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.

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Recipe Summary

prep:
30 mins
cook:
30 mins
additional:
8 hrs 30 mins
total:
9 hrs 30 mins
Servings:
6
Yield:
6 cannoli
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Ingredients

6
Original recipe yields 6 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist
For the Cannoli Shells:
For the Sweet Cheese Filling:

Directions

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

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  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

335 calories; protein 11g; carbohydrates 28.9g; fat 20.8g; cholesterol 47.9mg; sodium 174.5mg. Full Nutrition
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Reviews (3)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 4 stars
02/24/2020
I've made this twice now and both times, they came out wonderful! I didn't have Marsala wine (or any wine for that matter) so I substituted 1 Tbsp lemon juice, 1 Tbsp water for the first attempt; then I tried it with 2 Tbsp of milk for the second. They came out the same each time. I would recommend getting 2 baking mats when baking the shells. I had trouble spreading the batter on sheets that just came out of the oven. The batter just wouldn't spread. So use 2 mats, or wait 5-10 mins for the first to cool completely. Read More
(1)
3 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 2
  • 4 star values: 1
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 4 stars
02/24/2020
I've made this twice now and both times, they came out wonderful! I didn't have Marsala wine (or any wine for that matter) so I substituted 1 Tbsp lemon juice, 1 Tbsp water for the first attempt; then I tried it with 2 Tbsp of milk for the second. They came out the same each time. I would recommend getting 2 baking mats when baking the shells. I had trouble spreading the batter on sheets that just came out of the oven. The batter just wouldn't spread. So use 2 mats, or wait 5-10 mins for the first to cool completely. Read More
(1)
Rating: 5 stars
06/30/2020
I love this! It’s easier and healthier than the real cannoli. My husband is from Sicily but he survived this video and he likes the healthier shells. Although in Sicily we also add a bit of cacao powder to the original dough, so you could add just a bit to this as well to get a darker brown shell, if that’s what you like. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
06/01/2020
I followed Chef John's recipe exactly and I am pleased to say I liked it a lot! Read More
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