Sicilian cannoli

sicilian cannoliMy dear traveller, with this article, I want to talk about a tasty Sicilian dessert, namely the Sicilian cannoli, also called “stuffed pastry rolls”.They are a fried dough filled with cream, chocolate and ricotta. The original recipe of the Sicilian cannoli is with ricotta.


The Sicilian cannoli have a very ancient history. Indeed, they were introduced by the Arabs and only afterward were used by the local inhabitants of Palermo and Messina. Nowadays, Sicilian cannoli is the most important dish of these Sicilian cities. They are also the most loved dishes of the American-Sicilian cuisine.

In the early years of the past century, in fact, tons of Sicilian people emigrated to the United States seeking their fortune. Although they had found a better future in the United States, they never forgot the Sicilian cuisine, especially Sicilian cannoli and it is normal that the American-Sicilian people prepare Sicilian cannoli very frequently.


cannolicchiThis pastry is often made during Carnival or other holidays, such as, for example, Easter and Christmas. They are often eaten during wedding party, birthday and other happy occasions.
In short, Sicilian cannoli consist of a shell made of a fried dough filled with ricotta, milk cream or chocolate. However, this is a simple recipe, because the Sicilian pastry chefs flavour the cream with chopped pistachio or candied orange.

The best Sicilian cannoli can be tasted in Sicily, especially in Palermo, Catania and Messina. Just think that in Taormina, the beautiful town in the province of Messina, you can find big Sicilian cannoli with ricotta. They can also have a weight of over one kg. They are also called giant cannoli. Indeed, This pastry can have several sizes, namely: small, medium and large. The large cannoli are not always prepared, but only for particular occasions, such as for Carnival, because they resemble to a funny joke that an enjoyable dish. The most used and common Sicilian cannoli have a medium size. Fairly diffused, they are also the small cannoli, these are also called “cannolicchi” ( see the image).

How to prepare Sicilian cannoli at home

how to prepare sicilian cannoliTo make them, you need: 250 g of white flour, 1 egg white, 1 of bitter cocoa, 1 knob of lard, 1 tablespoon of sugar, a pinch of salt, 1 teaspoon of coffee powder and a bit of white wine to prepare a solid dough, 250 g of ricotta, 150 of sugar, 50 g of diced pistachio or diced candied fruit and 50 g of bitter chocolate to make a sweet filling.

To prepare the dough, also called the rind, namely the hard outside, put the white flour on the working table and shape a mound with a hole in the centre. Put egg white, the knob of lard, the bitter coco, a pinch of salt and the white wine into it. After kneading the mixture, let it rest for an hour wrapped in a towel. Then, roll the dough with a rolling pin, up to get a not too light sheet. From this, cut several disks with a diameter of 10 cm. Use the lard to grease the cylinders where you must roll the disks. The cylinders must have the sizes of the rind you want to create. Usually, the most used cylinders are 13 cm long and 2 cm large.

Moreover, traditionally, they were used bamboo reeds as cylinders, while, nowadays, they are used steel reeds. After rolling the disks onto the cylinders, seal the ends with egg white. Then, fry them in hot boiling oil until they become brown inside and outside. Drain them on the adsorbing paper and slide the cylinders out.

To prepare the filling, sieve 250 g of ricotta cheese and knead it with 150 g of sugar, 50 g of chopped pistachio or diced candied fruit and 50 g of bitter chocolate. When these ingredients are well merged, fill the rinds with them. At last, sprinkle a bit of powdered sugar onto the outside shell.


The most popular Sicilian cannoli can be found at Piana degli Albanesi, in Palermo. They are regarded as the best and true Sicilian cannoli. They are so famous that they were even celebrated in the equally famous movie the Godfather with the unforgettable words: “Leave the gun, take the cannoli”. There is a similar sentence I say to you: “Leave your troubles and take the cannoli, but before to eat them, book your fabulous travel to Sicily”.

Furthermore, if you love that kind of Sicily pastry,  you can also buy a curious keychain depicting the legendary Sicilian cannoli. This Sicilian gadget is handmade by a skilled Sicilian artisan and it is shaped like a big or small cannolo with chocolate, ricotta or cream.

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