Friday, 27 November 2009

Daring Bakers do Cannoli

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.

I had never heard of Cannoli till this challenge but then that is one of the great things about Daring Bakers, and indeed Daring Cooks, you end up making things you would never have considered. Turns out they are a sort of fried pastry, a tube of pastry that is deep fried and filled with a creamy filling. They are known for being very filling and hard to eat without making a mess.. sound perfect.

Being a fantastic host Lisa supplied us not only with the standard recipe but also with a link to a gluten free version which turned out to work very well, you can find it here.

It was also suggested we make our own ricotta and/or mascarpone cheese. I'd made ricotta for a previous challenge so I had a go at mascarpone which is made with cream not milk and it came out fabulously. I used the recipe surgessed which you can find here.

One thing about the recipe is it makes quite a lot of dough, I still have some in the freezer as we couldn't eat it all in one go.. not even making several dishes with it. Unless I was catering a party I think I'd cut it in half. I also found I destroyed plastic wrap rolling it out so I swapped to using two thin re-useable baking sheets - thickish plastic you can bake on and then wash, like a plastic version of greaseproof paper..

I started out trying the traditional version.This is a picture of making the dough.. did I mention it uses port!! Pastry made with port and deep fried sounds good doesn't it! Oh those tins are old baby milk tins which I keep my various flours in. They stack well and I have lots !

As I didn't have any molds I used some pieces of dowel that at one point held together the wooden bed we take camping. Yes we take a wood double bed camping, doesn't everyone?

These deep fried very well and I filled them with a mix of mascarpone, apple and whipped double cream.

 Very tasty I'd certainly consider them for a party, perhaps with some brandysnaps as well to ring the changes.. Someone said they tasted like sugarcones and one of the things I have never found since being gluten free is a good cone.. the only ones I've found have been wafer ones which aren't brillient and I don't much like the wafer ones anyway so I had to try this recipe for cone.

Someone on the Daring Baker forum had suggested using foil trays to fashion molds so I made a very, very rough cone to try it out.

 It was wonky but really, really nice with icecream in it.

After this we still had a lot of dough left the next day so I thought I'd try a savoury version as while it is a sweet dought it isn't so sweet it couldn't work with savory fillings. I did try to make deep fried dishes but they just opened up in the fryer so I ended up with disks so I cut out one to look a bit like a flower and made a cheese and ham flower for Noodles lunch with a sausage stem and leaves, He liked it enough to have seconds and ask for one in his lunchbox the next day !

We were told you could bake the pastry too so I also make some small tarts with a ricotta and bacon filling. I had a spare egg white so whipped it up and added it which made the filling fluff up very nicely.

The Pastry is definietly better fried but it does work as a pie case too.


  1. this looks absolutely delicious. love the homemade mascarpone.

  2. Home-made mascarpone well done it looks so good. And you made so many different types of cannoli I think I like the ice-cream cone the most so cute. Well done on this challenge. Cheers from Audax in Australia.

  3. I seriously love the ice cream idea! Never made my own mascarpone but I made ricotta today...your mascarpone looks sooo yummy, that's motivation enough for me to try it!

  4. What a great and cute idea.

    like your job !

  5. haha I liked how you formed so many shapes out of your dough, especially the cone one. I can imagine how well the cone/shell would go with just ice cream, what a great idea. Like yourself, I still have alot of the dough at home, I'll just fry them as cones and ctore it in the fridge. Btw your mascarpone cheese looks greta, i've never made my own, I would definitely like to, thanks =D

  6. Esther, you really blew the top off this challenge. I love how you experimented with baking AND deep frying and the fact that your little Noodle loved the ham and cheese with the sausage stem and wanted more for his lunch box, is sooo cute! Also, fantastic blisters on your fried shells! Thank you so much for taking part in my challenge :)

  7. Esther! These look fabulous =D. I love the ice cream cones, and homemade mascarpone sounds delicious! You did an amazing job on this challenge!

    Love the baby milk tins! I have various tupperware containers, etc to hold all of my flours!

  8. Your mascarpone looks thick and lovely!

  9. Fabulous job! I'm so impressed with your homemade mascarpone.

    I was at the store buying my supplies to make mascarpone, and discovered that there wasn't any cream that wasn't ultra-pasturized.

    Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

  10. I'm so excited that you had success with the GF cannoli! I shared your post with Annmarie which made her very happy as well. She and I were both excited that you made ice cream cones and tried using the dough for pies.
    Thanks for the link and happy baking!


  11. Great work! Love the pie-crust idea.