Sugar Free & Low Carb Sicilian Cannoli. 1.8g net carbs.
They’re finally here! It took me eons, but having travelled to Italy extensively, and having tasted THE BEST Sicilian Cannoli, there was no way I would create a less than perfect recipe. This healthy creation is the result of passion, intuition, effort, persistence, time, and a lot of testing.
Was it worth it? Abso-frigging-lutely! The ricotta + mascarpone + cream filling is divine by itself. But once you add the outer shell, it’s a one-way trip to keto heaven!
If you love fine Italian patisserie as much as I do, you’ll be ecstatic with my recipe. Not a difficult or time-consuming one, either. Both the crispy tubes and the creamy ricotta filling are super-quick. You will need a few niche ingredients and a couple of tools. Which – if you’re a seasoned keto/low carb baker – you might already own. If not, it’s all stuff that is useful and keeps for ages, so the cost-spread will be insignificant.
Tips for Perfect Sugar Free & Low Carb Sicilian Cannoli
There are two important items you need to use. A cannoli metal tube and a waffle cone machine. They are both inexpensive and quite easy to find. However, if you have a contraption that operates in a similar way to a waffle cone maker, you might be in luck. As long as it consists of flat-ish irons that are pressed together to cook a batter, it should work.
If you’re a waffle cone maker novice, you may well need to do a test-run to get the shells right. I had to when I bought mine. These machines are all different, so you’ll need to practice with yours, to figure out how long the batter takes to cook and at what temperature. The one I use works well despite being cheap and plasticky, with no temperature controls. It cost me 8 euros! You just drop the batter in the centre, close the lid VERY SLOWLY (you want the mixture to spread to about the width of your cannoli tube – no more) and wait. I learned that the steam that escapes is a visual clue as to when the batter is cooked. But just to be on the safe side, I open the lid and check every minute.
Then you have to practice getting your shell out of the machine and onto a tea-towel without braking it. While still hot, it will be flimsy and prone to tearing. Be swift but delicate, and you’ll succeed. Rolling it around the cannoli tube is a no-brainer. But again, you need to work quickly and follow my instructions to make sure your shells stay nicely sealed once hardened.
Made a mess of things? No problem. Crumble your broken shell(s), let them air dry and store them away. They’ll be ready for future use as part of a cheesecake base, or as a topping for a spoon dessert, or anything you can think of. When something is this delicious, nothing should be wasted.
- Yield: 6 large
- Serving: 1 cannolo
- Calories: 171
- Fat: 15g
- Net Carbs: 1.8g
- Protein: 6.5g
- 1 large egg (55g)
- 30g erythritol (U.S. option HERE)
- 20g high-oleic cold-pressed sunflower oil (U.S. option HERE) - or other light and neutral oil - see notes below
- 40g fine almond flour (U.S. option HERE)
- ¼ tsp xanthan gum (U.S. option HERE)
- 40g almond milk (or other milk of choice)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (U.S. option HERE)
- heat your waffle cone maker (U.S. option HERE).
- you’ll need to work fast, so lay a clean towel, a metal cylinder/cannolo tube (U.S. option HERE) and a flexible spatula over your work space, ready to use.
- with a hand-held electric whisk (U.S. option HERE), whip egg, vanilla and erythritol until smooth.
- add oil, milk, then almond flour and xanthan gum, whipping for 5 seconds or so in between each addition - you should end up with a dense but smooth paste that slides off your spoon slowly.
- scoop a heaped dinner-spoon of batter and place it in the centre of the ice cream machine, flattening it a little to form a disc shape, close the lid very gently and wait 2-3 minutes until the steam subsides (timing will vary depending on the machine you have - I suggest checking every minute, as the 'pastry’ can burn quickly).
- when ready (golden brown), pull up the edge of the shell using the spatula, lift it with your fingers and flip it onto the towel; place the metal tube over one end and roll as tightly as you can, but carefully, as the shell will be quite soft and delicate at this stage.
- once rolled up, position it onto your towel with the outer rim at the bottom and press it lightly - this will ensure a tight seal once dried.
- move on to the next shell, then, when almost ready, go back to the first one and pull out the metal tube, place the hardened shell aside and re-use the metal tube.
- continue until you’ve used all the batter - you should be able to make 6 large cannoli tubes (approx 11.4cm/4.5” length).
- leave them uncovered, on your kitchen counter - they will remain crisp for days.
- pour cream into a small microwave-proof bowl and sprinkle gelatine over it; stir with a dessert fork and leave to bloom for a few minutes; once it turns into an almost solid mass, place it in the microwave and heat it for 1 minute or so on medium-low power (I use 600W setting); when the mixture has returned to a liquid state, give it a good stir and leave aside to cool down.
- drain any visible liquid from ricotta and mascarpone, then scoop and weigh the required quantities into a Pyrex glass or similar mixing bowl, add grated lemon and orange zest, plus icing ‘sugar’ or allulose.
- whip for 2 minutes using a hand-held electric whisk, then incorporate the gelatine/cream mixture and continue to whip until you achieve a silky, stiff whipped cream.
- place the filling into a piping bag fitted with a large round nozzle (I use a 10mm one) and squeeze some into both ends of your cannoli, so they're filled all the way in.
- dust with icing ‘sugar’ before serving.
The shells can be made in advance and left, uncovered, on the kitchen counter - they’ll stay crispy for up to 5 days, depending on humidity.
You can keep the finished cannoli, in the fridge and covered with cling film, for 3 days max. I actually prefer the softer shell induced by the filling + refrigeration. If you prefer a crispy shell, add the filling only when you’re ready to serve the cannoli.
I like to use high-oleic cold-pressed sunflower oil, as it’s light and almost tasteless, plus very low in omega-6 PUFAs. You can substitute it for an oil of your choice (e.g. hemp, flaxseed, etc.) but I wouldn’t recommend extra virgin olive oil because it’s too heavy and aromatic.
To replicate the classic Sicilian Cannoli look, I dipped each end in a pistachio praline crumb, but that’s entirely optional.
The only way to ensure accurate measurement of ingredients is with Metric Kitchen Scales. Click HERE for the ones I use, or HERE for U.S. alternative.