Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Strawberry "Cannolis"

I was in charge of dessert for Valentines Day and Mark was in charge of dinner. As a sign of respect for the chef, I didn't want to be monopolizing the kitchen on him. A man needs his space to create a magical dinner, after all. I set to work trying to think of a no-bake, quick, and special dessert for Valentines Day. Then I remembered something. You know how certain things stick with you over time? This recipe is one of those things. At my 8th grade dance, one of the girls in my class made some snacks for the party and they were all pretty fantastic. She made a version of these and I remember eating about 400 of them. I don't know if it was a family recipe or something that she came up with, but either way, these are a sensation. Her version was sans-chocolate, so I can take credit for that addition. Using a dark chocolate adds a nice texture and depth of flavor. They are SO easy to make and also really easy to serve and eat. I am going to add them to my party repertoire for the future. They do not, however, have a very long shelf life. If you want to do some prep work in advance, cut the berries and make the filling. Keep them separate until you are ready to serve and do the piping at the end.Strawberry "Cannolis"
1 pint strawberries
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Chips)
1. Wash and pat the strawberries dry with a paper towel and remove the stems. Don't cut the stems off, just pull the green part off.
2. Using a small, sharp knife cut out a little cavity in the strawberry. You are removing the center portion where the stem was attached along with a bit of the body so that you have something to fill.
3. To make the filling, combine ricotta with sugar and stir to combine. Taste the mixture to see that you like it. You can add other things like lemon zest, cinnamon, etc, but I like this recipe nice and simple.
4. Scoop the ricotta filling into a plastic bag and cut off the tip with scissors to make an impromptu pastry bag. Use that to pipe the filling into the strawberries. Be generous!
Tip: When I was watching Eric Ripert (dreamboat that he is) on PBS using this plastic baggie/pastry bag technique, he warns that you should make sure to throw out the little piece of plastic baggie that you snip off. Inevitably, it will wind up in your food if you don't throw it out as soon as you snip it off. I make it a point to always following the Ripper's advice...for what it's worth.

5. Melt chocolate in the microwave for 1 minute.
6. Drizzle melted chocolate over the stuffed berries.
7. Refrigerate until you are ready to serve. Yum!
At the risk of being totally obnoxious and gross, look at these beautiful tulips that made their way into our house for Vday. Super pretty, right? That Mark is a keeper!
One Year Ago: Stuffed Cherry Hot Peppers

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