26 November 2009

Daring Bakers: Cannolo

Recipe origins: Italy (UK)
Inspirations and References: Lidia Matticchio Bastianich, Allen Rucker, Michelle Scicolone
Lisa Michele of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives

The November 2009 Daring Bakers Challenge was chosen and hosted by Lisa Michele of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives. She chose the Italian Pastry, Cannolo (Cannoli is plural), using the cookbooks Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and The Sopranos Family Cookbook by Allen Rucker; recipes by Michelle Scicolone, as ingredient/direction guides. She added her own modifications/changes, so the recipe is not 100% verbatim from either book.

If you want me to giggle, all you have to say is the word "cannoli."

I blame a misspent youth watching American sit-coms. In this case, the Golden Girls.

For those of you who've been fortunate enough to avoid the show (really, it hasn't aged well). Three senior women all live together in Florida. One is an aging Southern Belle who's retained her vixen-like qualities; one is a slightly ditzy but sweet grandmotherly type from Minnesota, and a divorced teacher who's brought her slightly senile mum named Sophia with her.

I don't recall the entire episode, but I recall Sophia talking about her (dead) husband and the game of "find the cannoli."

So when I read this month's challenge was cannolo, well...my mind immediately went there...but with 90 year olds.

Now, I'm going to be a good girl and not draw any symbolism between cannolo-making and playing hide the cannoli. Really, you know. And if you don't, well...I've been told there are books and even DVDs you can get a hold of.

Regardless of such associations, cannoli are a treat. My occasional Saturday shopping at the swankychichifooderie will have my nose plastered to the cold case window spying the pyramid of cannoli--chocolate chip, vanilla and banana (with banana being my favourite).

Normally when I find food I like, I figure out a way to make it at home, but for whatever reason it never occured to me to do the same with cannoli. I'm not afraid of deep fat frying (although, truth be told, I don't like the smell of frying oil). I'm not afraid of sweetened cheese or cream. The pipine bag thing does concern me as it schmecks of foofy cake decorating--something I generally avoid.

I'll tell you something. This was probably the most fun DB challenge I've done in ages. Maybe as fun as the bagels from a couple of years ago.

I quartered the recipe--I didn't want to end up with 40 of these things, because I'd wind up eating 40 of these things. The dough was a little raggedy, so I added more oil and water. I let it rest about 2 hours before rolling and frying.

That's when I felt like one of MacBeth's witches. The violent bubbling from my cauldron as I lowered the dough-wrapped metal cylinder was jolly fun. I loved the warty toad-like appearance of the finished pastry...I really loved how easily the pastry released from the tubes. I shouldn't have worried about the piping--althought I could have probably done something fancy that peeked out the sides, I didn't need to: a simple vanilla swirl was all that was needed.

The finished product was crispy, with a relatively light pastry and filled with creamy sweet goodness. My friends and I were quite happy with them. Thanks Michele!

Click here for a list of participating Daring Bakers.


I'm a quill for hire!

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NKP said...

Yay for cannolo!
Looks wonderful, I have never made them at home either, I'll have to give them a try soon. Congratulations on another challenge well completed!

Valérie said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed this challenge! I have to say, my mind did not at all go "there" when I found out about today's challenge, but... well, cannoli will never look the same again, that's for sure!

Your shells look fabulous, so golden and puffy!

Lauren said...

I'm glad you loved this challenge - they look fantastic! I missed the Golden Girls era, but just finished Macbeth! Its interesting how those things circle =D.

Audax said...

WOW OWO WOW your photo series is excellent and the cannoli looks so delicious well done and I remember the Golden Girls I know exactly what you mean. Cheers from Audax in Australia.

creampuff said...

Oh, the Golden Girls! They will be funny forever. Although I must say the image of 90-year-olds playing "find the cannoli" is somewhat disburbing ...

Glad you liked the challenge!

glamah16 said...

Its great when you really get in to the challenge.And it shows! I was amazed on how many I ate. It really is very easy to do, so good thing you cut down the recipe.

Aparna Balasubramanian said...

Okay. No associations from the past. :)
Just your lovely cannoli.

Christine Medifast said...

Excellent! I tried making these and ya... the outcome not so good but nice job on yours!