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Sicilian Cannoli: recipe and curiosities

When one speaks of Sicilian cannoli, one evokes a heritage of flavor and tradition that has crossed the borders of beautiful Sicily to delight palates all over the world. These typical sweets, famous for their irresistible combination of carefully selected ingredients, tell a fascinating story intertwined with the island's culture. In the preparation of cannoli, each gesture follows a recipe that has distant roots, and which every Sicilian knows and treasures. Let us discover together the secrets of these famous sweets, which carry with them the unmistakable taste and pride of Sicilian tradition.

Scopri i cannoli siciliani: tradizione, gusto, e segreti
Discover Sicilian cannoli: tradition, taste, and secrets

History and curiosities

Have you ever wondered about the story behind the famous Sicilian cannoli? Their story hides a web woven of tradition, history and cultural influences rooted in an illustrious past. Marcus Tullius Cicero, as far back as 70 B.C., mentioned a dessert that closely resembles our cannolo, providing us with what could be interpreted as the first historical description of this delicious ancestor of Sicilian pastries. The cannolo's association with Arab origin finds support in the use of sweetened ricotta, with the territories around Caltanissetta standing out as a hub of this delicious innovation. 

The cloistered nuns of the area, according to some of the most credited legends, would have prepared it to celebrate Carnival, blending the Arab recipe with local ingredient par excellence: sheep's milk ricotta. These sweets were not only a great success among the local population but were gradually adopted as a symbol of Sicilian confectionery, testifying to the rich interweaving of cultural influences that characterize the island's cuisine.

The Convent of Santa Maria di Monte Oliveto in Palermo is another candidate regarding the origin of Sicilian cannoli. Indeed, some theories identify the convent kitchen as the birthplace of the recipe as we know it today. Again, the suggestion of Carnival emerges as the occasion when this dessert was made and shared, a custom that is still perpetuated today, every year, while being able to enjoy those crispy rolls of happiness at any time.

Preparazione: la ricetta dei cannoli siciliani
Preparation: the recipe for Sicilian cannoli

The traditional recipe for Sicilian cannoli

Immersing oneself in the preparation of Sicilian cannoli means following an ancient ritual, where every step is crucial to the success of a masterpiece of taste. The traditional recipe begins with the dough for the wafer, a perfect mix of flour, a pinch of sugar, lard, bitter cocoa, a pinch of salt, a trickle of eggs, a touch of vinegar and the ever-present marsala, which together create a zest with a characteristic aroma. After obtaining an elastic loaf, it will need to be placed in the refrigerator to rest.

Cannoli siciliani: la ricetta tradizionale
Sicilian cannoli: the traditional recipe

Frying is the final act of the dough, turning it into a golden wrapper, ready to accommodate the sweet filling. The heart of this dessert is undoubtedly sheep's milk ricotta, very fresh, sweetened and embellished with the traditional chocolate chips. 

The decoration is just as essential: a veil of powdered sugar enhances the color, while regional variations add crunchy notes of pistachio granules, sweetness of candied orange or the round accent of cherries.


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