Cannoli are a traditional Sicilian dessert, usually served after dinner with a simple espresso. They are delightful confections with a crunchy pastry shell and sweet, thick cheese filling. Eat with your fingers or use a fork. Either way, a bellissimo delight.

Prep time
Cook time
Total time
These go very well with espresso.
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 10 to 12
For Pastry Crust:
  • 1 1/3 Cups flour
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon grated orange or lemon rind
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 Marsala wine
  • 1 egg white, beaten
  • oil, for frying
For Filling:
  • 1 pound ricotta cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon candied citron; or glace fruit
  • 2 Tablespoons miniature chocolate chips; or slivered/shaved semi-sweet chocolate
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 Cup miniature chocolate chips or,
  • candied cherries or,
  • sliced long pieces of citron
  1. Combine flour, salt, sugar, citrus rind and butter and blend well. Add Marsala by the teaspoonful until dough is stiff. Chill for 2 hours.
  2. Roll dough on a lightly-floured board into a large rectangle. Cut into 4-inch squares. Wrap squares around cannoli tubes so that 2 corners fold over and two corners point outward.
  3. Brush the touching corners with egg white so that they will stick together.
  4. Deep fry in hot oil until golden. Cool and remove from tubes.
  5. If you don't have cannoli tubes, you can order them online (see Notes).
  1. Combine all ingredients and fill the cannoli by placing filling into a pastry bag with a straight tip or plain round tip (specialty cannoli filling tips can be purchased).
  2. Pipe filling in half way from each end.
  3. Some people put a half glace cherry or other decoration on each end. Popular garnishes used in Sicily also include candied citron (in long slivers), miniature chocolate chips (as shown), toasted or colored shredded coconut (often dyed red and green for the Italian flag) or chopped nuts, such as pistachios.
  4. Many pastry chefs use a simple tip, producing a round, soft ending, while others use a star tip to make a fancy finish to filling the shell. It usually depends on the garnish they will use, if any.
Pastry tubes for cannoli are either made from steel, wood or bamboo. Do not attempt this with non-stick surface tubes, aluminum or other surfaces. Good steel or wooden cannoli tubes will last for generations. Order cannoli tubes here: Norpro 3660 Stainless Steel Cannoli Forms, Set of 4.

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