Cannoli Cream

Ah, the cannoli, a masterpiece of Sicilian pasticceria! This dolce (dessert) is a crisp tube shaped pastry shell filled with a luscious sweet ricotta cheese filling. Dusted in confectioner’s sugar with chopped pistachios adorning each end, this is the queen of Sicily’s desserts.

I am forever grateful that I am in possession of my grandmother’s recipe!  The cannoli shell is a labor of love, requires special tubes to wrap the dough before frying and takes more time than I had today.

However, I really wanted cannoli so I made the filling. The filling is so good by itself you can eat it right out of the bowl (which I always do). It’s great with fruit (see Frutta con Cannoli Cream and Frutta al Spiedino).

Now, as good as the filling is with or without fruit, it was lacking that certain crunch you get in a cannolo (singular) shell. Looking through the pantry for whatever I could find to make a quick and simple pastry to satisfy my cannoli craving led to the Cannoli Bite.


  • 2 cups whole milk ricotta
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 3 tablespoons candied citron  or (candied lemon peel)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon pistachios for the top
  1. In a large bowl, beat ricotta for a minute
  2. Add confectioner’s sugar, beat until light and creamy (about 5 minutes).
  3. Chop the candied peel, (I used European candied mixed peel from King Arthur Flour) add to the ricotta mixture along with the cinnamon.
  4. Stir in the chocolate pieces (if you use chocolate chips, cut into quarters). Mix thoroughly.

Sprinkle chopped pistachios on top.


Keep the filling in the refrigerator until ready to use. This actually gets better (hard to believe, I know).

Serving Suggestions:

Get a large spoon and dig into the bowl.
Serve with fresh fruit (Frutta con Cannoli Cream, or Frutta al Spiedino).

Satisfy your cannoli craving with a Cannoli Bite.

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11 Responses to “Cannoli Cream”

  1. Diana
    April 16, 2012 at 3:47 pm #

    Hi Catherine,
    We met and had a nice chat at the Tucson Festival of Books – in the culinary tent, of course.
    Cannoli were a weakness of mine growing up in NY. Of course, since moving to Tucson, I haven’t had a decent one except one delicious treat on my trip to Sicily a few years ago.
    Anyway, my husband and I are trying to stick to a diet ( I call it a modified Zone diet) which means we need to add protein to each of three meals and two snacks. I’m going to try fruit with a bit of cannoli cream (made with less sugar and maybe low fat ricotta) for a tasty evening snack.


    • Catherine
      April 25, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

      Yes, I remember you and our conversation of food, cultures and where to find fresh spices. It was a great day wasn’t it? Did you know that ricotta has about 5 grams of protein per 1/4 cup serving and is a good source of calcium? So you don’t have to feel too guilty enjoying this creamy confection. Mangia Bene!

  2. alyssa
    April 5, 2018 at 4:02 pm #

    hi, is the candied citron necessary? thanks!

    • Catherine
      April 6, 2018 at 8:56 am #

      My grandmother always used citron as it is the traditional Sicilian way. However, since citron is a citrus fruit, you could use candied lemon or candied orange peel in place of the citron. Hope this helps!


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