I’ve been working on another post (for a super yummy Spicy Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad), but this recipe gets an instant pass to cut to the front of the line. I made this ice cream yesterday afternoon and I just can’t wait another second longer to share it with you… Cannoli ice cream with mini chocolate chips and fresh candied orange peel.
Need I say more?
Last year, during the peak of strawberry season, I made one of my favorite homemade ice creams. It was an absolutely luscious strawberry cheesecake ice cream, made with fresh-picked berries. That was some seriously crave-worthy ice cream. It was actually the memory of that ice cream which inspired this recipe. I was sitting outside on an exceptionally hot afternoon day-dreaming of that delicious strawberry cheesecake ice cream, which led me to consider…what other desserts can I turn into ice cream? Cannolis were one of the first ideas which popped into my mind. And I figured that if I could make a cheesecake flavored ice cream with sour cream mixed into it, why couldn’t I make a cannoli ice cream with ricotta cheese as a main ingredient?
Turns out that ricotta cheese lends itself amazing well towards creating a rich and decadently creamy ice cream. I have to admit, there was a point in time, a few minutes before the ice cream had finished it’s run through the ice cream maker, when I snuck a spoon into the machine to taste a bit of the not-quite-frozen mixture. It was the consistency of soft-serve ice cream at that point and the texture of the ricotta was still evident. Mouth-watering. It took every ounce of my self-control not to eat the whole batch right out of the still-churning machine.
This recipe is super-simple to put together, though you’ll need to make the candied orange peel a little ahead of time. Trust me, it’s worth the small effort. I’d initially considered listing the candied orange peel as an optional ingredient, but that would’ve been a major mistake. The flavor and the texture of the candied peel contribute so much to this ice cream, it would be a major loss to omit it.
If you don’t have an ice cream maker, this may well be the recipe to make it worth buying one. I love this ice cream so much, that I actually looked into the cost of ice cream makers to see if I could offer one as a giveaway, but I just can’t pocket the personal expense at this time. (It’s the thought that counts, right?) Hey Cuisinart…want to offer one of my readers an ice cream maker??
In the mean time, if you love cannolis, buy, beg, or borrow yourself an ice cream maker and give this recipe a whirl!
Cannoli Ice Cream
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- Candied orange peel from one orange, chopped (Recipe below)
- 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
- Prepared cannoli shells, for garnish
Prepare your ice cream maker according to your maker’s instructions.
In a small saucepan over low heat, warm the cream and the sugar, stirring frequently, just until the sugar dissolves. Place the mixture in the refrigerator and chill until completely cooled. Combine the cream/sugar mixture with the ricotta and cinnamon. Mix in the candied orange peel and chocolate chips. Transfer the mixture into your ice cream maker and freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.
Serve with a piece of prepared cannoli shell.
Candied Orange Peel
- 1 orange
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add the orange peel and boil for about 2 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
Bring a fresh pot of water to a boil. Add the orange peel again. Cook for another 2 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
Combine the sugar with the water in a small saucepan. Stir to combine. Bring to a gentle simmer. Add the orange peel. Simmer for about 15 minutes, until the peels are tender and slightly translucent. Carefully strain. (The mixture will be extremely hot, so use caution.)
When cool enough to handle, arrange the peel on a drying rack to continue cooling.