Pizzelle Cannoli with Ricotta Filling, a delicious alternative to traditional cannoli. Especially when you want to enjoy your cannoli in a hurry!
Pizzelle Cannoli with Ricotta Filling, another of my favorite ricotta filled desserts! Some of you may be thinking that nothing can replace your traditional cannoli shells. Of course I will agree with you, especially since cannoli are my favorite Sicilian dessert. In fact you’ll find my mother’s authentic Sicilian Cannoli recipe on my blog.
While I’m all for maintaining tradition, I’m definitely open to variations on recipes that I love. Let’s face it, sometimes you just don’t have the time to roll out the dough for cannoli shells. You may also be trying to be more health conscious and don’t want to do as much frying.
It was my mother who first introduced me to this shortcut for making cannoli a few years ago. You have all the flavor of cannoli you love with less work. And, they do look quite pretty as well!
What are pizzelle?
Pizzelle are flat, crisp waffle like cookies made in an iron which is similar to a waffle iron. They are quite affordable and you can find a link at the bottom of this post for a pizzelle iron. I purchased one for my mother’s birthday a few years ago and the return has been quite advantageous! I recently joined her for a pizzelle cannoli making session.
How to make pizzelle:
Make the pizzelle batter by combining all the ingredients listed in the recipe below in one bowl.
Preheat the pizzelle maker and pour the batter very much in the same way that you would make waffles. Wait a minute and remove the pizzelle when they are golden in colour.
Shaping pizzelle into cannoli shells:
The trick to making these pizzelle shells is to roll them right away when you remove them from the iron. They harden quite rapidly so you will probably only be able to roll one out of every 2 pizzelle. That is unless you have an assistant!
My mother uses these bamboo cannoli dowels to shape the pizzelle. These are what she uses to make the traditional fried shells. Stainless steel versions are also available on Amazon. In my research I came across some sites that suggest you cut off pieces of a wooden broom handle, which you would have to probably sand before using.
To fill the pizzelle:
My filling of choice, of course, is ricotta but custard is another option. In order to prevent soggy pizzelle, I recommend that you fill them right before serving. The shells will keep in a well sealed container, in a cool dry place for weeks.
Simply scoop your filling in a pastry bag, then pipe the ricotta into both ends of the shells. If you don’t have a pastry bag, a freezer bag with the tip snipped off will work as well. Finally, dust with powdered sugar and serve!
Tips and suggestions:
- The recipe calls for Anisette liqueur but Sambuca may also be substituted. Another alternative would be anise extract. Use between 1-2 teaspoons of extract.
- Be sure to roll the pizzelle immediately when removing them from the pizzelle iron as they begin to harden right away.
- Fill the pizzelle shells with ricotta filling right before serving otherwise they will become soggy.
I think you’ll agree that these are a perfect variation on traditional cannoli. Give them a try and if you do, please don’t forget to take a photo and tag me with #mangiabedda on Instagram and Facebook. Buon appetito!
For the pizzelle:
- 6 eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup canola oil
- grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup Anisette liqueur, optional
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
For ricotta filling (for 12 cannoli):
- 2 1/2 cups ricotta
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar or more according to taste
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- For serving : powdered sugar optional
For the pizzelle:
- Preheat the pizzelle iron. To make the batter, combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir until combined. The batter will have a slightly thicker consistency then a pancake batter.
- When the pizzelle iron is hot, place about 1 tablespoon of batter per pizzelle on the iron. Cook until pizzelle are a light golden color, about 1 minute.
- When they are ready, unmold hot pizzelle with a spatula and immediately wrap around the cannoli form. As they set rather quickly, it is realistic to mold one out of every second pizzelle. Save the others to eat as is.
For the ricotta filling:
- To make the filling, combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Whisk until smooth.
- Right before serving, fill a pastry bag with the ricotta mixture and pipe each pizzelle shell from both ends until full. Alternately, fill a medium sized freezer bag with the filling and snip off the bottom corner to make a small hole for piping. Before serving, dust with powdered sugar.
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I need pizzelle iron advice. I have been researching pizzelle irons in order to figure out which size would be best for cannoli and rolled cookies. Palmer makes pizzelle irons with different thickness. Would the thinner crispier pizzelle be better for cannoli? .27 inches versus .18 thicknesses.
Hello Lynn, this is the first time I’ve seen pizzelle irons with different thickness! Although I have not tried the different varieties, in my opinion the thinner pizzelle would be easier to roll into cannoli. Hope this helps!
Cannoli Shell substitute.
Don’t have time to make/bake them? In a pinch I use Sugar Ice Cream Cones, not the same but will do in a pinch & can be served if placed in a fruit juice glass.
BTW, what is the diameter of you mother’s cannoli tube forms? I watched the Italian Inspector Montalbano Detective series (filmed in Sicily). Cannoli’s were a big part of some scenes and those cannolis were so large in diameter you coign’t put the whole en in you mouth
Great idea Tony, it’ll definitely do in a pinch! My mom’s forms are approximately 3/4 inch in diameter. Of course they may vary since they are made of cane and are not all the exact same size!
I have a solution for the 2nd Pizzelle that you are unable to roll. Simply place it in the microwave for 10-15 seconds and then roll it. I do this with store bought pizzelle because I like the chocolate ones as well as the anise types, I’m not to fond of the vanilla for this purpose. Hope this helps.
Hello Al, that is definitely a great solution, thanks for sharing this with me and my readers. I guess I had not thought of it since I don’t have a microwave oven but it is definitely a great idea, thanks!
Don’t forget to drain the ricotta for at least a day ahead.
Hi Dorothy, yes that is something to keep in mind. I guess it depends on the brand of ricotta you use. Mine is not very watery so an hour or two of draining is sufficient. Thanks for the reminder!
Can they be done “pancake style” in a pan? I cannot access a pizzelle form. Thanks and congratulations for yours recipes.
Hello Enrique, that is a good question and I must say I’m really not sure as I have never tried myself. If you do try please let me know how they turn out. I’m sorry I could not be more helpful!
Absolutely phenomenal I have been doing the pizzelle with my cannolis for decades and I love yours absolutely phenomenal when I make some again I’ll take pictures
Hello Jasmine, so thrilled to hear you enjoyed my mom’s recipe! Looking forward to seeing your lovely pizzelle cannoli, thanks again!
Can I make the cream day ahead
Hi Luci you can definitely make the cream a day ahead and just assemble the cannoli right before serving. Enjoy!
How long should each pizzelle stay rolled on the cannoli form?
Hi Alaina, just a few seconds. They cool rather quickly and become firm rapidly. Hope you enjoy them!
Can you flavor the filling with rum? Also, could you post your recipe for custard filling? It should be quite thick for to fill pizzelle.
Hello Ri, although that is not something I have tried before you can definitely add a bit of rum to your filling if you prefer. Regarding the custard filling, the only custard recipe that I have posted at this time is found under my ‘Creamy Pineapple Layer Cake’ recipe. Hope this helps!
Are you referring to the Anisette liquor? What would be a substitute for this extract/spice anise and what amount?
Hi Courtney, yes I am referring to Anisette liqueur. You can also use Sambuca if you have it. Otherwise, if you want to use an extract such as anise extract I would recommend 1-2 teaspoons, depending on the intensity of the anise flavor that you prefer. I hope this is helpful and thanks for stopping by my blog!
What delicious looking Cannoli!
The Old Fat Guy