Cannoncini alla Crema Pasticcera (Puff Pastry Mini Cannoli Cones), a quick, easy, and delicious dessert made of store-bought all-butter puff pastry shaped into mini cannoli cones and filled with homemade vanilla bean pastry cream. These Cannoncini alla Crema Pasticcera are always present in Italy on dessert trays at festive gatherings.
Song of the day: Shake up Christmas - Train.
This early morning, on our way to the farmer's market, Loreto was driving along the beautiful river valley road, I was on the passenger seat, and the radio was set on the Acoustic Christmas Pop station.
It was still dark, but you could see a gleaming light on the horizon, announcing a beautiful day. I was taking it all in, the cityscape, the soft tunes in the background, my love close to me. And as the scenery was moving fast on the other side of the window, I was at peace, a content smile on my face. I counted all the blessings I had in my life, grateful for what the Universe had decided to bring me, mentally saluting all the wonderful people I had the pleasure to encounter, to share my path with.
With the music playing and the sound of the truck roaring down the road, I was led in my mind to a state of reflection. Thinking about my family far away, on the other side of an immense ocean, thinking of people that are no longer with us, my dear nonni, Loreto's dad. Christmas has shaped into a different thing for both of us after they're passing, but no one can erase the beautiful memories of the best Christmases ever. Also thinking of what Christmas would have been like if our babies had decided to stay with us instead of leaving us way too soon. One would be almost 7 years old, the other 6, what a whirlwind our life would have been, but how beautiful all the same.
I guess some of life's hardest lessons have made me a little insecure. So, every time I bake, there is this battalion of thoughts challenging my confidence. However, Loreto slides across the floor with a cape around his neck to take those thoughts and throw them into oblivion. Then, he proceeds to fill those thoughts with nothing but loving kindness and reassurance that anything that I bake, make, or do, is going to be incredible.
Loreto has this wonderful tool called rationality, that I seem to be missing from my toolbox. He always asks me "Out of all of the things you've ever baked how many were a flop? And How many people didn't like them?" Honestly, when I think about the answer, not very many.
These Cannoncini alla Crema Pasticcera (Puff Pastry Mini Cannoli Cones) are among my success side of things. They are dainty and cute, easy to eat and look beautiful on a tray. The aroma of the vanilla bean releases nothing but good hormones and there is something about that buttery fragrance that evokes beautiful smiles.
When you bite into one, the flakiness of the puff pastry blends beautifully with the silkiness and lusciousness of the pastry cream. If you opted for a dusting of icing sugar, you might end up with fun whisps of sugar on your face and maybe clothes. Whether an adult or a child, these Cannoncini alla Crema Pasticcera (Puff Pastry Mini Cannoli Cones) would bring joy and laughter to your festive table.
From our kitchen to yours, Buon Natale! Merry Christmas!
Song of the day: Shake up Christmas - Train.Print
- 1 sheet all-butter puff pastry, thawed
- 1 egg, lightly beaten, for brushing
- granulated sugar or cane sugar, for sprinkling
- icing sugar, for dusting (optional)
- 4 egg yolks, organic free-range
- 140 g granulated sugar
- 40 g cornstarch
- 400 ml milk
- 100 ml half and half cream or whipping cream
- 1 vanilla bean
- With a small knife cut the vanilla bean lengthwise and extract the seeds. The pod will go to flavor the milk in the pot, while the seeds will be added to the mixture of egg yolks and sugar.
- In a pot with a thick bottom, pour the milk and cream (if you prefer, you can use all milk). Add the vanilla bean pod and bring everything close to a boil.
- In a bowl, add the yolks (reserve the whites in a small Tupperware for another baking project), the seeds of the vanilla, and the sugar. Whisk everything quickly and well (if you leave the sugar in contact with the egg yolks it absorbs the watery part, crystallizing the proteins and making them insoluble).
- Sift the cornstarch directly into the bowl with the egg mixture. Stir to incorporate.
- Remove the vanilla bean pod from the pot. Add a ladle of warm milk to the egg mixture to temper the eggs and blend with a whisk. Then, pour the mixture into the pot with the rest of the milk.
- Let it thicken over low heat, stirring constantly with the whisk.
- Pour it immediately into a bowl. The ideal would be to have a larger bowl with ice in which to place the smaller bowl with cream inside to cool it quickly, mixing with the whisk. At this point, the custard is ready to be used; otherwise, cover the top with plastic wrap ensuring that the plastic wrap is in contact with the surface of the cream. Let it cool at room temperature first, then in the fridge.
- Preheat the oven to 390°F (200°C).
- Unroll the puff pastry and you will have a rectangle. Running parallel along the long side of the rectangle, with a pizza cutter or a sharp knife, cut the dough into 12 strips, about 2 (two) centimeters wide.
- Brush the lightly beaten egg along the strips.
- Roll each strip on a metal cannoli cone greased with butter and flour starting from the pointed side. Slightly overlap each turn of dough, keeping the egg wash side up so it will be the glue to hold the cannoncini layers together.
- Press the dough a little at the two ends to fix the dough on the cannoli cone. Sprinkle the top with granulated (or raw cane) sugar.
- Arrange all the cannoncini sugar side up on a wire rack lined with parchment paper, and place it on a baking sheet.
- Bake the cannoncini in the preheated oven in the middle rack for about 18-20 minutes, checking them often. Look for that nice golden color and puffed texture.
- Take out of the oven, let cool on wire rack, then gently release the cannoncini squeezing the mold a bit to decrease its circumference with one hand while gently holding the puff pastry with the other hand.
- Once cooled, fill them with the pastry cream with a piping bag with a star tip.
- Dust with icing sugar (optional), arrange on a tray and serve.
Make sure to buy all-butter puff pastry for best results.
I bought the metal cannoli cones in Italy. If you cannot find them here, you can make the cones out of foil paper and parchment paper.
Also, for best results, the cannoncini should be filled not long before serving so that the pastry remains crisp and does not become moisten.
You might have some pastry cream leftover. It might be enough for two sheets of puff pastry.
You could fill your cannoncini with chocolate, whipping cream, chantilly cream or lemon custard.
The cannoncini keep for about 2 days in the refrigerator, even though they will tend to absorb the moisture of the cream gradually losing their flakiness.
You can keep the un-filled cannoncini in a tin box for 4-5 days and then fill them when you are going to serve them. Freezing is not recommended.
- Prep Time: 1 hour
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: puff pastry, pastry cream. vanilla bean, icing sugar, dessert, holidays
I love baking and kneading dough because it takes me to a happy place in my soul.