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Cannoli are the most famous Sicilian pastry desserts. The name comes from the Latin "canna", or reed, because they are very thin tube-shaped shells of fried pastry dough filled with sweetened ricotta (made with sheep’s milk). Cannoli originated in Palermo, Sicily, and Cicero in 70 a.C., while he was working as a questor in Sicily, wrote about a pastry: "Tubus farinarius, dulcissimo, edulio ex lacte factus", (a tube made of flour with a milky filling, very sweet). Other historians believe they date back to the Arab rule of Sicily but everybody seems to agree about the fact that it became mainly a Carnival treat for many centuries.

The modern versions of cannoli may include sweetened mascarpone instead of ricotta, and flavors like chocolate, vanilla, pistachio, candied citrus, Marsala wine, rosewater, orange flower water, or other assorted flavors.

Make sure you buy them fresh, possibly filled while you are waiting, and eat them right away or the shell will absorb some of the filling and it will become soggy.




Cannolo siciliano with chocolate squares.

Date 19 November 2008, 15:37:01
Source originally posted to Flickr as Cannolo Siciliano
Author Paolo Piscolla