Transport yourself to the Sicilian sunshine with our authentic cannoli recipe

The heavenly blue skies and blissfully warm waves of the Sicilian seas, embody what Italian cuisine is all about … comforting and inviting. Traditional dishes are abundantly made with love to share with family and friends, as well as preserving the authentic flavours of the land.

Traditional Sicilian Ingredients

Sicily has been blessed with radiant temperatures and diverse agriculture, allowing the local people to bring fresh ingredients to the table. The aromas which fill the kitchen range from citrusy lemons and oranges to crisp seafood brought in from the morning markets. 

Another important meal for any Sicilian dinner party is dessert, and the key to any Italian dessert is sweetness and simplicity! The most popular sweet treats that you will find along the island are:

Cassata Siciliana: This dish is especially eaten in Palermo and is usually made to celebrate the Easter festivities. To make a Cassata, a mix of ingredients such as almond flour, pistachios, marzipan, ricotta cheese and candied fruits are combined to form this decorative cake.

Brioche con gelato: A dessert which gives you an excuse to have ice cream for breakfast! Creamy Italian gelato generously stuffed into a buttery brioche bun, try mixing different flavours and top with chopped nuts or sprinkle with a dusting off ice sugar for the sweetest of treats. 

Cannoli: One of the most well known desserts of Sicily are Cannoli. The history of Cannoli dates back to the 9th century when Sicily was under Arab control, the legend has it that it was originally made by the women of the ancient city of Qal'at al-Nisā. Now the cannoli shell filled with creamy ricotta and chopped pistachio topping has become an icon of Italian food. 

Italian bakeries often use ricotta cheese in both sweet and savoury recipes and we encourage you to experiment by doing the same! The smooth texture and mild flavour of this cheese are great for adding depth and flavour to many dishes. 

When it comes to savoury recipes, ricotta is the perfect pasta filling especially in ravioli. Additionally, ricotta cheese is also great as a meat alternative in various vegetarian dishes. Take a look at our spinach and ricotta pastry recipe here. 

A Yorkshire Dama take on the Cannoli Siciliani

Learning how to bake homemade cannoli will be a skill that you can treasure and share with your loved ones for many years to come. Follow these simple steps to becoming a little more Sicilian:


Cannoli Shells:

  • 500g plain flour

  • Pinch of salt

  • 60g unsalted butter

  • 60g granulated sugar

  • 1 tsp cocoa powder

  • 1 tsp ground coffee granules

  • 2 medium eggs - lightly beaten

  • Sunflower oil for frying



  • Start by placing the flour and salt into a large bowl, then add the butter in cubes and start cutting it into the flour by using two knives
  • Add the sugar, cocoa powder and coffee, mix together
  • Next, mix in eggs and knead until a dough is formed

  • Cover the bowl and leave to rise for at least half an hour

  • When ready, roll out the pastry onto a lightly floured surface and flatten to around 3mm in thickness

  • Prepare a pan with enough oil to cover 3 cannoli at a time and begin to heat

  • Cut the dough into 4inch diameter circles, then roll around greased cannoli shapers, make sure that the two edges overlap and brush lightly with the beaten egg 

  • When the oil reaches around 200c it is ready to fry, fry the shells for around 5 minutes until dark golden brown

  • Drain the oil from the shells by leaving to cool on a paper towel, when cool remove the metal shapers
  • Whilst the shells are cooling, start to make the filling. Push the fresh ricotta through a fine mesh sieve using a wooden spoon, then beat until it becomes lighter
  • Gently fold in the sugar and vanilla extract, fill a pastry bag with the ricotta mixture and squeeze equal amounts into each shell

  •  Dip the ends into the topping of your choice and enjoy!