When it comes to baking, Martha both appreciates the classics and isn't afraid to buck tradition. For example, she loves a proper Sicilian cannoli, but she's also reimagined the pastry as a delectable dessert dip. And she's not stopping there—this week on Martha Bakes, she's making a towering cannoli cake with an ingredient she always has stashed in the freezer: puff pastry (Martha makes her own, but the store-bought all-butter kind also works beautifully). Instead of frying the dough, she bakes it into rounds, then broils them with powdered sugar until caramelized and golden. And because she can't resist making a showstopping dessert, Martha paints the sides with dark chocolate and rolls them in the most verdant chopped pistachios.
And what about the filling? It's no slouch, either. Dark chocolate and candied orange peel are stirred into vanilla- and cinnamon-spiced ricotta, and freshly whipped cream is folded in to give it the most ethereal texture. Get an early look at the recipe below, then be sure to tune into Martha Bakes this weekend to watch Martha work her magic with two other kinds of cheese: farmer cheese in a simple French tart, and cream cheese in a sensational babka.
Puff-Pastry Cannoli Cake
The best part about having a pistachio mosaic on the sides of the cake? No frosting required! Simply spread the pastry rounds with the ricotta filling and stack away.
New York's Breads Bakery is renowned for its babka, a dense, sweet bread that can be swirled with everything from chocolate to walnuts. Inspired by another beloved dessert, head pastry chef Edan Leshnick adds a rich cream cheese filling to the spectacular loaf he bakes with Martha.
Martha Bakes season 11 airs on PBS stations nationwide (check local listings).