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Cannoli, (plural) in Sicilian, are Sicilian pastry desserts. The singular is cannolo, meaning “little tube”, with the etymology stemming from the Latin "canna", or reed. Cannoli originated in Sicily and are an essential part of Sicilian cuisine.

Left: Cannoli Siciliani, a typical sicilan sweet.

They are also popular in Italian American cuisine and in America are known as a general Italian pastry, while they are specifically Sicilian in origin (in Italy, they're commonly known as "cannoli siciliani", Sicilian cannoli).

Cannoli consist of tube-shaped shells of fried pastry dough, filled with a sweet, creamy filling usually containing ricotta cheese and chopped succade (the candied peel of any of the citrus species). They range in size from "cannulicchi", no bigger than a finger, to the fist-sized proportions typically found in Piana degli Albanesi, south of Palermo, Sicily.

The shell is a dough made of flour, butter, sugar and other ingredients. It is formed into an oval, wrapped around a dough ring and fried. The shells can be filled with creme by using a spoon or pastry bag. If not served quickly, the shells will lose their crisp texture.

As with Sicilian cassata, Sicilian cannoli probably date back to the time of Arab domination.


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