Easy Italian Pastry

You asked for it, and Fabio delivers!  Fabio shows some love to his fans and prepares a recipe chosen by his Facebook followers – homemade creamy ricotta cheese, which he transforms into a simple Italian dessert, cannoli with chocolate chips.

  • Ricotta is a cheese traditionally made in Italy with unpasteurized milk.  By using whole milk and cream, you can approximate the flavor of Italian ricotta safely in America.

  • The process of making homemade cheese requires patience.  Once the milk reaches a good temperature (185 degrees Farenheit), add the acidity and a pinch of salt and leave it alone!  Remember, homemade ricotta has no preservatives, so it needs to be consumed quickly.

  • Cannoli are simple Italian pastry shells filled with sweetened ricotta.  Once you have your cheese, the dessert comes together in just a few minutes.

Cannoli with Homemade Creamy Ricotta Cheese
Recipe by Fabio Viviani
Yield: 2 cups Ricotta, 4 Cannoli
For the Ricotta:
4 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy whipping cream
Pinch Kosher salt
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus additional, as needed
For the Cannoli:
4 large store-bought cannoli shells
2 tbsp. honey
¼ cup mini chocolate chips
¼ cup finely chopped pistachios
Powdered sugar, for dusting (optional)
Line a sieve or colander with two layers of moistened cheesecloth, and place over a bowl.
Use a rubber band to secure the cheesecloth around the edge of the colander.
In a large saucepan, bring milk and heavy cream to a light simmer over medium heat, until the milk reaches a temperature of 190 degrees F, about 10 minutes.
Turn off the heat and add salt and lemon juice.
Gently stir to combine, and the curds should separate from the whey almost immediately.  If they do not, add additional lemon juice, as needed, in 1-tablespoon increments.
Pour the mixture into the prepared colander, and gently squeeze the cheesecloth to release as much moisture as possible.
Allow the whey to drain, about 30 minutes to an hour, then squeeze the cheesecloth again.
Put the ricotta cheese into a medium bowl, discarding the cheesecloth and the whey.  
Chill the ricotta thoroughly before making the cannoli recipe below.  
Use immediately, or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to three days.
For Cannoli:
Combine COLD ricotta cheese with honey and chocolate chips.
With a spoon, stuff the ricotta mixture into the cannoli shells.
Sprinkle both ends of each cannoli with chopped pistachios.
Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.