Then & Now | Cannoli Recipe from the ISDA

Italian Sons and Daughters of America (ISDA) began in 1930 as a small community of Italian immigrants in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. These new Americans, who had rejected the oppressions of the Old World to embrace New World democracy, truly valued their newfound freedom and right to vote. The Order ISDA is now one of the largest Italian American organizations in the country, uniting communities across states to celebrate, preserve and promote the Italian heritage.   It was one of the founding organizations of the WRHS Italian American Collection.


Serves: 12

For the Shells:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or shortening
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 dash of salt
  • 3/4 cup Marsala Wine
  • 1 egg white
  •  Oil for frying

For the Filling:

  • 3 cups full fat ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 tablespoons mixed candies fruit peels
  • 6 glaced cherries, finely chopped


To make the shells:

  1. Mix together the flour, butter or shortening, sugar, and salt. Begin to add the wine, adding enough so that you have formed a fairly firm dough.
  2. Knead for a few minutes until smooth. Form into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and let sit at room temperature for one hour.
  3. Cut the dough in half, and roll thinly to about a 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into 4 squares. Place a metal diagonally across each square, and wrap the dough around the tube. Seal the edges with a little beaten egg white.
  4. Heat the oil in a large pan until it reaches a temperature of 375 degrees F. Drop one or two tubes into the hot oil at one time, and cook until golden. Remove from the pan, cool, and gently slide the cannoli shell from the tube.
  5. Continue to make the rest of the shells in this manner.

To make the filling:

  1. First let the ricotta sit in a strainer over a small bowl in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to remove excess water.
  2. Mix the ricotta with the rest of the ingredients. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Fill each cannoli shell carefully, and sprinkle with a little extra powdered sugar if desired. Chill until you are ready to serve.

Recipe notes:

  • You can even dip the end of your shells into melted chocolate.
  • You will need 3 to 4 metal cannoli tubes to make these cannoli, which are readily available at most kitchen stores.
  • Do not fill the cannoli siciliani too far in advance, or they may become soggy.