Cannoli Tart: Traditional Flavors, New Format

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This cannoli tart recipe came about after we went to a wedding in NYC last month. The filling on the wedding cake had a cannoli cream filling that was to die for. So when the group texts started about our next family dinner night with our friends and a pasta theme was suggested – I knew I needed to bring that cannoli flavor into whatever I brought.

What came about was a pistachio tart crust, a layer of chocolate ganache, and a cannoli creme filling.

Cannoli Tart with chocolate ganache and pistachio crust.

Tart vs Traditional Cannoli

A traditional cannoli is a deep-fried pastry shell filled with cannoli cream capped with either chocolate chips or crushed pistachios on the ends. It’s my favorite dessert but not one that I wanted to tackle in the time I had to bake.

I knew I wanted to deconstruct it and bring those elements into a simpler to make dessert. Enter my cannoli tart.

Every tart recipe I found was for mini-tarts. I had less than zero interest in making 9 of these.

I love this tart pan by Wilton so I was looking to make something with what I had at home. After reading countless cannoli recipes, I decided to come up with my own. I adapted a few different recipes I found online and after my husband recommended I do a test run before our dinner party, I think I nailed it.

How to make a Cannoli Tart

Before you even begin to make the elements of this dessert, make sure you drain your ricotta cheese. I usually do mine overnight. Even if you buy the kind that says it’s drained, you can still get more moisture out of it. The drier, the better.

The first step is to make and bake your tart crust. This is closer to a shortbread cookie dough than it is a traditional pastry tart crust. The first time I baked this I didn’t use my pie weights, just lots of forking (is that a word?) to vent the dough. It still puffed up but while it was warm, I pressed it down and it was fine. The second time around, I used my pie weights. Didn’t make a huge difference but it baked flat so it’s really a personal choice.

While the tart shell is cooking, get started on the chocolate ganache. The key to a really good think ganache is letting it get to room temperature as naturally as possible. So give it time to set while the tart shell cooks and cools.

This cannoli filling is as close to a traditional cannoli filling and less of a no-bake pie filling – there is no mascarpone cheese to thicken it, just ricotta, sugar, and some spice.

Other desserts

Ever since our kitchen remodel, I’ve been more and more into baking. Check out some of my other recipes that are always simple and delish.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pistachio Delight

Red, White, and Blue Triffle

Cannoli Tart

Decontructed cannoli in this easy to make tart..

Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Keyword cannoli tart
Prep Time 2 hours
Servings 8

Ingredients

Tart Crust

  • 1/2 Cup pistachios shelled, unsalted
  • 1/2 Cup unsalted butter unsalted
  • 1/2 Cup sugar Bakers if available
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 Cup AP flour

Chocolate Ganache

  • 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate finely chopped
  • 1/2 Cup heavy whipping cream

Cannoli Filling

  • 32 oz riccota cheese drained
  • 1 Cup powerded sugar sifted
  • 1/3 Cup mini-chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Instructions

Tart Crust

  1. For the tart crust: In a food processor, pulse the pistachios until finely ground. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter with the granulated sugar at medium speed until pale, about 2 minutes. Add the ground pistachios, almond extract, and salt and beat until combined. Add the flour and beat at low speed until just incorporated. The dough will be a bit crumbly.

  2. Scrape the dough into a 9-inch tart pan. Using the bottom of a glass, press the dough over the bottom and up the side of the tart pan. Refrigerate until chilled, 30 minutes.

  3. Preheat the oven to 300F Prick the dough all over with a fork. If you are using pie weights, place them in the pie with parchment and foil. Bake the crust for about 45 minutes, until lightly golden. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely.

Chocolate Ganache

  1. Bring heavy whipping cream to a simmer, just before a boil. Don't boil it thought! Pour the cream over the chocolate and let melt for 3-4 minutes.

  2. Gently stir the milk and chocoalte together until it is combined. Let it come to room temperatur. It will seem runny at first. Don't panic. It will thicken as it cools.

Cannoli Filling

  1. Drain your ricotta cheese with a cheese cloth lined strainer over a bowl. Let it sit for a few hours or overnight if possible.

  2. Combine all the ingredients – except the chocolate chips – into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk until smooth and creamy. Fold in the chocolate chips and chill until you are ready to assemble.

Assembly

  1. Once the tart shell and ganache are at room temperature, it's time to assemble. Pour in the ganche and smooth down with an offset spatchula (or the back of a spoon). Chill in the fridge for 10 minutes. Pour in the cannoli filling and chill until ready to serve. Sprinkle extra chocolate chips, pistachios, or powdered sugar to decorate.

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