the cannoli list

Cannoli. What’s not to love. Fried dough, sweet cheese or custard, and chocolate. D and I have been known to drive two hours for a box of cannoli from Maria’s Pastry Shop (Boston’s best-straightforward, not too sweet with drops of chocolate throughout), Mike’s Pastry, or Modern Pastry. We’re that taken. We have a list: ‘The Best Cannoli in the States.’

almond mascarpone filled cannoli

The November 2009 Daring Bakers Challenge was chosen and hosted by Lisa Michele of Parsley, Sage, Desserts, and Line Drives. She chose the Italian Pastry, Cannolo (Cannoli is plural), using the cookbooks Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and The Sopranos Family Cookbook by Allen Rucker; recipes by Michelle Scicolone, as ingredient/direction guides. She added her own modifications/changes, so the recipe is not 100% verbatim from either book.
My daring twist on November’s challenge is vegan cannoli, baked not fried. For the cannoli shells, I use water to seal the dough instead of an egg white. I also substitute white grape juice for sweet white or red wine and add two tablespoons of white balsamic vinegar, since that’s what is in the refrigerator at the moment.

cannoli 'tacos' and 'wraps'

I bake the shells wrapped around the cannoli forms at 350 F for 10 minutes or until they turn golden brown. This is after I make two batches of free-form cannoli that resemble mini-taco shells and folded blankets (minus the hot dogs). Nonetheless, they possess a certain charm after being filled with mascarpone, chopped chocolate, and dusted with cocoa powder.
For the cannoli filling, I make a dairy-free almond mascarpone. It’s a bit lighter than the dairy version including ricotta or mascarpone and confectioner’s sugar, but no less desirable.
Let me know if you have a favorite cannoli shop to add our list. . .
Almond Mascarpone
Yield 1 1/2 cups
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups almonds (blanched)
1/2 cup cane sugar
1/4 cup brown rice syrup
1/8 cup agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
9 ounces (3/4 block) Mori-Nu Silken Extra-Frim Tofu
1/4 cup soy or almond milk
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/2 tablespoon vanilla
1 1/2 ounces dark chocolate (chopped)
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add almonds and turn heat off. Let almonds sit for 2 minutes. Drain and pinch each almond to remove its skin.
Rinse tofu and gently squeeze any excess water from block; set aside.
Process blanched almonds and cane sugar in a food processor until very fine, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add brown rice syrup, agave nectar, cinnamon, tofu, soy milk, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla and process until smooth.
Fold in chopped chocolate and transfer mixture to a pastry bag or a sealable plastic bag with a corner tip cut off to pipe into pastry or cannoli shells.
(This recipe is inspired by Meredith McCarty’s Marzipan recipe found in Sweet and Natural).
Read Lisa’s homemade cannoli recipe at Parsley, Sage, Desserts, and Line Drives.


  1. Audax says

    Vegan cannoli, baked – girl you are so clever and your shells look so colourful and so so so beautiful. bravo on the vegan choice always a lot harder. Cheers from Audax in Australia.

  2. Lisa Michelle says

    I love Mike's Pastry in the North End, and used to crave their cannoli about once a month when I lived in Boston! That said..I love how you veered from the norm and decided to go alternative this month. They look so yummy, and that almond mascarpone sounds luscious. Nikki, as turned out an amazing challenge! Thanks so much for 'BAKING' with me this month (I've been using 'deep frying' on so many other posts, so it was nice to mix it up..LOL

  3. Hannah says

    Your cannoli are beautiful, and I can't believe you baked them, they look so good! I made standard tofu ricotta, but that almond version sounds even better.

  4. Sheltie Girl says

    You did a great job on your cannoli! I love the chocolate bits in the shell…they look so good.

    Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

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