Fruit Parfaits with Cannoli Cream and Pistachios

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Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6

Making Sicilian cannoli can be a time-consuming process, but you can enjoy the same flavors—including the crunchy cannoli shells and rich ricotta cream—in this dessert, which also incorporates fresh seasonal fruit. (We’ve used raspberries here, but you can substitute whatever fresh fruit is in season.)  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. Just seek out the best-quality, freshest ricotta you can find; it will make a noticeable difference in the results.


For the cannoli shell dough:

  • 2 cups (10 oz./315 g) plus 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 Tbs. cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup (4 to 6 fl. oz./125 to 180 ml) dry white wine

For the ricotta layer:

  • 2 cups (1 lb./500 g) whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup (3 oz./95 g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 1/8 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) heavy cream

  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 3/4 cup (3 oz./90 g) pistachios
  • 1 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1 jar (13 oz./410 g) raspberry preserves
  • 2 pints (1 lb./500 g) fresh raspberries 
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting


To make the cannoli shell dough, in a large bowl, sift together the flour, granulated sugar and salt. Using your fingers or a fork, work in the butter until the mixture is crumbly. Add the egg yolk and stir until the mixture is shaggy. Slowly add the wine, 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) at a time, and stir until the dough comes together; it should be slightly sticky (you may not need all of the wine). Shape the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the ricotta layer: In a large bowl, whisk together the ricotta, confectioners’ sugar, lemon zest and salt until smooth. In a medium bowl, using a handheld whisk, or in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the whipped cream into the ricotta mixture until just combined. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

To fry the cannoli dough, fill a large heavy saucepan two-thirds full with vegetable oil and heat over medium heat to 350°F (180°C) on a deep-frying thermometer. Adjust the heat as needed while frying to maintain the temperature. Line a baking sheet with paper towels.

On a lightly floured surface, cut the dough disk into 4 equal pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll out the dough 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick. Cut the dough into equal pieces, each about 3 by 3 inches (7.5 by 7.5 cm) (the shape doesn’t matter). Working in batches, carefully drop the dough pieces into the hot oil and fry until golden brown and crisp, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried dough to the prepared baking sheet and let cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough. Break the fried dough into bite-size pieces. Reserve 4 to 6 pretty pieces for garnish.

In a fry pan over low heat, combine the pistachios and granulated sugar and cook, stirring occasionally until the pistachios are toasted and the sugar has melted, about 5 minutes. Transfer the pistachios to a plate and let cool completely, then coarsely chop.

To assemble the parfaits, layer the raspberry preserves, fresh raspberries, pistachios, ricotta mixture and fried dough pieces in 4 to 6 parfait glasses as desired. Top with the reserved fried dough pieces, dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve. Serves 4 to 6.

Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen

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