Cannoli Siciliana ~ Cannoli are basically crisp, sweet crunchy tubes which are filled with a cream or ricotta cheese filling, often flavored with cocoa, nuts, chocolate, or candied fruits. This is a very traditional recipe for cannoli which are a very popular sweet in Sicily. You will need 3 to 4 metal cannoli tubes to makes these cannoli which are readily available at most kitchen stores. Do not fill the cannoli too far in advance, or they may become soggy. I often add a little chocolate to my filling, but I also like to use a simpler filling of sweetened ricotta flavored just with lemon or orange rind. To finish your cannoli, you can decorate the ends with chopped pistachios or mini chocolate chips.
Deborah Mele 2012
Cannoli are basically crisp, sweet crunchy tubes which are filled with a cream or ricotta cheese filling, often flavored with cocoa, nuts, chocolate, or candied fruits
- 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
- 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter Or Shortening
- 1 Teaspoon Sugar
- Dash of Salt
- 3/4 Cup Marsala Wine
- 1 Egg White
- Vegetable Oil For Frying
- 3 Cups Full Fat Ricotta Cheese
- 1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar
- 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla
Optional Filling Ingredients:
- 1/2 Cup Mini Chocolate Chips, or Coarsely Grated Chocolate
- 6 Tablespoons Mixed Candied Peel
To Garnish Ends:
- Mini Chocolate Chips or
- Chopped Pistachios
- To make the shells, mix together the flour, butter or shortening, sugar, and salt.
- Begin to add the wine, adding enough so that you have formed a fairly firm dough.
- Knead for a few minutes until smooth, then form into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and let sit at room temperature for one hour.
- Cut the dough in half, and roll thinly to about a 1/4 inch thickness.
- Cut into 4 square, and place a metal diagonally across each square, and wrap the dough around the tube.
- Seal the edges with a little beaten egg white.
- Heat the oil in a large pan until it reaches a temperature of 375 degrees F.
- Drop one or two tubes into the hot oil at one time, and cook until golden.
- Remove from the pan, cool, and gently slide the cannoli shell from the tube.
- Continue to make the rest of the shells in this manner.
- To make the filling, first let the ricotta sit in a strainer over a small bowl in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to remove excess water.
- Mix the ricotta with the rest of the ingredients.
- Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
- Fill each cannoli shell carefully, and sprinkle with a little extra powdered sugar if desired.
- Decorate ends of cannoli if desired with mini chocolate chips or chopped pistachios.
- Chill until you are ready to serve.
I used the metal tubes for a long time and never was happy with them they stayed greasey and the dough would stick to them sometimes… Then I decided that in the old days my grandmother useed cut up broomsticks so why can’t I use 3/4 inch dowels cut up. They work so much better than the metal ones, no more sticking and they cool off quicker and do not stay greasey… Give it a try you will love them. I also do not use ricotta filling I use a filling made with half & half and everybody goes crazy for them…
Dear Nina I have been searching for just the creamy filling for the cannoli. I have my old aunts recipe but it’s kind of hard to understand her measurements. We do not like the ricotta cheese filling at all that’s not what we make in our family. Please please please can I have your recipe, I’ve search the Internet and everybody makes them with ricotta cheese or mascarpone we don’t like any cheese we like the creamy ones. Would really really appreciate I want to make them for Christmas in just a couple days
If you don’t want to deal w/the forms to make tubes…you can simply cut the dough into triangles, fry them and use them to scoop up the filling. Sicilian “chips and dip”.
I would like to find a filling that is not grainy. When I use straight ricotta it seems to come out a little grainy. Nina mentioned (above) that she uses half & half. Would you use part ricotta and then part half & half?
if you let the filling set overnight it will not be grainy. or get a better less moist ricotta
I saw a cannoli shop in Philadelphia that used maple wood shell forms. The maple flavor gets into the shells while frying.
Now when did the chocolate chips part get put into the filling? I grew up in Pittsburgh with a lot of Italians and Sicilians. I never saw a chocolate chip in a cannoli while growing up. To me that like putting ranch dressing on a pizza. I am gagging just thinking about it.
I live in California now and it is impossible to find any decent Italian food out here. I can’t wait to get back east and get some real Italian food.
David – thank you for your note. I grew up in a Sicilian-American household and cannolis NEVER had chocolate chips in them. They had chopped citron and/or pistachios – but never chocolate. That is an American invention, probably from the 1980’s. Now it is impossible to find cannolis without them. I guess I’ll have to make my own.
OMG David, THANK YOU! I can’t tell you how many cannolis I’ve turned down because they are made with chocolate chips. The ranch dressing on pizza analogy was perfect.
David, when I was a young girl, my Italian aunt’s use to grate chocolate on the ends of the cannoli just for
decoration, they never used chocolate chips.
Trust me I live with my Sicilian in-laws and they used chocolate chips grinded and walnuts grinded and whipped ricotta cheese. With vanilla for filling. They bake the dough on broom sticks not fried. I made a mess of cannoli for church gathering and even the Priest was complementing me. To each his own. I prefer baked dough but will try fried cannoli.
I too love original Sicilian cannolis with fruit and pistachios — someone told me — oh this bakery has real cannoli’s — yeah — not with the chocolate — i can’t eat it either — i grew up in new york city — and all of the bakeries i went to as a kid did not use chocolate chips either — thank you fellow cannolic connoisseurs — yes the chocolate is definitely a new addition… to tradition : )
Why is there alcohol in the canoli dough? Does it help with the blistering once fried?
Keeps it crispy and light.
We recently came back from Italy. Almost every place had cannoli with chocolate chips/ shaves on the ends.