Love Cannoli? Try These Desserts Inspired by the Iconic Pastry

Photo by Lisa Gageler on Unsplash

Italian pastries are often overlooked compared to other aspects of the country’s cuisine, taking a back seat to savory dishes as well as gelato for dessert. As much as we love a good Margherita pizza followed by an indulgent scoop of stracciatella, we’re also of the belief that Italian pastries deserve a bit more love, especially the almighty cannoli.

Cannoli is a classic Sicilian dessert consisting of fried dough shells filled with sweet ricotta cream, often studded with candied fruit or chocolate chips on the ends. They’re delicious in their own right but have also served as a source of inspiration for food bloggers to create recipes using key cannoli ingredients in new and unusual ways. Here are a few of our favorites.

Cannoli Pancakes

The only thing better than pastries for dessert is pastries for breakfast. Chocolate chip pancakes get a sweet upgrade in this recipe by Snappy Gourmet, which features ricotta cheese, orange zest, and chocolate chips in the batter. Top them with some whipped cream and a little powdered sugar for a little extra indulgence.

Vegan Cannoli Cheesecake

Neither cannoli nor cheesecake in their traditional forms are inherently vegan-friendly, but that didn’t stop Britt from The Banana Diaries from finding a way to make this recipe work. Vegan cream cheese and yogurt create a flavor that’s surprisingly close to real cheesecake. Coconut cream mimics the richness of ricotta, and of course, plenty of chocolate chips.

Cannoli Ice Cream

The only downside to cannoli is they can be tricky to eat—one bite into that hard pastry shell and the whole thing falls apart. Fortunately, mess is no issue in this recipe by Let’s Dish. By using real cream and ricotta cheese as a base and chocolate chips and pieces of shell as mix-ins, it creates a sort of reverse cannoli that’s easy to make and even easier to enjoy.