Cannolis are a delicious dessert that combine the softness of cheese with the crunchiness of a fried biscuit.
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Unfortunately, the mixture of wet and dry ingredients make cannolis tricky to store.
So how do you store cannolis? You can store filled cannolis in the fridge for a few hours, but they’ll go soggy quickly. It’s best to store the shells and filling separately. You can keep the shells in an airtight container at room temperature. Keep the filling in a tightly covered bowl in the fridge.
How to store cannolis
The best way to store cannolis is to store the different components separately and then fill the shells just before you want to serve them.
If you store them filled then the wet filling will seep into the hard shell and turn your masterpiece into a soggy mess. The shelf life of filled cannolis is measured in hours not days.
How to store cannoli shells
To store your cannoli shells, place them carefully in an airtight container lined with a paper towel.Storing cannoli shells with a paper towel reduces moisture
The paper towel will absorb any moisture present, and the airtight container will prevent the crispy shells from becoming stale. You can store them at room temperature for up to a week.
How to store cannoli filling
To store the filling, place it in a tightly covered bowl and put it in the fridge. The filling will last for up to a week in the fridge.
If you’ve added any wet flavorings (e.g. fruit) this will slightly decrease the shelf life of your filling due to the extra moisture. Dry flavorings won’t have any effect.
If you find the filling has separated or lost some of its fluff after storage, give it a quick mix before you fill the shells. This should return the filling to its former glory.
How to store filled cannoli
If you know in advance that you have no choice but to store filled cannoli, then coating the inside of the shell in chocolate is the best way to prevent sogginess.
The chocolate forms a liquid-resistant layer that stops moisture from the filling from seeping into the shell.The cannolis should last a few days like this.
This method will alter the taste of the cannolis slightly. But if like me, you’re a chocoholic, this shouldn’t be a problem!
If you’re finding it too fiddly to coat the inside then you can just dip the entire shell in chocolate.
Alternatively, you could use a different filling that isn’t so wet. For example, you could fill you cannolis with ice-cream and then store them in the freezer where they’ll stay good for several days. Or swap some of the ricotta cheese for mascarpone, which contains less moisture.
If you already have filled cannolis that are in urgent need of storing, then follow these instructions:
This won’t prolong the life of your cannoli for too long, but it should help them survive through the night.
Another idea is to coat the outside of the cannoli in chocolate. This will alter the flavor of the cannoli but can help the shells keep their shape and retain some level of crunch.
This idea is similar to my tip above, but the difference being that you’re trying to salvage your already-filled cannoli.
Do you need to refrigerate cannoli?
If you have filled cannoli, then yes, you need to refrigerate them if you’re going to have them out for longer than an hour or two.
The filling is usually dairy-based and will spoil if kept at room temperature for too long. Dairy products should be stored at temperatures under 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, bacteria can start to grow and render the cannoli unsafe to eat.
However, the cannolis will become soggy very quickly in the refrigerator so try and consume them as soon as possible.
How long can cannoli sit out?
The maximum amount of time cannoli can be left out of the refrigerator and be safe to eat is two hours. After this time, the risk of bacteria contaminating the food increases dramatically.
If you live in a hot climate where the temperature regularly goes above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, then reduce this time to 1 hour.
Can you freeze cannoli?
I wouldn’t recommend freezing filled cannoli. However, you can freeze the shells and fillings separately.
The filling is made with dairy, and dairy doesn’t freeze well due to its high moisture content. The water in the filling will turn to ice as it freezes, and this will cause the mixture to separate when thawed.
As the frozen water separates from the rest of the filling, it will quickly soak into the dry shells leaving a soggy mess. As I said above, to avoid this you can freeze the components separately.
To freeze cannoli shells:Carefully place the shells in an airtight container. A hard container is best to eliminate any risk of crushing the shells.Label the container with the date so you’ll know how long the shells have been in the freezer for.Place the shells in the freezer.The shells will last a few weeks in the freezer.
To freeze the filling:Put the filling into a freezer-safe bag and make sure the seal is airtight.Label the bag with the date so you’ll know how long the filling has been in the freezer for.Placing the filling in the freezer.
The filling will last a month in the freezer, any longer and the quality will deteriorate very quickly. Even after a month, it’s likely that the filling will separate upon thawing.
If this happens give the filling a gentle mix to bring all the ingredients back together.
If you’ve used lots of wet ingredients in the filling, such as fruit, there’ll be more moisture to contend with. The more moisture there is in the filling, the more likely it is that the texture will be affected by freezing.
If you’ve used a recipe that uses whipped cream as an ingredient in the filling, you can help it survive freezing by adding a stabilizer. You can stabilize the cream by adding unflavoured gelatin to the mixture – check out this article on how to stabilize whipped cream for more information.
How to defrost cannoli
To defrost the shells, you can let them warm up slowly in the fridge or leave them out at room temperature.
If they seem a little soggy once thawed, you can bake them in the oven for 5-10 minutes. This will draw any moisture out of them and crisp them up again.
Thaw the cannoli filling in the fridge. Never use the microwave because this will ruin the texture of the cream. If it’s a little watery, give the mixture a mix to bring it back together.
Can you freeze cannoli dough?
You can also freeze the cannoli dough. Here’s how:Portion the dough out into serving-sized balls.Wrap the balls tightly in plastic wrap followed by a layer of aluminum foil. This helps to protect the dough from drying out.Place the dough in the freezer and label the container. Labeling it means you’ll always know how long it’s been in there.
The dough will last up to 6 months in the freezer.
How far in advance can you fill cannoli?
I would recommend only filling your cannolis a maximum of an hour ahead of service for the best quality. As soon as you fill the shell, the water from the mixture will start to soak into the shell.
The quicker you eat the cannoli, the crispier the shell will be. You can keep the filled cannoli in the fridge for 3-4 hours, and they’ll still be fine. But nothing beats freshly prepared cannoli.
Often in real Italian bakeries, they’ll prepare your cannolis to order. They never sell the display ones because they’ve been left sitting for too long.
What can I do with leftover cannoli cream?
Cannoli cream is a sweetened mix of ricotta or mascarpone cheese and whipped cream.
It can be hard to judge how much cream you need to fill your cannolis, and my motto is it’s always better to make too much than too little. This means I often end up with some leftover filling.
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Here are some creative ideas on how to use up leftover cannoli filling:Make a cannoli cake. Swap out your traditional icing for cannoli cream, and you have yourself a stunning and unique cake. You can always add extra flavorings to the cream before you ice the cake to give it a bit more flavor. Lemon zest for a lemon cake or chocolate chips and orange zest for a chocolate cake are my favorites.Mix it with fruit and use it to make a parfait. This one’s really easy to do. All you need is some strawberries and blueberries. You can even blend the fruit in with the cream to flavor it.If parfait doesn’t float your boat, why not use the mixture to make a cheesecake. Again you can make a whole host of different flavors by adding extra ingredients to the filling.