2 cups heavy whipping cream (do not substitute with light cream here)
2 tsp vanilla (divided 1 tsp, plus 1 tsp)
¼ tsp cream of tarter
2½ cups powdered sugar (divided, 1½ cups plus 1 cup)
1.5 lbs ricotta cheese (artisan variety, see note)
1 tsp liquor such as Sambucca or Amaretto (optional)
For the shells:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees
Sift flour and salt together in small bowl and set aside
In a medium sized saucepan, melt the butter and water over high heat until the mixture reaches a vigorous boil
Reduce heat to medium low and add flour/salt mixture all at once
Stir until the mixture pulls away from sides of pan and forms a ball
Remove from heat and add eggs one at a time, beating vigorously between additions (I used a hand mixer for this)
Using a piping bag or cookie press, pipe dough onto parchment-lined baking sheet (2.5 inches in diameter will yield 6 very large puffs; 1.25 inches in diameter will yield 12 puffs)
Bake at 450 for 15 minutes then reduce heat to 350 for an additional 20 minutes
Ensure your puffs are golden brown before turning off oven or they will deflate/fall!
When they are finished baking, turn off oven and let the puffs cool for 5 to 10 minutes with the oven door ajar.
For the cream filling:
In a medium size bowl, combine 1 cup heavy cream with 1 teaspoon vanilla, ¼ teaspoon cream of tarter, 1 cup powdered sugar and whip until soft peaks form.
In another bowl, mix remaining ingredients (1 cup heavy cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1.5 cups powdered sugar, all ricotta, and liquor [optional])
Combine both mixtures together
Cut puffs in half and use ice cream scoop to fill each puff generously with the cream mixture or use piping bag with star tip to pipe filling inside (will do this next time!)
The filling may be prepared ahead of time and frozen for up to one month
Use high quality ricotta that is not watery or grainy. The supermarket variety cannot be used unless it is dried out (drain over cheese cloth in refrigerator overnight or up to 1 day). As an example, ricotta is thick enough if it sticks to the spoon when the spoon is inverted and does not drop off.
Recipe by Feeling Foodish at http://feelingfoodish.com/italian-creme-puffs-filled-with-ricotta-cream/