|Place of origin||Italy|
|Region or state||Sicily|
|Main ingredients||fried pastry dough, ricotta filling|
Cannoli (Italian: [kanˈnɔːli]; Sicilian: cannola [kanˈnɔːla]) are Sicilian pastries consisting of tube-shaped shells of fried pastry dough, filled with a sweet, creamy filling containing ricotta—a staple of Sicilian cuisine. They range in size from 9 to 20 centimetres (3+1⁄2 to 8 in). In mainland Italy, they are commonly known as cannoli siciliani (Sicilian cannoli).
In English, cannoli is usually used as a singular, but in Italian, it is grammatically plural; the corresponding singular is cannolo (Italian: [kanˈnɔːlo]; Sicilian: cannolu [kanˈnɔːlʊ]), a diminutive meaning 'little tube', from canna, 'cane' or 'tube'. This form is uncommon in English.
Some food historians place the origins of cannoli in 827–1091 in Caltanissetta in Sicily, by the concubines of princes looking to capture their attention. This period marks the Arab rule of the island, known then as the Emirate of Sicily, giving rise to the theory that the etymology stemmed from the Arabic word qanawāt meaning 'tubes' in reference to their tube-shaped shells. During this time, the Arabs influenced Sicilian baking with the introduction of candied fruits, pistachios, and cinnamon. They also introduced the technique of combining nuts and fruits with sugar and honey.
Gaetano Basile claims that cannoli come from the Palermo and Messina areas and were historically prepared as a treat during Carnival season, possibly as a fertility symbol. The dessert eventually became a year-round staple in Sicily.
Some similar desserts in Middle Eastern tradition include "Zaynab's fingers" (أصابع زينب), which are filled with nuts, and qanawāt (قنوات), deep-fried dough tubes filled with various sweets, which were a popular pastry.
The minne di Sant'Agata or minni di virgini, cream-filled half spheres with icing and fruit, are shaped like a roll in honour of St Agatha. Feddi dû cancillieri ("chancellor's slices") are similar cream and apricot jam-filled almond cookies.
- Brandy snaps
- Cream horn
- Schaumrolle, also known as Trubochki in Russian and (italské) trubičky in Czech
- Torpedo dessert
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