This week I learnt that even when things are so busy that you can't find time to do your washing, there's still enough time to make cannoli. Amazing, huh? So I thought I'd better share, pronto.
The trick is, of course, to buy ready-made cannoli shells from the Italian grocery store and pipe them full of a light mixture of fresh ricotta, chocolate, pistachios and dried sour cherries. This means that these delicious Italian afternoon coffee-time treats are ready in only ten minutes. I served them the other evening as the dessert course of a late Friday night supper and they were a perfectly light conclusion to a lovely evening of wine and small bites.
I love all kinds of cannoli (including those stuffed with chocolate Italian pastry cream), but the ricotta versions are genius, I think. You could make them without the cherries or use cranberries instead, or just use nuts and cinnamon. Just tailor them to your preference and you can't really go wrong. If you've got 15 minutes to spare, you're set: 10 minutes to make, 5 minutes to enjoy with a strong espresso. And then maybe you can put the washing on.
Note: For Melbourne readers, I bought these cannoli shells at Mediterranean Wholesalers on Sydney Rd, Brunswick (a must-visit if you've never been). They are made in Italy and come in a pack of 10 and keep well in an air-tight container. Otherwise, try Italian grocery stores and bakeries.
(Cheat's) Ricotta Cannoli
6 large ready-made cannoli shells
About 400g fresh ricotta
4 tbsp icing (confectioners) sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
finely grated zest of one lemon
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
50g chopped pistachio nuts
50g dark or bittersweet chocolate, chopped or grated
1/3 cup dried sour cherries, pitted and chopped
Break ricotta into a medium bowl and sift sugar over. Add vanilla, lemon zest and cinnamon and beat with a handheld electric beater until smooth and well combined. Fold in remaining ingredients.
Place mixture into a piping bag with a large nozzle (or a strong freezer bag with a corner cut off) and pipe into shells. Cannoli are ready but keep quite well for a day covered in the fridge.