Made with ricotta and powdered sugar, homemade cannoli cream is far superior to anything you can buy. This sweet ricotta cannoli cream recipe is easy to make and the results will wow you.
If you would like to try making your own cannoli shell, I’ve included my homemade shell recipe for you to give a try!
Have you tried making your own puff pastry before? With my 15-minute Puff Pastry dough, it’s so much easier than you expected!
What is Cannoli Cream?
Cannoli cream is a sweet cheese cannoli filling made with ricotta cheese and sweetened with powdered sugar. Sometimes mascarpone cheese is mixed with ricotta and/or whipped cream is added. Usually, the cream is flavored with vanilla and orange zest. Sweet whipped cheese stuffed into deep-fried pastry shells. Always a winning combo for a dessert and a common filling in Italian pastries!
What Ingredients should I use?
- Cannoli shells (homemade or pre-made). My homemade shell recipe is below.
- Ricotta cheese. It’s important that you drain off your ricotta cheese in a fine mesh strainer overnight to remove the extra liquid that can make your filling runny.
- Powdered sugar. Powdered instead of granulated helps thicken up the ricotta and keep the texture smoother.
- Vanilla extract.
- Mascarpone cheese. Mix a couple of tablespoons of mascarpone into the ricotta for a thicker, creamier texture.
- heavy whipping cream. If you find that your cream is getting too thick to pipe easily, add a couple tablespoons of whipping cream.
- orange zest. Just a bit of zest adds a lovely fresh flavor!
- Chopped Pistachios. Try using chopped pistachios instead of mini chocolate chips. So good!
cannoli cream is easy to make
It takes less than 15 minutes to beat the cannoli filling ingredients together and pipe the ricotta mixture into the shells. However, you need to be sure to let the ricotta cheese fully drain out overnight. This sounds complicated and a bit intimating but it really, really isn’t.
For real, master this filling recipe and you will be the queen of cannoli. You’ll be asked. to bring them to every party and event. No need to tell everyone how very easy they are to make.
how long is cannoli cream good for?
Cannoli cream should be used within a couple of days. And, because it is dairy-based, isn’t recommended to be frozen. This cannoli cream recipe is enough for 12 cannoli. There are usually 6 shells in a box that you purchase at the grocery store. That is why I created this recipe to be easily divided or multiplied by 6 so you can make exactly what you need and won’t need to worry about storing leftover cream.
Cannoli should be served within 1-2 hours after they are filled with the cheese filling. If they are kept longer, the shells will turn soggy and lose their crispiness.
- 12 cannoli shells homemade (recipe below) or store bought
- 2 15 oz containers whole milk ricotta
- 1 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons cream or milk, optional as needed
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- mini chocolate chips and/or crushed pistachios
Homemade Cannoli Shells
- 1 3/4 cup flour, heaped (you want just a bit more than 3/4 cup)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 Tbsp cold butter
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 Tbsp vinegar
- 1 lg egg
- 1 egg white, beaten
- vegetable frying
- Drain the ricotta cheese overnight…place it in a strainer (on a thin dish towel) into the fridge.
- Beat the ricotta cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla together until well mixed.
- Fill a pastry bag (or use a ziplock bag with the corner tip cut) with the filling.
- Fill the cannoli shells with the cream.
- Sprinkle mini chocolate chips and/or pistachios on the cannoli’s
- Dust powdered sugar on top.
Homemade Cannoli Shells (makes 24)
- Take a large bowl, add the flour and salt to it and mix it well.
- Add the cold butter and use a fork to break it down and mix it well into the flour.
- Add the whole egg and egg white and mix well.
- Add the vinegar to the water and stir. Pour this mixture little at a time into the flour mixture and start stiring and bringing the dough together. You can easily do this with your hands.
- Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and rest it for at least half an hour to 2 hours at room temperature.
- To give them cannoli shape, you can either use a cannoli mold or make a cylindrically shaped mold using aluminium foil. Take a big piece and roll it over a round surface till you get that cylindrical shape.
- Heat up the oil in a large deep sided pan, on medium-high heat.
- Roll half the dough in a big circle and cut out smaller circles using a cookie cutter. I like to use a 4 inch diameter circle.
- Wrap the individual dough circles around the cannoli molds and seal the end using the egg white and press firmly so that they don't open up while frying.
- Using tongs carefully add the shells to the hot oil in the frying pan and fry till they turn golden in colour. Take it out and allow it to colo before filling.