Homemade Cannoli

by Barry Lewis


Cannoli shells
250g plain flour, plus extra for rolling
20g sugar
pinch salt
50g butter, diced and chilled
80ml marsala wine
1 egg
1 egg white (for sealing the cannoli)
Vegetable oil for frying
800g ricotta, drained
200g icing sugar
1/2tsp cinnamon
Optional to serve / add to the ricotta filling
150g chocolate chips + extra if melted
Shelled pistachios, bashed / chopped fine

Cannoli are super delicious Italian rolled fried pastries filled with a ricotta filling and have many different varieties and regional variations! This was my first time tasting cannoli, let alone making them and I hope I did my best to bring a little bit of Italy to my kitchen! I’ll leave it up to you if you want to pipe the filling filled with the pistachios or chocolate chips, but I just added mine on at the end.

It’s important to say you’ll need to source some cannoli tubes / moulds before starting, there are hacks online like using foil rolled up etc, but I would not suggest that. These things literally go in red hot oil, so don’t cut corners unless you are super confident.

First up lets make the dough. In a mixing bowl combine together the flour, sugar, salt and butter. Rub the butter into the dry ingredients until very fine breadcrumbs are achieved and the butter is no longer visible, the dry mixture should be a little more darker in colour slightly. Alternatively use a pastry blender like I did or do this step in a food processor until fine, make sure the butter is chilled though.

Add in the wine (or grape juice if you prefer) and the whole egg and work through as before with a blender or if using your hands stir it in with a wooden spoon until fully combined. The texture will be really rough and not smooth at all, that’s actually what you want! Flour a chopping board and work the dough into it, kneading gently until a smooth ball is formed.

Wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes. There were a few variations here that said to leave it at room temperature, but personally I felt it was much easier to work with when cold.

Take a small ball of the dough (keep the rest chilled and work in batches) and roll out super thin, it’s pretty strong stuff so keep it floured to stop it sticking then cut out rounds with a large cookie cutter wide enough for the moulds. Wrap a round of dough around the moulds brushing the egg white on the join of the dough so it seals in place. Repeat with the other dough until all used, re-cycling the dough as you go.

When they are all ready, it’s time for frying. Fry them in the moulds, in the vegetable oil in a fryer or a pan with the oil filled half way up in small batches (say 2 or 3 at a time), keeping the temperature at a steady 350f. Allow to cool on a wire rack after draining on kitchen towel.

Whilst they are cooling mix the cinnamon, ricotta and icing sugar in a bowl, until just combined, do not over mix it to prevent excess moisture. It is at this point if you wish that you could fill the filling with the bashed pistachios or choc chips if you want to pipe them all the way through. Instead I piped in the filling, with a piping bag, filling the tube of fried dough half way then turning it and doing the other side. Then dunking the ends in the nuts or chocolate chips. You can also dunk the ends of the shells in melted chocolate! Super delicious!