Cannoli are known as Italian-American pastries,
although the origin of
cannoli dates back to Sicily, specifically Palermo, where it was
prepared during Carnevale season, and according to lore, as a symbol of
fertility. The cannoli is a fried, tube-shaped pastry shell (usually
containing wine) filled with a creamy amalgamation of sweetened ricotta
cheese, chocolate, candied fruit or zest, and sometimes nuts. Although
not traditional, mascarpone cheese is also widely used, and in fact,
makes for an even creamier filling when substituted for part of the
ricotta, or by itself. However, cannoli can also be filled with pastry
creams, mousses, whipped cream, ice cream etc. You could also add your
choice of herbs, zests or spices to the dough, if desired. Marsala is
the traditional wine used in cannoli dough, but any red or white wine
will work fine, as it’s not only added for flavor or color, but to relax
the gluten in the dough since it can be a stiff dough to work with.
How to make Cannoli without Shells/Forms/Metal tubes?
Nothing beats the original form to make a great looking Cannoli. But
then here are some options you can try. I haven’t personally used any of
the following (I had the forms!) but this is a concise list from
internet and from fellow daring baker’s personal experiences. Hope this
1. Dried cannelloni pasta tubes work just as well!
2. You can try using heavy duty aluminum foil and roll into a tight
3. Use broomstick handles! Cut down a thin broomstick to 4-6-inch
lengths (or any length you require). Wash and scrub it well with hot
soapy water until clean. Make sure the surface is smooth. Rinse in hot
water and dry thoroughly. Use them as it is, which proved to be quite a
problem for some fellow daring bakers since the dough got stuck to it.
My tip that could possibly work is to wrap the broom handle with
aluminum foil and then wrap the dough on it.
4. Use steel curtain rods. Cut it into 4-6 inch pieces and use them as
For the cannoli shells (yields about 25 cannoli)
Note - If you want a chocolate cannoli dough,
substitute a few tablespoons of the flour (about 25%) with a few
tablespoons of dark, unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch process) and a
little more wine until you have a workable dough
- 2 cups (250 grams/8.82 ounces) all-purpose flour
tablespoons(28 grams/1 ounce) sugar
- 1 teaspoon (5 grams/0.06
ounces) unsweetened baking cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon (1.15
grams/0.04 ounces) ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon (approx. 3
grams/0.11 ounces) salt
- 3 tablespoons (42 grams/1.5 ounces)
vegetable or olive oil
- 1 teaspoon (5 grams/0.18 ounces) white
wine vinegar ( I used rice
- Approximately 1/2 cup (approx. 59 grams/approx. 4 fluid
ounces/approx. 125 ml) sweet Marsala or any white or red wine you have
on hand (I used Pomegranate juice – you can use grape,apple,cranberry
etc. Just add little more vinegar to the dough)
- 1 large egg,
separated (you will need the egg white but not the
- Vegetable or any neutral oil for frying – about 2 quarts
cups/approx. 2 litres)
- 1/2 cup (approx. 62 grams/2 ounces)
toasted, chopped pistachio nuts,
mini chocolate chips/grated chocolate and/or candied or plain zests,
fruits etc.. for garnish
- Confectioners’ sugar
1. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer or food processor, combine
the flour, sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, and salt.
Stir in the oil, vinegar, and enough of the wine to make a soft
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until
smooth and well blended, about 2 minutes.
Shape the dough into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in
the fridge from 2 hours to overnight.
2 Cut the dough into two pieces. Keep the remaining dough covered
while you work. Lightly flour a large cutting or pastry board and roll
the dough until super thin, about 1/16 to 1/8” thick (An area of about
13 inches by 18 inches should give you that).
Cut out 3 to 5-inch circles (3-inch – small/medium; 4-inch –
medium/large; 5-inch;- large. Your choice).
Roll the cut out circle into an oval, rolling it larger and thinner
if it’s shrunk a little.
3 Oil the outside of the cannoli tubes (You only have to do this
once, as the oil from the deep fry will keep them well, uhh,
oiled..lol). Roll a dough oval from the long side (If square, position
like a diamond, and place tube/form on the corner closest to you, then
roll) around each tube/form and dab a little egg white on the dough
where the edges overlap. (Avoid getting egg white on the tube, or the
pastry will stick to it.) Press well to seal. Set aside to let the egg
white seal dry a little.
4. In a deep heavy saucepan, pour enough oil to reach a depth of 3
inches, or if using an electric deep-fryer, follow the manufacturer’s
directions. Heat the oil to 375°F (190 °C) on a deep fry thermometer, or
until a small piece of the dough or bread cube placed in the oil
sizzles and browns in 1 minute. Have ready a tray or sheet pan lined
with paper towels or paper bags.
5. Carefully lower a few of the cannoli tubes into the hot oil. Do
not crowd the pan. Fry the shells until golden, about 2 minutes, turning
them so that they brown evenly.
8. Lift a cannoli tube with a wire skimmer or large slotted spoon,
out of the oil. Using tongs, grasp the cannoli tube at one end. Very
carefully remove the cannoli tube with the open sides straight up and
down so that the oil flows back into the pan. Place the tube on paper
towels or bags to drain. Repeat with the remaining tubes.
While they are still hot, grasp the tubes with a potholder and pull
the cannoli shells off the tubes with a pair of tongs, or with your hand
protected by an oven mitt or towel. Let the shells cool completely on
the paper towels. Place shells on cooling rack until ready to fill.
9. Repeat making and frying the shells with the remaining dough. If
you are reusing the cannoli tubes, let them cool before wrapping them in
Cannoli shell preparation, cutting out the dough circles, sealing the
dough around the form, frying the shells, finished shells ready to fill
Pasta Machine method:
1. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Starting at the middle
setting, run one of the pieces of dough through the rollers of a pasta
machine. Lightly dust the dough with flour as needed to keep it from
sticking. Pass the dough through the machine repeatedly, until you reach
the highest or second highest setting. The dough should be about 4
inches wide and thin enough to see your hand through
2. Continue rolling out the remaining dough. If you do not have
enough cannoli tubes for all of the dough, lay the pieces of dough on
sheets of plastic wrap and keep them covered until you are ready to use
3, Roll, cut out and fry the cannoli shells as according to the
For stacked cannoli:
1. Heat 2-inches of oil in a saucepan or deep sauté pan, to 350-375°F
(176 – 190 °C).
2. Cut out desired shapes with cutters or a sharp knife. Deep fry
until golden brown and blistered on each side, about 1 – 2 minutes.
Remove from oil with wire skimmer or large slotted spoon, then place on
paper towels or bags until dry and grease free. If they balloon up in
the hot oil, dock them lightly prior to frying. Place on cooling rack
until ready to stack with filling.
For the Savory filling
- 1 cup cannellini beans, cooked (canned works perfectly)
small red onion,chopped finely
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (or as
- 1/2-1 tsp Italian seasoning (as per taste)
parsley/cilantro leaves for garnish, chopped
- 1 tbsp melted
- salt and pepper to taste
Its the simplest savory version you can make with delicious results.
Just mash the cannellini beans well
and then add rest of the ingredients as per your taste. Blend them
Pipe in this filling inside the cannoli shells!
For the Sweet filling – from food network website
- 1 cup
unsalted pistachios, toasted and chopped finely
- 1 cup heavy
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons golden raisins
cup chopped bittersweet chocolate
- 1 cup ricotta
In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the heavy cream with 1
tablespoon of sugar until it holds a soft peak.
In a large bowl fold together the whipped cream, raisins, 1/3 of the
chopped chocolate, 1/3 of the chopped pistachios and 1 tablespoon of
sugar. Gently fold the whipped cream mixture into the ricotta. When
ready to serve, spoon the filling into a pastry bag fitted with a fat
Fill the cannoli shells from each end.
Blend the remaining chopped chocolate and pistachios on a plate. To
garnish: Dip each end of the cannoli into the chocolate