Sunday, May 16, 2010

Cannoli Cupcakes

One of my best friend's moms has been asking me to make her cannoli for a long time now.  I have the absolute worst time trying to make those shells and while I know I can buy some from the store, it just feels like it's not the same as a homemade cannoli.  I could never pass it off as my own completely.  Especially because the shell is half the pastry!

So I came up with these cannoli cupcakes as an alternative.  I mean, really?  Who doesn't like cupcakes?  So I thought of all the different ways I could make them.  I knew the frosting would be the filling, but would I use mini chocolate chips, chocolate shavings, would I nix the chocolate all together (yeah right), would the pistachios be in the cake and the frosting???
So many ideas.

Then, what kind of cupcake would it be?  I wanted something that would be so close to a "shell" as possible.  Something dense and maybe a bit crunchy w/ chopped pistachios in it. What kind of a cake will hold up well like that?
I remembered we had made tea bread in my first week of pastry class at RMC and I thought that would be a great idea!
I played around with the recipe some to make them more cakey and not bread-like.  I looked online for ways mess around with it but not mess it up.  Here's what I came up with:

For the Cupcakes:


1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup of shelled, unsalted pistachios
1 teaspoon of salt

1 stick of butter, softened to room temp
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 cup of AP flour


Grind the pistachios, sugar and salt in a food processor.  I finely ground most of it, but I left some finely chopped pieces as well, so that the pistachios weren't just flavor, they were there and you knew what they were.

In an electric stand mixer, cream butter, vanilla and the eggs until smooth, add the pistachio-sugar mixture until well combined.  Add the flour until just combined.

Line your cupcake pan w/ paper liners of your choice.  Pour the batter evenly into the paper liners, about 3/4 full.  You should have about 14-16 cupcakes.

Bake for 25 mins (the recipe from class was supposed only be 12-15 min for muffins, but since it's a wee bit different, they seemed to take longer.  Check at about 20-25 mins and go from there).
The cakes will have a bit of crumb sticking to the toothpick you put in to check, but no batter.  Just moist crumb.

Let them cool before taking them out of the pan b/c they will be HOT.  Once they are cool enough, transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

For the Frosting:


1 lb (16 oz) of ricotta cheese, drained of excess liquid
1/2 cup of granulated suagr
1/2 cup of powdered sugar
2 tsp of vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup of shelled, unsalted pistachio, chopped


Add the ricotta cheese, sugars, vanilla and cinnamon to a large bowl.  Hand mix w/ a rubber scrapper so you can scrape the sides.  Once it is completely mixed, add the pistachios and fold into the frosting.
Put the frosting in a piping bag w/ whatever tip you'd like and frost!

They were sooo good!!  My piping job kinda stunk, but that's what the next step is for!

I couldn't find any mini-chocolate chips so I just used a chocolate bar and shaved it.  Well first, I used a micro plane to sprinkle it on, but it looked like cinnamon.  I realize there is cinnamon in the frosting (which really made it for me), but it was just to add something to the frosting, not be a "known" ingredient. 
So I shaved the chocolate w/ a veggie peeler.  I got some pretty nice curls.  Btw, despite my known dislike of dark chocolate, I used dark chocolate for the shavings b/c the milk chocolate would have been muted and tasteless w/ so little on it.  I wanted the chocolate to be tasted, but not overpowering (which was good that I didn't find mini chips!)
This is w/ milk chocolate.  I did try it first!  But I couldn't really taste it at all.
Mmm....  So good!!!

 You can tell by the crumb that this is a dense cupcake.  And you can see the pistachio inside, making it even thicker and closer to a "shell" than a light fluffy vanilla cupcake.  I was really happy with the way these turned out.  And I was even more excited when Momma Tina loved them!  

Oh, and you should have seen my dad!  I saved him and my mother each one.  Dad was sooo mad he couldn't have more.  Don't fret though, I made him a whole batch for himself (ok, minus the one I stole!) last week!


Ivy said...

Yummy Niki, these look delicious. Love pistachios.

yarnorgy(Bethany) said...

OMG! I can almost taste them! They look fabulous!

Conor @ HoldtheBeef said...

What a brilliant idea! Executed perfectly too, by the look of it :)

NikiTheo said...

I was so happy how these came out guys, no joke. I was worried, but wow. Such a good cupcake!!! And a good substitute for a fried shell! :)

Maria said...

I just read "Cannoli Cupcakes" and felt a little faint! I love cannolis, adore them. These sound ingenious and I will definitely try them soon.

Victoria said...

What oven temp would you use?

NikiTheo said...

I'm sorry Victoria! 350 degrees F