Cannoli Siciliani di ricotta – Sicilian cannoli

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Antonella la Macchia shares her favourite recipe for cannoli, a delicious Sicilian snack made with fried pastry, ricotta and a range of different toppings. Antonella recommends filling the pastry just before serving to stop the cannoli from going soggy.

First published in 2015
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Along with cassata, cannoli are the most famous Sicilian sweet treat. The name 'cannolo' was taken from the river reeds used to shape the shells in the past. In Sicily, a feast or simple Sunday lunch always ends with a tray of cannoli in the middle of the table.

The classic cannoli filling is ricotta and candied fruits, but today you can find cannoli filled with chocolate, orange, pistachios, cream and a range of other ingredients. This is my favourite cannoli recipe; the shells are crunchy, the ricotta cream is simple and not too sweet and the cannoli’s size is small – the perfect treat for the end of the meal or for a festive coffee break.




Cannoli shells

  • 150g of plain flour
  • 15g of sugar
  • 25g of suet
  • 1 tbsp of white vinegar
  • 1 pinch of cinnamon
  • 1l sunflower oil

Cannoli filling

  • 500g of ricotta
  • 3 tbsp of icing sugar, sifted
  • 40g of dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp of Amaretto, or rum or white marsala

To garnish

  • icing sugar
  • pistachio nuts, finely ground


Begin by making the cannoli shells. In a large bowl, mix together all of the ingredients with a tablespoon of cold water. Knead vigorously until you will have an elastic and smooth dough. Wrap in a cling film, then leave to rest for 1 hour
In a large, heavy-based pan or deep-fryer, preheat the sunflower oil to 180°C
Roll the dough thinly to about 1/2cm thickness. Cut into rounds with a 8.5cm cutter and wrap around a metal cannoli tube. Fry the shells until light brown, carefully turning them with metal tongs to ensure even cooking. Drain on kitchen paper
For the filling, mix all of the ingredients in a bowl until creamy and smooth. Transfer the filling into a piping bag and place in the fridge
When ready to serve, pipe the cannoli shells with the cream, then garnish with the pistachios and icing sugar

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Having previously worked in tourism, Antonella la Macchia decided to turn her passion for food into her career, and is now a food blogger, personal chef and cooking teacher based in Tuscany.

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