Besides tiramisu, is there any other Italian dessert as popular as the cannoli? The cannoli, the singular version being cannolo, is a Silician dessert that is believed to have come from the Palmero and Messina regions. Meaning “little tube” in Sicilian, the cannoli ranges in size from “cannulicchi”, which is no bigger than a finger to the fist-sized portions typically found in Palermo. Cannoli making is serious business in Sicily and for bakers, the quality and standards of their bakery can be judged solely on the basis of how good their cannoli is. As a strong symbol representing Italian heritage, the cannoli has a unique and rich history possibly dating back to the presence of the Moors in Sicily.
The history of the cannoli is a reflection of the variety of cultures and people that, throughout the centuries, have inhabited Sicily. As a staple of Sicilian cuisine, many people believe the cannoli originated in Sicily in Piana Degli Albanesi, but this traditional Italian dessert may possibly be traced back during the Arabic rule of the island, also known as the Emirate of Sicily. There are two tales surrounding the origin of cannolis. The first one takes place in an Arab prince’s harem inside his castle during the Arabic domination of the island. The emir’s many concubines spent their time creating luscious meals and delicious desserts, among them a cylinder-shaped pastry case filled with ricotta, almonds, and honey. The second tale takes place in a convent, outside of the castle, where nuns concocted a new type of pastry made of a shell called “scoria” with a filling of ricotta, sugar, chocolate, and almonds to celebrate Carnevale, which is a celebration that takes place in all of Italy before Lent begins.
Whether it was concubines or nuns, historians believe that both legends have a seed of the truth and that the creation of the cannoli took place in or around the city of Caltanissetta between 827 and 1091. Historians also believe that this delicious dessert was also made by women. Many of the ingredients used in a cannoli are also of Arabic origin like sugar cane and almonds.
A traditional cannoli recipe consists of a tube-shaped shell of fried pastry dough, filled with a sweet and creamy ricotta, candied fruit, and chocolate filling. The creamy, slightly tangy flavor of the ricotta is mellowed out by the sweet delicacy of the sugar and chocolate, while the crunchiness of the fried, light shell brings out this amazing symphony of flavors and textures.
Italians immigrating to America during the early 1900s made adaptions to the original cannoli recipe due to limited availability of certain ingredients like sheep’s milk ricotta so mascarpone was used instead. Today, there are many variations to the traditional cannoli recipe including chocolate, strawberry and pecan caramel.
If you have been on the hunt for an authentic Italian cannoli in the South Florida area, then look no further because Cannoli Kitchen has got the hookup. Cannoli Kitchen is one of the best Italian restaurants in Boca Raton serving authentic Italian cuisine. We also specialize in making homemade traditional Italian desserts like cannolis, tiramisu, and cheesecake. To order you Boca Raton Italian food, call us today at 561-955-8880.