Friday, March 1 2024

Indulge in the sweet and creamy deliciousness of ricotta cannoli squares, a take on the classic Italian pastry that is sure to enchant your taste buds.

This delicious dessert transforms the iconic cannoli into a convenient and equally delicious square shape.


With a buttery crust, a rich ricotta filling and a sprinkling of chocolate chips, these squares are an irresistible treat, perfect for any occasion.

 

 

 

SERVINGS:12

Ingredients:
For the Crust:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Filling:
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese, well-drained
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest (optional)
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, plus extra for garnish
For the Garnish:
  • Powdered sugar for dusting
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • Chopped pistachios (optional)

Traditional cannoli have a crispy shell that encases the ricotta filling, but since we’re making Ricotta Cannoli Squares, the approach is a bit different. The squares have a crust base rather than a shell around the filling. However, if you want to create a top layer that mimics the shell, you could make an additional batch of the crust dough, bake it separately until crisp, and then crumble it over the top for a crunchy texture. Here’s how you could do it:

Ingredients for the Top Crust:

Use the same ingredients as the crust/base.

Instructions for the Top Crust:

Follow the same procedure for making the crust dough as outlined in the original crust recipe.

Instead of pressing the dough into the pan, roll it out to about 1/4 inch thickness between two sheets of parchment paper.

Place the rolled-out dough on a baking sheet and remove the top layer of parchment paper.

Bake in the preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) for 20-25 minutes or until it’s golden brown and crisp.

Once baked, allow it to cool completely. Then, break it into small crumbles or process it into coarse crumbs using a food processor.

Assembling the Cannoli Squares with the Top Crust:

After you have spread the ricotta filling over the cooled base crust and it has set in the refrigerator, sprinkle the baked and crumbled top crust evenly over the filling.

Gently press the crumbs into the filling to adhere slightly.

Continue with the refrigeration, dusting of powdered sugar, and garnishing as per the original recipe.

This additional step will give you a crunchy texture on top that is reminiscent of a cannoli shell, providing a contrast to the creamy ricotta filling.

Instructions:
  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Line a 9×9-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on the sides to lift the squares out easily.
  2. Make the crust: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and baking powder. Cut in the cold butter using a pastry cutter or your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the egg and vanilla extract, and mix until a dough forms. Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan.
  3. Bake the crust for 15-18 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and let it cool completely.
  4. Prepare the filling: In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and orange zest. Mix until smooth and creamy. Fold in the mini chocolate chips.
  5. Spread the ricotta filling over the cooled crust. Smooth the top with a spatula.
  6. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until the filling is set.
  7. Using the parchment paper overhang, lift the dessert out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Cut into 12 squares.
  8. Garnish: Just before serving, dust with powdered sugar, sprinkle with mini chocolate chips, and if desired, add chopped pistachios for a touch of color and crunch.
  9. Serve chilled and enjoy the creamy, cannoli-inspired delight!

 

Remember, for the best texture, make sure your ricotta cheese is well-drained before using it in the filling.

You can place it in a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl and let it drain in the refrigerator for a couple of hours, or overnight for best results. Enjoy your delicious creation!

 

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