Hi Protein Chef! Cannolis are my all-time favorite treat, and I'd love to be able to include them in my diet without feeling guilty afterward. Is there a healthier version?
Cannoli, yum! Indulging once in a while is fine, but too many of those crispy shells and creamy-cheese centers can fry your diet quickly.
Don't fret, however. I'm a sucker for a challenge, so I decided to take these on and remake them as healthy protein concoctions.
First, I formed each cannoli shell by making a thick-ish protein pancake, frying it into shape with some low-calorie spray, and stuffing it with protein frosting before adding some melted chocolate and powdered Stevia for effect—you know, that irresistible, gotta-have-it, fresh-from-the-oven effect.
The trick is the "frying it into shape" part.
Normally, cannolis are made using cannoli molds—thick, short tubes you wrap pancakes around as you fry them to ensure they retain a tubular shape. They're not expensive, and you can easily get them online.
No cannoli molds? No problem. Just get a little inventive. While it's a bit trickier, you can use a fat raw cannelloni instead (which would be very apropos given that cannoli are related to cannelloni) or another thick tubular object.
Read through the recipe, and all shall become clear:
Anna's Protein Cannoli
- First, make your pancake mix by blending all the cannoli ingredients together. Fry up four little round pancakes in a hot non-stick pan coated with low-calorie spray or coconut oil. Bear in mind that you can make three bigger pancakes or even five smaller ones, depending on how big you like your cannoli. To make sure you don't overcook the pancakes, flip and remove them from the pan as soon as they're cooked, but before they brown.
- Wrap each pancake around a cannoli mold or raw cannelloni.
- Spray your non-stick pan with more low-calorie spray or coconut oil. Once it's hot, hot, hot, manually press your shaped pancake on it to fry each side. As you fry the pancake, you should notice it start to retain its tubular shape. Do this with all the pancakes.
- Once your pancakes are all cannoli-shaped, make your frosting by mixing the ricotta with the protein powder. You can do this in a bowl with a spoon.
- Make your own piping bag! Stick the filling mixture in a small ziplock bag and cut off the corner of the bag to transform it into a pastry chef's proper-presentation must.
- Stuff your cannoli.
- Garnish with melted chocolate, ground pistachios, or whatever you fancy.
Recipe yields 4 servings
Note: The method above still leaves the cannoli a bit pancakey instead of giving it that flat-out crunch. If you want to get the proper crispy texture, you have two options. Option one, use oil instead of low-calorie spray when you fry the cannoli into shape. Option two, start off with more of a dough instead of a batter and wrap that around each cannoli mold. I didn't do it this way because it's a bit more complicated, but it can certainly be done.