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Italian Cream Stuffed Cannoncini

Italian Cream Stuffed Cannoncini

Italian Cream Stuffed Cannoncini, also known as cream horns, are a delightful pastry treat that captures the essence of Italian baking. These flaky, buttery pastries are filled with a rich and creamy filling, making them an irresistible dessert for any occasion. Whether you’re hosting a dinner party, celebrating a special event, or simply indulging in a sweet craving, these cannoncini are sure to impress.

Ingredients

For the Pastry

  • 1 package puff pastry sheets (thawed according to package instructions)
  • 1 egg (beaten, for egg wash)
  • Granulated sugar (for sprinkling)

For the Italian Cream Filling

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 lemon (optional, for added flavor)

For Garnish

  • Powdered sugar (for dusting)
  • Chocolate shavings or sprinkles (optional)

Instructions

Preparing the Pastry

  1. Preheat the Oven: Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  2. Prepare the Pastry Sheets: On a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry sheets to about 1/8-inch thickness. Using a sharp knife or a pizza cutter, cut the pastry into strips about 1 inch wide.
  3. Form the Cannoncini: Take each strip and wrap it around a metal cream horn mold, overlapping slightly to create a spiral. If you don’t have cream horn molds, you can create DIY molds by wrapping aluminum foil around a cone-shaped object.
  4. Egg Wash and Sugar: Place the pastry-wrapped molds on the prepared baking sheet. Brush each with the beaten egg and sprinkle with granulated sugar. This will give the pastry a beautiful golden color and a slight crunch.
  5. Bake: Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the pastry is puffed and golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack. Once cool enough to handle, carefully remove the pastry from the molds.

Preparing the Italian Cream Filling

  1. Whip the Cream: In a large mixing bowl, beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form.
  2. Add Mascarpone and Sugar: Add the mascarpone cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and lemon zest (if using) to the whipped cream. Beat until well combined and the mixture is smooth and creamy.

Assembling the Cannoncini

  1. Fill the Pastries: Transfer the cream filling to a piping bag fitted with a star or round tip. Carefully pipe the filling into each pastry shell, filling from both ends to ensure they are generously stuffed.
  2. Garnish: Dust the filled cannoncini with powdered sugar. If desired, add chocolate shavings or sprinkles for extra flair.

Serving

  1. Serve Immediately: Italian Cream Stuffed Cannoncini are best enjoyed fresh, when the pastry is crisp, and the filling is creamy. Serve them on a decorative plate or platter for an elegant presentation.
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Tips for Perfect Cannoncini

  1. Chill the Pastry: Keep the puff pastry chilled until you are ready to use it. Warm pastry can become difficult to handle and may not puff up as well during baking.
  2. Use Cold Ingredients: Ensure the mascarpone cheese and heavy cream are cold before whipping. This helps the cream whip up more quickly and creates a stable filling.
  3. Piping Bag Alternatives: If you don’t have a piping bag, you can use a zip-top plastic bag with a corner snipped off to fill the pastries.
  4. Flavor Variations: Experiment with different flavorings in the cream filling, such as almond extract, orange zest, or a splash of your favorite liqueur.
  5. Storage: If you need to store the cannoncini, keep the unfilled pastries in an airtight container at room temperature. Fill them just before serving to maintain the best texture.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I make the puff pastry from scratch?

Yes, you can make puff pastry from scratch if you prefer. Homemade puff pastry can add a richer flavor and flakier texture, but it does require more time and effort. There are many recipes available online if you wish to try making your own.

Can I prepare the filling in advance?

Yes, you can prepare the cream filling up to a day in advance. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you are ready to fill the pastries.

What can I use if I don’t have cream horn molds?

If you don’t have cream horn molds, you can create DIY molds using aluminum foil. Wrap the foil around a cone-shaped object (like a piping tip or a small glass) to form a mold. Be sure to grease the foil lightly to prevent the pastry from sticking.

How long do Italian Cream Stuffed Cannoncini last?

For the best texture and flavor, it’s recommended to serve the cannoncini fresh. However, they can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. The pastry may soften slightly, but they will still be delicious.

Can I freeze the cannoncini?

It’s best to freeze the unfilled pastry shells rather than the filled cannoncini. Once the shells are baked and cooled, you can freeze them in an airtight container for up to a month. Thaw and fill them just before serving.

Conclusion

Italian Cream Stuffed Cannoncini are a delightful and elegant treat that can elevate any dessert table. With their flaky pastry and rich, creamy filling, they are sure to impress your guests and satisfy your sweet tooth. Follow these easy steps and tips to create the perfect cannoncini, and enjoy a taste of Italian pastry magic in your own home.