Italian Cannoli (with savory/sweet filling) Recipe
The November 2009 Daring Bakers Challenge was chosen and hosted by Lisa Michele of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives. She chose the Italian Pastry, Cannolo (Cannoli is plural), using the cookbooks Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and The Sopranos Family Cookbook by Allen Rucker; recipes by Michelle Scicolone, as ingredient/direction guides. She added her own modifications/changes, so the recipe is not 100% verbatim from either book.
Italian Cannoli (with savory/sweet filling) Recipe
WARNING: If you are an ardent food blogger whose back side has an constant itch until the prepared food has been satisfactorily photographed, then remember NOT to make this when you have anyone around you while making this - Men, Women least of all kids! Pets?? Oh well may be - I don't know what effect these cannoli have on them, I don't have any pets. But keep a look out, will you? I made this huge mistake of making them for the first time with few family/friends visiting and the cannoli's kept disappearing the minute I set them at the kitchen counter! I had to specifically become an unruly host and whisk away few to photograph them - I had to post them today!!! Italian Cannoli (with savory/sweet filling) Recipe But unruliness was forgiven when I hesitantly gave them the plate..I had no idea how they photographed. I had no time to beautifully pipe in the stuffing in the cannoli, no time to make a wonderful presentation to do justice to these mind boggling fried goodies. Leaving everything to the photography angel, I watched all my cannoli vanish into thin air (uh! into wide open dark tunnels which we call as mouth to be precise!) Keeping the Italian theme in mind, I wanted to two fillings - one savory and one sweet. The men gobbled up savory like it was going extinct and the women enjoyed the sweet version like it was going out of fashion! The kids wanted it all - they enjoyed both the sweet and savory version. We could choose our own fillings and this challenge also paved way for alcohol free version. Since I had kids coming in, I used fruit juice. Before going to the recipe, Italian Cannoli (with savory/sweet filling) Recipe What is Cannoli? 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. Italian Cannoli (with savory/sweet filling) Recipe What do you need?
Cannoli forms/tubes - optional, but recommended if making traditional shaped cannoli.
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 helps:
  • Dried cannelloni pasta tubes work just as well!
  • You can try using heavy duty aluminum foil and roll into a tight cylinder.
  • 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.
  • Use steel curtain rods. Cut it into 4-6 inch pieces and use them as forms
  • Cook time:
  • Prep time:
  • Yields: Yields about 25 cannoli
  • For the cannoli shells
  • 2 cups (250 grams/8.82 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 2 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 vinegar)
  • 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 yolk)
  • Vegetable or any neutral oil for frying – about 2 quarts (8 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
  • For the Savory filling
  • 1 cup cannellini beans, cooked (canned works perfectly)
  • 1 small red onion,chopped finely
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (or as per taste)
  • 1/2-1 tsp Italian seasoning (as per taste)
  • fresh parsley/cilantro leaves for garnish, chopped
  • 1 tbsp melted butter/olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • For the Sweet filling - from Food Network Website
  • 1 cup unsalted pistachios, toasted and chopped finely
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons golden raisins
  • 1 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 cup ricotta

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 dough1. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer or food processor, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, and salt.

2. Stir in the oil, vinegar, and enough of the wine to make a soft dough.
3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and well blended, about 2 minutes.
4. Shape the dough into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge from 2 hours to overnight.

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).

6. Cut out 3 to 5-inch circles (3-inch – small/medium; 4-inch – medium/large; 5-inch;- large. Your choice).
7. Roll the cut out circle into an oval, rolling it larger and thinner if it’s shrunk a little.

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, 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.

9. 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.
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. 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.
13. Repeat making and frying the shells with the remaining dough. If you are reusing the cannoli tubes, let them cool before wrapping them in the dough.

Method - For the savory filling

Its the simplest savory version you can make with delicious results. Just mash the cannellini beans well

15. and then add rest of the ingredients as per your taste. Blend them well.

Method - For the Sweet Filling

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 round tip.

Blend the remaining chopped chocolate and pistachios on a plate.

To garnish: Dip each end of the cannoli into the chocolate pistachio mixture.

How to bake Cannoli instead of deep frying

If you prefer to steer clear of the deep fry, you can bake the shell. You won’t get the snappy, blistery texture and appearance that make cannoli so special, but I’m sure it’ll taste good nonetheless. Here’s a link where the cook bakes some of his cannoli shells:

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 them. 3, Roll, cut out and fry the cannoli shells as according to the directions above. How to make Italian Cannoli recipe 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. Italian Cannoli (with savory/sweet filling) Recipe Pipe in this filling inside the cannoli shells! How to make Italian Cannoli recipe Fill the cannoli shells from each end. Italian Cannoli (with savory/sweet filling) Recipe