This recipe was born of a request from Dennis to whip up some pistachio ice cream without the actual whole nuts in it – just smooth pistachio goodness. As my brained churned with thoughts of embellishments and goodies to add to the ice cream, I thought, why not a cannoli? Ricotta, chocolate, pistachios and crispy fried pieces of dough all swirled together into some frozen majesty. Well, aside from the little bit of prep required, this one is deluxe and a sweet reminder of the Big Apple and splitting a cannoli on a date night. Maybe if I floated a scoop in a cup of espresso for a little Affogatto action, I’d be totally authentic!
Despite its Italian leanings, this recipe is ice cream, not gelato – meaning that the richness of this dessert comes from butterfat in heavy cream rather than eggs cooked into a custard (similar to the preparation in my Basil Gelato recipe). The result is a quicker dessert – a good thing given that the components of the ice cream take a little time. No bother, though. The result is well worth it. Also, rather than mixing and rolling your own cannoli dough, I use pre-made wonton wrappers, fried and sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon. They end up tasting a lot like a waffle cone, which is novel and genius given the ease of the wontons.
Cannoli Ice Cream
5 wonton wrappers
1/2 c. pistachios
3/4 c. of sugar
2 c. of heavy cream
15 oz. whole milk ricotta
1 c. of milk
1 tsp. of vanilla
dark chocolate, roughly chopped
In a frying pan with high sides, heat an inch of oil. When smoking hot, drop in one or two wonton wrappers and fry until golden on both sides. Remove to paper towels to drain and repeat until all 5 are fried. Sprinkle with cinnamon and powdered sugar and set aside.
In a coffee grinder, add your pistachios and mix until completely ground. Set aside.
In a standing mixer (or with an egg beater), beat eggs, sugar and vanilla until frothy and golden. Add the heavy cream, ricotta, pistachios and milk and continue to beat until well-incorporated.
Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and prepare according to the manufacturer’s instructions. While the ice cream freezes, break up the wonton wrappers into small pieces and toss with the chocolate (I like to use Lindt Intensely Orange Dark Chocolate). Place in the freezer until you are ready to mix into the ice cream. Once the ice cream is just set, mix in the wonton pieces and chocolate and turn the mixture out into quart containers. Chill for a while if you like your ice cream a little stiffer, or eat right away.