The Honeycrisp apple, developed in Wisconsin, is known for its tart juiciness. For Jasper Mirabile of Jasper’s Ristorante in Kansas City, this beloved apple creates the perfect fall version of the classic Italian cannoli.
Mirabile grew up loving cannoli, the crispy shells stuffed with sweetened ricotta cheese and often embellished with candied fruit and chocolate. He has declared September as National Cannoli Month, a tongue-in-cheek reference to his penchant for noting every national hamburger, apple pie or hot dog day in social media posts.
But his love for cannoli is no joke. He has been “on the cannoli trail” for years, compiling cannoli recipes, both savory and sweet, in a file he hopes to turn into a book. “My favorite cannoli memory was when we ate them at my cousin’s home in Gibellina,” a small town in the mountains of central Sicily, he recalls.
Mirabile’s cannoli starts with ricotta cheese he makes at the restaurant. “Ricotta is the easiest, fastest cheese to make,” he says.
He heats full fat Shatto milk to 210 degrees, takes it off the heat, then adds lemon juice to separate the milk into tiny curds. “When I was growing up, everyone made their own ricotta at home,” he says. If you use commercial ricotta, Mirabile recommends transferring it to a strainer and letting the extra liquid drain into a bowl. Use the thicker ricotta for the cannoli filling and the liquid for soups or pasta sauce—or to water the plants.
For caramel sauce, Jasper suggests Christopher Elbow’s caramel sauce available at Glacé or the goat’s milk caramel sauce (also known as cajeta) from Borgman’s Dairy Farm, available at Hen House. “Drizzle the cannoli with warm caramel, add some local chopped pecans and join in on the celebration” he says. “It doesn’t get any better than that!”
HONEYCRISP APPLE CANNOLI WITH CARAMEL SAUCE AND PECANS
1 pound homemade or drained ricotta cheese
1 cup confectioners’ sugar (plus more for dusting)
2 Honeycrisp apples, cored and minced
1/4 cup caramel sauce, plus more for serving
6-8 cannoli shells
Toasted Missouri pecans for garnish
Place the ricotta cheese in a large mixing bowl and fold in the confectioners’ sugar. Add the minced apple and caramel sauce and mix gently to combine. Refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours before serving. To serve, fill the shells with the ricotta mixture and dust them with confectioners’ sugar. If you like, serve with additional caramel sauce, warmed, and a scattering of toasted Missouri pecans.