Chefs' Recipes

Dan Pepperell's hot cross cannoli

It's the flavours of a spiced hot cross bun whipped into a cloudy ricotta filling, then coddled into a crisp chocolate shell. This is going to be a good Easter.

By Daniel Pepperell
  • 25 mins preparation
  • 15 mins cooking plus resting
  • Serves 6 - 8
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"Here we have the flavour profile of a hot cross bun in a cannolo," says Pepperell. "I like to think this is what Tony Soprano would eat at Easter time."
Start this recipe a day ahead to rest the dough.
We have more Easter dessert recipes too...


  • 330 gm plain flour
  • 1 tbsp Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 45 gm softened butter
  • 45 gm pure icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
  • 120 ml sweet Marsala (see note)
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • For deep-frying: grapeseed or vegetable oil
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
Ricotta filling
  • 75 gm firm ricotta
  • 25 gm caster sugar
  • 50 gm mascarpone, beaten until smooth
  • 2 tbsp currants
  • 1 tbsp sultanas
  • Finely grated rind of 1 lemon and 1 orange
  • Pinch each of cinnamon and mixed spice


  • 1
    Rub together flour, cocoa powder and butter in a bowl with your fingertips until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add icing sugar, Marsala, vinegar and a pinch of salt, and mix to form a smooth dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  • 2
    For ricotta filling, whisk ricotta and caster sugar in an electric mixer until smooth, then fold in mascarpone, dried fruit, rinds and spices. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a 1cm-diameter plain nozzle and refrigerate until required.
  • 3
    Heat oil in a deep saucepan to 160C. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to 1mm thick (this can also be done with a pasta machine), cut out 11cm rounds with a cutter, brush joining points with egg, wrap around a cannoli tube (see note) and press to seal (it's important that no egg touches the cannoli mould or it will stick). Remove from moulds and deep-fry cannoli tubes until golden and bubbled (30 seconds). Drain on paper towels and cool completely before piping in ricotta mixture. Dust with extra icing sugar and serve.


Cannoli tubes are available from kitchenware shops; otherwise use dried cannelloni pasta tubes.This recipe calls for quality Sicilian Marsala, rather than the more familiar Boronia all'uovo Marsala frequently used for cooking; it's available from select bottle shops and Dan Murphy's.