Ana and Lydia's cannoli, recipe invented on July 31st, 2005. I spent a lot of time looking for a good recipe for cannoli shells and filling. Since no two were alike, and since instructions were a bit sketchy, I worked with a friend to come up with a good recipe, including some tips that we came up with along the way. Special equipment is needed such as cannoli tubes, a pasta machine and a pastry bag to help make these cannoli come out just like the ones at Italian restaurants and bakeries. Start with 1/2 cup of confectioners' sugar, and then add more to taste.

Recipe Summary

prep:
45 mins
cook:
1 hr
additional:
2 hrs
total:
3 hrs 45 mins
Servings:
30
Yield:
30 cannoli
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Ingredients

30
Original recipe yields 30 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Shells:
Filling:

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, sugar and cinnamon. Cut in the shortening until it is in pieces no larger than peas. Make a well in the center, and pour in the egg, egg yolk, Marsala wine, vinegar and water. Mix with a fork until the dough becomes stiff, then finish it by hand, kneading on a clean surface. Add a bit more water if needed to incorporate all of the dry ingredients. Knead for about 10 minutes, then cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.

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  • Divide the cannoli dough into thirds, and flatten each one just enough to get through the pasta machine. Roll the dough through successively thinner settings until you have reached the thinnest setting. Dust lightly with flour if necessary. Place the sheet of dough on a lightly floured surface. Using a form or large glass or bowl, cut out 4 to 5 inch circles. Dust the circles with a light coating of flour. This will help you later in removing the shells from the tubes. Roll dough around cannoli tubes, sealing the edge with a bit of egg white.

  • Heat the oil to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) in a deep-fryer or deep heavy skillet. Fry shells on the tubes a few at a time for 2 to 3 minutes, until golden. Use tongs to turn as needed. Carefully remove using the tongs, and place on a cooling rack set over paper towels. Cool just long enough that you can handle the tubes, then carefully twist the tube to remove the shell. Using a tea towel may help you get a better grip. Wash or wipe off the tubes, and use them for more shells. Cooled shells can be placed in an airtight container and kept for up to 2 months. You should only fill them immediately or up to 1 hours before serving.

  • To make the filling, stir together the ricotta cheese and confectioners' sugar using a spoon. Fold in lemon zest and chocolate. Use a pastry bag to pipe into shells, filling from the center to one end, then doing the same from the other side. Dust with additional confectioners' sugar and grated chocolate for garnish when serving.

Tips:

The cannoli tubes are crucial. Ask your local Italian grocer where you can get them. Many of the kitchen stores carry them. The tubes are hollow stainless steel, and 6 to 8 inches long.

Having 2-3 people on cannoli duty helps keep the process moving along, with one person rolling and cutting, one person dusting, egging, and placing onto metal tubes, and one person frying the shells and removing shells from tubes for re-use. If you have 8 tubes on hand, the process will go well.

The filling can be made using grated orange and lemon zest instead of citron. Other variations include using small chocolate chips, maraschino cherries, or dipping the ends of cannoli in chopped pistachios.

Orange zest, lime zest, or chopped candied citron can be used in place of the lemon zest.

Tip:

Aluminum foil can be used to keep food moist, cook it evenly, and make clean-up easier.

Nutrition Facts

402 calories; protein 5.4g 11% DV; carbohydrates 17.6g 6% DV; fat 34.6g 53% DV; cholesterol 22.3mg 7% DV; sodium 42.5mg 2% DV. Full Nutrition

Reviews (110)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
09/08/2005
Please note that when I submitted this recipe, I indicated grated citrus peel to taste and barely 1/2 to 1 cup of powdered sugar, again to taste. My submission did not include the "one cup of candied citron"... I'll assume that the editors added this in error. With regards to rolling the dough, I found that paper-thin was too difficult to achieve with a rolling pin and was happy to have the pasta machine available. I agree with the previous review that if you don't get the pastry thin enough the results will disappoint. I'm sure that those trying to tackle this type of pastry have their own tricks up their sleeves, eveyone finds their best methods. I do hope that those few tricks I included will help first-timers get good results. Good luck and good eating. Read More
(373)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 1 stars
09/02/2005
Way too much citron, it takes away from the cannoli cream taste if all you can taste is citron, peel, fruit etc, no need for the wine in the shell recipe. needing a pasta machine for the thinnest setting is a bit much to ask, you hsould just say how thick the dough should be and people can roll it out. You must have the dough as thin as you can manage it so that it bubbles and blisters or it will be like cardboard Read More
(67)
135 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 82
  • 4 star values: 34
  • 3 star values: 7
  • 2 star values: 7
  • 1 star values: 5
Rating: 5 stars
09/08/2005
Please note that when I submitted this recipe, I indicated grated citrus peel to taste and barely 1/2 to 1 cup of powdered sugar, again to taste. My submission did not include the "one cup of candied citron"... I'll assume that the editors added this in error. With regards to rolling the dough, I found that paper-thin was too difficult to achieve with a rolling pin and was happy to have the pasta machine available. I agree with the previous review that if you don't get the pastry thin enough the results will disappoint. I'm sure that those trying to tackle this type of pastry have their own tricks up their sleeves, eveyone finds their best methods. I do hope that those few tricks I included will help first-timers get good results. Good luck and good eating. Read More
(373)
Rating: 5 stars
11/23/2005
Your Cannoli recipe is the BOMB!!!!!!!!!!! It's so tradional italian that is so good and these so like the ones my family and I have had. These are EXCELLENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks, Lydia Nacawa p.s. These were so good with the Marsala wine it pulled the flavors together!!! Five stars ***** Read More
(171)
Rating: 4 stars
12/28/2007
I loved the ricotta filling, but I added a small amount of vanilla, 1 teaspoon. Read More
(139)
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Rating: 5 stars
02/18/2009
I HAVE A QUESTION ON THIS RECIPE...or any cannoli recipe...Is it possible for me to use a pizzelle iron to make these, I just want cannoli chips, not the circular shell Thanks in advance, Laurie Read More
(67)
Rating: 1 stars
09/02/2005
Way too much citron, it takes away from the cannoli cream taste if all you can taste is citron, peel, fruit etc, no need for the wine in the shell recipe. needing a pasta machine for the thinnest setting is a bit much to ask, you hsould just say how thick the dough should be and people can roll it out. You must have the dough as thin as you can manage it so that it bubbles and blisters or it will be like cardboard Read More
(67)
Rating: 5 stars
09/15/2009
Absolutely Amazing!! I was looking for a descent cannoli shell for my cannoli cream I make and what I got far exceeded my expectations!! Since I knew I was going to eat a cannoli, I wasn't to worried about the "Healthiness" of what I was eating, so I used lard instead of shortening... well because it makes everything taste better. By the way, trying to make this by yourself would be a nightmare. You need an assembly line... people will work for food! I call this the Italian version of the Tamale because the whole family has to help in this process. The one thing that saddened me was that when I stored them in an airtight container, the next day they weren't crispy like the night before =(, but my sadness was soon expelled with a little oven toasting, which brought them right back up to its fresh, crispy self!! Thanks Lydia!! Read More
(63)
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Rating: 5 stars
12/22/2009
A fab 'Shell Recipe'. I have made cannoli shells for years. I often look for new recipes and this is absolutely the best. A bit tricky but not difficult to run through the machine. After chilling the dough place a lightly floured board under the pasta roller attachment. Large gumball size balls are pressed into a small pancake then patted on the board and run through the machine dusting with each increment of the rollers. On my KitchenAid setting 6 is thin enough. I lay the disc on the board and lightly oil a tube. (don't skip the oil) Lay the tube on one end of the disc and roll the tube. When you reach the end dab egg white on the flap and finish rolling. Lightly press the visible flap to make the line somewhat invisible and place in 350 degree veg oil for 2mins. Remove with tongs to paper towels and repeat. The previous rolls are cool enough to carefully slide off the tubes in 2 mins. I make only 2 at a time so there is a bit of a pace to keep up with the timer. It will take about an hour to make 20 shells. NOTE: Handle uncooked dough with clean fingertips. If your not organized you can get the pasta machine too dirty and difficult to clean. I keep the oil a few feet from the dough. I also made filling from cannoli-enterprises.com Many recipes to choose from. My fav has folded whipped cream. I'm just about out of characters so i will now say good luck and have fun. Read More
(60)
Rating: 5 stars
09/03/2007
My husband has been wanting cannoli for a long time now. He cant have sugar and I thought that with out white sugar they may come out bad and not taste "AUTHENTIC" but we substituted loose equal for white sugar and the shells came out great. and of course the filling was easy to substitue with equal and it tasted just like he remembered when he was a kid. Thanks for the recipe. We will make these again for sure. Read More
(44)
Rating: 4 stars
02/12/2012
I have been making cannolis for 30+years in our Italian family. This shell recipe is just as good as mine. I give the shells 5 stars. The filling is nothing like ours. I differ in the filling as such: I use ricotta used for pastries such as cannolis called IMPASATA RICOTTA . This is what your bakeries and grocery stores in the bakery dept use. I find it in Italian pizza stores ask management to order. Best company to order from is Cisco Co but any will be good. It comes in 5 lb plastic containers and be frozen if necessary. If you do this I suggest make the filling first then freeze in batches for later use. To the ricotta I add confectionery sugar to taste and anise liquor to taste or rum liquor to taste but not both. No citron found most friends not Italian does not like. Then mini chocolate chips. Dip ends of shells in melted chocolate or gnache then in crushed pistachio nuts and enjoy. Read More
(40)