Posted by Grace Massa Langlois on Monday, 7th June 2010

Cannoli Siciliani has to be, in my opinion, the ultimate Italian pastry. The shells should be covered in bubbles to give you the most amazing crispy texture. The filling is absolutely divine! How could you go wrong with silky, whipped ricotta speckled with mini chocolate chips?  Sprinkle with icing sugar and you are ready to indulge in one of the best Italian Pastries.

A photo of Italian Cannoli placed in a row on a white dessert dish with a pink and white ribbon.

As a kid I couldn’t wait for Sundays, every Sunday on the way home from 10 o’clock mass we would stop at Angelo’s Bakery. We would pick up freshly baked bread, Italian deli meats and fresh cheese. I remember tugging at my mom’s skirt every time we passed the pastry counter, pointing out the Cannoli and Italian Custard Horns (Cannoncini). They are two of my most favourite Italian pastries. My Mom would always give in and home we went with a box full of the delicious Italian Desserts.

A close up photo of Sicilian Cannoli on a silver serving tray lined with small white doilies.

Fast forward all these years later and today I may go to the bakery (same one) alone (kids don’t enjoy the weekly ritual) but I almost always come home with a box of the same pastries. My kids love them too!

A close up photo of Traditional Sicilian Cannoli on a white dessert dish lined with white doilies.

A few years back I decided to try and make them at home and I am so happy I did. They are even better, especially if you fill the shells just prior to eating or serving them because the shells are crispier.

A photo of Italian Cannoli Pastries on a white cake stand with a blue and white ribbon.

I spent yesterday afternoon making about eighty shells in preparation for V’s bridal shower. I froze them and will fill the shells just prior to heading out the door for the shower.

A photo of Cannoli Pastries placed on top of a stack of white napkins set along side a white bag with a purple ribbon.

There are many recipes available for the shells but the dough for these shells are made with Marsala wine. The addition of Marsala makes a big difference in the taste of the shells and the use of the sweet wine is traditional. The filling is super easy to make but it’s imperative to drain the ricotta over night to achieve the silky smooth texture.

As you can see from the photos I had to make a batch just for home, the kids waited all day for their special treat, and yes they are all gone.

A close up photo of Cannoli Siciliani Pastries on a silver tray lined with white doilies.

You must try this recipe, these pastries are absolutely delicious!

If you enjoy Italian Desserts as much as I do you must try one of my most favourite Italian treats, Cicerchiata (Italian Honey Balls), deep-fried pastry balls dripping with honey. And of course I can’t go without mentioning another traditional Italian Dessert, Panna Cotta; it’s a family favourite and it can be paired with many different flavours. A pairing perfect for the summer is Panna Cotta and Raspberry Jelly Parfait and for the Holiday Season, Vanilla-Coconut Panna Cotta with Pomegranate Jelly.

A photo of two empty Cannoli shells.

Italian Cannoli

A close up photo of two Cannoli Siciliani on a white dessert dish with a cup of tea.

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Posted in Baking & Pastry, Baking Mise en Place, Basics, Custards, Creams & Mousses, Dolci Fritti, Fillings, Frostings & Dessert Sauces, Fried Desserts, Mini Desserts, Pasticcini, Pastries, Pastry Doughs & Batter, Piccola Pasticceria, Recipes, Ricette di Base

Comments (90)

90 Responses to “Cannoli Siciliani – The Ultimate Italian Pastry”

  1. Martha Says:

    Cannolis are one of my favorite pastries as well! I might skip out on the shells my first time around, but I definitely want to attempt making my own filling and enjoy a homemade cannoli – thanks for sharing this!

  2. Grace Says:

    Martha you are most welcome. I was intimidated by the shells my first time, but believe it or not it’s just like making fresh pasta, pretty easy, just a little time consuming (a labour of love).

  3. Deborah Says:

    I just stumbled across your blog and can tell that I’ll need to spend some time going through previous post. Lovely photography and delicious recipes! I love cannolis and have had a request from a friend to make some again. Might be time to try a new reipe!

  4. Marly Says:

    Wow – these look spectacular! Are they low calorie too? Just kidding. I have a feeling I know the answer to that one!

  5. Grace Says:

    Too funny Marly, don’t think I ever made anything low cal.

  6. Grace Says:

    Thank you so much Deborah! This is a great recipe, please let me know if you have a chance to try it, would love your feedback.

  7. susan Says:

    these look spectacular! i LOVED cannolis in college. I just may have to bring back those glorious days and make some of these!

  8. Grace Says:

    Thank you Susan!

  9. Gale Reeves Says:

    My brother loves these, but we live in TN, and you just don’t find these on every corner. I think I read that your daughter is the photographer….these are GREAT images!

  10. Gordon Ramsay's Baked Lemon Tart & Chocolate Shortcrust Pastry | La Mia Vita Dolce Says:

    […] Our dessert table looked magnificent, it was brimming with so many varieties of cookies and baked goods and Italian pastries.  Some of our extended family and close friends also joined us in the baking.  I can’t wait to try some of the recipes.  My freezer is full of special treats.  I promise to share some of the recipes over the next little while.  The Orange Cupcakes and Deep-Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes were enjoyed by all.  The contrast in colours was striking on the tiered serving rack. Everyone mentioned how much they enjoyed the Cannoli Siciliani. […]

  11. Brie Says:

    wow, that is some sexy and scrumptious looking cannoli.

  12. Cajun Chef Ryan Says:

    Love me some cannoli! These look wonderful!

  13. Grace Says:

    Thanks Chef, these are my absolute favourite

  14. Camala - CC Recipe Says:

    Oh, Wow…these look fabulous, I love Cannoli’s and whenever I go anywhere that has them in a case I just stare at them:) Just like I am staring at these, lovely pictures!

  15. Kristi Rimkus Says:

    What a beautiful dish! I love your pictures. Terrific presentation.

  16. Jeanette Says:

    What beautiful cannoli’s! I’ve never seen a recipe for the dough. I always thought people just bought them and filled them.

  17. Grace Says:

    Thanks for stopping by for a visit Jeanette. I thought the shells would be more difficult to make than they were and they taste so much better than the ones you buy. The recipe makes quite a few. I usually freeze a good portion of the batch and then fill when I need them. The cannoli are best eaten fresh. I usually fill right before I am ready to serve so the shell stays crisp.

  18. The Enchanted Cook Says:

    Your cannoli’s look heavenly! Yum! Congrats on the Top 9!


  19. Grace Says:

    Thanks Veronica!

  20. Kita Says:

    These look divine. I love a good cannoli. :)

  21. briarrose Says:

    Beautiful. I would be hard pressed to stop with one. ;)

  22. Grace Says:

    I can never eat just one, I try, but it never happens.

  23. Cook is Good Says:

    Delicious. I literally LOVE cannoli sicialiani.Congrats on the TOP 1 ;-D

  24. Grace Says:

    Thanks Giorgia!

  25. Joan in Seattle Says:

    These are beautiful and look delicious. I love cannoli; they make me think of North Beach in San Francisco on my honeymoon. The cannoli may be just the thing to get me to buy a pasta attachment for my Kitchenaid. Thank you for posting!

  26. Grace Says:

    Thanks Joan, I bought one of those attachments, so handy! I was just in North Beach last week, love San Fran.

  27. Jenny Says:

    wow, these look so amazing. Great post :)

  28. BigFatBaker Says:

    Wow those look fabulous. After reading this post I realized I wasn’t eating enough cannoli! It’s hard for me to find them :( I was wondering if is it possible to roll out the dough with a rolling pin? I (unfortunately) don’t have a stand mixer.

  29. Grace Says:

    Would you happen to have a crank pasta machine, that would work. I think if you could roll the dough out thin enough by hand it would definitely work.

  30. Potato Chops and Boneless Chicken Says:

    My God, how lush. Cannolis are one of my absolute favourites. You’ve given me a real craving. YUM!!

  31. Christina @ Sweet Pea's Kitchen Says:

    I want one of these babies now! Fabulous! :)

  32. Karen Says:

    Wow! These look amazing! I think I could eat way too many of these cannoli. Congrats on the Top 9!

  33. Grace Says:

    Thanks Karen

  34. Debbie Says:

    OH these look fabulous! I made some the other day, but have yet to make my own shells. I love the story about getting to stop by the bakery every sunday, reminds me of the donut shop that I got to go to after church :-) THanks

  35. Ay, Oh. Homemade Cannolis. Fahgetaboutit! Says:

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  39. Matteo Says:

    They are absolutely amazing! And I’m from Sicily.

  40. Grace Says:

    Thank you Matteo coming from you that means so much!

  41. Panna Cotta-Panna Cotta Recipes-Italian Dessert-Chocolate Desserts | La Mia Vita Dolce Says:

    […] little time for reading.The week leading up to the shower will be hectic.  I plan on making Cannoli Siciliani, Cannoncini alla Crema Pasticcera, mini Torta Caprese, mini Hazelnut, Raspberry Jam and White […]

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  45. Sam Says:

    amazing i will be making it next week. can’t wait.


  46. Pizzelles-Cookies Italian-Italian Cookies-Mascarpone Cream | La Mia Vita Dolce Says:

    […] can believe this, the queen of chocolate (me) has yet to try one.They can be rolled and filled with Cannoli Ricotta Cream or as I’ve prepared them today with a Mascarpone Cream and a trio of fresh berries (frutti di […]

  47. Natalie Says:

    Is there a way to print your recipes without all the other information?

  48. Grace Says:

    Natalie I’ve recently added the print feature but I have yet to go back to each recipe to add the format, is there a particular one you are interested in? I will go in and add the feature to the respective recipes for you.

  49. Dedee Royale Says:

    Perfect crunch on the shells! Best recipe I found yet. I used Crisco butter flavored shortening and 7 Tbsp. Marsala wine. Don’t be intimidated – this is no harder than making a pie crust.

  50. Grace Says:

    So happy you enjoyed Dedee. A lot of people are intimidated but they really are quite easy to make.

  51. Dedee Royale Says:

    All you do to print the recipe is to copy it all and paste it into Word. Then you can edit it and delete the photos if you want. Easy.

  52. Grace Says:

    Dedee I have just added the print feature to this post. I added the print feature not long ago but haven’t had a chance to go back to all of my older posts. If you run across a recipe that doesn’t have it let me know and I will attach for you.

  53. Recipes: Cannoli Siciliani : Perlkönig Says:

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  54. Sandy Says:

    Dear Grace, I just tried your cannoli recipe and wow, they are not only tasty but pretty with all the little bubbles! (I was the one who asked your advice)I guess 3rd times the charm, yours is the 3rd recipe I’ve tried, and yours is the keeper!Thank you so much, and your instructions were awesome! so detailed, so clear. I am going to do the filling today, I know it will be great.
    Thank You Again!

  55. Grace Says:

    I am so happy you enjoyed them Sandy, they are a great big hit around here.

  56. Joyce Says:

    Grace. I tried the cannoli filling but it is not the same as the pastry shops. Did you use impastata or ricotta salata? The ricotta in the grocery stores don’t seem to make the filling thick. I even drained the ricotta for 3 days

  57. Grace Says:

    Joyce I use both, the grocery store brand and also the fresh ricotta I buy from the Italian deli. If I’m using the fresh ricotta I must drain for a longer period of time, often times up to 3 days but I much prefer the taste and texture. The grocery store type I purchase is the extra smooth (this ricotta tends to have less water) Tre Stelle and the Costco brand I use on occasion is Bari. If you can get your hands on the sheep’s milk ricotta it is the authentic type of ricotta used for the Sicilian Cannoli but it is much more difficult to find (but your Italian deli may carry on occasion but remember this can be an acquired taste). Are you finding the filling thin? Because when I use all three brands the filling is thick. How are you draining the ricotta? I line a sieve with a few layers of cheese cloth and make sure to suspend the sieve over a pot allowing the liquid to drain. Sometimes, if I find there is a good amount of liquid in the pot, I will lift the cheese cloth by the corners and tighten it to form a ball and squeeze out the liquid every couple of hours. Please don’t use Ricotta salata. Next time you try the filling drain for 3 days, this should guarantee a thicker filling, the ricotta will be quite dry. Also are you buying an Italian brand of ricotta?

  58. Dasy Says:

    I have made them today. Out of the 9 I did only 3 came. They look fine but once in the hot oil for a 10-15 seconds they pop open. I have put the white of the egg to seal them and also pressed a lot to make the dough stick but they still open up. HELP!

  59. Grace Says:

    Sorry Dasy feel terrible just getting your comment. When you’re cutting the pastry is there enough to overlap to seal? And what temperature is the oil? The only time I’ve ever experienced the cannoli shells opening up is if the pastry is not sealed with the egg white. How many moulds are you wrapping in pastry before frying? Are you frying the shells off immediately after sealing them? If so it’s quite possible that the pastry shells haven’t had enough time to seal properly. Please let me know how you went.

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  62. Erin @ Texanerin Baking Says:

    Oh no. We only have Dutch process cocoa powder here and we don’t really have the same vegetable shortening either so I guess I’ll have to try another recipe. I’ll try to find an Italian recipe with my limited Italian skills and see what they do about cocoa powder. But I can definitely use your filling recipe! I just need to buy the tubes. :)

  63. Grace Says:

    Hi Erin let me know how it goes. How surprising they don’t have unsweetened cocoa. It doesn’t surprise me about the shortening but you’re right they must have something similar. If you want you could leave out the cocoa, the shells will just be lighter in colour. These are my absolute favourite!

  64. Erin @ Texanerin Baking Says:

    The cannoli forms came in the mail today and I’m so excited! We only have unsweetened cocoa here in Germany, but it’s all Dutch process (and I think it’s Dutch process all over Europe). I’ll let you know how it works out!

  65. Erin @ Texanerin Baking Says:

    I ended up not really using a recipe for the filling because I used homemade “ricotta” but they came out delicious! When I’m back in the US I will definitely try this recipe as written. The shells too because I had a horrible time with flour issues. Oh and mine were nowhere near as nice looking as yours. Yours came out unbelievably perfect. :)

  66. Cannoli Siciliani « Kitchen Happiness Says:

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  67. Sue Says:

    Hi Grace
    What a wonderful website. My 11yr old son who has become obsessed with cooking through Australian Masterchef, found your site and I could spend hours reading recipes. We were in Sicily this year and ate many cannoli and we are going to attempt your recipe. Can you confirm the measurement of the ovals. 3cmx11.5cm? or is it 3×4.5 inch oval? Thanks and wish us luck. Cheers Sue

  68. Grace Says:

    Hi Sue so sorry for replying so late I’ve been traveling. I am hooked on MasterChef. The oval is 3 cm by 11.5 cm

  69. Maria Says:

    Hi grace, I adore your website and I just bought your book! I wish to make your cannoli but my question is what brand ofcannoli tubes do you use? Many thanks:)

  70. Grace Says:

    Hi Maria, so sorry for the late reply I’ve been away visiting family. Thank you so much for the support! I hope you enjoy the book. The cannoli forms that I use are Fox Run. I purchase them at a local restaurant supply store but I believe they are available in most baking shops and online. If I remember correctly I paid $2.50 Canadian for each package containing 4 tubes.

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  72. bernie Says:

    just returned from Italy and ate my fill of Cannoli.. viwed to try and make them when i got home…looks like a fantastic recipe and cant wait to make them

  73. Grace Says:

    For granulated sugar, do u mean Caster sugar, and what alternative can I use for vegetable shortening. I’m in Australia and we do not have any suchVegetable Shortening.
    Thanks Grace

  74. Grace Says:

    Hi Grace, caster sugar is great but you could also use regular granulated sugar which isn’t as fine in texture (I use whatever have on hand). I’ve done some research and I believe the alternative in Australia for vegetable shortening is Copha. You could substitute with butter but you won’t get those beautiful bubbles on the shell.

  75. Ralph Alfano Says:

    Do you sell the cannoli filling?and what type of cheese do you use for the filling? Im asking because i am looking for impastata ricotta wich they say is used to make the cannoli filling.
    Thank You
    Ralph Alfano

  76. Grace Says:

    Hi Ralph I’m sorry I don’t sell my filling but it is very easy to make. Ricotta Impastata is very hard to find (usually used by pastry shops and they purchase in large quantity), have you tried a local Italian deli? Or better yet an Italian pastry shop, they may sell you a container or two on the side. I use fresh ricotta purchased from a local Italian Deli. I drain overnight and sometimes up to two days (I find the fresh ricotta has a lot more moisture) in a sieve lined with cheesecloth. I’ve also started pressing the ricotta through a fine mesh sieve (after draining) and then whipping it to achieve a smoother, creamier filling. I’ve found pressing it through the sieve has really helped with the consistency in fact I use this technique when making cheesecake and although it’s an extra step it’s worth it. I’ve also had good luck using Tre Stella, unfortunately it’s not fresh (readily available in Canadian supermarkets) but they carry an extra smooth ricotta, it doesn’t have as much moisture. I still prefer to drain overnight. If you are trying to replicate the authentic Sicilian cannoli you will need sheep’s milk ricotta, again, much more difficult to find. There are some retailers for the impastata online but I’m not sure where they deliver or where you are located. I’ve sent off a couple of enquiry emails to a few online retailers, Ralph can you reply with your location and I will let you know if they deliver to your area.

  77. Ralph Alfano Says:

    Grace, Thank you for your response, I did not see any price list for your cannolies,do you have one?
    im looking for the taste of brooklyn and i cannot seem to get there. i have tried several recipies and none of them work using regular ricotta, am i doing something wrong?Thas wyy i was looking for Impastata, it seems to be the ricotta that is used for making italian cannoli.

  78. Grace Says:

    Hi Ralph I’m sorry I do not sell cannoli but I do have a recipe on my site, really very easy to make the filling. Shells are a little time consuming but again, easy to make. Ricotta Impastata has less moisture and it’s creamier, which you can mimic from draining and pressing the ricotta through the sieve. A few key things to keep in mind when preparing the cannoli, do not substitute butter for the shortening in the pastry and make sure to use Marsala Wine. Like I mentioned in my previous response it could be that the bakeries are using the sheep’s milk ricotta this may account for the taste difference. Locating it can be difficult but your best option is to visit a local Italian deli, if they don’t carry it they can probably order it. Also, some add a drop of cinnamon oil to the filling as well as nutmeg oil. Nutmeg is a flavouring that adds a little “je ne sais quoi”, most can’t figure it out but it adds a distinct taste. I use it in bechamel sauce and it’s amazing. If using the oil flavourings be careful, a drop goes a very long way. You can purchase the oils through LorAnn through Amazon, here is the link for the nutmeg – and here is the link for the cinnamon – If you have a good cake decorating shop in your area they may carry the LorAnn flavourings unfortunately I must order online. When preparing the ricotta (whichever one you use) drain at least overnight and up to two nights if using fresh ricotta. Then press the ricotta through a fine mesh sieve (a bit of a pain to sieve but well worth it), this will give the filling a much creamier, smoother consistency. Do not fill shells until you are prepared to serve otherwise the shells will go soggy. I use confectioners’ sugar in my filling but some use regular granulated sugar. If you use the granulated sugar I would suggest a superfine granule (caster sugar if it’s available in your area, or grind regular granulated sugar in a food processor for a minute) and use less than the amount of confectioners’ sugar called for in my recipe. Add gradually and taste as you go. I would also suggest preparing the filling first (a small batch, 1 cup ricotta, 1/3 to 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and barely a drop of each of the oils). If you’re happy with the taste forge ahead. I wouldn’t add the chocolate chips or candied citron until you’re ready to fill the cannoli because the chips can sweat a little and mar the look of the filling. If the taste is not to your liking you could always use it to fill cupcakes, sandwich between cookies, tarts, pizzelle cups etc. Too bad you don’t live close by we could spend the afternoon trying to replicate the taste your longing for. Also, I’m sure you’ve noticed in Italian sweets there is a distinct taste that most don’t recognize if they’re not Italian. It’s a flavouring called Vanillina. It’s added to Italian baking powder but you can also purchase it in .5 gram packets (without baking powder). The brands available are Paneangeli and Bertolini. This flavouring could be the missing link. Here is a link to view the product – It can readily be purchased at Italian grocers. At one point it was available on Amazon but unfortunately I searched for it this evening and they are not stocking it at the moment. It’s been so long since I’ve enjoyed a NYC cannoli (can’t remember the taste), you have me craving one! I’m hoping to travel to Italy next summer. I want to spend time with the elders, watching (carefully) and learning the techniques and getting these authentic tastes to paper to be able to hand down to the next generation. I remember one of the first times I prepared my mom’s pizzelle, I know one of the ingredients is anise seeds but my mom’s written recipe didn’t have it listed, she’d forgotten to put to paper and I forgot to add them when I was preparing it. The pizzelle tasted nothing like the taste I was used too. The omission wasn’t intentional, merely forgotten or assumed I would know to add. I think this probably happens quite often, I know I do it on occasion because my sister will say I tried that so and so and it didn’t quite taste like yours. When we start discussing the recipe I’ve omitted something that is second nature for me to add but she wouldn’t know to add. It’s usually the one thing that can make the difference in the taste or texture. I hope you’ll try making another batch at home Ralph, I know it can be frustrating to replicate a specific taste but if you can eventually nail down the flavours it will be a wonderful gift to hand down to other family members. The next generation won’t be craving a Brooklyn cannoli but rather Uncle Ralph’s cannoli or grandpa’s cannoli. This is one of the very reasons I started the blog. I didn’t mean to ramble on, I hope some of these suggestions will help.

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  80. Lou Caruana Says:

    I’m ready to fill them but, having some physical impairments, I chose to cheat and buy the empty shells from Nif-T-Foods out of Indiana. They shipped them to me in two days and not one was broken. They look home made. You can find them on the internet. I also bought the candied fruit from, believe it or not,, on line. They come in a 3 pack and I fully plan to use them all. Finding them, in a local grocery store, outside of a holiday season is difficult. So now I’m waiting for the Ricotta to drain.
    If you live in a community with very few Italians or Italian food, as I do,In Georgia,You either make the things you crave or do without and being of Sicilian decent, I refuse to do without so I,m learning out of necessity. Thanks for the filling recipe.

  81. Grace Massa Langlois Says:

    Please do come back and let me know if you enjoy the filling Lou.

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  84. Sandy Says:

    Have you a cream filling recipe that I can use in my
    Cannoli ? My non -Italian son-in-law requested
    because he doesn’t like ricotta.

  85. Grace Massa Langlois Says:

    Hi Sandy, You could use a mascarpone filling or perhaps a chantilly cream (minus the alcohol) or crème chiboust or a crema pasticcera (pastry cream) or chocolate pastry cream. Please let me know if you would like other suggestions. Happy Holidays!

  86. Massimiliano Says:

    Hi Grace,

    I,m from Sicily and just moved to Florida starting selling cannoli.
    I use fresh sheep milk ricotta for the filling which I get weekly directly from Sicily and the taste is wonderful.
    I,m using a special cannoli vending cart .
    I,m thinking also, to make a a fresh ricotta ice cream flavour for the filling. The only thing is that the cannoli shells I found here have a different taste, so I,m using a cannoli shell which comes from Sicily. The flavour and taste is completely different. Could you give me any suggestion for the cannoli shells and for the filling? Happy Holidays.



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  88. Grace Massa Langlois Says:

    Hi Massimiliano, I make my shells from scratch, quite easy to make. Also, I find the shells freeze really well. If you have thoughts to make them yourself you could make them in advance and keep them fresh by storing in the freezer, they thaw quite quickly. If you store them in an airtight container with parchment sheets in between it will help prevent flaking or damaging the shells (they’re quite delicate). Wishing you much success with your venture! By the way, the ice cream filling sounds amazing! I’ve filled my shells with a ricotta chocolate chip gelato and everyone loved them – I shaped the pastry into ice cream cones.

  89. Joe Linardi Says:

    Good day Grace, the sicilian cannoli recipe i tried are amazing, i just cant get the bubbles on outside … Any reason why??

  90. Grace Massa Langlois Says:

    Hi Joe,

    It might be because you’ve overworked the pasta or perhaps it’s dried out a bit. The reason I say this is because I find when I’m using the last bits and pieces of leftover pasta (can’t bring myself to throw out any bit of food) the shells have very few bubbles. Tip, I usually work with a quarter of the dough at a time and I keep the remaining dough wrapped in plastic. Also after laminating the pasta, I place a damp tea towel on top of the rolled out dough to prevent it from drying out (only exposing the amount of need to cut).

    Please let me know how it goes next time. All the best! Grace

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