The Original Sicilian Cannoli Recipe

Mamma mia!!!

Just talking about cannoli makes my mouth water😋.

Did you know that the Italian dessert “cannolo” was born in the Sicilian city of Caltanissetta?  The city’s name comes from the Arabic phrase “Kalt El Nissa,” which means “castle of women” and the city was once home to many harem of Saracen emirs.

These favored women of the emir prepared delicious dishes, especially desserts, and in one of their many culinary experiments invented the “cannolo,” clear allusion to the “qualities” of the sultan.

Sicilian Cannolo

The common belief is that “cannolo” was prepared for the first time in a Christian convent near Caltanissetta.  But the story of the “cannolo,” which boast a variety of flavors and textures suggests that this sweet has a Muslim origin.  However, the two legends may be linked.  At the end of Arab rule in Sicily with the arrival of the Normans, the harem disbanded and one or more of the now free women may have converted to

Sicilian Cannolo

Christianity, entered the convent, and gave the sisters the recipe for the “sacred and profane” cannoli dessert.

The Original Sicilian Cannoli Recipe

Prep Time35 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Resting Time12 hrs
Course: Dessert
Keyword: cannoli filling, cannoli shells, dessert, homemade, sicilian cake, sicilian dessert
Servings: 8


  • pipe


Cannoli Shells

  • 220 g flour 00 1 cup
  • 40 g lard or butter ~ 3 tbsp
  • 30 g sugar 2 tbsp
  • 1 egg
  • 5 g cocoa powder 1 tbsp
  • 25 g marsala wine ~ 1 fl oz
  • 25 g vinegar ~ 1 fl oz
  • 1 pinch of powdered cinnamon
  • 1 pinch of salt

Cannoli Filling (Ricotta Cream)

  • 1000 g ricotta ~ 5 cups
  • 400 g powdered sugar 2 cups
  • candied orange peel
  • candied cherries
  • pistachios
  • dark chocolate chips
  • powdered sugar


Cannoli Shells

  • Mix all ingredients in a food processor; or put the flour on a pastry board, make a hole in the center and put all the ingredients;
  • Knead to form a dough; you will get a consistent and elastic dough.
  • Put it in the fridge for at least 2 hours, but no more than 12, before using.
  • Roll out the dough until it is one to two millimeters thick.
  • Cut into disks (10 cm diameter each) ~4 inches.
    The Original Sicilian Cannoli Recipe
  • Rotate the disk around the pipe.
    The Original Sicilian Cannoli Recipe
  • Close the edges by wetting with a little water; not close them too tight.
  • Fry in hot oil until get a  golden brown color on all sides.
  • Put to drain on paper towels; continue so until you finish the dough.
  • Leave to cool and pull gently the cylinder out.

Cannoli Filling (Ricotta Cream)

  • Drain overnight la ricotta. 
  • Work it incorporating the powdered sugar.
  • The shells are  stuffed with ricotta cream just before serving, using a pastry bag or a spatula.
  • Decorate the ends according to your preference: with powdered sugar, candied cherry, candied orange,  chocolate, chopped pistachios, cinnamon.


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