Ever since my cousin Linda told me that she makes cannoli using sugar cones in place of cannoli shells, I could not shake the idea. Really? Could this work, taste good, and look good too? Would all the Italian Nonnas, past and present, haunt me? I have made my own cannoli shells from scratch once. Once. What a pain they were to make, and after living in Europe and being able to visit any Italian market and return home with cannoli shells for filling later, I will not make them ever again. But I am no longer anywhere near a bakery that would make them for me. Enter the cones. They work, and work well when there is no other way.
Now for the filling. I like a thick ricotta filling that is rich and creamy with a hint of flavor- this time of year I chose cinnamon, a nice Holiday touch. The trouble is, my filling is watery, and until doing a little research I found I need to use Ricotta Impastata, or ricotta “paste.” If you cannot find this type of ricotta, then the closest you can get is making your own by simply draining the ricotta for at least four hours, or overnight in a coffee filter lined strainer. Not the same, but close enough.
These are also quite adorable with the cone dipped in melted chocolate, sprinkled with some seasonal sprinkles, and stood up in plastic disposable wine glasses on your dessert buffet. Top with a cherry for a festive touch.
1 pound whole milk ricotta
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 T. heavy whipping cream
1/4 tsp. cinnamon, opt.
6 sugar cones
Line a strainer with 2 coffee filters and place ricotta cheese inside and place strainer over a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and store in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight. When ready to use, squeeze out any excess fluid and place ricotta in a large mixing bowl and add sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Mix well. Right before serving, fill a pastry bag or thick plastic bag with filling, snip off the end and pipe filling into the cones. Top with a cherry if you like or sprinkle with chopped pistachio, mini chocolate chips, or keep it very simple and give them a shake of powdered sugar. Makes 6 cones.
Note- Fill cones just before serving to avoid sogginess.
Things to add to the ricotta filling can include- pistachio, citron, chocolate chips, cinnamon, vanilla, or hazelnuts.
Best Cannoli in Boston- Maria’s