Cannolis are a family favorite. It's a dessert that I grew up with. My mom and grandmother both made amazing cannoli's from a traditional ricotta cheese cannoli, to (my favorite) lemon cannolis and vanilla and chocolate cannolis. Since my boys love chocolate so much, I'll start with the chocolate and will give my favorite lemon recipe later. 

The flaky cruise of a cannoli makes it a fun dessert to eat, but it also makes it difficult to serve. You CANNOT make cannolis the night before you are serving them, as they'll become soggy. You can, however, make the crust and then refrigerate them the night before. Then, add the filling right before they are ready to be served. 

These are fun to make, fun to eat and they taste amazing! They are also perfect with Mexican, Madagascar and Indonesian VanillaPura extracts. (All extracts with darker, smokey tones.) 

Give it a try and let me know what you think! I'll include my favorite traditional recipe here and then the chocolate mousse filling below. 

  1. Shells (or you can use store-bought)
  2. 1-3/4 cups flour
  3. 1/2 tsp salt
  4. 2 tbsp sugar
  5. 1 egg
  6. 2 tbsp butter, diced into small pieces
  7. 1/4 cup Sauterns or other sweet white dessert wine
  8. 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  9. Organic canola oil for frying
Traditional Filling
  1. 2 lb whole milk ricotta, drained in a cheesecloth-lined fine mesh strainer
  2. 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
  3. 4 tsp vanilla
  4. Dash of almond extract, optional
Optional Garnishes
  1. 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips or chocolate jimmies
  2. 1/4 cup candied orange peel or citron, chopped finely
  3. 1/4 cup shelled pistachios, chopped finely


  1. For the Shells: Combine the dry ingredients on a nice clean, flat surface and form a well. In the center of the well drop in the egg and butter. Using a fork, blend the egg and butter into the dry ingredients a little at a time until just combined, then begin adding the wine, 1 tbsp at a time, mixing until the dough just begins to form. Shape into a ball and allow to rest for 1 hour. (This gives the gluten in the dough time to relax so it won’t be as difficult to roll out.) Dough can be made up to 1 day ahead and kept wrapped tightly in plastic in the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature about 30 minutes before rolling out.
  2. After dough has rested, cut into 2 pieces and work with half at a time. Using a large rolling pin, roll one piece out on lightly floured surface to about 1/16″ thick and using a round cutter, cut into 3-1/2 inch circles, rerolling the scraps until done. After all the dough is cut into circles, roll them slightly into an oval shape. If you have a smaller rolling pin, it will be easier to roll the smaller pieces with. As you roll each one, transfer it to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap to keep them from drying out. Repeat with remaining dough.
  3. Lightly oil the cannoli forms. Place an oval in front of you with the long edge facing you, and set a cannoli form in the center. Wrap the dough around the form, overlapping slightly at the top. Do not stretch the dough or wrap too tightly. Using your finger, place a little of the egg white between the overlapping pieces of dough, pressing to seal.
  4. In a large heavy pot, heat oil to 350°F. (use a candy or instant-ready thermometer for accuracy). Working with one at a time, carefully place a dough-wrapped mold into the hot oil. Use metal tongs to turn them over so both sides are equally cooked. Cook for about 45 seconds or until golden brown. You can cook more than one at a time as long as they float un-crowded in the oil. Add them about 30 seconds apart.
  5. Using tongs or a wire spider, transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet. While still hot clamp one end of the mold with the tongs and tip upright so the shell can slip off the form. Shake or very gently wiggle the shell as needed (wear an oven mitt to protect your hand). Let drain and cool on the paper towels.
  6. Cool cannoli molds before reusing. You can fry the shells up to 2 days in advance. Place them on paper towels in an airtight container, placing more paper towels between layers. Store at room temperature.
For the Filling: Once the ricotta is very dry, squeeze out any excess moisture by twisting the push the ricotta through the wire sieve with a rubber spatula. This creates a much smoother consistency. Place the ricotta in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium for 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the sugar, vanilla, and almond extract (if using) and mix just to combine. Fold in your choice of the chocolate chips, orange peel or pistachios.
  1. Assembly: Pipe or spoon the filling into the cooled cannoli shells, leveling off the filling at the edges of the shells. Dip the ends of the cannoli in the chocolate chips or pistachios and serve immediately.

For the Chocolate Mousse Filling

  1. 1 quart (32 oz) whole milk ricotta
  2. 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  3. 8 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
  4. 1 tsp vanilla
  1. Set ricotta in a cheesecloth-lined colander or wire sieve. Let drain for about 20 minutes. Then gather the cheesecloth up and twisting the ends until tight, squeeze out any excess liquid.
  2. While cheese is draining, in a small saucepan melt the chocolate, stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.
  3. In a food processor, blend the ricotta, sugar, melted chocolate, and vanilla until smooth.
  4. Chill until firm. When ready to fill the cannoli shells, transfer to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip. Place tip into one end of the shell and fill halfway. Turn shell around and finish filling from the other end.
  1. Yield: about 4 cups


Recipe from 


Would you share your lemon cannoli recipe? It sounds like it would be amazing. Thanks

— Bob Olive