Pages

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Cannoli - Daring Bakers Challange


I have a confession... I have never eaten Cannoli!! I've seen it on the menu, but never ordered it... in fact, I've never ordered any Italian desert, other that Tiramisu... I LOVE TIRAMISU!!! There are no words to describe the ulitmate pleasure you get when eating Tiramisu. I mean seriously people, rum saturated lady fingers, covered with creamy marscapone cheese, topped with decedant cocoa... is there anything better??? Whew, I feel better now. Ok, back to the subject... so, when I read my first Daring Bakers Challenge, I was rather intrigued.

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.

Cannoli are popular Italian-American pastries, althought they date back to Palermo in Sicily, where they were made during the Carnevale season. The cannoli are fried, tube-shaped pastry shells filled with a creamy sweetened ricotta cheese, chocolate, candied fruit or zest, and sometimes nuts. They can also be filled with pastry creams, mousses, whipped cream, ice cream... you could even make them savory. I'm sticking to the sweet stuff though!

DIRECTIONS FOR SHELLS:

1. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer or food processor, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the oil, vinegar, and enough of the wine to make a soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and well blended, about 2 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge from 2 hours to overnight.

2. Cut the dough into two pieces. Keep the remaining dough covered while you work. Lightly flour a large cutting or pastry board and roll the dough until super thin, about 1/16 to 1/8” thick (An area of about 13 inches by 18 inches should give you that). Cut out 3 to 5-inch circles (3-inch – small/medium; 4-inch – medium/large; 5-inch;- large. Your choice). Roll the cut out circle into an oval, rolling it larger and thinner if it’s shrunk a little.

3. Oil the outside of the cannoli tubes (You only have to do this once, as the oil from the deep fry will keep them well, uhh, oiled..lol). Roll a dough oval from the long side (If square, position like a diamond, and place tube/form on the corner closest to you, then roll) around each tube/form and dab a little egg white on the dough where the edges overlap. (Avoid getting egg white on the tube, or the pastry will stick to it.) Press well to seal. Set aside to let the egg white seal dry a little.

4. In a deep heavy saucepan, pour enough oil to reach a depth of 3 inches, or if using an electric deep-fryer, follow the manufacturer’s directions. Heat the oil to 375°F (190 °C) on a deep fry thermometer, or until a small piece of the dough or bread cube placed in the oil sizzles and browns in 1 minute. Have ready a tray or sheet pan lined with paper towels or paper bags.

5. Carefully lower a few of the cannoli tubes into the hot oil. Do not crowd the pan. Fry the shells until golden, about 2 minutes, turning them so that they brown evenly.

6. Lift a cannoli tube with a wire skimmer or large slotted spoon, out of the oil. Using tongs, grasp the cannoli tube at one end. Very carefully remove the cannoli tube with the open sides straight up and down so that the oil flows back into the pan. Place the tube on paper towels or bags to drain. Repeat with the remaining tubes. While they are still hot, grasp the tubes with a potholder and pull the cannoli shells off the tubes with a pair of tongs, or with your hand protected by an oven mitt or towel. Let the shells cool completely on the paper towels.


DIRECTIONS FOR FILLING:

1. Line a strainer with cheesecloth. Place the ricotta in the strainer over a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap and a towel. Weight it down with a heavy can, and let the ricotta drain in the refrigerator for several hours to overnight.

2. In a bowl with electric mixer, beat ricotta until smooth and creamy. Beat in confectioner’s sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and blend until smooth. Transfer to another bowl and stir in chocolate, zest and nuts. Chill until firm.(The filling can be made up to 24 hours prior to filling the shells. Just cover and keep refrigerated).

ASSEMBLE THE CANNOLI:

1. When ready to serve..fill a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain or star tip, or a ziplock bag, with the ricotta cream. If using a ziplock bag, cut about 1/2 inch off one corner. Insert the tip in the cannoli shell and squeeze gently until the shell is half filled. Turn the shell and fill the other side. You can also use a teaspoon to do this, although it’s messier and will take longer.


Now that I've completed my first challenge, I think I'm gonna go back through and make some of the previous challenges. What's that you say... over-achever??? Nah, I just like to eat!!

Comfort in a Cup - Minty Rich Cocoa




Weekend mornings are my chance to have me time; to sit with a cup of coffee and enjoy the silence; to think of things to make for my sweeties. This morning I decided to wake them up with a scrumptiously decadent cup of Minty hot chocolate.
Ahhh, the weekend.

My sweeties are asleep

and I've got a little time to spare.

(ok, not sure what's going on here... I've already picked him up off the floor once)




Minty Rich Cocoa
1 1/2 cups powdered nondairy creamer
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup milk chocolate chips
peppermint sticks divided (crushed for mix and whole for stiring)

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. (this makes a lot so have a container handy to store the rest)

Place 1/4 cup cocoa mix into a cup and add 3/4 cup boiling water... stir and enjoy! Now go wake those kids up.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Garlic Roast Potatoes

Side Dish Superstar!!

What a busy day! I have so many things to be thankful for, but most of all I am thankful for my wonderful family. I chose Nigella's Garlic Roast Potatoes as my Side Dish Superstar. They were absolutely delicious... I just wish I would have gotten a better picture before they disapeared.

Garlic Roast Potatoes


Ingredients
3 pounds maincrop potatoes (I used red potatoes)
1/3 cup regular olive oil
1 head garlic
Kosher salt
 
Directions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Wash and dry the potatoes, and cut them into about 3/4-inch dice. Toss in a large oven tray and pour over the oil, smulching around with your hands to mix well. Separate the head of garlic into cloves adding them to the tray, and roast for about 1 hour, turning once or twice during that time, until crispy and golden but still soft on the inside. When they're done, remove to a large plate and sprinkle with salt.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Bread Bowl - first attempt


My first adventure... a challenge! I came across a recipe for Broccoli and Cheese soup in a bread bowl. The soup itself would be no problem but the bread bowl, on the other hand, is terrifying. I don't quite know what the problem is with me and yeast but I just cant seem to get it right very often. Here are the results... a few of them were usable. My darling husband suggesting using the rest of them for skeet but I had another idea. Even though this is not a sourdough, the texture of this bread reminded me of a Schlotzsky's sandwich and so I went with it. They were absolutely delicious!!