Oreo and Cannoli Pastiera Napoletana

Pasteria Napoletana is a traditional Easter cake eaten in Italy. Yes, I know that Easter just passed, but to my defense, I did not know that this was an Easter cake when I was making it/somehow, I did make it on Easter, but the post/recipe was written up later. Whoops. So, the cake itself is a tart made with short crust pastry and a ricotta filling of some sort. It is baked with a really pretty lattice on top, and the end result is almost like an Italian cheesecake pie sort of situation. Because I am non-traditional (hell, I have no Italian heritage, so it’s not like I’m offending any of my ancestors), I wanted to take that concept of a ricotta stuffed pie and presentation, and really sort of make it my own. Well, that, and I had a ton of leftover ricotta from making my dandelion petit gateau, and I had to get rid of it somehow.

Since I did not want to double dip on the ricotta cheesecake, I decided to make this dessert chocolate-driven. The crust, I made it Oreo-flavored, inspired by techniques I learned as a stage at L’Espalier in Boston. I used a combination of cocoa, misugaru(Korean grain blend), and activated charcoal to achieve that yummy Oreo flavor, but to also give it the dark Oreo color. For the filling, I decided to make a cannoli cream, whipping the ricotta with sugar, chopped dark chocolate, a tiny bit of vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and an egg, just to bring it all together into a cohesive filling. I also did a simple garnish of espresso mascarpone, just small dollops of it to help hold the cookies in place.

Processed with VSCO with g3 preset

For the dough:
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3 tablespoons misugaru powder
1 stick unsalted butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cold water
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon activated charcoal powder

Combine all of your dry ingredients first. Start blending in the butter, then use the water to bring it all together into a cohesive dough. Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes. Roll, on a floured surface, to about 1/16th an inch thick, and cut out a 6 inch ring. Place into the bottom of a 6 inch ring mold. Cut about 2 inch wide strips of the dough and press those into the side of the ring mold, cutting off any excess. Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork. Line the entire mold with parchment and weigh down. Bake at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes.

While the base is baking, make sure to create a top crust with the remaining dough. For mine, I went ahead and did a lattice, but you can really do whatever you want, so long as there are holes in it for the ricotta filling to rise up through. Remove the weights and parchment, then pour in your filling, and then add on top your lattice or top crust. Return to the oven for another 45 minutes. Cool completely before unmolding.

Using your reserve dough, roll out again to 1/16th inch thickness and cut out desired shapes. Bake on a lined sheet tray at 375 degrees F for 12 minutes.

For the filling:
12 oz ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/4 cup semolina flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
a pinch of cinnamon
a pinch of nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped or mini chocolate chips
a pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Combine ricotta with baking powder, sugar, spices, and the egg first, whipping until creamy and smooth. Fold in the semolina next. Add in your chocolate chips. Refrigerate until it is time to pour into the tart crust.

For the espresso mascarpone:
4 oz mascarpone cheese
1 teaspoon instant espresso
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
a pinch of salt

Whip together until creamy then transfer to a piping bag.

To plate:
Once the dessert is cooled completely, unmold. Pipe on dollops of the cream then garnish with powdered sugar, and finally, your cookies.

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