My Italian Kitchen
Chris Middleton

I can’t say no to cannoli. They’re the one temptation that I simply can’t turn down. They’re crispy and creamy, and just a mouthful of absolute heaven! They are one of Italy’s most popular desserts, so they’re often enjoyed at the end of a meal with an espresso coffee. This recipe is a bit time-consuming, and takes a few hours to complete, but I think there’s greater satisfaction in making your own cannoli shells than buying them. Cannoli are best enjoyed fresh, when they are nice and crispy.



Quantity Ingredient
680g plain flour
160g lard, melted, (use butter if lard isn't available)
125g icing sugar
250ml marsala
4 egg yolks
3 eggs, 1 lightly beaten for egg wash


Quantity Ingredient
3 egg yolks
100g caster sugar
100g cornflour
1 litre milk, warmed
1 vanilla bean, halved and seeds scraped
canola oil, for deep-frying
icing sugar, for dusting


  1. For the pastry, mix the flour and lard together in a large mixing bowl, then add all the other ingredients and form the dough. Alternatively (if using butter), combine the flour and butter in a food processor until they resemble breadcrumbs, then add the remaining ingredients to form a dough. Cover with plastic wrap and rest for 1 hour.
  2. Set up a pasta machine, divide the dough into four portions and roll each through the machine, adjusting the settings until the dough is 1 mm thick.
  3. Lay the sheets on a lightly floured surface and cut circle shapes (by hand) to 10 cm in diameter. Brush the edges with the beaten egg and wrap over a cannoli mould.
  4. Pour canola oil into a small saucepan until it’s one-third full and place over a medium–high heat until the oil is 180°C. Drop a small piece of dough into the hot oil to test if it’s ready – if it turns a golden colour straight away, the oil is hot enough. Deep-fry each cannoli for 30 seconds. Drain on paper towel and remove the moulds.
  5. For the custard, whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl until thick and pale. Add the cornflour and a dash of milk and continue mixing until well combined, then add the remaining milk.
  6. Add the vanilla bean and seeds to the mixture, pour it into a medium saucepan and cook over a low–medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and starts to boil, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Once the custard has cooked, remove the vanilla bean.
  7. Cool the custard. Once cooled, pour into a piping bag with a 2 cm nozzle and pipe into the cannoli shells. Dust with icing sugar and serve.


  • Cannoli moulds can be bought from homeware shops.
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