Michael Corleone famously said in The Godfather “Don’t ever take sides with anyone against the family again, ever“, well what happens when unfortunately your crazy uncle has the palate of an ageusic slug? Family feuds and awkward Thanksgiving dinners are what happen. I can’t think of any greater lightning rod of family dissension than the Italian culinary cannon the cannoli, more specifically between two great houses along Hanover St in Boston’s North End Neighborhood. Perched diagonal from each other less than a block away are the Stark/Lannisters of the cannoli game in Mike’s Pastry and Modern Pastry . Both are North End institutions that have braved the neighborhood for over 50 years, and over that time folks have garnered an unyielding opinion on what ricotta filled confection reigns supreme. I literally know Aunts who have stopped talking to Nephews, cousins refusing to take phone calls from other cousins, and co-workers who won’t even send back a passive aggressive email all over their contemporaries choice of pastry shop. It was with that in mind that I took to the street with an objective taster, ( I was born and raised by Mike’s and don’t want any whiff of impropriety)to once and for all try to solve the dilemma of who makes the best cannoli.
First up is the fine people over at Modern Pastry.
Their product is the perfect proportion of shell to ricotta filling. A crunchy cookie-esque tube is filled with tangy and not overly sweet ricotta cheese filling, you really know you’re eating ricotta. The light dusting of powder sugar gives a little extra sugar punch that is quite nice to balance the innate cheese tang. Overall it is a phenomenal cannoli, but how does it stack up to the across the street rival.
Next up is Mike’s Pasty
This hand filling behemoth is jam packed with and overflowing amount of ricotta filling. Their shell is a bit more brittle and airy with noticeably larger air pockets that flake away and crunch nicely when you bite in. Filling at Mike’s is more on the sweeter side where you don’t get the tangy ricotta flavor that is more pronounced at Modern. While the powdered sugar adds a little bit more sweetness it isn’t completely necessary to balance out the ricotta filling. Overall another Casanova of the conical confections.
The conclusion is that while both Mike’s Pastry and Modern Pastry are destination canolli locations when in The North End there can only be one head of the family make rule on which is top. In this battle the fine folks at Mike’s Pastry are the winners. But be the judge for yourself and go try them out as soon as you can. Tell them American Appetite sent you so they can be confused and maybe start reading the blog too.