How to Make Fresh Ricotta and Homemade Cannoli | The Daily Dish

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How to Make Fresh Ricotta and Homemade Cannoli

11 Comments | Written on November 30, 2012 at 12:00 am , by

You are in for a treat today!

First I am going to show you how easy it is to make your own fresh ricotta cheese at home.   Then, demonstrate how you can take that ricotta and use it in a simple and authentic cannoli.  Finally, in the Italian spirit of not letting anything go to waste, I am even going to show you a fun trick for leftover vanilla bean pods.

Is your mouth watering yet?!

Keep reading for the recipes…

Yesterday I talked a lot about Sicily, but I didn’t have a chance to mention dessert.  Oh, the dessert!  Needless to say it was simple yet spectacular.

The ricotta in Sicily was unlike anything I had ever tasted before.  Delicate and velvety, nothing like the product from a plastic container I was used to back home.  The secret?  It was made from scratch.  Making your own cheese sounds intense, but it is actually quite simple.  After one taste, you will be convinced!

Homemade Fresh Ricotta

2 qt whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Line a large sieve with a layer of heavy-duty (fine-mesh) cheesecloth and place it over a large bowl.

Slowly bring milk, cream, and 1/2 tsp salt to a rolling boil in a 6-qt heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. Add lemon juice. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring constantly, until mixture curdles, about 2 minutes.

Pour into lined sieve and let drain 1 hour. After discarding the liquid, chill the ricotta, covered; it will keep in the refrigerator 2 days.  Makes 2 cups.

Not only was the ricotta in Italy outstanding, the cannoli were as well.  First thing I noticed, they were about 1/3 the size of what were are served in the US.  Not too sweet, or a vessel for loads of chocolate or nuts.  Just a simple way to showcase beautiful ricotta cheese for dessert.  After you make your own ricotta, this recipe is a great way to show it off.

Authentic Sicilian Cannoli

2 cups homemade ricotta cheese

2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar

1 vanilla bean

24 mini cannoli shells

Combine chilled ricotta, confectioner’s sugar and the seeds scraped from the inside of a split vanilla bean.  Mix thoroughly and refrigerate until ready to fill cannoli shells.  Fill 24 shells and serve with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar.

Of course, you can’t end a meal without a little dessert wine!  I like to pair the cannoli with a glass of Moscato Castello del Poggio.  It’s easy to find, since it is actually the number one sold Moscato in America.  It is a sweet, well-balanced wine with refined fruitiness.

One last tip:

Anytime a recipe calls for vanilla bean, keep this tip in mind.  After you split it open and use the seeds in a recipe, the leftover pod is still filled with flavor.  With an ingredient as decadent as this, we don’t want anything to go to waste!

That’s when I make “Vanilla Sugar.”  Simply place you used vanilla bean pods in an airtight container with granulated sugar.  Let it sit and within a week you will have an incredible treat.  The vanilla flavor infuses into the sugar and tastes like a little spoonful of heaven.

How To Make Vanilla Sugar

-Used, split vanilla bean

-Granulated sugar

Place a used, split vanilla bean in an airtight canister with granulated sugar.  Let sit for at least a week.  When you open the canister you will have a treat!  Use as you would normal, granulated sugar.  I love to add it to my morning coffee!

11 Responses to “How to Make Fresh Ricotta and Homemade Cannoli”

  • 1
    Karen says:

    This is a god send. It’s back to basics. With the soaring prices of food in todays economy, you’ve done a great thing by sharing with all of us whom are trying to save money!! God Bless…

  • 2
    ranjinee ramdeen says:

    Absolutely awesome…same as making paneer…I’m in south africa and simply love being in my kitchen…so much to learn…can’t wait for more…keep it up

    • Kristina Vanni says:

      Welcome Ranjinee! I have never made paneer before – maybe I need to start! It’s so great to hear from readers across the globe. I need to travel to South Africa someday and tour those wine regions :)

  • 3
    carmen agius says:

    your tips were so use full ,every day you learn something new

  • 4
    Rea says:

    Do you have a recipe for the cannoli shells? I really want to try this!

  • 5
    John from Detroit says:

    Years ago I went to a “Gather” and for the pot luck visited the local bakery and picked up 2 dozen Caonlli shels and two bags of filling.. Let me tell you I got invited to return :)

  • 6
    Rose Mack says:

    I have made these Cannoli, and also made vanilla sugar, only I put the vanilla bean into the powder sugar, & let it set a wk. or so, then use it to sprinkle my cannoli & all my Holiday Cookies at Holiday times. They smell, & also taste better than just plain powder sugar. Try it, you’ll like it!

  • 7
    Sandra says:

    Just curious, is there anything you can do with the liquid you drain off the ricotta?

  • 8
    Jessie says:

    Awesome recipe. I’m planning a birthday cake for hubby’s birthday & decided on cannoli cream…and wanted to make my own. I LOVE this recipe, especially making the ricotta. I also like using the leftover vanilla. I just posted a recipe to my blog about using “wasted” kitchen scraps & in that I gave a recipe for making farmer’s cheese. Pretty much the same thing as making ricotta, except I used vinegar in that & more salt since it was savory. Since this will be a dessert creation, I’m wondering if, during the heating process of the milk & cream– what about using some of the vanilla pod in that…I will certainly try the vanilla sugar, but I wonder… Also, to readers– don’t throw away that whey– the liquid that comes off making your own cheese. Pop it in the freezer & the next time you make a soup, add it to the stock. I had quite a bit leftover from my cheese adventure & divided it into about 3 pints. By adding that to some veggie soup, I really didn’t need to add much salt and got a nice flavor to the broth.

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