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.
- 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.