With a wide variety of Sicilian pastries and other desserts from this small region of Italy to choose from, how do you know which to try first? Fortunately, we have cooked up this handy guide to help you. Plus, you can even try some of these delicious Italian treats at Goloso in London’s Soho!
List of Most Popular Sicilian Pastries and Desserts
Learn about the most iconic and best Sicilian desserts from this Sicilian pastries list:
1. Cannolo Siciliano
Of course, we have already featured one of the most famous Sicilian pastries, the Cannolo on the Goloso blog! This crispy, sweet pastry with a delicious cream filling is a popular Italian pastry choice. The filling is made with cream cheese (either ricotta or mascarpone) and sugar.
We offer various filling flavours on our cannolo at Goloso café in London. Popular flavours include rich chocolate, warming cinnamon, bitter coffee, and creamy peanut. However, our signature flavour and top recommendation is the pistachio and ricotta cannolo.
Although there are a few different cannolo varieties, including the two on the Goloso menu – Cannolo di Sfoglia and Cannolo Siciliano – the Sicilian type is the original.
A close second favourite pastry is the Sfogliatella, a shell or lobster tail-shaped flaky pastry with a creamy filling (either whipped cream, custard or even almond paste). The pastry is on the crunchy side, however, the soft cream filling balances out the crunch.
The Genovesi pastry originated in the stunning town of Erice in Sicily which sits high on a hill giving the town incredible views of the surrounding Italian countryside.
This pastry is flakier and butterier than some other pastries on this list of Sicilian pastry types as it is made with shortcrust pastry. The pastry is then stuffed with a lemon-flavoured filling and then dusted with icing sugar.
Italians love this pastry warm with coffee (almost like the Italian pimped-up version of British tea and digestives).
4. Sicilian Dessert Cassata
One very Sicilian dessert is the Cassata cake which is a unique pale green layer of marzipan laced with candied fruit on top of a liqueur-soaked cake with chocolate chips and ricotta cheese. It’s a little different to usual, however, we think this delight is worth trying if you can find it.
5. Sicilian Doughnuts
Sicilian doughnuts, aka Sfinci di San Giuseppe, are deep-fried Italian doughnuts made with lard to give them a light and fluffier texture. These are delicious Italian desserts that you could classify as traditional Sicilian cakes.
They are also one of the Sicilian pastries with sweet ricotta filling mixed with candied fruits and nuts on top.
Sicilian doughnuts are a popular choice for a more indulgent dessert. Therefore, they are often enjoyed around Christmas time.
6. Sicillian Pasta di Mandorla
Although Pasta di Mandorlas may look like pastries which have been dropped on the floor due to their slightly squished look and cracked rough texture on top, these pastries are one of our ‘must try’ Sicilian desserts.
Some regions and pastry chefs also call this dessert Pasta Reale which refers to the pastry being ‘worthy for a king’. This pastry treat is almond flavour and as almond paste is a traditional Sicilian product, you could hardly get more Sicilian if you tried!
7. Cassatelle di Ricotta
Looking a little like sweet gyozas, the Cassatelle di Ricotta are crescent shape pastries filled with sweet ricotta and chocolate. Then before serving they are typically drowned in powdered sugar and enjoyed hot so the chocolate and ricotta can melt in your mouth.
8. Crispelle Siciliane
You might recognise the Crispelle as a savoury dough, the Crispelle is also a delicious sweet fried dough that can be enjoyed as a dessert.
The pastry is dusted with icing sugar and topped with dried fruit and honey. Occasionally the sweet versions are also stuffed with ricotta. However, this is more common for the savoury version.
9. Brioche con Sicillian Gelato
In the hotter months, you must try a brioche con gelato. However, we urge you to opt for a Sicilian gelato as this is, arguably, the tastiest and freshest Italian gelato on the market.
The gelato is then put into a brioche bun (like you would with a burger into a savoury roll for BBQs) so you can enjoy a delicious, sweet ice cream sandwich. You can get the gelato in almost any flavour you like but our top picks would be pistachio, coffee or hazelnut.
10. Cioccolato di Modica
Of course, we didn’t want to leave this list without a final scrumptious chocolate dessert. The Cioccolato di Modica are essentially unique crumbly chocolate cubes made with cocoa mass and sugar.
FAQ About Traditional Sicilian Pastries
What is the difference between Sicilian and Di Sfoglia cannoli?
Before we end this guide to Sicilian pastries, let’s discuss the difference between Sicilian and Di Sfoglia cannoli (both of which you can find on the Goloso menu).
The main difference is in the visuals with di sfoglia cannoli being smaller and either cone or cylinder shape. The pastry is also more tightly packed with smaller holes on the ends for the filling to fall out. The Sicilian cannoli are more like a bow tie wrap with more space for the filling to show.
There are also small differences in the recipe and cooking techniques used so please feel free to chat with our friendly team when you come into our café in Soho to discuss these differences further.
Do Sicilians really eat cannoli for breakfast?
Yep! It’s even considered a popular breakfast dish to eat alongside your morning cappuccino.
Try The Best Sicilian Pastries Outside Italy
As a Focacceria and café in London that also acts as a delicious Sicilian pastry shop, we can’t wait to serve you a delicious Sicilian cannolo next time you pass through Greek Street. See you soon!