We may be a Boston-based operation, but that doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate (read: adore) the West Coast. Mary just gave us yet another reason to dream of a warmer, more citrus-y state (of mind)… -Amy
I’m a New England girl. Born and raised, and committed to living here in sort of a heels-dug-in way that goes beyond just owning a house and having most of my family within a 3-hour radius. This place is in my blood, with its seasons and rocky shoreline and history. I love all of it.
But then a weird thing happened when I went to California.
My sister and her family live just outside of Los Angeles, and she likes to torture me by sending me Bon Appétit-worthy photos of perfectly sliced, seriously gorgeous heirloom tomatoes from her garden and – say whaaaat? – lemons from the lemon tree in her backyard.
And when my husband and I finally flew out to visit her (as well as to see our best friends who had recently moved to Laguna Beach), we saw firsthand the utter abundance of fruit that those glorious tomato plants and that lemon tree produced. And their next door neighbor’s persimmon tree hung over their driveway and they were allowed whatever fruit they wanted from that, too. Nobigdeal.
Further south, our newly-transplanted best friends – one half of the pair a master gardener – proudly showed off the amazing plantings they had put throughout their new property, not the least of which were lime, lemon, and several varieties of orange trees.
Personal citrus trees? Yes, please. And pair the ability to grow pretty much anything with year-round, seamless living between indoors and out, and you had two hard-core New Englanders falling hard for the California landscape and lifestyle.
When we returned home, we began checking out West Coast real estate. I read up on the best places to live, started loosely planning a road trip up coastal Route 1, and searched for road races to enter that would give us an excuse to get back to California – as soon as possible.
Eventually, we settled back into our normal day-to-day routines. And then fall came, my favorite time of year, and I remembered how the one and only thing my sister says she misses about living in New England is the fall. So, for now, our relo dreams are on hold, tempered only by knowing that pretty much any time we want, we can escape there to the welcome homes of some dear friends and family.
Recently, on a particularly annoying post-snowstorm day, we received a surprise package in the mail from our friends in Laguna Beach: a big box of citrus, freshly picked from their garden. They were, without a doubt, some of the tastiest tangerines, clementines, limes, and Meyer lemons we’ve ever had. It might have been my most favorite piece of mail ever; and for someone with my online shopping prowess, that’s saying something.
These simple little cannoli cups are the result the perfect storm of a) being heavily Italian and always looking for an excuse to eat cannoli, and b) not wanting to waste even one of those fabulous Meyer lemons. (I used the rest for Maggie’s limoncello, which I am overly excited to try.) Of course, regular lemons will do for this recipe, but if you can find Meyer lemons at your local market (and this time of year, the probability is high that you will), don’t hesitate to pick them up and use them. Their sweeter, almost orangey taste makes them a perfect choice for a dessert like this, and they lend a subtle, fresh taste to the ricotta filling that hints at the warm weather to come. Polar vortex, be gone!
Meyer Lemon Mini Cannoli Cups
Makes: 10 to 12 cannoli cups
Ingredients:For the Filling
- 1 15 oz. container of whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 Meyer lemons, zested and juiced
- 2 refrigerated pie crusts
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Prepare the filling by combining all the ingredients in a bowl and mixing with an electric mixer until well-combined. Refrigerate for at least an hour and up to 2 days.
- Preheat oven to 425. Roll out the pie crusts and sprinkle each with sugar and cinnamon, and use a rolling pin to lightly roll over the dough, pushing the cinnamon and sugar into the crust. Using a biscuit cutter, cut out circles in the dough. Depending on the size of the biscuit cutter, you should be able to get 10 or 12 circles from the dough.
- Gently press the circles into ungreased cupcake pans, forming individual cups. Prick the bottoms of the cups with a fork and bake for 8-10 minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Fill a plastic zip bag with the ricotta mixture, snip off a corner of the bag, and pipe the mixture into the cooled cups. Serve and enjoy!
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