A light and flaky gluten free cannoli shell made with sweet Marsala wine and filled with ricotta and mascarpone cream may seem out of reach. Since we’ve made it (!), we know that it most certainly is not out of reach. But that doesn’t mean that sometimes you don’t want all the flavor without all those steps. When a shortcut is just what you need, this gluten free cannoli bread is there for you.
The signature flavors of cannoli are essential here. Namely, they are sweet Marsala wine (although I have a nonalcoholic suggestion below as a sub for those who need or want it), ricotta cheese, a bit of cinnamon, and mascarpone cheese. My idea of the perfect cannoli filling is packed with miniature chocolate chips, so of course they make an appearance here. I don’t care for a citrus flavor in my cannoli, but if you’re partial to some lemon zest, by all means add it into the dry ingredients at the start of the recipe. The zest of 1 lemon should satisfy.
Since this is a quick bread and not, well, a fried-to-perfection cannoli shell, the texture is distinct from the pastry. It’s a soft and tender, delightfully dense cake that hits all the right flavor notes. It’s perfect for a snack, or even for a bit of an indulgent breakfast.
Glazed Gluten Free Cannoli Bread
For the bread
1 3/4 cups (245 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter)
1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
1/2 cup (72 g) cornstarch (or try arrowroot or potato starch)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
6 tablespoons (84 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons (1 fluid ounce) Marsala wine (can substitute 1 1/2 tablespoons white grape juice + 1 1/2 teaspoons sherry vinegar), at room temperature
1 cup (240 g) ricotta cheese, at room temperature
2 eggs (100 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten
6 ounces miniature chocolate chips, tossed with 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch
For the glaze
2 ounces mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups (173 g) confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons milk at room temperature, plus more by the 1/4-teaspoon as necessary
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease well a standard 9-inch by 5-inch loaf pan and set it aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl with a hand mixer), place the flour blend, xanthan gum, cornstarch, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and sugar, and whisk to combine well with a separate, handheld whisk. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add the butter, wine, ricotta cheese, and eggs, mixing on medium speed to combine with the paddle attachment (or your handheld mixer) after each addition. The batter will be very thick. Add the chocolate chips tossed with cornstarch and mix with a spatula or spoon until the chips are evenly distributed throughout the batter. Scrape into the prepared baking pan and, with wet hands, smooth the top. To create a dome shape, run a wet spatula along the edges of the pan and pull the batter toward the center. For a uniform split down the center as the bread rises in the oven (instead of a more haphazard split), slash down the center of the loaf with a sharp knife, about 1/4-inch deep.
Place the pan in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F, and continue to bake for another 25 minutes, or until the top of the loaf springs back when pressed lightly and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with, at most, a few moist crumbs attached. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the loaf pan for 15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Once the bread is cool, make the glaze. In a medium-size bowl, place the mascarpone cheese and beat with a handheld mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat on low speed until just absorbed. Add the milk, and beat on high speed until very thickly pourable, adding more milk as necessary to achieve the proper consistency. Pour the glaze over the top of the cooled quick bread and spread into an even layer. Allow to set before slicing and serving (the glaze will not harden even when set). Alternatively, the glaze can be reserved and served spread on each individual slice of the bread.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen.