Cannoli have been traced to the Arabs during the Emirate of Sicily, with a possible origin for the word and recipe deriving directly from qanawāt. These were deep fried dough tubes filled with various sweets, which were a popular pastry across the Islamic world at the time, from Al-Andalus to Iraq and including Sicily. They come from the Palermo and Messina areas and were historically prepared as a treat during Carnevale season, possibly as a fertility symbol; one legend assigns their origin to the harem of Caltanissetta. The dessert eventually became a year-round staple throughout Italy.
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