Cannoli are a favorite dessert in Sicily, and anywhere Sicilians have roamed–including New Orleans. They’re made by stuffing tubes of sweet, thin dough fried until crispy with sweetened ricotta cheese, usually including jellied fruit, chocolate chips, and pistachio nuts. They are made outstandingly well at Angelo Brocato’s in New Orleans. This recipe is based on the one in La Cucina di Andrea’s, a cookbook I wrote in 1989 with Chef Andrea Apuzzo. The shells are the hard part, but not too bad. While special forms are made for making cannoli, you can also use a six-inch length of broomstick (with the pain sanded off, of course).

Cannoli, dressed up, from VIncent’s.

  • Shells:
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 5 Tbs. Marsala wine
  • 1 Tbs. sugar
  • Pinch of cocoa powder
  • Pinch cinnamon
  • Pinch salt
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Filling:
  • 1 lb. ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup mixed jellied fruit (as for fruitcake)
  • 2 Tbs. chocolate chips
  • 1 Tbs. vanilla
  • 1/2 oz. triple sec liqueur
  • Garnish:
  • Chopped pistachio nuts
  • Chocolate shavings
  • Powdered sugar

1. To make the shells, mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add Marsala and stir with a whisk until the mixture turns crumbly.

2. Knead the dough a bit to make it solid, with no air gaps. Roll it out on a board to about the thickness of two stacked nickels. Fold it over and roll it out again, then repeat the process once more.

3. Heat the vegetable oil in a deep saucepan to 375 degrees. While waiting for it to come up to temperature, cut out circles of the dough about five inches in diameter. Wrap them around the cannoli forms.

4. Deep-fry the dough-wrapped forms
until crisp–about five minutes. Remove from the oil and drain. Remove the
forms, and allow the shells to cool.

5. Make the filling by mixing all the ingredients until well blended. When the shells are cool, use a thin knife to scrape the filling into the shells. Be careful not to break the shells. Dip ends of cannoli in pistachio nuts or chopped chocolate bits. Dust with powdered sugar.

Makes 18-24 cannoli.

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