An Italian pastry dessert consisting of a fried tube-shaped shell filled with a sweet, creamy ricotta cheese filling. Candy, fruit, chocolate chips, or even citrus peel shavings are sometimes added to the filling to vary the flavor, and by the same token, the shells are sometimes dipped in chocolate. In my opinion, however, they are best served plain, either homemade or from the old-time Italian bakery on the corner (if you can find one).
Cannoli originated in Sicily centuries ago. It is suspected that they came about as a result of Arab influence on the region. Over time they became a special pastry offered during the Italian feast of Carnevale. Now they can be found in fine Italian bakeries and restaurants everywhere.
The word "cannoli" is the plural form of the Italian word "cannolo" which literally translates to "little tube." I wish that I had a decent recipe for these tasty little tubes to offer. Hopefully a fellow noder can oblige.