Made by loading crispy, lightly-fried shells with a cheesy, custardy filling, cannoli are a traditional Italian dessert that can be easily ruined by improper preparation and presentation. If you want to make and serve cannoli the way they do in Italy, you need to wait to finish the dish until just before serving it. Otherwise, all your hard work until that point can quickly come undone.
Proper Serving Suggestions
Cannoli are best served chilled, and though this makes the creamy filling retain its shape, that filling still soaks into the crispy shell. If you fill the shells ahead of time, they absorb moisture from the filling and become soft and soggy. Instead, keep the shells and the filling separated until you're ready to serve the cannoli, then fill the shells and serve them immediately. Depending on the recipe, you may opt to sprinkle the exposed filling at either end with chocolate pieces, confectioner's sugar or nuts. Though American tradition is to serve coffee or espresso with a sweet dessert like cannoli, Italian tradition is to serve a dessert wine. A white wine like sweet Riesling or Asti complements cannoli's flavor profile best.
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Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.