Let’s Cannoli!!! I had another post lined up for today but as soon as I saw this super fun idea of Puff Pastry Cannoli Cones from Pepperidge Farm, I knew I had to share ASAP for Easter because who doesn’t love Cannoli?! AKA tube shaped crispy fried pastry shells stuffed with sweet ricotta cream filling? Cannoli is probably one of our most popular Italian dessert recipes of all time. In Italy they are called Cannoli Siciliani. The singular, cannolo actually means “little tube” in the Sicilian language. And in my language, they mean YUM.
Although cannoli is a beloved dessert by many, there are few (myself included) who own the right kitchen equipment (cannoli metal tubes) or patience (definitely me) for the labor intensive process of mixing the dough, rolling out perfect disk-shaped pieces, painstakingly wrapping the dough around the tubes, frying each one. I am exhausted just typing that.
Instead, these buttery, flaky Puff Pastry Cannoli Cones make preparing “Cannoli” accessible to everyone! They are a wonderfully simple alternative to devour our traditional cannoli filling because after all, non-traditional cannoli are a whole lot more delicious than no cannoli. And they are a LOT delicious. period.
To make these mega simple Puff Pastry Cannoli Cones, we first wrap sugar cones in aluminum foil, tucking any excess foil into the top then spray with nonstick cooking spray. These will be our molds.
Next, we unfold our pastry sheet and cut it into 3rectangles along the fold marks then proceed to cut eachrectangle lengthwise into 4 strips, making 12 strips total. We will use two strips per cone.
Starting at the pointed end, wrap 1 strip around the cone, overlapping the edges slightly then brush the end with the egg wash then firmly press the end of another strip to join and continue wrapping. Repeat with the remaining pastry and cones. It sounds more complicated than it is, but really takes less than 2 minutes per cone – SO easy!
Finally, brush the wrapped pastry cones with the egg wash and bake for 15 minutes.
After they have cooled, carefully remove the pastry cones from the foil cones. They should slip out quite easily after you loosen any dough from around the cone opening. I like to dip the edges in melted chocolate and crushed pistachios afterwards (directions included), but the possibilities are virtually endless! The Sicilian cannoli are often trimmed laterally and covered with candied cherries, orange peels or chopped pistachios.
LET’S TALK CANNOLI FILLING!
This traditional cannoli filling recipe is slightly adapted from Italian American Chef Buddy Vlasatro and is delicious in its simplicity with just ricotta, superfine sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and mini chocolate chips but feel free to blend in other popular cannoli filling components such as orange zest, nuts, nutmeg, pistachios, candied fruit/orange peel, cherries, chocolate etc.
Although simple there are a few tips and tricks for Cannoli success:
You MUST DRAIN the ricotta cheese or your filling will be soupy and your shells soggy. Its super easy to do, but you have to factor the time into your prep. To drain, place a fine mesh sieve over a bowl. Add ricotta to sieve and top with plastic wrap or parchment paper then place something quite heavy on top to press the liquid out (I use a Costco size jar of pickles). Let drain at least 2 hours. (May drain longer in the refrigerator).
You need to use SUPERFINE SUGAR or your filling will taste grainy. I make my own superfine sugar by adding it to my food processor, covering with a kitchen towel (as it creates quite a bit of “sugar dust”) and blending 1-2 minutes. Now you have powdery superfine sugar! Let the sugar settle 10 seconds or so then remove the lid and add your sugar to a mixing bowl along with ricotta, vanilla and cinnamon.
DON’T OVERMIX your filling or it will become soft/runny. Using the paddle attachment, beat on low to medium speed just until the sugar is completely dissolved, approximately 1-2 minutes. The best way to tell if it’s dissolved is to taste the mixture until you don’t detect any graininess. Add mini chocolate chips and beat just until evenly distributed.
REFRIGERATE OVERNIGHT in an airtight container. Again, easy to do, but you need to plan for. Refrigerating your filling overnight makes all the difference in the world to let the flavors develop. I tasted the filling the day of and thought it was “okay” and then the next day I couldn’t stop devouring it. World of difference.
Fill your shells WHEN READY TO SERVE, or no more than an hour beforehand. This ensures your shells stay nice and crispy. You can have all the components ready to go – ricotta filling in the fridge, shells in an airtight container – so assembling is still super quick and easy.
Now let’s cannoli with our buttery, flaky, crispy shell bursting with dreamy, creamy, sweet ricotta filling sprinkled with mini chocolate chips! A simplified taste of Sicily.
Puff Pastry Cannoli Cones
Drain the ricotta by placing a fine mesh sieve over a bowl. Add ricotta to sieve and top with plastic wrap or parchment paper then place something quite heavy on top to press the liquid out (I use a Costco size jar of pickles). Let drain 2 hours. (May drain longer in the refrigerator.)
After ricotta has drained, add it to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (you can use hand mixer if needed). Add sugar, vanilla and cinnamon. Beat on low to medium speed just until the sugar is completely dissolved, approximately 1-2 minutes, taking care not to overmix or the filling will become soft/runny. The best way to tell if it’s dissolved is to taste the mixture until you don’t detect any graininess.
Add mini chocolate chips and mix just until evenly distributed. Refrigerate overnight in an airtight container for flavors to develop. Can be stored for up to 5 days.
Puff Pastry Cones
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Wrap cones in aluminum foil, tucking any excess foil into the top of the cone. Spray foil cones with nonstick cooking spray.
Whisk the egg and water together in a small bowl. Set aside.
Unfold pastry sheet on a cutting board. Cut the pastry sheet into 3 rectangles along the fold marks. Cut each rectangle lengthwise into 4 strips, making 12 strips total (see picture in post). You will use 2 strips per cone.
Starting at the pointed end, wrap 1 strip around the cone, overlapping the edges slightly. Brush the end with the egg wash then firmly press the end of another strip to join and continue wrapping. Repeat with the remaining pastry and cones.
Brush the wrapped pastry cones with the egg wash. Place the cones onto a baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes at 400 degrees F or until the pastry cones are golden brown. Let the pastries cool completely on the baking sheet on a wire rack. Carefully remove the pastry cones from the foil cones.
After cones have cooled, add 1/2 cup chocolate chips and 1 ½ teaspoons vegetable oil to a small bowl. Microwave at 50% power, stirring at 30 second intervals until chocolate is melted. Dip the top of the cones in the chocolate then dip in either crushed pistachios or mini chocolate chips if desired. Place on parchment paper until set. Repeat with all cones. Store cones in an airtight container until ready to fill.
Fill Cannoli Cones
When ready to serve cannoli, either spoon filling into cones or use a pastry bag to pipe in filling.
Chocolate Drizzle (optional)
Add ½ cup chocolate chips and 1 ½ teaspoons vegetable oil to a small bowl. Microwave at 50% power, stirring at 30 second intervals until chocolate is melted. Let cool 5 minutes then place in a small Ziploc bag. Snip the corner of the plastic bag and drizzle over Cannoli.
Serve with fresh berries (SO GOOD!) and powdered sugar if desired.