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You don’t have to live in Sicily to know about this pastry specialty. Cannoli Siciliani have spread to bakeries across Europe, and just by looking at this sweet deliciousness, there is no question about why. Cannoli are fried dough rolls with a filling of sweet and creamy Ricotta. Vanilla, chocolate and candied fruits often refine the sweet tubes.

Invented and eaten initially as a typical lard pastry only during carnival, Cannoli Siciliani are now available throughout the whole year. Where there is an Italian bakery, there are Cannoli.

Cannolo, the singular of Cannoli, translates to „small tube“ which does not relate to the pastry itself but to the 15 cm long tubes that are used to prepare the hollow dough rolls.

The Evolution Of Cannoli Siciliani

Just like with Cassata, Sicilian master confectionists perfected Cannoli Siciliani over many centuries. But who actually invented the filled rolls is not clear until this day. The most promising traces lead to cloister nuns in the province of Caltanissetta, right in the center of Sicily. The sisters supposedly served similar pastry during the festivities in the carnival season. Today the pastry has become one of the most popular and well-known Dolci. Their registration in the official list of traditional Italian foods additionally emphasizes the cultural importance of Cannoli.

With their growing popularity over the decades, Sicilian pastry chefs have created many variations of Cannoli to satisfy all preferences. While some swear by sheep ricotta, others have experimented with buffalo ricotta for the filling. In the western region around Palermo, candied cherries play a major role. In contrast, confectionists and pastry lovers around Catania go for pistachios and chocolate bits.

If you don’t happen to travel to Sicily soon, there is no need to forgo this sweet deliciousness. Simply give it a try yourself with this easy and authentic Italian recipe:



Uncooked Cannoli by Andrew Malone, licensed under CC BY 2.0
Other images by SunnySideCircus