Thursday, May 24, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cannoli Tarts

I think I've had good cannoli once or twice in my life. I order them in anticipation of a sweet delight and am almost always disappointed with the outcome. After a little reading, it seems like one of the problems is that cannoli are often pre-made, thus the diner ends up with a soggy shell. Another problem is the proportion of filling-to-shell is often way off, with there being far too much filling because cannoli are made too large. Cannoli are meant to be delicate little desserts; they are not meant to be super-sized like McDonald's fries.

Going with the miniature trend I encounter so often in baking, I thought, Why not make cannoli filling and pipe it into tart shells? Tart shells are a bit more sturdy than traditional cannoli shells, but this would allow them to be pre-made without the taste suffering. Plus, I hoped it would provide the perfect of shell-to-filling ratio.

I was quite pleased with the results and will definitely be making these little delights again!

Chocolate Chip Cannoli Tarts
Kelley Gondring

Makes 36 tarts

Preheat oven 350º

Tart Shell
In a medium bowl or food processor, combine:
4.5 ounces cream cheese
12 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups flour

Blend together until coarse meal forms. Chill 10 minutes. Remove the pastry dough from the fridge. Using your hands, make 36 individual balls. Press evenly into the bottom and sides of mini-muffin pans. Bake 25 minutes. While the shells are baking, prepare filling.

In a medium bowl, mix together until smooth:
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup finely granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon Grand Mariner

Do not assemble until the tart shells are completely cool. Spoon filling into a pastry bag. Pipe the filling into the shells. [You'll want to use a large circular tip, such as a #4.] Decorate the top of the tart with chocolate chips [you'll need about 150] and, if available, orange zest. Refrigerate until serving.

Eat up!

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