I was inspired to create this quick, no-cook pastry cream by my husband, who stared at the mini cannoli shells in my freezer and said, “When are you going to do something with these things?” And then, “Wouldn’t it be cool if you filled them with some kind of cream mixed with one of your Freakin’ Flamingo jams?” It was, as they say in the commercial, an “AhHah!” moment.
Because I tend to leave certain details to the last minute, I’m often in the situation of needing a fast and easy solution for dessert. Some things I always keep in my freezer: puff pastry sheets, puff pastry shells, and mini-fillo (phyllo) tart shells. They’re my go-to’s for last-minute snacks and sweets, and sometimes my inspirations for savory appetizers and main dishes. This time, I had some store-bought cannoli shells in the freezer, and thought that they’d be a perfect vehicle to show off this easy and fast pastry cream. No eggs, no cooking, no baking, and ready in minutes! The secret’s in the jam. 😉
This recipe will fill 24 mini cannoli shells, 30 mini fillo (phyllo) tart shells, or about 12 cream puffs. Double the recipe or more, as needed. Your calculator is your friend. Doesn’t everyone keep one in the kitchen?
Quick, No-Cook Pastry Cream
- 4 Tbs. (2 oz.) mascarpone or regular cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
- 3-4 Tbs. jam (preferably your favorite Freakin’ Flamingo® flavor)
- 1/2 cup whipping cream (regular or heavy)
- electric hand mixer
- quart-sized storage/freezer bag
- large star pastry/frosting decorating tip (optional)
In a medium-sized bowl, beat the cream cheese with a hand-held electric mixer (I used the whisk attachment on my hand blender), till it’s fluffy.
Add the remaining ingredients, one by one, beating thoroughly and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition, until the cream is completely mixed, and there are no white streaks remaining.
If using a decorating tip, snip off one of the bottom corners of the plastic bag, and attach the tip. Load the pastry cream into the bag, and squeeze the cream down into the corner.
If you don’t have any decorating tips, no problem! Just load the cream into the bag, and then snip off one corner. You won’t get the pretty ridges, but you will get equally pretty pillows and peaks. Don’t sweat it.
Squeeze the bag gently and fill your chosen vehicle of deliciousness, whether it’s tart shells (you don’t even need to thaw those mini shells ahead of time – they’ll be thawed and ready to eat by the time you’ve finished filling them!), cannoli shells, cream puffs, or whatever you like! If the cream gets a little too warm and soft, just pop it into the refrigerator for 10 minutes, and you’ll be good to go again.
Serve immediately, or refrigerate until ready to serve.
Here’s a helpful hint if you need a “third hand”: Put the plastic bag into a taller container (I used the mixing container that came with my hand blender, but you could use a tall glass, or nearly anything handy!), turning down a collar over the top edge, then load the cream into the bag. Keep it nearby in case you need to set down your new piping bag before you’re finished. Your work area stays neat and clean!
Decorate as desired or appropriate by sprinkling on a bit of colored or flavored sugar, chopped nuts, or whatever you have (candy confetti, nonpareils, dragees, jimmies, etc.) that coordinates with your chosen flavor and the occasion. Here, I used Freakin’ Flamingo® Strawberry Joe Jam, and accented with coffee-flavored sugar.
Now you’re always ready for treat times, holidays, or any special occasion… like movie night!