Clemenza’s CANNOLI


Who could forget the scene in The Godfather with Rocco, Clemenza, and the box of cannolis? This pie is inspired by the flavors of the traditional cannoli filling, accented with orange, cinnamon, and the tang of ricotta cheese, and gilded with dark chocolate, pistachios, mini chocolate chips, and cannoli shells. You can substitute ice cream sugar cones broken into pieces for the cannoli shells.



Deep-Dish Single Crust (this page), baked and cooled in a 9½-inch deep-dish pie plate 

Piping bag (see this page) fitted with a Wilton #1M or other large star tip 




Cannoli shells (full size, not miniature) (see headnote)3 shells

Semisweet chocolate, melted3 ounces85 grams


Chocolate Ganache (this page), warm and pourable¾ recipe


Cream cheese, at room temperature2 8-ounce packages16 ounces454 grams

Heavy cream1½ cups12.3 ounces348 grams

Ricotta cheese (or homemade ricotta; see this page)1 cup8.75 ounces248 grams

Confectioners’ sugar¾ cup3 ounces85 grams

Salt⅛ teaspoon

Finely grated orange zest1 teaspoon

Vanilla extract2 teaspoons

Ground cinnamon2 teaspoons


Chocolate Ganache (this page), warm and pourable1 recipe

Pistachios, roasted and salted, coarsely chopped½ cup2.65 ounces76 grams

Vanilla Whipped Cream (this page)½ recipe

Miniature chocolate chips2 tablespoons0.75 ounce21 grams

MAKE THE CANNOLI SHELL DECORATION (IF USING): Cut the cannoli shells into 3 equal rings using a serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion. Dip each piece halfway into the melted semisweet chocolate and place on a sheet of wax paper or parchment set on a baking sheet. Refrigerate until the chocolate is set, at least 30 minutes or overnight. 

ADD THE CHOCOLATE LAYER: Pour the Chocolate Ganache into the bottom of the cooled pie crust. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. 

MAKE THE CANNOLI CREAM FILLING: In a large bowl and using a hand mixer (or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment), beat the cream cheese on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Slowly add the cream while beating until the mixture is uniform. Add the ricotta, confectioners’ sugar, and salt, followed by the orange zest, vanilla, and cinnamon, mixing until smooth. Spread in an even layer over the firm chocolate ganache. Refrigerate until set, about 2 hours or overnight. 

MAKE THE TOPPING: Spread the warm Chocolate Ganache in a thin layer over the cannoli cream filling and sprinkle with the pistachios. Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes. 

Transfer the Vanilla Whipped Cream to the prepared piping bag. Pipe a decorative border around the edge of the pie. Sprinkle the mini chocolate chips over the whipped cream and place the chocolate-dipped cannoli shells into the whipped cream border. (Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. The pistachios will be less crunchy by the second day.) 


Homemade Ricotta

In our opinion, homemade ricotta tastes a hundred times better than anything bought in a grocery store, and making it is easy. In a large pot, bring 2 cups/17 ounces/482 grams whole milk, 1 cup/8.2 ounces/232 grams heavy cream, and ¼ teaspoon salt to a boil. Remove it from the heat and stir in 1½ tablespoons/0.8 ounce/23 grams distilled white vinegar. Let sit for 90 seconds undisturbed. Transfer the mixture to a sieve lined with two layers of damp cheesecloth set over a bowl. Drain for 30 minutes. Scrape the cheese into a container and refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours. Discard the liquid. You will need 1 cup/8.75 ounces/248 grams of this cheese for the cannoli cream filling (this page). In a sealed container, the ricotta will keep in refrigerator for about 2 weeks.

  • Share:

You Might Also Like