Cannoli are Sicilian desserts composed of a thin and crunchy tube-shaped pastry dough, deep fried with a cream filling. The filling can vary based on family recipes, but usually are milk or ricotta cheese based (my personal favorite) with cinnamon and other spices. Chocolate shavings can be mixed into the filling and they are often coated on the ends with chocolate chips, toasted almonds or pistacios and sprinkled with powdered sugar. Oh, and before we get started — cannoli is plural. A single dessert is called a cannolo.
Aaron Gonzalez, my colleague, photographer and fellow foodie, also tasted the cannoli and will lend his review for each.
21830 Greater Mack Ave
Saint Clair Shores, MI 48080
Christine Corrado, Rosanne Valenti and other members of the family are continuing the legacy of their grandfather, Jim Bommarito, who started the bakery in the 20s making Italian treats including lemon ice cookies and gelati among others. “One of the mainstays was the cannoli and it still is today for us,” said Corrado. On holidays they can go through thousands of cannoli. Shells are made every Friday. The cream is stirred for hours in a double boiler and whole, fresh cinnamon sticks are added. The cream is mixed with shaved Hershey’s chocolate and the ends are coated in crushed almonds.
1.79 each or 20.95 by the dozen
George’s thoughts: Large and never soggy, since they are filled when you order. The pastry is crispy and firm. Ricotta filled are only stocked around holidays, but are available by special order.
Aaron’s thoughts: First on my list is Bommarito’s. The shell had a vanilla taste and solid texture. The filling was creamy, fluffy and full of flavor. The toasted almonds were perfect. It’s everything a cannolo should be and I would love to taste their ricotta filled.
36578 Moravian Dr
Clinton Township, MI 48035
Finally, a bakery that regularly stocks ricotta AND cream filled cannoli! Erica Russo took a break from baking in the back to talk to us. She’s been working for them for almost a decade. “It’s family owned so they’re just great people to work for. They have good recipes,” she said. The secret ingredients aren’t shared with the employees. “They don’t tell. Not even me,” said Russo laughing. Oh and yes, there’s actually a Vito behind the name of this bakery. Vito Bommarito to be specific. We’re guessing there’s no relation to the competition across town.
1.49 each for cream filled
1.69 each for for ricotta filled
George’s thoughts: I gravitated to the ricotta variety like a Junebug to a flood lamp. The dry creamy sweetness of the filling is exactly what I had in mind when I first thought of writing this Best Of. The shell was crispy and delicious despite the fact that it appears that the cannoli are filled prior to ordering. The unusual marachino cherry garnish was a welcome pairing with the subtle filling.
Aaron’s thoughts: I like Vito’s ricotta cannoli for the use of little chocolate bars inside the filling in otherwise one note filling. The shell had great texture, especially being in a cooler before boxing.
5717 Schaefer Road
Dearborn, MI 48126
If you like the cannoli at Alcamo’s Market, you can thank the source, Italia Bakery. Robert Imperi, son of the owners, described the two-day process of how his mother makes the cream filling from scratch. “… we make it one day then it has to set and then the following day we finish it off.”. His grandfather started delivering bread in the early 20s and opened the bakery in 1973. Imperi added, “The key is to always fill them fresh so they stay crunchy.”
George’s thoughts: Typical size and the pastry didn’t have a touch of staleness and practically melted in your mouth. The filling was light, milky and fresh with a small amount of shaved chocolate added. Garnishes on cannoli are often unnecessary, but the slivered toasted almonds are beautiful and tasty.
Aaron’s thoughts: Our first stop and third on my favorites list is Italia Bakery. The shell was crunchy and had almost a waffle quality. The filling was smooth and had a nutmeg and milk favor. Italia is a true gem in the east Dearborn area.
29100 Schoenherr Rd
Warren, MI 48088
The cannoli come in large and small. They have a cream filling with chocolate chips inside and crushed almonds on the ends. Tringali’s sales clerk Melissa Wood said customers also come in for the Edise which is a deep fried doughnut like pastry of sweet dough filled with cannoli cream. owners Dominic and Giuseppe Tringali are from Augusta, Sicily. Dominic opened the bakery in 1958 and partnered with his brother Guiseppe aka Joe. They provide cannoli to Ventimiglias, a nearby restaurant.
George’s thoughts: This is a respectable cannoli, the large isn’t too big by any means. A good choice any day of the week. Rigotta is by special order only.
Aaron’s thoughts: Our last stop, the shell was fine, it did fall apart easier which may appeal to those who like their shell more tender. The cream filling was very flavorful and had strong notes of cinnamon.
La Gloria Bakery
3345 Bagley St
Detroit, MI 48216
A staple of Mexicantown in southwest Detroit for more than 30 years, La Gloria Bakery has an old-world feel with it’s self-serve wood and glass cabinets filled with hundreds of sweet options. Juanita Franco, daughter of the owner, said one day somebody just started asking if they had cannoli and they decided to give them a shot. They sold well. Franco described their interpretation of the traditional cannolo, “… they don’t have the ricotta filling, but ours are pretty unique with the custard or the chocolate.”
George’s thoughts: I tried the chocolate variety, seemed like a pudding whipped cream mixture. Great chocolate flavor and a expertly fried and crunchy shell. Where else can you get a churro, tamale and cannoli in the same store? I love this place.
Aaron’s thoughts: Fifth on my favorites list and our second stop, La Gloria’s cannolo has a great shell and a simple, sweet filling. I love the fact that this traditional Mexican bakery listened to their customer’s request and began to work on their own cannoli. It’s not your traditional cannoli but it’s a nice addition to their wide selection of treats.
Hungry for more? Check out the full cannoli photo gallery.
About George – I’m a dad, a photog and a Web Producer for CBS 62/CW50 in Detroit. Outside of work I like to watch TV and movies with my wife, hang out on the boat, hunt and spend quality time with my family. Follow me on Twitter @GeorgeJFox.