When I started this blog a year ago, one of my goals – or resolutions if you will – for 2011 was to make cannoli. Originating from Sicily, they are a popular dessert in New York City.  I miss the days of being able to stroll over to Veniero’s Pasticceria and enjoy one.  So, this year I decided I would learn how to make them myself.  I ordered the tubes from Amazon, as none of my local cookshops knew what I was talking about when I asked if they carried them. I had also meant to make them long before December, but this year has flown by, but New Year’s eve seemed like the perfect time.  I have ticked all of my ‘resolution’ boxes now. Start a blog – check, maintain the blog through the year – check, lose weight – check and finally make cannoli.

So as Peter says to Rocco in The Godfather – “Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.”

I followed Gennaro Contaldo’s Cannoli Siciliani recipe from UKTV Good Food, which worked really well.

cannoli pastry ingredients


250 g plain flour

1 tsp cocoa powder

1 tsp coffee, freshly ground

30 g butter, softened

25 g sugar

60 ml white wine

1 egg, beaten

olive oil, for deep-frying

icing sugar, to decorate

For the filling:

600 g ricotta cheese

150 g icing sugar

25 g chocolate chips

1. First make the filling. Place ricotta and icing sugar in a large bowl and whisk until creamy. Fold in the chocolate chips. Set aside.

2. To make the pastry, place the flour, cocoa powder, coffee, butter and sugar in a large bowl and mix well together. Gradually add the wine and mix well until the mixture forms pastry dough. (You may need more flour or more wine depending on how dry the flour is or the humidity.) Form the pastry into a ball and wrap in cling film. Leave to rest for an hour.

cannoli pastry

3. Lightly flour a clean work surface and roll out the pastry to a thickness of about 3mm. With a round pastry cutter, cut circles with a diameter of about 7.5 cm.  Roll the circles again until they are even thinner, then wrap around the tubular moulds, securing the edges with the beaten egg.

cannoli tools

Raw pastry around tube

4. Heat the olive oil in a large pan to 180°C. Fry the cannoli until golden-brown (2-3 minutes). Drain on kitchen paper for a minute then gently remove the moulds.  It’s best to remove the moulds before the shells are completely cool.  They come away much easier.

frying cannoli

fried cannoli pastry

5. Leave to cool, and then fill the cannoli with the ricotta mixture. Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve.

cannoli pastry tubes

filled cannoli

finished cannoli

We’ll see if cannoli are as popular in the UK as they are in Sicily/NYC… I’m looking forward to enjoying one with a glass of champagne!


Happy new year… here’s to 2012! *cheers*