Cannoli Alla Napolitana

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4cupall-purpose flour (sifted)
2cupsugar (divided)
1⁄2cuplard (or vegetable shortening)
5 eggs (beaten)
3poundricotta cheese
3⁄4cuppreserved orange peel (diced)
2tablespoonpreserved citron (diced)
 ouncecherry bits (optional)
 ounceconfectioner's sugar (optional)


You'll need 3 to 6 one-inch diameter dowel sticks for cannoli. To make them, buy dowel sticks at the hardware store and have them cut into 6" lengths. An alternative would be to cut a one-inch broom handle into 6" lengths.

For cannoli: Mix flour with 1/2 cup sugar; cut in lard until crumbly. Add eggs and brandy; mix well. Let stand 30 minutes. In deep-fat fryer, heat about 1.5" fat or vegetable oil to 350F. Roll part of dough very thin. Cut into ovals and 1/2" shorter than dowel stick and 1.5" wider than its circumference. Fit each oval of dough loosely around dowel stick; overlap center edges, sealing by moistening one side with water, so ends look like cornucopias. Fry, two or three at a time, in deep fat until golden. Drain on paper towels. When cool enough to handle, remove dowel. Repeat until all of dough is used.

For filling: Mix ricotta with 1.5 cups sugar, orange peel and citron. Just before serving, fill cannoli; decorate with cherry bits. Sift on confectioner's sugar.

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