It’s been awhile, my blog friends – afraid that a busy holiday season, co-hosting a family reunion, a second bout of covid, three recent family birthdays and getting back to work have just taken me away from my usual baking experiments! And even from a few relaxing afternoon teas, if I’m honest, though I plan to start rectifying that as well šŸ™‚

So it was so great this weekend to just get up on Saturday with all my ingredients on hand, to take my time laying everything out, find my small tart shells, and put together something new. I guess I can hardly call it “baking” if the oven never went on?

Because this is all no-bake – both crust and cheesecake are merely chilled, but no baking required. Though I did toast a few almonds to sprinkle over the top, so perhaps that still qualifies!

This creation is based on a Taste of Home recipe from Kristen Heigle of New York. I changed up a few things – added more cinnamon and orange zest than called for by the original, omitted the rum extract simply because I didn’t have any on hand (though I would have added it if I’d had it!), topped with almonds and a drizzle of chocolate instead of pistachios, and of course made into this mini size instead of one big cheesecake pie.

I was pleasantly surprised I could find empty cannoli shells at my local grocery store which, once turned into crumbs in a food process, then combined with a little graham cracker, sugar and melted butter, you’ve got yourself a delicious, no-bake crust.

I used a small tart/pie tin like these. They worked great – just spray a little cooking spray on them, use your fingers to press down the crumb mixture and chill.

And once they’d been filled, and chilled a good 4 hours in the fridge, they came out easily once I slid a paring knife down the side in one place between the chilled crust and the tin – they just needed a little start to pop right out. They just look nicer to serve when they’re out of the tin, though if you decide to make one big pie, you don’t have that issue.

I do like a little bit of decoration on my afternoon tea specialities, though kept it pretty simple on this one – a little drizzle of bittersweet chocolate (you can use semi-sweet, or whatever you prefer), and a few chopped, toasted almonds, and I think you’re good to go.

These are the perfect size for a personal afternoon tea, a plain dark tea works best, I think (as in no milk or sugar), balances out the not overly sweet cheesecake nicely, in my opinion.

Mini Cannoli Cheesecakes

  • Servings: 18-20 mini tartlets (2.5-inch rounds) or one 9-inch pie
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1 package (4 oz.) cannoli shells
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 c. butter, melted
  • 2 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. grated orange zest
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 c. part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract (I use vanilla bean paste, and don’t worry if I’m a little over 1 tsp.)
  • 1/2 tsp. rum extract
  • 1/2 c. miniature semisweet chocolate chips
  • For garnish (if desired) – toasted chopped almonds, drizzle of melted dark chocolate over each tartlet or pie
  • Cooking spray for prepping the tins


In a food processor, pulse the cannoli shells until you have coarse crumbs. Add the sugar, cracker crumbs and melted butter and pulse until just combined. Press the mixture onto the bottom and up the sides of your greased tartlet shells, or single 9-inch pie plate. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.

In a mixing bowl, beat the next 4 ingredients until blended (cream cheese, powdered sugar, orange zest and cinnamon). Then beat in the ricotta cheese and extracts until well blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand. Once the pie crusts have been chilled, put a generous amount in each tartlet and smooth the top.

Cover and refrigerate the tartlets until set, about 4 hours. If desired, melt a little dark chocolate and drizzle it across the top, then sprinkle a few toasted almonds to finish. Keep chilled until ready to serve.

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