Cannoli is a classic Italian dessert that’s typically made with copious amounts of dairy and egg. But Chef Jason Wyrick of The Vegan Taste shared his classic vegan cannoli recipe with us. His restaurant-worthy version is also made with ancho chile peppers and garnished with prickly pear fruit and toasted pine nuts. We’ve included those additions as options, but the base recipe is now his elegant, no frills, decadent vegan cannoli.
Vegan Cannoli made Easy by Chef Jason Wyrick
This isn’t a quick and easy recipe, but it doesn’t have a rhythm that allows you to make a large batch without mch additional effort. You can also freeze the cannoli shells. Just pop them out, let them defrost, and fill for a last minute dessert. Here are some more tips and notes for making the perfect vegan cannoli.
For the most part, the equipment you need is standard to most kitchens, but there are a few helpful items for making vegan cannoli.
- Molding: The one specialty item you do need for making cannoli is cannoli tubes. These are rods that you wrap the dough around and place in the fryer to create the cannoli shape. In a pinch, you can use aluminum foil to make your own cannoli tubes.
- Frying: A deep fryer is helpful, but you can use a wok, metal pot, or cast iron pot. You’ll want to heat the fry oil to about 360°F, so you will want a thermometer if you aren’t using a deep fryer.
- Piping: If you don’t have a piping bag, you can simply pack the filling into a plastic bag, snip a corner, and squeeze through the hole to pipe the filling into the vegan cannoli.
Vegan Cannoli Ingredient Notes
Most of the ingredients in this vegan cannoli recipe are standard baking ingredients, but we do want to give attention to a few items.
- Creamer: When Jason created this recipe, soy creamer was pretty much the only dairy-free game in town. But you can use your favorite creamer. In a pinch, lite canned coconut milk will also work well in place of the creamer.
- Oil: Be sure to use a high heat oil for both the cannoli shells and the frying. Canola, vegetable, corn, avocado, or rice bran oil tend to be good options.
- Egg Replacer: Your just using the powder, not preparing the egg. Jason uses Ener-G, which is a time-tested favorite for baking. But another powdered egg replacer brand will likely work just fine.
- Cream Cheese Alternative: Again, when Jason created this vegan cannoli recipe, Tofutti was one of the only dairy-free cream cheese options. That said, it works great. But I recommend using your favorite dairy-free cream cheese alternative since it is a highlight in the filling. If you want that classic ricotta texture, you can use a brand like Kite Hill Dairy-Free Ricotta or Tofutti Dairy-Free Ricotta.
Serving & Presentation
As noted, Chef Jason likes to blend rehydrated ancho chile peppers into the filling. They add a little heat, a little sweetness, and a lot of interesting flavor. When doing this, he complements the dish with cooked prickly pear, toasted pine nuts, and an extra drizzle of agave (which helps to cut the astringency of the fruit and heat of the ancho). But this is all optional. You can keep it simple with the basic filling and a dusting of powdered sugar. No one will be disappointed!
If you like to serve your vegan cannoli with a complementary drink, they go well with a nice Riesling or even a lightly flavored cider like a pear cider.
Special Diet Notes: Vegan Cannoli
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, optionally nut-free, peanut-free, optionally soy-free, vegan, and vegetarian.
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
- ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
- ⅛ teaspoons salt
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons plain dairy-free creamer
- 2 tablespoons oil, plus additional for frying
- 1 ½ teaspoons maple syrup
- ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon Ener-G egg Replacer
- 12 ounces dairy-free cream cheese alternative (Jason uses Tofutti)
- 3 tablespoons agave nectar
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
- In a metal bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt.
- In a blender, blend the creamer, 2 tablespoons oil, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and egg replacer until smooth and emulsified, about 1 minute.
- Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients and mix well.
- Add more flour to the dough, as needed, to make it tighter, like soft bread dough. But don’t over knead the dough.
- Let the dough sit for about 15 minutes.
- On a floured surface, roll out the dough until it is about 1/16 of an inch thick.
- Cut out 4-inch circles.
- Wrap the circles around the cannoli forms.
- Wet your finger and run it along the seam of the wrap and press down gently to seal the wrap.
- Set up a deep fryer or wok and fill it with oil until it will cover the shells.
- Turn it up to medium high.
- With a set of tongs, drop the wrapped cannoli form into the oil.
- Fry it until it is a light golden color and immediately remove it.
- Set it on a paper towel to drain the oil.
- Repeat with the other wrapped cannoli forms.
- Place the cream cheese alternative and agave nectar in a blender or food processor, and blend for 1 minute, or until smooth.
- Transfer the filling to a piping bag with a wide star-shaped tip.
- Pipe the filling into the cannoli shells until they are filled.
- Plate the cannoli and sift the powdered sugar over top.
Cactus Fruit Garnish Option: Thinly slice 4 prickly pear cactus fruits (about ⅛ inch thickness). Heat a little oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté the prickly pear fruit for about 2 minutes or until the colors smooth out. Serve about 2 to 3 slices per plate and drizzle the slices with a little agave nectar.
Toasted Pine Nuts Garnish Option: Place a skillet over medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons pine nuts, and sauté until they have light brown spots, about 2 or 3 minutes. Sprinkle over the exposed cannoli filling.