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Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.

On our last night in New York, we ate in an Italian restaurant and I had my first ever cannoli for dessert. Despite the famous Godfather quote in the title, I didn't actually know what this dessert was. For those who don't know, cannoli originated in Sicily and are tube-shaped shells of fried pastry dough filled with a sweet creamy filling.

They were originally made for Carnevale, a festival that occurs before lent as a celebration before fasting begins. I am very familiar with this festival as I studied Italian at school and each year we would produce a play and dress up in traditional Carnevale costumes. The masks are very intricate:

Cannoli are now very popular in Italian American cuisine. Some contain ricotta but others contain a simple custard filling of sugar, milk and cornstarch, which I think is what I had. The traditional Sicilian filling is made with mascarpone. The waitress said you could buy the filling ready made and she loved to eat it straight out the tube!

In Italian, the word cannoli is actually plural so one is a cannolo. As a student dietitian, I naturally tot up the calories of different foods. Not in an obsessive way - I decided to be a dietitian beacuse I love food and am also interested in health science. But we are taught to estimate the nutritional content of a wide range of foods so that we can estimate the intake for our patients.

After googling, it seems one large cannolo is about 375 calories which is about what I predicted. Pretty high but oh so worth it! Now I just need to find some in the UK!


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