The cannolo, a crust filled with cream, takes its name from its long tubular shape and traces its roots to the Middle Ages. In the ninth century the Arabs brought sugar cane to Sicily, thus changing the sweeteners used in confectionery. Previously honey was used to sweeten Sicilian sweets.
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The cheese cream used to fill cannoli is sweetened with sugar, and is based on a recipe very similar to that used to make the cream for cassata.
Small pieces of candied fruits, particularly lemon, orange, citron and cherry, are sometimes mixed into the cream. Some chefs prefer pistachios or chocolate chips (too often a culinary crutch).