This is not a call for a family tree investigation or scandalous revelation - but where the heck did I get my love of Italian foods?
I mean it isn't even just pasta!
Whenever I see a bakery I tend to stop in. I love freshly baked artisan breads and pastries but when I see an Italian bakery I swerve, I cut people off, I throw my car into park and jump out (like someone is going to take the last cannoli out of the display case) because I want one.
GIVE ME A CANNOLI!
If you've never had one (you don't know what you're missing) it is a tube of crunchy fried pastry dough filled with a creamy sweetened ricotta filling. Some people use marscapone but I like my ricotta better (and its cheaper to recreate). I know a lot of bakeries that import their shells from Sicily because they are time consuming and the cost to create them is about the same as importing. I have been on the hunt for a local bakery that will sell me the shells but in my area, there aren't any (boo).
So picture this, Mr. BM and I driving into the city, stop into a little strip mall to turn around (because he never listens to me when I give directions) when I spot a bakery....an ITALIAN bakery. Keep in mind I'm not driving so there's no cutting anyone off.
"PULL OVER, PARK" - yes there might have been a little higher pitch in my voice
"What? Really? Ok?" - he knows the drill
"I need to see if they have cannolis"
"you make everything else, why cant you make those?"
"I could, if I had the right tools for the shells and some patience....maybe this bakery sells the shells!?!" as I shove him out of the way to get in first (I did hold the door with my foot)
They had some sitting on the counter, empty. The man behind the counter offered to fill some with the plain filling (because the ones in the cases were all fancied up with chocolate or pistachios).
No thank you, can I buy them plain, no filling PAWWWLEEEASSEE.
I'm not sure if it was the pout or the puppy dog eyes that got him or maybe it was the "give her the darn things so we can leave" look that Mr. BM had on behind me but he surrendered.
He wasn't gonna, he tried hard to get me to buy them already filled. I won.
Now, a little tip, do not fill them unless you are planning on eating them pretty soon afterwards - the shells gets soggy and the inside changes consistency.
Tip #2 - use a thicker ricotta or drain it using cheesecloth for a good couple hours (if not overnight) - Thanks Jo!
Well, it was a success for me, I enjoyed them, I might have even shared!
Here's how I made the filling:
1 tub whole milk ricotta
1/3 c. icing sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract (pure)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
*lots of recipes I found online included almond extract or candied lemon peel - I did not have these ingredients and therefore did not use*
Drain the ricotta using cheesecloth and a sieve for at least a few hours.
In a bowl whisk together all ingredients until smooth.
Place in a pastry bag or Ziploc with a large star tip and place in the fridge for about 30 min.
Fill when ready