Friday, November 27, 2009

To Cannoli or not to cannoli...

I had all the intentions of doing the Cannoli. I swear I did…

… but the fettuccine attachment of my pasta machine started calling me and that was the end of the cannoli dream.

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.

First the recipe:

CANNOLI SHELLS
  • 2 cups (250 grams/16 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons(28 grams/1 ounce) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams/0.06 ounces) unsweetened baking cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1.15 grams/0.04 ounces) ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon (approx. 3 grams/0.11 ounces) salt
  • 3 tablespoons (42 grams/1.5 ounces) vegetable or olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams/0.18 ounces) white wine vinegar
  • Approximately 1/2 cup (approx. 59 grams/approx. 4 fluid ounces/approx. 125 ml) sweet Marsala or any white or red wine you have on hand- I've used rose
  • 1 large egg, separated (you will need the egg white but not the yolk)
  • Vegetable or any neutral oil for frying – about 2 quarts (8 cups/approx. 2 litres)

Pasta Machine method: Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Starting at the middle setting, run one of the pieces of dough through the rollers of a pasta machine. Lightly dust the dough with flour as needed to keep it from sticking. Pass the dough through the machine repeatedly, until you reach the highest or second highest setting. The dough should be about 4 inches wide and thin enough to see your hand through. Continue rolling out the remaining dough. If you do not have enough cannoli tubes for all of the dough, lay the pieces of dough on sheets of plastic wrap and keep them covered until you are ready to use them. Roll, cut out and fry the cannoli.

Since I didn't exactly do the cannoli I won't put the directions here. But you can find them at the hostess blog.

Here’s what I though: cannoli, fettuccine… it’s all Italian, right? What about some ravioli? Ok, to go with the theme let’s do some as well…

I’ve made some filled with Nutella. I've cut round shapes of the rolled dough, put a tablespoon of Nutella in the middle, closed and pressed the edges with a fork.

I've also made other raviolli filled with orange pastry cream.

For these I've used a big stripe of dough and put tablespoons of pastry cream with a about 5 cm (2 inch) distance between them. I've closed the dough to the other side, pressing around the cream and cut around each one.

But I was getting a bit tired of Italy, so I decided to move to Mexico... Why not make more tortilla chips?

So here they are, canolli tortilla chips with raspberry pastry cream dip.

I'll leave you with all non-cannoli family: fetticini, raviolli and tortilla chips! Enjoy them while I'll enjoy a short trip to Berlin! I'll tell you about it when I'm back!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Boleima: a cake made with bread dough

It might sound strange to you, if I say that one of the ingredients of this wonderful cake is raw bread dough

It doesn’t sound strange to me because I grew up eating this cake. Boleima it’s traditional from my grandparents’ little village, where people didn’t have much access to a lot of ingredients and had to rely mostly on their imagination to bake...

This is a dense cake, kind of chewy, with a tight crumb, very aromatic and with a slight tang (from the bread dough). I personally love it!

This recipe was given to me by my cousin that got it from her mother. My cousin always buys the bread dough to make it, but I make my one. This time I decided to experiment with the master recipe from the book Artisan Bread in five minutes a day and it worked beautifully!

BOLEIMA

  • 250 gr (9oz) bread dough (raised)
  • 250 gr (9oz) flour
  • 250 gr (9oz) sugar
  • 125 gr (4.5 oz) lard, softned (you can use butter)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 lemon (peel)
  • Cinnamon sugar* (for sprinkling)

It’s so simple to make! You just mix all the ingredients and you’re done! I’ve used my hands, because I’m a hands-on kind of person, but a mixer or a spoon are fine too.

The batter is a bit odd for a cake, since it’s quite elastic. I’ve baked mine in a square 20cm (8inch) pan, buttered and floured. One important step is to heavily sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top of the batter before baking. Gotta love a crunchy top!

For the Cinnamon sugar* I’ve used 4 tsp sugar and ½ tsp cinnamon. Bake at 350ºF (180ºC) for about 20m or until a toothpick or knife comes out clean and the top is golden.

This is the plain version, but there’s also Boleima de Maçã (Apple Boleima) that is made by putting half the batter in the pan, covering it with a lot of sliced apples, walnuts and cinnamon sugar, and then top it with the rest of the batter. I think that version is even better, but since I was trying a new bread dough and wanted to keep it simple. Still it’s great!

Now all you need is a cup of tea! Have you ever tried a similar cake?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Not your average Madeleine

Everybody loves a good madeleine, a good, soft and squidgy Madeleine with a nice bump. Well, this is not your typical madeleine.

This is not really a recipe, but just an idea… I had some sugar cookie dough left and decided to play around with it.

So these are sugar cookie madeleines! It’s only a fun way to eat a simple sugar cookie. You just get your dough, press it into your madeleinle’s molds, bake it, and you’re good to go. As simple as that…

I’m always trying new sugar cookie recipes, I’m still looking for the ONE, but this that I’ve used here is pretty good. But any recipe will do, use your favourite.

You can enjoy them as they are, but I have to tell you that they don’t mind being sandwiched together with some Nutella…

… and I don’t mind that either! At all!...