Thursday, July 21, 2016

Can a Cannoli be a Pound Cake?

I was blessed last year when I got my regular update from Smitten Kitchen where a cook I admire posted a recipe for Cannoli Pound Cake and specifically said it was best made a day or two in advance!  Well, you know I love that idea!  It happens that I have a passion for real cannolis.  It's hard to explain to people who have never had a chance to have a really great cannoli in a freshly fried shell, filled with ricotta lightly sweetened and flavored with citrus and this whole treat is finished with freshly chopped pistachio nuts.  I have not found anything like this in the south.  My dear friend Jen sent me the best gift after my brain tumor diagnosis, overnight shipped from Mike's Pastry a "making cannoli" kit.  The shells had been fried just  hours before it was shipped and for a few days I got to have a cannoli (and share them) that was almost as wonderful as those that were made to order in the bakery.

This pound cake is wonderful, I highly recommend it.  Thanks Deb!

Cannoli Pound Cake
Butter or cooking spray to coat pan
1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
Finely grated zest from 1 orange
Finely grated zest from 1 lemon
1/2 cup (120 ml) olive oil
1 tablespoon (15 ml) sweet marsala wine or 2 tablespoons white wine (optional)
1 cup (250 grams) whole-milk ricotta cheese
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 or 2 pinches allspice
1 1/2 cups (190 grams) all-purpose flour
1 cup (170 grams) mini-chocolate chips or 6 ounces semisweet chocolate bar, chopped into tiny bits
1/2 cup (60 grams) pistachios, chopped small
Heat oven to 350°F (175°C). Coat a standard (8 1/2-x-4 1/4″) loaf pan with butter or a nonstick spray. 
Place sugar in a large bowl, and add zest. Use your fingertips to rub the zest into the sugar, scenting it througout. Whisk in olive oil, wine (if using), ricotta and eggs. Sprinkle baking powder, salt, cinnamon and allspice over wet ingredients, then whisk to combine. Gently stir in flour, then chocolate and pistachios until just combined.
Scrape into prepared loaf. Bake oven for 55 to 65 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out-batter free. Let cool on wire rack in pan for 15 minutes, then invert out onto rack to finish cooling. Cake is great the first day, and even more amazingly moist on the second and third, so feel free to plan ahead. Store at room temperature, covered with foil or plastic.

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