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Cannoli Cream with Fresh Fruit (Crema di Ricotta alla Frutta Fresca)

The cream used to fill cannoli is also a nice accompaniment to fresh fruit. Vary the choices according to the season. For a particularly creamy texture, beat together the ricotta-topping ingredients in a food processor or blender. Also, seek out a vendor who makes his or her own fresh ricotta daily for the best results. It will make a noticeable difference in the final taste. Tangy fresh Sicilian ricotta, traditionally made from the whey of sheep’s milk left over from producing pecorino cheese, is especially delicious, although cow’s milk ricotta is also good.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 6 apricots, pitted and sliced
  • 4 kiwifruits, peeled and sliced
  • 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbs. orange- or cherry-flavored liqueur
  • 1/2 pint raspberries
  • 3 Tbs. chopped semisweet chocolate

Directions:

In a bowl, using a whisk or a wooden spoon, beat the ricotta cheese until smooth and creamy. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, lemon zest and cinnamon until blended.

In a small bowl, combine the apricots, kiwifruits, granulated sugar and liqueur. Using 1 or 2 spoons, toss well, being careful not to bruise the fruit. Scatter the raspberries over the top.

Spoon the fruits into goblets or other attractive serving vessels. Top each serving with an equal amount of the ricotta mixture. Sprinkle with the chocolate and serve immediately. Serves 8.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Savoring Series, Savoring Italy, by Michele Scicolone (Time-Life Books, 1999).