'Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli'. Immortal words from The Godfather.
Where does one buy the best cannolo? Research the internet for an answer and you will find that "the best" comes from New York (sorry?), or from Sicily. Or from a specific pasticceria in a certain town in Sicily. "The best" is a difficult term to apply since, despite the recipe for cannoli being relatively simple, it can only be defined in contest by experts.
The original cannoli were made during a period of time when Sicily was under Arab rule and known as the Emirate of Sicily. That was some 1,200 years ago. In summary, this sweet comprises a pastry tube filled with a cream cheese and decorated with candied peel.
There are two steps required in making cannoli - the pastry tube, and the filling. Local ingredients make for "authenticity" - freshly made ricotta cheese from Sicily is not the same as New York or Boston ricotta!
Pastry is made from flour, sugar, salt, butter and eggs. The dough is prepared and rolled before being cut into discs. The original cannoli were smaller than the ones seen now, but whatever the size they taste good! The discs are rolled into a tube shape then deep fried.
Essentially just sugar and ricotta cheese! Some people add white wine or marsala (sweet red wine) and even vanilla. Some even add chocolate chips. However, it should be remembered that at the time cannoli were first created there was no cocoa, chocolate or vanilla as these had yet to be discovered in the new world! In my humble opinion, keep it simple, but feel free to experiment.
Add candied orange peel to decorate.
Fill the tubes just prior to eating, otherwise the tubes can become soggy.
I have family in Sicily so I visit as often as I can - though never frequently enough. Cannoli is always on my list of things to try and one day I may even attempt to create a league table of the best cannoli on the island.