Let these chocolate cups filled with cannoli cream be the sweet start to a new year
Like the start of a new year, chocolate dessert cups waiting to be filled are brimming with possibilities. Here, that potential is realized in a sumptuous and healthful treat, loaded with cannoli-style ricotta cream and fresh raspberries. Accented with mint leaves and showered with confectioners' sugar, it's a dessert that has the sparkle and elegance to match a glass of bubbly and set just the right mood for watching the ball drop.
Depending on what you are up for, preparing them can be a total breeze. You could purchase premade chocolate cups, or for a relatively easy project in the kitchen, you could make your own.
To go the DIY route, you'll need a set of mini-muffin-sized silicone baking cups and a small, clean paint brush. With these tools at hand, you then melt the chocolate in a double boiler. I use a shortcut tempering method where most of the chocolate is melted initially, but some is held back and stirred in to melt once the bowl is off the heat. This helps bring the temperature of the chocolate down gradually and yields a better-quality final product.
Then, in what feels like a relaxed arts-and-crafts project, you fill the silicone cups about a third of the way with melted chocolate, and use the paintbrush to spread it evenly to the top of the cup. Once the cups chill in the refrigerator for a half-hour, you pop them out of the liners. It's not hard to do, but a couple may crack in the process, so I suggest making a few extra to account for that.
The rest of the recipe is effortless: You make the ricotta cream by beating the cheese until smooth, sweeten it lightly with confectioners' sugar and brighten it with a touch of lemon zest. Then, dollop the cream into the cups, top with the raspberries, add a mint leaf to each, and shower them all with confectioner's sugar.
The result is a beautiful dessert, which is just as I hope the year ahead will be — sweet, healthy and filled with good things.
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Chocolate Cups With Ricotta Cream and Raspberries
Active time: 1 hour | Total time: 1 hour 45 minutes
8 servings; makes 16 cups
Brimming with cannoli-style ricotta cream and fresh raspberries, garnished with mint and showered with confectioner's sugar, these elegant chocolate cups are a sumptuous and healthful treat. They can be ready effortlessly if you buy chocolate cups, or you can embrace the easy arts-and-crafts-like project of making the cups yourself. To do so, you'll need a set of mini-muffin-size silicone baking cups and a small, clean paint brush.
Make Ahead: The chocolate cups may be made, then filled with ricotta and topped with raspberries, up to 1 day in advance; store tightly covered in the refrigerator.
6 ounces (170 grams) dark chocolate (60 to 70%), chopped (may substitute sixteen ([1/2]-ounce) chocolate dessert cups, see headnote)
2/3 cup (150 grams) whole milk ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar, plus more for garnish
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
6 ounces fresh raspberries
16 small fresh mint leaves
If making the chocolate cups, melt three-quarters of the chocolate (about 4-1/2 ounces/130 grams) in a bowl set over a pot with about 2 inches of barely simmering water (make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water). Transfer to a towel-lined counter (this helps the bowl to stay put), add the remaining chocolate, and stir until completely melted.
Fill a silicone baking cup about a third of the way with the chocolate, then, using the paint brush, spread the chocolate to the top of each cup, layering the sides as thickly as possible. Repeat with the remaining chocolate and silicone cups. Place the filled cups onto a large, rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes. Carefully pop the chocolate cups out of the liners.
In a small bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the ricotta cheese until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Stir in the sugar and the lemon zest.
Using a small spoon, fill each chocolate cup with about 2 teaspoons of the ricotta mixture. (Alternately, you can transfer the mixture to a piping bag fitted with a narrow tip and pipe the mixture into the cups.) Top each cup with 2 to 3 raspberries. Garnish with a mint leaf and sprinkle with additional confectioners' sugar right before serving.
Recipe from dietitian and food columnist Ellie Krieger.
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