Grandma's Cannoli

by Melody Kettle

"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli." Clemenza was right.  Never, ever forget the cannoli - especially during the holidays. 

Few pastries are more adored than cannoli. But, there is one essential requirement for great cannoli: they must be freshly filled.  A soggy shell with crusty cream is nothing to call cannoli! According to Grandma, "when you bite into one, you're supposed to have powdered sugar and crumbs all over your clothes!"

Making cannoli at home is quite a project, and better approached with two people. If you're not up to shell making challenge, but would like to make your own filling, Restaurant Depot sells 48 large cannoli shells for $13.49.  Quite the bargain!

Please enjoy Grandma's recipe for cannoli.  Happy Holidays!


For the shells:

2 cups flour

2 tablespoons shortening

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup sherry


For the filling:

1 1/2 lbs. ricotta cheese

1/2 cup confectioner's sugar

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 tablespoon cocoa

1 tsp vanilla or almond extract

  1. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar and salt. Using a fork, cut in the shortening.  Then, pour in the sherry. When dough forms a ball, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 15 minutes. Cover and refrigerate for about 2 hours. 
  2. Heat 1 inch of oil in a deep heavy skillet to 365 degrees F (180 degrees F). On a lightly floured surface, roll 1/3 of the dough out into a big circle as thin as paper. Cut into 8 (5-inch) circles. Wrap each circle around a cannoli form, and seal with egg yolk.
  3. Fry 2 or 3 at a time until golden brown. remove with tongs to drain on paper towels. Carefully remove shells from forms while they are still hot, or they may become stuck
  4. For filling, in a large bowl, mix together all ingredients until smooth.
  5. Fill shells with filling before serving and sprinkly with powdered sugar.