Chocolate Cinnamon Cannoli Tart


All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

Follow @celisemccarthy

I had a really brutal holiday season.  Very isolated (right down to a three day stint with no internet or cable) where the only people I saw for days on end were the AT&T techs that came to my house a few times a day for a few days.  I used this as an excuse to drink champagne before noon & cook myself foolish and I ate enough for a small family.

Christmas night – I accidentally locked myself into a storage closet that is little more than a bunker because I had no idea that the door locked at all – let alone from the outside.  Me & three dogs locked in a windowless room in the deepest recess of my house – a room most of my friends do not even know exists.  A series of UNBELIEVABLY LUCKY breaks is all that stands between me typing this now & me, officially missing, locked in a small room with three pooping & peeing dogs & a case of wine with no wine opener.  The luck came in these forms:

1) I had recently (like – last week) installed a light in there that could be turned on from INSIDE the room.

2) I had my cell phone with me.

3) My phone MIRACULOUSLY got cell service – despite the fact that it hardly gets service anywhere in my house.

4) I had a little tool box in there with a hammer, screwdriver & pliers.

5) The door is hinged on the inside.

So – I called my mother in Boston (at 1:30am her time) and my boyfriend in Arkansas to tell them I was trapped.  I called a local friend, my friend Dave, and told him how to break into my house.  My plan was to just sleep in there & have him bust me out in the AM.  I think it was my mother who asked if I had tools & when I confirmed that I did – she told me to take the door off the hinges which, feeling VERY McGyver-esque – I did.

So – I am not a week of no food thinner, nor are my hands & throat bloodied from efforts to escape or draw someone’s attention to my predicament.  A week long fast might not have been the worst thing – but a week in the dark with three hungry dogs and lots of poop would have REALLY warped my mind.

Anyway – so on December 31, I decided to make a decadent dessert to bring as an offering to the party I was to attend that night.  It would be the first time I did ANYTHING remotely social since Christmas eve and I was desperate for a way to shed the self pity & negativity I had wallowed in for a week.  I had almond bark in the fridge that I had made on Xmas eve.  I decided to break some of that up & use it in a cannoli tart.  I also decided to make the ricotta cheese required from scratch, too.   You can just use store bought ricotta & chocolate chips, though.

After I made the ricotta cheese & the made (and chilled) the cinnamon crust & then the cannoli filling – I assembled and baked this gorgeous tart.  Because the ricotta was homemade – I expected a lighter, fluffier result.  The smells of cinnamon & chocolate filled my house.

I took the tart out of the oven & went to sprinkle it with powdered sugar.  Alas – I had none – so I used some Ghiradelli ground chocolate & cocoa.



White would be prettier but whatever.  I photographed this guy extensively because I never post desserts & I wanted to get this first effort just right.  I reached into the cabinet overhead for a plate I could transport the tart on.  I selected one & closed the cabinets.  As I popped off a few final shots, lamenting the fact that I couldn’t get a shot of it SLICED, I heard a rumble.  Suddenly, the cabinet doors I had just closed burst open & the cabinet began vomiting a torrent of dishes, both plastic & ceramic, all over my counter & floor.  It was so loud & sudden it nearly gave me a heart attack.  When it was over – I calmed myself & assessed the damage.  Several broken plates, glass everywhere and one DOA assassinated Chocolate Cinnamon Cannoli Tart.


I almost cried.  The dishes didn’t matter.  The tart!!!  I had worked so lovingly on it.  And there wasn’t time to make another – even from store bought ricotta.  I would have to go to my party empty-handed.  😦

So – at a loss as to what else I could do –  I cut out a nice slice from an unmarred section & took these photos.


I tasted it, too.  It was incredible.  Just as light & subtle (not too sweet) as I’d hoped.  I kept this slice in the fridge & sampled it last night after a day of chilling.  It took on a more dense, cheesecake-like quality & remained delicious!  So – while nobody else got to taste this baby, I recommend you try it.  With store-bought ricotta & chocolate chips (and powdered sugar) – you could do this fairly easily & it should look as lovely as it tastes.




Chocolate Cannoli Tart



2 1/2 cups ricotta (instructions on EASY homemade ricotta HERE.  It will net you just under 2 cups – so I added 1/2 cup of store-bought. If you are making ricotta you need: 9 cups whole milk, 1 cup buttermilk, salt & white vinegar.)

1 egg

1 TBS sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup chocolate chips – more for melting if you want to garnish with a chocolate drizzle

powdered sugar as a topping – or cocoa – or shave a candy bar (dark or white chocolate) over the tart as garnish – or drizzle melted chocolate chips


2 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 heaping tsp cinnamon

6 TBS cold butter – cubed

1 egg

1-3 TBS milk – or more


Make the ricotta – directions HERE.  Or use store-bought.

Make the crust in a food processor.  Blend the flour, sugar, salt & cinnamon.  Add the butter in pieces & pulse to incorporate.  Add the egg & the milk (one TBS at a time) & pulse until a ball forms that travels around the bowl.  You might need less than 3 TBS of milk – maybe more.


Roll the ball of dough round & press into a circle.  Place it between two pieces of parchment paper & roll it out until it is big enough for your tart pan.  I made mine kinda too big but I like a rustic look.  Grease your tart pan (or spring form pan) & press your crust into the pan.  Chill for at least 30 minutes.



For the filling – use your food processor to blend the ricotta, sugar, egg & vanilla.  Do not over process this.  Add the chocolate chips & pulse to mix them in.


Pour this into your chilled crust.  Know that the filling will rise up a bit to do not over-fill your crust.  Bake at 350 for 25-35 minutes.  Mine was done in 30.

Let the tart cool completely.  Then – sprinkle powdered sugar or cocoa over the tart or melt some extra chocolate chips & drizzle them over it or shave a dark or white chocolate bar over the tart.



3 thoughts on “Chocolate Cinnamon Cannoli Tart

  1. cheesus H mcgillicutty christ, C- next time you’re in a wallow place, just know all you need do is give a shout, we’ll magically(penn & teller like) transport you to town here, (w/doggletts, of course), and your oom is waiting for you here at casa-de-musica, aka the gimpy-rat-cat hotel. (I can teach you a trick from girrrl scouts on how to make keys out of a wire and a smile.) Happy New Your. (sic-intended)


  2. Pingback: Chocolate, Cheesecake, Pumpkin & Pecan Layered Pie with a Shortening-free Pie Crust | Delightful-Delicious-Delovely

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