Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Orange Cannoli Cheesecake

I’ve been making a cheesecake every Easter for nearly a decade now! This year was my 11th year of this tradition. Hard to believe it’s been that long since I was in college making these with my roommates…

It’s getting more difficult to find a unique flavor that I haven’t made in the past, but I save cheesecake recipes throughout the year in preparation. This year I found an amazing recipe for orange cannoli cheesecake. Cannoli are one of my very favorite desserts, especially love them from Mazzaro’s Italian Market in St. Pete. (By the way, did you know a single cannoli is called a “cannolo”? Just learned that now…cannoli is actually the plural form…)

The hardest part of this recipe was actually finding cannoli shells that weren’t already filled. I’m sure if I drove to a specialty market or bakery, it would have worked out fine, but I was on the hunt late at night and ended up at 4 grocery stores before I found them (none at Trader Joes or Sprouts, Publix wouldn’t sell them empty since they didn’t have a SKU for them, so I ended up at Whole Foods).  

This cheesecake uses ricotta instead of cream cheese and is topped with a layer of cannoli filling, pistachios, Trader Joe’s candied orange slices, and couple cannoli for decoration.

We had a family potluck at our house with 16 people this year – all the food was delicious but I especially loved my mom’s cute chick deviled eggs!

We had plenty of leftovers because there was so much food. Plus, my grandpa brought a Goody Goody strawberry pie for dessert so we had lots of sweets.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Easter spent with loved ones. Check out the recipe below if you want to make this cake for yourself (or come to our house quickly if you want some leftovers!)

Orange Cannoli Cheesecake (adapted from Creative Culinary)

Crust Ingredients:
  • 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 T granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup butter
Cake Ingredients:
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup plus 1 T all purpose flour
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp freshly grated orange peel
  • 2 T orange juice
  • 7 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
Topping & Garnish Ingredients:
  • 4 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp fresh orange zest
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 ½ cups shelled pistachios, chopped
  • Candied orange slices
  • 8 cannoli shells (we only used 2 for the actual cheesecake and the rest for filling with the extra cannoli cream)


1. Place ricotta cheese into a fine mesh strainer and place in the fridge for at least 12 hours and up to 24 to drain (I ended up patting mine with paper towels to remove the excess moisture)

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

3. Spray a 9” springform pan with cooking spray (I use coconut oil spray)

4. Combine all crust ingredients together and press evenly into the bottom of the pan and ½” up the sides of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes and allow to cool before filling.

5. In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat the 2 cups of ricotta and granulated sugar until smooth. Beat in flour, vanilla, orange peel, and orange juice. Add beaten eggs, one at a time, and blend on low speed until just incorporated.

6. Sprinkle chocolate chips with flour (to keep them from settling to the bottom of the pan). Sift out the flour and add the chips to filling. Mix gently and pour into the prepared pan.

7. Fill a large baking pan with 1” hot water. Place the springform cheesecake pan into the baking pan and bake for 75 minutes, or until center is almost set.

8. Carefully remove the pan from the oven and place the springform pan on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.

9. Run a sharp knife around the edges of the pan to loosen. Let cool for an additional hour then remove the pan. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

10. For the cannoli filling, combine the ricotta, powdered sugar, vanilla, orange zest, ¾ cup of the chocolate chips, and ¾ cup of the pistachios.

11. Pipe filling into the cannoli shells and dip the ends into the remaining chocolate chips.

12. Spread the remaining cannoli cream over the cheesecake. Arrange the candied orange slices around the edge of the cake, sprinkle the remaining pistachios in the center of the cake, and top with cannoli.

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