Cannoli from Sicily are cone-shaped waffles, that are filled with sweetened ricotta cheese. Making this dessert, requires time and also a good timing, as the waffles cannot tolerate long exposure to humidity or they lose their crispiness. As using pure ricotta makes for a too rich dessert, we mix it with Greek yoghurt. But the taste is superb. You will learn here how to make the waffles from scratch as well.

The art of making cannoli from Sicily

For making the cannoli from Sicily, the South Italian cooks have their touch in making the waffle shells. For the dough you do not need water or milk, but red wine! You also need patience and strength as the dough needs to be rolled in a very thin layer.

The dough is wrapped around metal cannoli moulds, then fried in hot oil and cooled down. Thereafter fill the shells with a delicious yoghurt/ricotta filling, that has lost some water and is mixed with icing sugar and some orange liquor.

Special equipment

a couple of metal cannoli moulds; piping bag, round 9-10 cm round pastry cutter (you may use a small dish instead)

Cannoli di nonna clara ©️ Nel Brouwer-van den Bergh

Cannoli from Sicily

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 28 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6


  • metal cannoli moulds
  • piping bag


For the cone-shaped shells

  • 5 oz (150 g) '00' flour or all-purpose flour
  • 0.4 oz (10 g) butter
  • 0.5 oz (15 g) caster sugar
  • 2 fl oz (60 ml) red wine
  • 1 egg white (slightly beaten)
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp cacao powder
  • 2 cups vegetable oil

For the filling and decoration

  • 4 oz (125 g) ricotta cheese
  • 7 oz (200 g) Greek yoghurt
  • 2.1 oz (65 g) icing sugar
  • 3 tsp orange liquor or coconut run with orange zest)
  • 2 tbsp pistacho nuts without shell, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp candied orange (optional)
  • 1 tbsp dark chocolate (roughly chopped)
  • icing sugar to dust


To make the cannoli shells

  • Combine flour, cocao, icing sugar, salt and butter in a bowl. Add the wine in portions until soft, but not too soft and also not too sticky.
  • Knead for 5-10 minutes and make a disc type round of dough and let it rest in the fridge for 1 h
  • Meanwhile make preparations for the filling (see below)
  • On a flour dusted board or counter, take a third of the dough and use a dough pin to make a thin layer. Then fold it and roll it again. Do this 8 times
  • Then roll it to a very thin layer of dough and stance out rounds of 9-10 cm in diameter
  • Meanwhile fill a pan with 5 cm of oil and heat it up to about 180 C
  • Wrap the dough circles around the moulds and use the egg white to glue the dough
  • Immerse the dough wrapped moulds in the oil, until the dough is colored
  • Take them out and let cool down and drip on a kitchen towel
  • meanwhile repeat with the other dough and dough circles

making the filling and finalizing the dessert

  • Strain the ricotta and the yoghurt with a kitchen towel cloth and let water drain
  • Thereafter mix the ricotta with the icing sugar and the orange liquor and chill in the fridge for an hour or longer (I make the orange liquor from 2 tbsp coconut rum and the zest of an orange, which I steep for an hour)
  • When the shells have cooled down, store them in an airtight container, until they are needed to be filled with the ricotta cream
  • Use a piping bag to fill the cannoli
  • Decorate with the pistacho nuts, chocolate and candied orange
  • Dust with icing sugar and serve


Method: deep frying (waffles)
Food allergy & intolerance information: none
Keyword cannoli, ricotta, dessert, chocolate


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