Unholy Cannoli


Unless you're trying to treat a friend from Southern Italy who's very proud of their cannoli, there's no reason not to enjoy this faster, lighter, "cheater" version. We trade the traditional fried dough for an easier crispy wafer cookie, which produces a different texture but very similar flavor profile. Feel free to garnish the ends with pistachios, almonds, hazelnuts, or pine nuts, dress them up a bit with some drizzled chocolate, or simply dust powdered sugar over.

Prep Time:
30 mins
Cook Time:
30 mins
Additional Time:
8 hrs 30 mins
Total Time:
9 hrs 30 mins
6 cannoli


  • 1 ½ cups ricotta cheese

  • 1 teaspoon melted butter

For the Cannoli Shells:

  • cup all-purpose flour, packed, or more as needed

  • ¼ cup white sugar

  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon

  • 1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg

  • teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon melted butter

  • 2 tablespoons Marsala wine

  • 1 large egg white

For the Sweet Cheese Filling:

  • ½ cup mascarpone cheese

  • 1 orange, zested

  • 1 lemon, zested

  • cup chopped dark chocolate

  • 1 teaspoon honey

  • ¼ cup chopped pistachio nuts (Optional)


  1. Transfer ricotta cheese to fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl and let drain, 8 hours to overnight.

  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat (such as Silpat™) and brush with 1 teaspoon melted butter.

  3. For the shells, place flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, 1 tablespoon melted butter, Marsala wine, and egg white in a bowl. Mix with a whisk until very smooth, relatively thin, and spreadable.

  4. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of batter per shell onto the prepared baking sheet. Swirl batter gently with the back of the spoon from the center outwards to create a fairly thin flat circle about 6 inches in diameter. You should be able to fit 2 per pan.

  5. Bake in the preheated oven until edges are browned and centers have golden brown spots, 10 to 12 minutes.

  6. While shells are baking, make a few molds by twisting pieces of aluminum foil into 7-inch long cylinders about 2 inches thick.

  7. While shells are still hot, quickly roll each around a foil mold to form a tube, seam-side down. Press each tube gently with a spatula for a few seconds until cool enough to hold its shape. Repeat with remaining batter, baking and shaping in batches; let shells cool completely.

  8. For the filling, mix drained ricotta cheese, mascarpone cheese, orange zest, lemon zest, dark chocolate, and honey together with a spatula. Transfer into a plastic pastry or zip-top bag and cut off one corner.

  9. Pipe the filling into one end of a shell until it comes out slight from the opening, and then turn and fill the other end. Garnish both ends of exposed cheese filling with chopped pistachios. Serve within the next hour or two while cannoli remain crispy.

Chef's Notes:

If you don't have Marsala wine, red wine will work. Regular cream cheese will work if you don't have mascarpone cheese. You can use mini chocolate chips instead of chopped dark chocolate.

If you roll too slowly when the shells come out of the oven and they begin to harden, just pop the pan back into the oven for a few minutes and the cookie will soften up again. The same procedure can be used to make 12 smaller tubes, using half as much batter, and a smaller foil mold.

Most people these days use powdered sugar to sweeten the cheese filling, but I do believe honey was the original sweetener for cannoli, and it's definitely what I prefer. But you go ahead and sweeten this with whatever you want.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

335 Calories
21g Fat
29g Carbs
11g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Calories 335
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 21g 27%
Saturated Fat 11g 55%
Cholesterol 48mg 16%
Sodium 175mg 8%
Total Carbohydrate 29g 11%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 11g
Protein 11g
Vitamin C 17mg 85%
Calcium 208mg 16%
Iron 1mg 7%
Potassium 212mg 5%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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