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Italian Homemade Baked Cannoli

Homemade Baked Cannoli, are a delightful adaptation of the popular and much loved Italian pastry. Bringing all the rich flavors and textures of the classic dessert without the need for deep frying. These crispy, tube-shaped shells filled with creamy ricotta make a delightful dessert or snack that captures the spirit of Sicily’s culinary tradition in a slightly lighter and equally delicious form.

Baked cannoli on parchment paper.


 

If you asked an Italian what their absolute favourite pastry is, without a doubt they would answer Cannoli, from one of their favorite Fresh Strawberry Cannoli to Pastry Baked Cannoli !

My daughter and her father have been asking me for ages to make Cannoli. So the other day I was at the Bakery buying bread and right in front of me was a huge tray of Cannoli. So I thought “ok what the heck, Cannoli it is”! I decided to lighten them up so instead of deep frying I baked them.

Recipe Ingredients

  • Flour – all purpose flour
  • Sugar – granulated sugar
  • Cocoa – unsweetened dutch processed cocoa
  • Cinnamon – ground cinnamon
  • Egg – large egg
  • White wine – good quality white wine or marsala
  • Butter – I use salted butter if you use unsalted then add 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • Ricotta – ricotta cheese
  • Chocolate Chips – unsweetened mini chocolate chips
  • Chocolate – good quality dark chocolate, I use one with 50% cocoa
  • Nuts – finely chopped walnuts, hazenuts or even almonds

What Is Marsala Wine

Marsala wine is a fortified wine that is produced only in Sicily and in particular in the city of Marsala. Marsala is commonly used for cooking and to prepare caramelized sauces and desserts.

How To Make Baked Cannoli – the filling

Place the Ricotta cheese in a sieve over a bowl and refrigerate for 24 hours. It has to drain as long as possible to remove the excess moisture. Remove from the fridge and with a spatula over a clean bowl push the ricotta through the sieve.

Creamy Homemade Baked Cannoli, a delicious Italian Dessert Recipe, with a creamy Ricotta, chocolate chip filling. A Classic Italian.

Add the sugar a little at a time and taste until desired sweetness. Fold in the chocolate chips. Place the filling in a pastry bag with a large tip and fill the baked cannoli, make sure to fill them just before serving. Dust with powdered sugar if desired.

Making the pastry

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa and cinnamon, make a well in the middle and add the butter, egg and wine mixing with a fork. Bring it together to form a dough. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill.

Lightly grease and flour the cannoli tubes. Roll the dough out very thin and cut out rounds with a round cookie cutter, wrap the pastry so that the ends overlap and seal by brushing with a little egg white or watter. Bake until the pastry is golden. Let cool completely before filling and or dipping with chocolate and nuts.

how to make baked cannoli rolled thin and on the cylinder

What If You Don’t Have Cannoli Tubes?

If you don’t have the Cannoli Tubes you can make your own with rolled up pieces of foil, just be sure to lightly grease and flour before wrapping the dough.

A pasta machine makes the work of rolling out the dough a lot easier! Or if you prefer you can make cannoli tarts.

Baked cannoli on parchment paper.

How To Fry Cannoli Shells

I baked these shells but if you prefer the traditional fried Cannoli, then fill a medium sized pot with 1/3 vegetable oil and heat to 350F / 180C degrees. Carefully place 1 or 2 shells at a time in the oil. They should take about 60 seconds to cook, they will be covered in bubbles and blisters when done. Be sure not to let the oil go over 350F / 180C.

Remove to a paper towel lined plate, let cool before filling. The baked shells will keep for 3-4 days in an airtight container.

Different Fillings For Cannoli Shells

You could fill them with two different types of strawberry fillings, a thick Mascarpone and Cream with small pieces of strawberries and another Mascarpone and Cream filling with pureed strawberries, and to thicken it I added a little gelatine.

Or you could fill them with a creamy Nutella and ricotta filling or even with a simple Italian Pastry cream.

Where Did Cannoli Originate?

Cannoli originated from the South of Italy, in Sicily. Typically they are made in a tube shape, from small to extra large and deep fried. The tubes are then filled with a sweetened Ricotta filling, sometimes filled with cut up candied fruit.

Can The Cannoli Be Made A Head Of Time?

The Cannoli shells can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days unfilled.

Can The Cannoli Shells Be Frozen?

Cannoli shells can be frozen, be sure to place in an airtight container or freezer bag. I don’t recommend freezing the Mascarpone filling because Mascarpone does not freeze well, it will separate. The shells will last 10-12 months in the freezer.

Other Typical Italian Sweets

Two cannoli on parchment paper.

Baked cannoli offer a delicious twist on the classic Italian dessert, allowing you to enjoy the the flavors and textures with a healthier approach. Enjoy!

Two cannoli on parchment paper.

Italian Homemade Baked Cannoli

Rosemary Molloy
Creamy Homemade Baked Cannoli, a delicious Italian Dessert Recipe, with a creamy Ricotta, chocolate chip filling. A Classic Italian treat.
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Chilling Time 1 day 20 minutes
Total Time 1 day 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Servings 15 pastries
Calories 249 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

PASTRY

  • 1⅓ cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ½ tablespoon unsweetened dutch processed cocoa
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 large egg (room temperature)
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine or Marsala (room temperature)
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons butter softened

CHOCOLATE COATING

  • 4.4 ounces dark chocolate (good quality) (melted)
  • ¼-½ cup chopped nuts

RICOTTA FILLING

  • 3 cups ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup mini dark chocolate chips

Instructions
 

RICOTTA FILLING

  • cheese cloth or in a sieve over a clean bowl and refrigerate for 24 hours. It has to drain as long as possible to remove excess moisture.
  • Remove the ricotta from the fridge and with a spatula over a clean bowl push the ricotta through the sieve. This will make it nice and creamy, add the sugar a little at a time and taste until desired sweetness (I used ½ cup of sugar you may want more or less). Fold in the chocolate chips.  

FOR THE PASTRY

  • In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa and cinnamon, make a well in the middle and add the butter (start with 1 tablespoon if too dry add the remaining tablespoon), egg and wine mixing with a fork. Bring it together to form a dough. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  • Pre-heat oven to 350°F/180C, lightly grease and flour 15 cannoli tubes or make your own tubes with rolled up pieces of foil.
  • Roll dough out very thin and cut with a round cookie cutter (medium size), wrap the pastry so that the edges overlap and seal by brushing with a little egg white (beat slightly) or water.
  • Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until pastry is golden.  Let cool completely before coating or dipping with chocolate and nuts, let the chocolate firm up before filling with the ricotta cream.
  • Place the filling in a pastry bag with a large tip and fill the cannoli, make sure to fill just before serving.  Dust with powdered sugar if desired before serving. Enjoy!

CHOCOLATE COATING

  • Break chocolate into pieces and melt (either microwave or place chocolate in a small bowl and place over a small pot of boiling water make sure water does not touch bowl with chocolate).
    Let cool a little then dip each end of the cannoli in the chocolate then dip in the chopped nuts. Set aside to harden before filling.

Notes

Instead of tubes you could make tarts, be sure to prick the bottom of the dough with a fork. Place a square of parchment paper or a cupcake casing in each shell.Fill with some dried beans, rice or sugar. Bake for approximately 10 minutes, then remove the paper and dried beans and bake again for approximately 5 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before filling.
I baked these shells but if you prefer the traditional fried Cannoli, then fill a medium sized pot with 1/3 vegetable oil and heat to 350F / 180C degrees. Carefully place 1 or 2 shells at a time in the oil. They should take about 60 seconds to cook, they will be covered in bubbles and blisters when done. Be sure not to let the oil go over 350F / 180C.
Remove to a paper towel lined plate, let cool before filling. The baked shells will keep for 3-4 days in an airtight container.
The Cannoli shells can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days unfilled.
Cannoli shells can be frozen, be sure to place in an airtight container or freezer bag. I don’t recommend freezing the Mascarpone filling because Mascarpone does not freeze well, it will separate. The shells will last 10-12 months in the freezer.

Nutrition

Calories: 249kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 38mg | Sodium: 57mg | Potassium: 157mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 260IU | Calcium: 122mg | Iron: 1.9mg
Did You Make This Recipe?Please leave a comment below or pin it to your Pinterest account!

Updated from November 30, 2016

45 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I like the idea of baking cannolis. I have my mom’s recipe and it calls for frying. I did that last year and hated the mess. My mom’s recipe is pretty similar to your recipe but it calls for baking powder. Is there a reason not to use this with your recipe when baking?

    1. Hi Rita, I have actually never heard of a cannoli recipe with baking powder. The Italians I know never mention adding baking powder. 🙂 If you try it let me know how it goes. Take care!

  2. I’m definitely going to try these baked shells as I don’t like frying. I was wondering if you thought the dough would work in a pizzelle iron. The pizzelle recipe i use is somewhat soft and sticky. The cookies are delicious but very fragile, but I don’t want ricotta filled pizzelles. Thanks so much for this recipe.

    1. Thank you so very much for your questions about baking the dough. I was wondering the same thing. I will try your idea.

    1. Hi Honey I have 2 cookie recipes https://anitalianinmykitchen.com/almond-cookies/ and https://anitalianinmykitchen.com/amaretti-cookies/. Hope that helps.

    1. Hi Nikita, yes you can, heat the oil in the pot to 350F (180C) then fry the shells a few at a time for about 2-3 minutes or until golden. Let them cool just enough to handle, then carefully twist off the fried shell. Hope it helps.

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