Food & Dining

Leave the crust, take the cannoli

This is spiced pumpkin cannoli. Instead of having to fuss with a pie crust, with this dessert simply purchase prepared cannoli shells, which are easily filled with the pumpkin filling.
This is spiced pumpkin cannoli. Instead of having to fuss with a pie crust, with this dessert simply purchase prepared cannoli shells, which are easily filled with the pumpkin filling. Associated Press

Who says the Thanksgiving pumpkin dessert has to be a pie? We decided to tinker with tradition just a bit by turning the usual pumpkin pie filling into cannoli. Same great taste, whole new packaging.

Not only is this an impressive, finger food-friendly way to get a pumpkin dessert on the table, it's also easy. Instead of having to fuss with a pie crust, you simply purchase prepared cannoli shells, which are easily filled with the pumpkin filling. It all comes together in just minutes. In fact, the filling can be prepped the day ahead, then piped into the cannoli shells shortly before serving.

We suggest garnishing the ends of the cannoli with chopped pistachios or chocolate, but feel free to improvise with whatever toppings inspire you. Chopped candied pecans would be particularly good.



What you need:

  • Half a cup packed brown sugar.



  • Quarter of a cup all-purpose flour.



  • Two teaspoons cinnamon.



  • One teaspoon ground dry ginger.



  • Quarter of a teaspoon nutmeg.



  • Three eggs.



  • 15-ounce can pumpkin puree.



  • One cup whole-milk ricotta cheese.



  • Thirty miniature or 15 large purchased cannoli shells.



  • Chopped pistachios or chopped dark chocolate (optional).

In a medium saucepan off the heat, whisk together the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Add the eggs and whisk until smooth. Lastly, whisk in the pumpkin puree.

Set the pan over medium heat and, whisking constantly, bring to a simmer. Cook until the mixture thickens, three to four minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the ricotta. Set aside and allow to fully cool.

When the pumpkin mixture has cooled, spoon it into a zip-close plastic bag and snip one corner. Gently squeeze the bag to pipe the mixture into the cannoli shells. Once each shell is filled, gently press both ends of each into the chopped pistachios or chocolate to lightly coat the exposed filling. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Can be prepped two hours ahead of time.

Start to finish: Twenty minutes, plus cooling time.

Makes 15 large or 30 miniature cannoli.

Nutrition information per serving (based on 15 servings): 210 calories; 90 calories from fat (43 percent of total calories); 10 g fat (3.5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 60 mg cholesterol; 24 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 8 g sugar; 6 g protein; 60 mg sodium.

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