. Making the shells involves using a mold and frying, two things I am kind of scared to do. But as desserts go, the cream is easy and tastes oh, so good.
Now, I usually go simple on my cannolis. No citron fruit (ick!) or pistachios for me. Just the basics:
The only ingredient I used special for the ice pops was milk, because I needed the cream to be pourable. Also, for my first try at cannoli pops, I decided to concentrate on the cream and not try to replicate the shell. I think I could probably replicate the texture with chunks of vanilla wafers or something similar (actual cannoli shells are expensive and hard to find in my corner of the south).
I whirled the ingredients (excep the chocolate) in my mini processor then stirred in the chocolate chips and made my pops. The chips sunk to the bottom of my cup, so I ended up having to spoon them into the Zoku. As a result, chocolate distribution in the finished pops was uneven:
If you decide to make cannoli cream at home, remember that blending is key. Ricotta cheese has a slightly grainy texture that takes a lot of blending to smooth out. My cream was not quite as smooth as it should have been.
The ice pops turned out very tasty and satisfying. I think they’d be nice dipped in chocolate then rolled in cookie crumbs. That’s something I am going to have to try soon…