How do you make cannolis? – Celebrity Great British Bake Off technical challenge explained

Everything you need to know about the tasty, Italian treat...

Homemade traditional Sicilian sweet cannoli stuffed with ricotta cheese cream

Four new celebrities made their way into the Bake Off tent today, as the Celebrity Great British Bake Off continued for a second episode.


For the technical challenge, TV personality Scarlett Moffatt, actor Richard Dreyfuss, actor and comedian James Buckley and EastEnders actress Patsy Palmer were asked to make six, identical cannolis.

The challenge proved to be quite difficult for some of the contests (ahem, Patsy), but unsurprisingly, after Prue blurted out the results, James won the challenge.

So, what are cannolis? And how do you make it?

Here’s a little guide if you fancy making the sweet, Italian treat, which goes perfectly with an expresso…

What are cannolis?

Cannoli are Italian pastries that originated on the island of Sicily and are today a staple of Sicilian cuisine.

Cannoli consist of tube-shaped shells of fried pastry dough, filled with a sweet, creamy filling.

Traditionally, the filling is made from ricotta, however, for tonight’s challenge, this was taken out and swapped with cream.

How do you make cannolis?

This recipe from will make 12 cannolis.

Preparation time: 40 mins

Cooking time: 30 mins


  • 150g plain flour
  • 1 tbsp golden caster sugar
  • large pinch bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder (optional)
  • 30g butter
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 50ml dry marsala or white wine
  • rapeseed oilor sunflower oil for deep-frying
  • 50g dark chocolate, melted
  • handful pistachio kernels, finely chopped
  • icing sugar, to dust

For the filling

  • 250g ricotta, drained and beaten until fluffy
  • 100g mascarpone
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped candied peel
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar

You will also need cannoli moulds, which you can buy online.


1. Tip the flour, sugar, bicarb, cinnamon and cocoa (if using) into a bowl with a pinch of salt. Add the butter and rub it into the dry ingredients until there are no more lumps.

2. Mix the egg yolk and marsala and add this to the bowl, then mix the whole lot together and knead to a smooth dough. Wrap and rest in the fridge. (Can be made ahead and fried the next day.)

3. Fill a deep-fat fryer, wok or deep saucepan a third of the way up with oil. Cut the dough into pieces and, working one piece at a time, roll them out as thinly as you can – use a pasta machine if you have one. Heat the oil and keep an eye on it until it reaches 180C.

4. Lay the dough out on a lightly floured surface and cut out circles about 11cm across. Wrap each one around a cannoli mould, using some of the egg white to stick the top edge down and they’re ready for frying.

5. Deep-fry the cannoli (with their moulds) one at a time, making sure they cook all over. They should take about 45-60 seconds in all and should be visibly golden brown (keep cooking a little longer if they aren’t) and the dough will bubble and blister.

6. Carefully take each one out of the oil using the tongs and shake the cannoli off the mould very carefully onto kitchen paper. As you fry each one, make sure the oil stays at 180C at all times and doesn’t get any hotter. These will keep for two-three days in an airtight container.

7. When the cannoli are cold, dip the end of each one into chocolate, then dip some of those into the pistachios. Leave to cool and harden.

8. Beat the ricotta and mascarpone together, then stir in the candied peel and sugar. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag with a wide star nozzle and pipe it into the cannoli. Serve soon after filling.


The Great Celebrity Bake Off is on Tuesdays at 8pm. If you’re looking for more to watch check out our TV guide.