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Homemade Cannoli with Campari Flavoured Filling

Cannoli are ready to serve
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How would you like to feast on a traditional Sicilian dessert that can be completely homemade from scratch in your own kitchen no matter where in the world you are? Yes, it’s time to make some Cannoli with Campari Ricotta Filling! Crispy and bubbly deep-fried pastry filled with ricotta and mascarpone cheese subtly flavoured with bittersweet Campari! The word delicious doesn’t do it justice, trust me!

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You can hardly ever hear silence in our house. If it’s not pans and pots banging around, it’s the radio, nostalgic tunes blasting on Spotify or some unobtrusive TV program that acts as background noise for me and noise drowning for our skittish Golden Retriever. Last week, I had earlier seasons of Great British Bake Off on the go. I knew right there and then that I was going to make Cannoli with Campari flavoured filling. Does it get much more Italian than that?

To make Cannoli Shells I used a slightly adjusted Angela Hartnett’s recipe and filled my homemade Cannolis with a ricotta filling flavoured with my all-time favourite Italian liquor – the bittersweet Campari.

What are Cannoli?

Cannoli is a deep-fried pastry stuffed with a sweet ricotta filling. Originating in Sicily, they are one of the best known Italian desserts that have gained enormous popularity across the world. The name comes from a Sicilian world cannolu, meaning a small tube, that represents the shape of the pastry.

Whilst the history of truly traditional foods is always a topic of debate, some historians claim that cannoli are a symbol of fertility and were traditionally eaten during the Carnival season. Read more about the history of cannoli (it’s certainly interesting).

What Equipment Will You Need?

For perfectly shaped cannoli, you will ideally have Cannoli Moulds. You can get them in specialist cookware shops or online, and they can be as expensive or as cheap as you’d like. We have these budget-friendly cannoli moulds and never had an issue with them.

However, we also took on a challenge to prepare beautiful cannoli shells without the moulds. We rummaged our kitchen (and garage!) for hollow tubes, and found something that worked a treat! Do you know large bamboo sticks that you use in the garden to support plants? Well, they act perfectly as cannoli moulds. We cut them into 10 cm sticks choosing parts that didn’t have joints (Seb may have sanded a few joints as well). Yes, your cannoli will likely be smaller in diameter, so you may want to use a smaller pastry ring/ cookie cutter as well, but it works. The two lots of cannoli we made can be seen below.

Tips and Tricks for Making Great Homemade Cannoli Shells:

  • Knead the pastry. Although unsual, you actually have to knead the pastry quite a bit to get all the lovely bubbles on the surface once fried. Roll your sleeves up and work the pastry for at least 5 minutes.
  • Try rolling the pastry only once: Try and roll your pastry out thinly once into a large sheet, then cut the circles as close to each other as possible to get as many as you can. Yes, you will be left with some scraps, that you can reroll, but I find that rerolled pastry makes for cannoli shells with less bubbles on the surface and they are definitely less crumbly and melt in the mouth.
  • Roll the pastry out thinly. The pastry is a strange one to work with, it contracts when you roll it, but on the other hand it doesn’t stick. Your pastry should be extremely thin if you want your cannoli shells crispy, so my advice is to use a pasta machine if you have one. Alternatively, use a rolling pin (stainless steel rolling pins are the best!)! You may not be able to roll it out thinly enough to get the shells completely crispy, but if you ask me, I like a slightly cakier cannoli.
  • Control the oil temperature. It should be between 180-190 C. Any hotter and your cannoli will puff up too much and will be to brittle to hold the filling. Too low, and your shells will absorb too much oil and be grease. A kitchen thermometer is definitely helpful!
  • Don’t fill too early. Don’t fill the shells right until you’re ready serve/ want to eat them. Your shells will be soggy if left with filling for more than 30 minutes. You can always keep a piping bag full of cannoli filling ready to go!

Tips and Tricks for Making a Great Campari Filling:

  • You may need to drain your Ricotta: You want your filling to hold shape when pieped, therefore, try and get rid of any moisture in the tub around the ricotta.
  • More Campari isn’t always better: Campari is a strong flavour, and whilst I love how bitter it is, you can easily go overboard. Add Campari a little bit at a time and taste the filling, so you can get the best flavour balance for you!
  • Weigh your orange juice: – don’t guess it. Too much orange juice and you will end up with a filling that’s too runny.

How to we Make our Homemade Cannoli with Campari Flavoured Filling?

Make Cannoli Shells:

Place the plain flour, caster sugar and bicarbonate of soda in a large bowl. Add the cubed butter and rub with your fingers until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

In a separate small bowl, mix the egg yolk with white wine. Pour it into the flour mixture and knead for 5-10 minutes until you have a smooth dough.

Roll out the dough on a surface lightly dusted with flour. It should be paper-thin, almost see-through. Using a 10 cm round cutter or a template, cut out 10-12 circles.

Wrap each circle tightly around a cannoli mould (if you don’t have moulds, see text above – we have suggestions) using a little egg white to seal it together firmly.

Fill a small saucepan 2/3 full of oil and heat to 180 C. Lower down two cannoli at a time into hot oil and fry for 30-40 seconds. They should look bubbly and golden brown when done. Place them on a plate lined with a paper towel to cool. As soon as they are cool enough to handle, carefully remove the cannoli from their moulds in a gentle twisting motion.

Repeat with the rest of your cannoli. And leave them all to cool down completely, whilst you make the filling.

Make the Filling:

Place ricotta in a large bowl and using a handheld mixer, whisk it for 1-2 minutes until smooth.

Add 20 ml of orange juice and half of the zest and stir to combine. Add mascarpone and icing sugar and whisk until thick (about 3-4 minutes). Finally, add Campari and melted cooled white chocolate and whisk for another minute.

Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle. Pipe the filling into cannoli shells. Serve homemade cannoli with Campari flavoured filling dusted with icing sugar and top with the reserved orange zest.

Cannoli are being filled with the ricotta filling

For other Italian cuisine inspired desserts, have a look at some of our scrumptious easy-to-follow recipes below:

Campari Ricotta Filled Cannoli are ready to serve

Homemade Cannoli with Campari Flavoured Filling

How would you like to feast on a traditional Sicilian dessert that can be completely homemade from scratch in your own kitchen no matter where in the world you are? Yes, it's time to make some Cannoli with Campari Ricotta Filling! Crispy and bubbly deep-fried pastry filled with ricotta and mascarpone cheese subtly flavoured with bittersweet Campari! The word delicious doesn't do it justice, trust me!
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian, Sicilian
Servings 16 -20 cannoli
Calories 288 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

For Cannoli Shells:

  • 150 g plain flour
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 30 g butter
  • 1 egg yolk for shells, egg white for sealing
  • 50 ml dry white wine
  • 500 ml vegetable oil for frying

For the Filling:

  • 150 g ricotta
  • 1/2 orange juice and zest
  • 125 g mascarpone
  • 30 g icing sugar
  • 2 tbs Campari
  • 80 g white chocolate melted and slightly cooled

Instructions
 

Make Cannoli Shells:

  • Place the plain flour, caster sugar and bicarbonate of soda in a large bowl. Add the cubed butter and rub with your fingers until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  • In a separate small bowl, mix the egg yolk with white wine. Pour it into the flour mixture and knead for 5-10 minutes until you have a smooth dough.
  • Roll out the dough on a surface lightly dusted with flour. It should be paper-thin, almost see-through. Using a 10 cm round cutter or a template, cut out 10-12 circles.
  • Wrap each circle tightly around a cannoli mould (if you don't have moulds, see text above – we have suggestions) using a little egg white to seal it together firmly.
  • Fill a small saucepan 2/3 full of oil and heat to 180 C. Lower down two cannoli at a time into hot oil and fry for 30-40 seconds. They should look bubbly and golden brown when done. Place them on a plate lined with a paper towel to cool. As soon as they are cool enough to handle, carefully remove the cannoli from their moulds in a gentle twisting motion.
  • Repeat with the rest of your cannoli. And leave them all to cool down completely, whilst you make the filling.

Make the Filling:

  • Place ricotta in a large bowl and using a handheld mixer, whisk it for 1-2 minutes until smooth.
  • Add 20ml of orange juice and half of the zest and stir to combine. Add mascarpone and icing sugar and whisk until thick (about 3-4 minutes). Finally, add Campari and melted cooled white chocolate and whisk for another minute.
  • Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle. Pipe the filling into cannoli shells. Serve homemade cannoli with Campari flavoured filling dusted with icing sugar and top with the reserved orange zest.

Nutrition

Calories: 288kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 3gFat: 24gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 9gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 28mgSodium: 51mgPotassium: 48mgFiber: 1gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 224IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 46mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Campari Ricotta Filling Recipe, Cannoli Filling with Campari, Homemade Cannoli Shells, Homemade Cannoli with Campari Filling, Make Cannoli From Scratch, Sicilian Dessert Recipes
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8 Replies to “Homemade Cannoli with Campari Flavoured Filling”

  1. 5 stars
    Delicious! I love the subtle Campari flavour in these cannolis.

    1. Absolutely! I love the strong flavours of Campari, but you are right, just a subtle hint of it in these cannolis is needed!

  2. 5 stars
    The crunch from the cannoli and the creamy filling were the perfect complement to each other! Thanks for the recipe!

    1. You are most welcome 🙂

  3. Claudia Lamascolo says: Reply

    5 stars
    Orange and Mascarpone great flavors! now I can make it myself cant wait!

    1. Thanks, Claudia! Really hope you enjoy these!

  4. 5 stars
    Cannoli filling is perfect for flavorful additions, and this Campari version is a winner in my book.

    1. Thanks, Mairead! 🙂

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