November 27, 2009

DB Cannoli, done dairy-free

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. My prior experiences with this pastry were that the taste never lived up to the pretty image they presented. However, a chance to try making something new is always welcome and so I dove in hoping for the best. The shells themselves didn't have any dairy ingredients and I made just as the recipe stated. They were time consuming to roll and fry, since I could only roll up four at a time and only fry one or two at a time but it all went relatively well. Can fried dough ever *really* disappoint? The filling is where I dropped the ball.

I decided to try two experiments. Number one, make a typical tofu pudding with silken tofu and melted chocolate. I've been making this pudding since my college days and made with dark chocolate it's always fairly decent. But since my dairy-allergic son isn't a fan of dark chocolate he hasn't liked the tofu pudding I've made in the past. So, I tried making a "Milkless" milk chocolate pudding...big mistake. I used up the last of his leftover Halloween chocolate skulls, which I had ordered from Premium Chocolatiers. They were a lot of fun to watch melt! Along with the melted chocolate, I added a smidge of soy milk, a pinch of salt and splash of vanilla to blend together with a block of silken tofu. Warm it tasted ok but it was too runny to pipe into the cannoli and after it chilled it looked nice enough but had a very harsh soy taste. The pudding did look pretty piped into the cannoli though.

My second experiment was tastier but visually and texturally even a bigger failure. I decided to try and make an almond creme using soaked almonds. I took a chance and left the skins on the almonds knowing that they would make the texture a little rough, but I thought more texture might be good. Then I added a little coconut oil along with powdered sugar and almond extract to make what I hoped would be a ricotta-like, creamy filling. The coconut oil added smoothness to the warm blended mixture. Again my experimenting fell apart when I chilled the creme so that it would be better suited to fill the cannolis. The coconut oil separated out and left tiny fat blobs floating in pureed nuts and liquid. Ah well, it did still taste good.

I've never had a bought cannoli that I loved and although I hoped differently I had a suspicion that it would end up this way. Maybe they just aren't the dessert for me. Thanks to Lisa for the experience, it's always fun to deep fry things!

Links:
-The full recipe for cannoli (including what is surely a much tastier filling than mine made with ricotta cheese) can be found HERE at Lisa's blog Parsley, Sage Desserts and Lineups.
-For the recipes Lisa adapted to create the challenge check out these two cookbooks: Lidia's Italian-American Kitchen by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and The Sopranos Family Cookbook: As Compiled by Artie Bucco by Allen Rucker and Michele Scicolone
-Are you curious about how to become a Daring Baker yourself? Visit the Daring Kitchen! There you can also check out all the other cannoli made this month by browsing the Daring Baker Blogroll.

"Milkless" chocolate skulls from Premium Chocolatiers
Die you evil chocolate spawn of Satan!
My finished cannoli, tofu pudding filled (bottom) and almond creme filled (top)

20 comments:

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

The almond cream looks a lot like ricotta cannoli to me. You DBs always impress me, and with your doing this dairy-free, even more so! I wonder if you could just use fresh fruit as a cannoli filling and whether you'd like that more?

VeggieGirl said...

Love your experiments and the process - I think it all looks fabulous!

Haha, love the melting skulls ;)

pigpigscorner said...

Great shot of the melting skulls. I've never tried this but they look great!

Nina Timm said...

I applaud your efforts, this is the reason why I am not worthy of the title..."daring Baker"!! Too much effort!!

Sophie said...

You are certainly a daring baker to me!! Your filled canneloni look excellent!! I also love the melting skulls!

hahahaha,..fab pictures too,...

mlle noelle said...

Ah well, you certainly get an "A" for effort! :) And your shells look like they turned out great.

Debra said...

It looks delicious!
Debra @ Vegan Family Style
ps please check out the cookbook giveaway on my blog!

DJ Karma said...

Very nice looking effort! The melting skulls kills me LOL!!

Audax said...

Those skulls looks so wonderful and your cannoli shells are super so warty and blistered, and you can't like everything well done. Cheers from Audax in Australia.

Judy@nofearentertaining said...

They look beautiful. Great ideas on the dairy free variations!

Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction said...

Your cannoli look absolutely beautiful! Very impressive.

doggybloggy said...

you have a real handle on dairyfree - very impressive!

Christine aka Mistress of Cakes said...

First let me say that you truly humble me with your attempts to go dairy free for you son. I wouldn't say they are failures.

(BTW I was not a fan of cannolis until I made my own but I don't have the dairy limitations you do. I do a marscapone/ricotta mixture)

What about filling them with a sorbet? Or a ganache with soy milk instead of cream?

bittersweetblog said...

Even if the filling didn't quite meet your expectations, the shells certainly look perfect! Very nicely done. :)

5 Star Foodie said...

Your cannoli are gorgeous and I love that they are dairy free!

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

Hah! Love the chocolate skulls! Sorry neither experiment worked out, but at least you had fun playing in the kitchen!

lisamichele said...

It's funny, you ended up with opposite results of most. Perfect shells, no trouble making them, but the filling disappointed you. I think they look incredible!! You're right about cannoli, they're not a dessert along the lines of let's say, chocolate chip cookies, which most love. It's really a matter of personal taste, and truth be told, I don't flip over them, but occasionally crave one. I thought it would be a fun and daring challenge to tackle. Thanks for deep frying with me!

Xiaolu said...

I wish the fillings had turned out the way you wanted, but they are beautiful to behold.

Marianne (frenchfriestoflaxseeds) said...

The melting skulls crack me up :D

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Yay perfect dairy free cannoli!!! The skulls are too funny, I love the pictures of them melting ahahah!