Ricotta filled cannoli

Ricotta filled cannoli

Cannoli ripieni di ricotta


The recipe for the pastry cannoli shell here comes from a friend of mine whose family is Sicilian. You can make the shells in large quantities and then store them in the fridge until you’re ready to pipe them with the ricotta-based gelato (it’s best not to assemble them until you need them as they can get soggy if made up in advance and kept in the freezer). I’ve used traditional southern Italian cassata flavours – candied fruits and nuts and so on – in the gelato. If you can’t be bothered making the shells, you should be able to get them from an Italian pastry shop.


Quantity Ingredient


Quantity Ingredient
250g plain flour
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1 egg, separated
25g softened butter
125ml sweet sherry, plus extra if necessary
vegetable oil, for deep-frying

Cassata gelato

Quantity Ingredient
105g caster sugar
25g dextrose
15g skim milk powder
4g carob bean powder
500g milk
125ml pouring cream
220g cow's milk ricotta
100g candied cedro lemon, finely diced, plus extra to decorate
100g candied orange, finely diced, plus extra to decorate


  1. To make the cannoli, add the flour and sugar to the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat together on a low speed, adding the egg yolk, butter and sherry as you go, to form a soft dough, adding a little more sherry if the dough is too firm.
  2. Roll the dough out through a pasta machine, one setting at a time, down to the second thinnest setting, then cut the dough sheets out into discs using a 10 cm round cookie cutter.
  3. Wrap the dough discs around 12 × 2.5 cm metal cannoli tubes and brush with a little egg white to seal the sides together.
  4. Fill a large saucepan half full with vegetable oil and heat to 170°C. Carefully lower the cannoli into the hot oil in batches and cook for 1–2 minutes until golden. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towel, then carefully slide the metal tubes out of one end and leave the shells seam-side down to cool completely. Store in a suitable container in the refrigerator until needed.
  5. For the cassata gelato, put the sugar, dextrose and skim milk powder in a bowl and mix to combine.
  6. Put the carob bean powder in a separate bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of the sugar mixture and mix together well.
  7. Pour the milk and cream into a large heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Whisk in the carob bean powder mixture and continue to heat, whisking in the sugar mixture as you go, until it hits 85°C.
  8. Take the mixture off the heat, add the ricotta and blend with a hand-held blender until smooth, then pour into a suitable lidded container and leave to cool in the freezer for 1 hour, or until the mixture drops to 4°C.
  9. Turn on your gelato maker so it begins the freezing process.
  10. Pour the mixture into your gelato maker. Once the mixture reaches –4°C or is the consistency of soft-serve ice cream (this should take about 30–45 minutes) detach the canister or scoop the gelato into a pre-cooled lidded container. Transfer to the freezer and leave for at least 1 hour to harden.
  11. Remove the gelato from the freezer, add the diced candied fruit and stir to combine, then transfer back to the freezer and leave for another hour to harden further.
  12. To assemble the cannoli, fill a piping bag with the cassata gelato and pipe each side of the cannoli shell with the gelato (if the gelato is too hard to pipe easily, put it in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment added and beat it briefly to soften). Dip the ends of each cannoli in more candied lemon and orange, and eat right away.
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