It might not surprise you that the word cannoli is the plural form of cannolo, or "little tube," because it is almost impossible to only eat one of these crispy, cream-filled desserts. But make sure you invite enough guests if you're making cannoli because they do not store well in the freezer.
From Italy, With Love
Cannoli are made by filling fried pastry shells with a cheese- or cream-based filling. The tubes, made with flour, sugar, baking soda, shortening and eggs, are traditionally filled with sheep's milk ricotta, but can also be filled with cow's milk ricotta, mascarpone or a frostinglike filling made from sugar, milk and cornstarch. The tubes are sometimes dipped in melted chocolate and sprinkled with pistachios or other nuts.
Baby, It's Cold Inside
The cannoli tube dough is similar to cookie dough and you can freeze the raw dough. Defrost the dough and allow it to come to room temperature before you roll and fry it. Once the tubes are deep-fried, they can also be frozen and stuffed later. If you stuff the shells with a cheese-based filling, such as ricotta or mascarpone, or a cream-based filling, you should not freeze them because the fats and liquids in the dairy product tend to separate when thawed. The liquid from the filling causes the usually-crispy cannoli to become soggy. Cannoli stuffed with a sugary frosting can be frozen after being filled.
Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli
To store cannoli, wrap or seal the filled tubes in an airtight container and refrigerate them immediately. Cannoli made with ricotta or mascarpone cheese can be eaten for up to one week while cream-filled cannoli should be eaten within five to six days. If the cannoli have a cheese filling, it may seep into the pastry and make it chewy.
You can buy frozen cannoli kits online and in the frozen section of some grocery stores. These kits include the unfilled shells and a tube of filling, ready for assembly at home.