November 21, 2009


Hello, Peppers!

Yes, I did get my Cannoli. While we were in Taoramino yesterday we stopped in a bakery for espresso and dessert. We were too full from our fabulous lunch so we had them wrapped to take home for later. Do you see how beautiful this is. None of those little plastic boxes!

OK. So we got carried away. Aunt Diann and Uncle Ben liked the chocolate but I preferred the plain old simple ones.

I probably shouldn't tell you this but I had cannoli and coffee for dinner. I was babysitting for Gabriel while Uncle Ben and Aunt Diann went on their date night. I didn't feel like making something for just me so when they came home we watched a video and had some Yum!

These were more like the ones Nanny made. Just delicious and light. Not sweet at all like the ones we get back home.

For those of you who want Cannoli but don't want to spend the time in the kitchen, you can buy them online here.

For those of you who feel adventurous. Here is a recipe to try. Since I am not at home to give you my Nanny's recipe, I found what looks like an authentic one on

yield: Makes about 10 desserts

active time: 2 hr

total time: 3 hr

True Sicilian cannoli are made using fresh sheep's-milk ricotta. We've substituted a combination of fresh cow's-milk ricotta and goat cheese. If you don't like goat cheese, use additional ricotta instead.

For cannoli shells
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 lb cold lard
  • 2 tablespoons sweet Marsala wine
  • 1 large egg, separated
  • About 3 cups vegetable oil

For filling
  • 1 lb fresh ricotta (2 cups)
  • 2 oz soft mild goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 tablespoon minced candied orange peel
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange-flower water (also called orange-blossom water)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup shelled unsalted pistachios (not dyed red), chopped
  • 2 oz bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped (1/2 cup)
  • Special equipment: a pasta maker; a 4- to 4 1/4-inch round cookie cutter; a deep-fat thermometer; 6 (roughly 5 5/8- by 5/8-inch) metal cannoli tubes; 2 heavy-duty oven mitts; a pastry bag fitted with a 3/4-inch plain tip
  • Garnish: confectioners sugar

Make dough for shells:
Whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Add 2 tablespoons lard and blend in with your fingertips until combined. Add wine and yolk and stir until a dough forms.

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 5 to 7 minutes. Form dough into a disk and wrap tightly in plastic wrap, then let stand at room temperature 1 hour.

Make filling while dough stands:
Beat together ricotta, goat cheese, confectioners sugar, orange peel, orange-flower water, and cinnamon in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed 1 minute (do not overbeat). Fold in nuts and chocolate until combined and chill.

Make shells:
Set smooth rollers of pasta maker at widest setting. Unwrap dough and cut in half, then lightly flour 1 piece (keep remaining half covered with plastic wrap). Flatten floured dough into an oval and feed through rollers. Turn dial down 2 notches and feed dough through rollers again. Continue to feed dough through rollers, making space between rollers narrower by 2 notches each time, until narrowest setting is used.

Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap. Transfer rolled dough to a lightly floured surface and cut out 4 or 5 rounds with floured cutter. Transfer rounds to baking sheet and keep covered with more plastic wrap. Roll out remaining dough and cut rounds in same manner. Gather scraps and let stand 10 minutes. Roll out scraps and cut in same manner.

Heat remaining lard with 1 1/4 inches oil in a 4-quart heavy pot over moderate heat until it registers 350°F on thermometer.

Meanwhile, lightly oil cannoli tubes. Lightly beat egg white, then brush bottom edge of 1 dough round with egg white. Wrap dough around a tube, overlapping ends (egg-white edge should go on top), then press edges together to seal. Make 5 more shells in same manner (keep remaining rounds covered with plastic).

Fry dough on tubes 1 at a time, turning with metal tongs, until 1 shade darker, about 45 seconds. Wearing oven mitts, clamp end of hot tubes, 1 at a time, with tongs and, holding tube vertically, allow shell to slide off tube onto paper towels, gently shaking tube and wiggling shell as needed to loosen. (If you allow shell to cool it will stick to tube and shatter when you try to remove it.) Transfer shells to paper towels to drain and cool tubes before reusing. Wrap remaining dough around tubes and fry in same manner.

Spoon filling into pastry bag and pipe some into 1 end of a cannoli shell, filling shell halfway, then pipe into other end. Repeat with remaining shells.

Cooks' notes:

•Dough can be made 1 day before frying shells and chilled. Let dough stand at room temperature 1 hour before rolling.
•Shells can be fried 2 days ahead and cooled completely, then kept, layered between paper towels, in an airtight container at room temperature.



  1. Mama,
    Tell Aunt Diann that if she wants another date night, all she hast to do is pay airfare for "Herman & Herman" and we'll come and babysit for FREE- she only has to pay for the tickets! ;)
    "Herman & Herman"
    KK & Nana

  2. Dear Mama,

    Nana says: Packages look very nice. thinking of you and your cannoli!

    Aedan says: I didn't know that the people in Italy had wrapping paper! The wrapping paper is very pretty.

    KK says: Would you make a batch with us? Maybe on Wednesday?
    The 7 Little Peppers

  3. That looks delicious! This deprived Canuck has never had cannoli before. Not sure I'm adventurous enough to try making them myself - somehow I doubt they'd look anything like the photo!

  4. Oh no! Now I am absolutely drooling all over my keyboard! These are my favorite but I've never tried to make them before.