I just made the trek up to Arthur Ave for the first time, as part of an ongoing Personal Cannoli Learning Initiative. I tried the cannoli at DeLillo, Madonia, Morrone, and Egidio. Of these four, only the Madonia cannoli was freshly filled - the rest had been sitting in chilled cases for at least some significant amount of time. At Egidio, where the shells were a little on the delicate side, this prefilling resulted in an unacceptable sogginess. At DeLillo and Morrone, the prefilling didn't really hurt the (fairly robust) shells, but it did seem to result in cold, sticky filling, almost a little reminiscent of marzipan (texturally). At Madonia, on the other hand, the filling was closer to room temperature, and was much creamier with a slightly more pronounced cheesiness. The differences in shells and cream flavors were, I suspect, dwarfed by this prefilling issue, making Madonia the unanimous favorite My compatriots came to this conclusion quickly; I have been mulling it over, and have only in the past few hours decided that I did indeed prefer Madonia - it took me several hours to get back to the point where I wanted a cannoli (i.e. normality), and of the cannoli I had eaten in Arthur Ave, Madonia's was the one I started imagining on the tongue.
Is this prefilling standard practice at these places? Or did I mess up by going on a Saturday? Do you have to ask for them to be freshly filled? Except for Egidio's, all the cannoli were top-notch, significantly better than a number of freshly filled cannoli I've had elsewhere (various Manhattan establishments come to mind), but I was still surprised, especially because it seems like they would be significantly improved by fresh filling.
Also, am I overlooking some hidden cannoli gem in that area? I think I covered my bases reasonably well, but if I were fit to make such judgements I wouldn't be funding this P.C.L.I.