I’m a big fan of the wonderful Italian pastry called cannoli – especially the filling of fresh ricotta, candied zest and chocolate. My dessert swaps the cannoli’s crunchy cylinder of deep-fried dough for a large succulent strawberry. I’ve also replaced the ricotta in the filling with low-fat cream cheese, because ricotta is too wet for this recipe. (You can use full-fat cream cheese if you want, but I think the low-fat is actually quite satisfying, and who needs the extra calories?) The creamy filling and chocolate chunks are a great counterpoint to the tart strawberries.
Makes 4 servings
Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Total preparation time: 20 minutes
8 large strawberries (about 1 pound)
2 ounces low-fat cream cheese (about 1/4 cup), softened
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 ounce bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped candied orange rind
Cut each strawberry in half lengthwise through the cap. Arrange the strawberry halves, cut side up, on a serving plate. Trim a thin slice from the bottom if necessary to make each half sit evenly. Using a small spoon or melon baller, scoop out a hollow in the center of the cut side of each strawberry. Reserve the strawberry scraps for another use (or eat them.)
Combine the cream cheese and sugar in a small bowl; stir in the chocolate and orange zest. Divide the cream cheese mixture into the hollows in the strawberries and serve or refrigerate, covered, for up to 1 hour.