Stacked Cannoli – Napoleon Style

by David
Sweet Food

The other weekend, my husband made the cannoli recipe for his daring bakers group. The cannoli were just like they sound – a stack of four fried cannoli disks with a delicious filling. We decided to have friends over later that night to help us eat the cannoli. My husband and I shared one, and our friends (another couple) shared the other. Only a few seconds into the silence of the party enjoying the food, our friend said something like, “This is really bad!” But what she meant was, “This is ridiculously good!” We all had a good laugh and finished the melt-in-your-mouth cannoli in a matter of minutes.

Here’s the recipe:

Serves:  8-10 cannoli stacks
Prep time:  30 minutes active, 12 hours inactive
Cook time: 10 minutes


For the shells

2 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
½ cup sweet, white wine
1 egg white
Neutral oil for frying – about 4 cups (Canola, peanut or vegetable oil all work well)

For the filling:

3 ½ cups ricotta cheese, drained (or substitute ½-1 cup ricotta for mascarpone)
½-1 cup powdered sugar, sifted (to taste)
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons chocolate
2 tablespoons orange zest (or try candied orange peels!)
3 tablespoons nuts (pistachios are good)
(Reserve any left over chocolate , zest and nuts for garnish)


To make the dough, sift the first 5 ingredients into a large bowl. Add the next 4 ingredients and mix until a moist, soft dough begins to form. Spill the dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead for 2-3 minutes. Wrap the dough in cling film/saran wrap and allow to rest in the fridge over night, or a minimum of 2 hou

To prepare filling, finely chop the chocolate, zest and nuts. Fold into the ricotta along with the cinnamon and vanilla. The filling may be used immediately, but chilling over night is best as it allows the flavors to really bloom and blend together.

To shape the cannoli disks, divide the chilled dough in half and roll on a floured surface to about 1/8” thickness. Use a cookie cutter or other circular object (like a wine glass) to cut the disks 3-4” round. Sprinkle each disk with flour and stack to the side in preparation for frying.

To fry the cannoli disks, heat an inch of frying oil in a large skillet to 375°F/190°C, or until a wooden spoon dunked in the oil creates bubbles. Drop the disks into the oil in batches of 3-4. Flip once golden brown, about 1-2 minutes each side. Set on a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Let cool and use immediately, or store in an airtight container at room temperature until ready to use.

To form the cannoli, bring the ricotta mixture to room temperature for ease of use. Place a cooked cannoli sheet on a plate. Slather with the ricotta and place another disk on top. Repeat until you have 4 discs total and a top layer of ricotta. Top with whipped cream (optional) and sprinkle with leftover chocolate, nuts and zest. Serve immediately. (Tip. DO NOT store at this stage. The cannoli will get soggy.)

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