In honor of National Cannoli Day, what better way to celebrate than enjoying this delightful sweet treat? One of the most famous references to the adored cannoli is of course in the movie The Godfather. The character Pete Clemenza infamously exclaims, “Leave the gun. Don’t forget the cannoli.”
If you are still unsure what exactly a cannoli is, well here is a brief explanation. A cannoli is a Sicilian pastry delicacy that is comprised of a fried dough outer tube shell with a sweet cream filling. For this simple dessert, there are several variations. Traditionally speaking, the cream consists of ricotta or marscapone cheese combined with vanilla, chocolate, pistachio, and other flavors. You may have seen a few with lemon or orange shavings or candied fruit.
Where did the cannoli exactly originate from? Well there are a few theories that the cannoli originated in Palermo and the surrounding areas. At one time, Sicily was ruled by the Arabs , which is theorized that desserts such as cannolis, gelato, and other sweets were born during that period in time and evolved into traditional Sicilian desserts. Another theory is the cannoli was a symbol of fertility during Carnevale and the Lenten season. Naturally this delectable pastry was brought to other parts of the Western world from Italian immigrants. There have been a few modifications however don’t be afraid to create your own traditional filling. The good thing is the cannoli can be celebrated during any time of year!
Recipe for cannoli cream
- ½ cup whipping cream
- 1 15-ounce container whole milk ricotta cheese,strained
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅓ cup mini semisweet chocolate chips (Optional)
Whip the cream in the bowl or use a stand mixer until stiff peaks form. Place the cream into a small bowl and set aside.
In the same mixing bowl, add the ricotta cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Mix on medium speed until well combined, about 1 minute. Fold in the whipped cream and chocolate chips.
Chill the cream for at least 2 hours before filling the cannoli shells.