Archive for ‘Puddings and gelatin desserts’

November 20, 2011

Cranberry Sauce

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February 3, 2010

Crème Brûlée

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December 20, 2009

Budino di pane

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January 1, 2009

Cannoli Filling


I am posting this recipe in two parts for a few reasons, primary because with the shells recipe and the filling, this becomes a grossu entry.  Also, if you are using store purchased cannoli shells, you won’t need to weed through the shell recipe to make filling.

The filling for cannoli has a very simple base recipe that allows you to get very creative.  After you create the base, you can fold in diced dried candied fruit – such as you would use for fruit cakes, chocolate chips, shaved candy bars – I prefer Andes mint shavings, minced nuts – like pistachio, spices – like cinnamon or nutmeg, liquor – such as Kahlua or brandy or rum, citrus zest – oranges work well, marachino cherries, or you can leave it plain.  Keep in mind that a cannolo is about five inches long and so your filling is four inches long by one inch diameter – in other words, a little goes a long way.

When filling cannoli, only do it right before serving, as the filling can make the shell soggy.  It is also best if you chill the filling in your pastry bag (or as you will see me use, a zip loc baggie) for about 20 minutes in the freezer before filling, so that it is very firm.

Ricotta should be whole milk, not even reduced fat.  The skim or low fat ricotta tends to have more run off which will cause the filling to be more runny – not a good thing at all.

You can dress up your serving plate with a powdered sugar dusted paper doily, drizzled melted chocolate, or powdered sugar.  I serve mine with a fork, but that is more for just scooping up any filling that falls out.  Cannoli was meant to be picked up and eaten as it is a carnival treat in Sicily.


1     15 oz. container of whole milk ricotta

3/4 cup powdered sugar

  • In a large mixing bowl, blend both ingredients throughly on low speed with an electric mixer.
  • Do not over beat, only beat until mixed.
  • Using a spatula, fold in any selected add ins.
  • Pack filling into an air tight container or pastry bag.
  • Chill before using to fill cannoli tubes.

If using add ins, I have listed below the measuring amount that you want to use.  Remember for all solid add ins, to reduce the amount of each if you are adding in more than one:

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon*
  • 1 teaspoon liquor
  • 1 tablespoon dried candied fruit, diced
  • 1 tablespoon citrus zest
  • 1 tablespoon semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon coconut, shaved
  • 1 tablespoon pistachio nuts, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ice cream sprinkles
  • 1 tablespoon chocolate candy bar, shaved or grated

*McCormick makes a cinnamon spice with a built in grater that is awesome for grinding fresh cinnamon.  Each bottle is less than $2 and I absolutely love this!


January 1, 2009

Grape Salad

I don’t know if this recipe was my grandmother’s or if she got it elsewhere, she was a very creative cook; but it was one of my favourite fruit salads she would make and every time I make it people tell me how much they love it and ask for the recipe.

Ingredientsgrape salad

4 cups of seedless grapes*
8 oz tub whipped cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
1 cup whipped topping
1/4 cup powdered sugar
*I like to do half red and half green but my dad had written down just green, I seem to recall grandma using both colours.

  • In a medium bowl, blend cream cheese, sour cream, whipped topping and powdered
  • sugar.
  • Thoroughly wash and remove stems from grapes. Drain and shake dry.
  • Fold grapes into cream mixture and transfer to serving dish.
January 1, 2009

Budino al Cioccolato

Chocolate pudding, Italian style.  Bill Cosby’s peddling can’t even come close to competing with this stuff.  And coming from a gal that abhors chocolate, this is actually pretty tasty because the chocolate doesn’t overwhelm the taste and texture.  This is very thick, almost like a mousse.  It is very easy to screw up, believe me, I speak from experience.  Don’t microwave the chocolate, don’t use coffee that is over 70 degrees, don’t overbeat the eggs or the whipping cream.  One wrong move on any of these steps and you’ll curdle the pudding or it will be flat instead of airy.

Separating egg whites from egg yolks is a little step that I used to hate.  My grandmother helped me master it.  I’ve tried the little gadgets that will separate them for you – but they are a waste of effort.  Once I finally got the knack of this down, I felt like I was ready to be the next greatest chef in the world of food.  And I love the awe and amazement look I get from my girls when they watch me do it effortlessly.  The trick is in breaking the egg.  If you can break it in the middle with a sharp break, you can use the egg shells to capture the yolk in a little two handed juggling act until just the yolk is tossed back and forth.

I top mine with homemade whipped cream, which is miles better than anything you’ll find at the grocery store and so easy a caveman could make it.

Ingredientsbudino 25

6 squares (1 oz. each) semi-sweet baking chocolate

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1/2 teaspoon iodized salt

4 egg yolks

6 Tablespoons granulated sugar

8 ounces Ricotta

2 Tablespoons strong coffee, room temperature


  • Moisten the outside of a large mixing bowl and place into the freezer for fifteen minutes.  Place your electric beaters into the bowl and allow all to chill.
  • Use a double boiler to melt the baking chocolate over low heat.  If you don’t have a double boiler, use a set of mixing bowls.  Fill the larger bowl with boiling water.  Lower the smaller bowl in, making sure that it floats on the water and none overflows into it.  Lay the chocolate squares into the smaller bowl and cover with a dishtowel and set aside.
  • Remove your chilled mixing bowl and pour in whipping cream.  Toss in salt and beat at a low speed until it starts to form peaks.  Don’t over beat.
  • Place in the fridge to keep cold.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, blend egg yolks and sugar thoroughly.
  • Add in Ricotta and coffee.  (If your coffee is too hot it will cook the eggs and curdle the cheese.  It needs to be room temperature.)
  • Stirring continuously, scrape in chocolate.
  • Using a fork, fold in whipped cream mixture.  Only blend until well mixed.  If you over beat it, it will fall.
  • Pour into a mold or oven safe serving dishes, bake at 150 degrees F for 20 minutes.
  • Remove and chill for about 3 hours.
  • Serve.

budino 2budino 5budino 11budino 13budino 17budino 19budino 23

January 1, 2009

Kansas Dirt Cake

My grandmother found this recipe in the paper and it was an instant hit in the family!  I have dressed this up for Halloween by adding gummy worms and making ‘headstones’ out of cookies.  My mom even served this in a large clay pot she lined with aluminium foil and put a fake plant in the top when she brought this to a family reunion.  You can freeze this as well.

This dessert is extremely rich and sweet no matter how you serve it.  As if we needed another excuse for loving Oreos!


1 package chocolate sandwich cookies *

2     3 oz boxes instant vanilla pudding

8 oz. cream cheese, softened (or whipped in the tub)

1 cup powdered sugar

1     16 oz. container whipped topping

3 cup whole milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

*As good as the Oreo Double Stuff are, they do not work well for this recipe.

  • Place cookies into a large quart size zip loc bag and crush with a rolling pin.
  • Layer one half of crushed cookies into the base of a 13 x 9 glass dish (or your choice serving dish)
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until softened.
  • Add in powdered sugar.
  • Fold in whipped topping.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, pour milk and powdered pudding mix.
  • Beat with electric mixer until well blended.
  • Pour pudding into cream cheese mixture.
  • Add vanilla and beat until smooth.
  • Spoon over cookie layer.
  • Layer remaining crushed cookies on top.
  • Chill and serve.