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Just talking about cannoli makes my mouth water!!!

Did you know that the Italian dessert cannolo was born in the Sicilian city of Caltanissetta? The city’s name comes from the Arabic phrase “Kalt El Nissa,” which means “castle of women.” The town was once home to many harems of Saracen emirs.

These favored women of the emir prepared delicious dishes, especially desserts, and in one of their many culinary experiments, invented the “cannolo,” a clear allusion to the “qualities” of the sultan. The common belief is that “cannolo” was prepared for the first time in a Christian convent near Caltanissetta. 


However, the story of the “cannolo,” which boasts a variety of flavors and textures, suggests that this sweet has a Muslim origin. The two legends may be linked.  At the end of Arab rule in Sicily with the arrival of the Normans, the harem disbanded, and one or more of the now-free women may have converted to Christianity, entered the convent, and given the sisters the recipe for the “sacred and profane” cannoli dessert.

cannoli shell molds
Cooking Method
Difficulty Intermediate
Prep Time: 30 mins Cook Time: 20 mins Total Time: 50 mins
Best Season Suitable throughout the year
The Sicilian cannoli and the cassata are the most well-known sweets in Sicilian cuisine.
    Cannoli Shells
  • 1 cup flour 00
  • ~ 3 tablespoons lard or butter
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa
  • 1 fluid ounce Marsala wine
  • 1 fluid ounce vinegar
  • 1 pinch powdered cinnamon
  • 1 pinch salt
  • Ricotta Cream
  • 5 cups ricotta
  • 2 cups sugar
  • candied orange peel
  • candied cherries
  • pistachios
  • dark chocolate chips
  • powdered sugar
    Cannoli Shells
    • Mix all ingredients in a food processor; put the flour on a pastry board, make a hole in the center, and put all the ingredients in.
    • Knead to form a dough; you will get a consistent and elastic dough.
    • Please put it in the fridge for at least 2 hours before using, but no more than 12.
    • Roll out the dough until it is one to two millimeters thick.
  1. how to make cannoli

    Cut into disks (10 cm diameter each) ~4 inches.

  2. Rotate the disk around the pipe.

    • Close the edges by wetting them with water; do not close them too tight.
    • Fry in hot oil until getting a golden brown color on all sides.
    • Put it to drain on paper towels; continue until you finish the dough.
    • Leave to cool, and gently pull the cylinder out.
  3. Ricotta Cream
    • Drain overnight the ricotta. 
    • Work it incorporating the powdered sugar.
    • The shells are stuffed with ricotta cream just before serving, using a pastry bag or a spatula.
    • Decorate the ends according to your preference: powdered sugar, candied cherry, candied orange,  chocolate, chopped pistachios, and cinnamon.
Keywords: cannolo, sicilian cannoli