|Fruit Salad with Cannoli Cream|
I was 18 the last time I visited Italy. At 18 I experienced the world differently than I would today but still the first thoughts that come to mind are the wonderful waterways and mazes of Venice, black olives, olive oil, tossing a coin in the Trevi fountain, pizza, homemade pasta... and trying my very first ‘cannoli’. It is said that you will never find two cannoli recipes that are exactly the same. Many swear that the taste and the experience of eating a cannoli, when it is well made, can never EVER be forgotten. I would have to agree wholeheartedly since I have never had one in all these years that could hold a candle to the ones I had on the Italian Riviera or the streets of Rome!
Cannoli originated in Palermo and the surrounding areas and were originally made for Carnival, which is a festival that occurs before Lent and is one last fling before the fasting begins. The traditional filling is a sweetened ricotta cheese filling sometimes mixed with candied orange zest or citron, chopped pistachios, grated chocolate, or drizzled with a variety of extracts or flavourings such as fortified wine and liqueurs.
This fruit salad with with it's ricotta cream topping is a healthy reminder of Italy and Carnivale!!! I made both the fruit salad and the cannoli cream the night before to enjoy a leisurely Sunday morning with a cup of tea and a good book. The sun is shining so it looks like a good day for a walk!!!
**Fruit Salad with Cannoli Cream**
adapted from Giada De Laurentis
1/3 cup whole milk ricotta
2 tablespoons plus 1/3 cup whipping cream
3 tablespoons icing sugar
dash of ground cinnamon
12 oz fresh strawberries hulled, quartered (about 2 1/2 cups)
1 1/4 cups fresh blueberries
1 cup seedless grapes
1 cup diced fresh pineapple
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 - 3 tablespoons sliced almonds or chopped pistachios
Stir the ricotta and 2 tablespoons of cream in a medium bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat the remaining 1/3 cup of cream, powdered sugar, and cinnamon in a large bowl until semi-firm peaks form. Fold the ricotta into the whipped cream. Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to stiffen and yield a creamier filling. (Can be prepared 4 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
Toss the fruit, sugar, and lemon juice in a medium bowl to combine. Let stand until juices form, tossing occasionally, about 15 minutes. Add the kiwi.
Spoon the fruit mixture into 4 dessert bowls. Dollop the ricotta cream atop the fruit. Sprinkle with the almonds or chopped pistachios and serve.
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