Cannoli Cream with Strawberries and Pistachios

 Cannoli Cream with Strawberries and Pistachios

Cannoli Cream with Strawberries and Pistachios

If I had to rank desserts in order of preference, cannoli would definitely be in the top 5 (ice cream would be #1, hands-down!). A few years ago my husband and I went to Boston for a nutrition conference and had a couple of days beforehand to explore the city. Loving food (and sweets!) as I do, I researched some places I wanted to try and find while we were sight-seeing. Top of the list was Mike's Pastry. Founded in 1946, this shop has over 15 varieties of cannoli along with cookies and other sweet treats. Lines out the door and a slightly chaotic and claustrophobic storefront due to the throngs of people, the cannoli were well-worth the extra miles walked to get there. We went four days in a row! (The Pistachio cannoli were my favorite, along with the classic). If you are ever in Boston you must try them! (They have another store in Cambridge).

 Cannoli Cream with Strawberries and Pistachios

Cannoli Cream with Strawberries and Pistachios

This recipe is not to try and compete with classic cannoli (just enjoy it in all it's glory!), but rather mimic the flavor of the filling while adding healthy strawberries and pistachios. Typical cannoli uses whipped cream to obtain a light, airy texture. This cannoli cream is more the texture of pudding or soft custard and holds up well with toppings or layered in a parfait.

 Cannoli Cream with Strawberries and Pistachios

Cannoli Cream with Strawberries and Pistachios

Cannoli's signature flavor comes from ricotta cheese. I used whole milk ricotta paired with non-fat Greek yogurt and low-fat cream cheese. A little confectioner's sugar adds sweetness without a grainy texture. Strawberries are coming into season now and what better way to showcase them than on top of this cannoli cream? Fresh strawberries from Florida in the grocery stores are a welcome sign that Spring is just around the corner - I can't wait! Strawberries are high in fistein - a type of antioxidant (that you've probably never heard of!) in the flavoniod family with anti-inflammatory and anticarcinogenic properties. Strawberries contain over 4 times the amount of fistein than any other food.  Besides that, they just taste great!

Add a sprinkle of chopped pistachios and a drizzle of honey on top of this cannoli cream and you've got a party-worthy dessert! Or just keep it for yourself and enjoy every last bite - that's what we did!

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Cannoli Cream with Strawberries and Pistachios

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups non-fat Greek yogurt, plain
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, reduced fat, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup confectioner’s (powdered) sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup strawberries, sliced
  • 1/3 cup pistachios, chopped
  • Honey, drizzle on top (optional)

Combine the ricotta cheese, yogurt, cream cheese, confectioner’s sugar and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl. Mix well with a handheld mixer. (You could also mix with a whisk but using a mixer obtains a smoother texture). Spoon into dishes and top with strawberries, pistachios and a drizzle of honey.

Makes 8 one-half cup servings

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If you like pistachios be sure and try Pistachio Arugula Pesto too!