Cannoli shells filled with ricotta.

An authentic Italian classic that cleverly combines sweet and crispy with soft and savoury. Fun to make, and fabulous to eat as a pudding or for breakfast. Here’s how!


To make 10 cannoli
Preparation time: approx 45 minutes
Rest time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: about 10 minutes


A deep frying pan
A set of cannoli dowels (wood or metal) to wrap the dough around to make the shells
8cm round pastry cutter
Paper towels and drying rack



  • 150 g of 00 flour
  • 20 g granulated sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 40 g Marsala
  • 5 g of honey
  • 20 g of lard
  • To taste – water (or egg white)
  • To taste – sunflower oil or lard


For the filling:

  • 500 g of fresh sheep’s ricotta
  • 50 g of Icing sugar + more to finish the cannoli
  • 40 g of dark chocolate or chocolate chips
  • To taste – candied orange peel



Start preparing the night before by, draining the whey off the fresh ricotta, it must be dry.

The next day, in a bowl mix the sifted flour, sugar and salt (food processor optional). Start adding the Marsala a little at a time, add the honey and the cold lard and mix the dough quickly.
Pour it onto a floured surface and work it until it is nice and compact. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge for at least half an hour.

Take the dough out of the fridge, flatten it with your hands and roll it out a little with a rolling pin. Forming a rectangle, fold the dough in three and roll it out again to merge the three layers.

A good tip is to cut out a little dough in half to make it easier to work with (remember to cover the one you are not using at the time moment with cling film to prevent it from drying out too much).

A good tip is to cut the dough in half to make it easier to work with (remember to cover the one you are not using at the time with cling film to prevent it from drying out).

Roll out the dough to thickness of 1.5 mm maximum 2 mm, and with a square or round pastry cutter cut out your shapes. Continue until all the dough is used up.

Take your circle of dough and wrap it around the canolli dowel/form. With your fingers, lightly overlap the dough and having greased with a little water, press well with your fingers but not too hard. If you prefer, you can use beaten egg whites.

Bring the oil (use lard or coconut oil) in your pan to a temperature no higher than 180° and fry the cannoli shells. Make sure that they are immersed in the oil for a couple of minutes, just long enough to turn golden, complete with dowel. You can fry in groups of 3.

Remove them carefully and place on a drying rack with paper towels on top of it, then using paper towels to protect your fingers, or an oven glove, rotate the dowel until slidest out. Complete the cooking of all the shell and let them cool completely on the paper on the rack.


Preparation of ricotta cream:

Sift the dry ricotta cheese, work it with the icing sugar until you get a creamy mixture, add the chocolate flakes or chocolate drops, cover and place in the fridge until use.


Preparation of Sicilian cannoli:

The cannoli shells must be filled at the last moment, to prevent them from becoming soft and losing their crunchiness.
With the help of a teaspoon, or if you prefer a pastry bag, fill the cannoli, sprinkle the surface with icing sugar and decorate them with candied orange peel. Serve immediately.



– Marsala is the traditional ingredient which makes the shells crisp, but it can be replaced with a rosé wine.

– The ricotta must be fresh and of excellent quality and only from sheep’s milk.

– If you don’t like lard, you can replace it with margarine or butter.

– You can deep fry the scraps of dough as an extra treat.