If you’ve been reading for a while, you’ve heard me profess my love for ice cream on many occasions. It is, without a doubt, my favorite dessert. I love making it almost as much as I love eating it, and this summer has had no shortage of homemade ice cream at our house. We’ve also visited Gelati Celesti, our favorite Richmond ice cream shop, many times. Because, as good as homemade ice cream is, sometimes you need to go somewhere that you can mix and match a bunch of flavors.
This cannoli ice cream happened when I planned to make cannoli cups for a party but ended up making a cake. Since I had all the ingredients on hand, it just made sense to turn them into ice cream. The flavor of this is very reminiscent to cannoli filling. The ricotta in the base of the ice cream adds a very unique flavor to the ice cream. It’s got chocolate chips, pistachios and crushed cannoli shells in it, so you know it’s good. You could even leave out the cannoli shells and opt for serving this in waffle cones instead. Better yet, use half the cannoli dough to make ice cream bowls!
For the cannoli dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting work surface
2 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 large egg white
½ cup sweet Marsala wine
For the ice cream:
1 cup heavy cream
¾ cup whole milk
¾ cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta or equal amount fresh
4 ounces cream cheese, cut into cubes
Seeds of 1 small vanilla bean
½ cup cannoli shell pieces
½ cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup roasted, unsalted pistachios, chopped
You won’t need the full recipe for the cannoli shells, but you can always freeze half of the dough for later use. Or you can bake it to use as edible ice cream bowls.
To make the cannoli dough, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until combined. Add the melted butter and pulse until combined, then add the egg white and pulse again. With the food processor running, drizzle the Marsala through the feed tube and process until just combined.
Divide the dough into two pieces and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
When you’re ready to cook the dough, lightly flour your work area. Roll the dough very thinly, about ⅛-inch thick. Cut into strips or rounds.
At this point, you can either deep fry the dough or bake it. If baking, place the dough pieces on a nonstick baking mat and lightly mist with cooking spray. Bake at 400º for 11-13 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack to cool completely, then crumble. If frying, do so in a large skillet until golden brown and drain on paper towels.
To make the ice cream, combine the heavy cream, milk and sugar in a large mixing bowl, preferably one with a pour spout. Use an immersion blender to blend until the sugar is dissolved. Add the ricotta, cream cheese and seeds from the vanilla bean and blend again until the mixture is smooth. Alternately, you can do this in a blender and transfer to another container until ready to freeze.
Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
Transfer to the bowl of an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s directions. Add the chocolate chips, pistachios and cannoli shells in the last minute or so of churning.
Transfer to a container with a tight-fitting lid, cover, and freeze until firm, about 4 hours.