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Cannoli Cupcakes with Chocolate Pistachio Crunch

Holy cannoli, what a cupcake! These vanilla-almond Cannoli Cupcakes are stuffed and topped with a classic sweet ricotta filling, glazed with a layer of chocolate ganache, and garnished with some pretty fancy food art.

Serves 16 cupcakes     adjust servings

Preparation 2 hours Cook Time 50 mins Total Time 2 hrs 50 mins


    Homemade Ricotta Cheese

    • 6 cups whole milk
    • 2 cups heavy cream
    • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
    • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

    Vanilla-Almond Cupcakes

    • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • 3 large eggs
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or bean paste)
    • 1 teaspoon almond extract
    • 3/4 cup sour cream
    • 1/3 cup whole milk

    Cannoli Filling

    • 2 cups ricotta cheese
    • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 cup heavy cream
    • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
    • 1 Tablespoon orange zest

    Whipped Cannoli Frosting

    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (or bean paste)
    • 3/4 cup prepared cannoli filling

    Chocolate Pistachio Lace Cookies

    • 1/4 cup butter
    • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 Tablespoon heavy cream
    • 3 Tablespoons flour
    • 1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
    • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped pistachios
    • Chocolate ganache, for dipping (optional)
    • Chocolate chips, chopped pistachios and/or almonds, for garnish (optional)


    Homemade Ricotta Cheese

    1. Pour milk, cream, and salt in a 6-quart pot. Using a candy or deep-fry thermometer to keep temperature, heat the milk to 190°F until it foams and begins to boil, stirring it occasionally to keep it from scorching.
    2. Remove from heat and add lemon juice, then stir gently and slowly 2-3 times. Let the pot sit undisturbed for 5 minutes.
    3. Line a fine-mesh strainer with 2 double layers of cheesecloth and place it over a large bowl. Pour the curds and whey over the cheesecloth, then let the curds strain for 1-2 hours until it reaches your desired consistency (thicker is better in the case of this recipe, so aim for 2 hours.) Discard the whey (or save it for later use.) Transfer ricotta to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.

    Vanilla-Almond Cupcakes

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 standard cupcake pans with 16-18 liners and set aside.
    2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
    3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until blended between each one. Add extracts and sour cream and blend well.
    4. Add the milk and flour mixture in alternate additions, beginning and ending with flour. Mix until just combined - don't overmix.
    5. Fill the cupcake liners ⅔ of the way full, and bake for 18-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
    6. Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes, then move to cooling rack. When cool, use a cupcake corer or small knife to make a well in the center of each cupcake.

    Cannoli Filling

    1. Place the ricotta in the bowl of your stand mixer and, using the paddle attachment, beat until smooth, about 3 minutes.
    2. Sift the powdered sugar and cinnamon into the bowl and beat until fully incorporated.
    3. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the chips and orange zest. Refrigerate until ready to use, up to 24 hours.

    Whipped Cannoli Frosting

    1. Whip the heavy cream and vanilla to medium peaks. Fold the prepared cannoli filling into cream until texture is consistent. Refrigerate until ready to use.

    Chocolate Pistachio Lace Cookies

    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or buttered parchment paper. Set aside.
    2. In a small saucepan, melt butter with the sugar and cream over medium heat. Remove from heat and stir in the flour, cocoa, and pistachios.
    3. Drop by ¼ teaspoons, spaced 2-3 inches apart, on prepared baking sheets, 6-8 to a sheet. Bake on middle shelf for about 5 minutes, until cookies have spread and begin to brown lightly around the edges (they burn quickly.)
    4. Remove from oven and cool 30-45 seconds, until they are just firm enough to be removed with a metal spatula, but are still droopy. Quickly transfer them one by one to a rolling pin or wooden spoon handle set over a frying pan (to catch drips), allowing them to curve around and cool in shapes for 3-5 minutes. If you prefer flat cookies, simply transfer them to a cooling rack.


    1. Dip cored cupcakes in ganache. Spoon cannoli filling into a piping bag and fill each cupcake to slightly overflowing. Fill a second piping bag (fitted with a star tip) with Whipped Cannoli Frosting and swirl on top of each cupcake. Garnish each cupcake with chips or nuts, and top with a Chocolate Pistachio Lace Cookies. Serve and enjoy!


    Recipe Notes

    Homemade Ricotta Cheese recipes adapted from Smitten Kitchen.

    Cannoli Filling recipe adapted from Alex Guarnaschelli.

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