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Thursday, 26 November 2009

Daring Bakers Challenge November 2009: Cannoli


This was an interesting challenge! I, however, did not have any cannoli tubes to make proper traditional cannoli. I was thinking of buying them but then I decided I wouldn’t be using these very often. But to be honest, I really wanted to get a little more creative with the cannoli as the challenge allowed for plenty of creativity which was great!

I got the idea of making little Christmas trees which would make a nice Christmas dessert. But then as I was working with the dough I was tempted to try and make some swirly 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.

The Daring Kitchen


This is my vegan (non-alcoholic) adaptation of the recipe:

Cannoli Shells

Ingredients (I don't have an exact number but this yields loads of Christmas Trees! Probably more than 15 depending on the size)
2 cups (250g) flour
2 tablespoons (28g) sugar
1 teaspoon (5g) cocoa powder
½ teaspoon (1.15g) cinnamon
½ teaspoon (3g) salt
3 tablespoons (42g) oil
1 teaspoon (5g) rice vinegar
½ cup (59g) red grape juice (you can use Marsala or red/white wine which is what the original recipe called for)
¼ teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons (10g) egg replacer (Allergycare brand)
Oil for frying
Icing sugar (for dusting)

From the recipe instructions:

  • In the bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, salt, baking powder and egg replacer.
  • Stir in the oil, vinegar, and enough of the grape juice 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. (I left mine overnight)
  • 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).
  • To make the stacked Christmas trees, I cut triangular shapes grading the size. I also cut out some stars (I did those manually as I don’t have a star cookie cutter; they were alright after practicing 2 stars).
  • For the swirly Christmas tree, I cut out long strips and threaded it through a skewer. Then gently lowered this into the oil to fry.


I don’t have a deep fry thermometer, so I got the right temperature by trying and testing. The first few cannoli puffed up like little pillows! They were cute though! But I reduced the temperature and they were fine.

  • Fry the shells until golden, about 2 minutes, turning them so that they brown evenly.
  • Remove and let drain on absorbent paper.

I used soy whipping cream as filling and some pomegranate seeds.

For the swirly Christmas tree, I started with a triangle shape for the base. Then I arranged the swirls on top with whipping cream as filling, and dusted the plate and shells with some icing sugar for decoration.

Cannoli Xmas Tree

These cannoli were really nice! They tasted great and the pinch of cinnamon felt very Christmassy!

I would probably make this again and experiment with other fillings but not too often because of the deep frying bit!

Friday, 13 November 2009

Daring Cooks Challenge November 2009 - Sushi

Time has just flown by for me! I completely lost track of VeganMoFo and ended up not posting at all after the first week. Well I hope next year's going to be a more properly planned VeganMoFo for me. It was a good month though! I really enjoyed reading all the mofos, even if I didn't comment a lot.

Well this is the my first Daring Cooks challenge! My Daring Bakers challenge was not so successful last time but this Daring Cooks challenge was really something that I enjoyed.

The Daring Kitchen


The November 2009 Daring Cooks challenge was brought to you by Audax of Audax Artifex and Rose of The Bite Me Kitchen. They chose sushi as the challenge.

I was pretty excited since the beginning of the challenge as sushi is something that I make at least 1 weekend in a month. And there was plenty of room for vegan ingredients. So, I was really looking forward to it.
When I make sushi however, I always make it the same way - rolled with avocado, tofu and cucumber. This challenge was very interesting as I actually cooked and seasoned the rice the way it should be. I also made different types of sushi as was required.

Although quite time consuming, I really enjoyed this challenge and mostly enjoy eating these sushi. They were really tasty and will definitely take something out of this challenge!

The challenge required 3 types of sushi to be made:

Dragon sushi roll
- an avocado covered inside-out rice roll with a tasty surprise filling.

I used tofu (marinated in black bean sauce and lightly fried) for the inside filling and fermented black beans on the outside just before covering with avocado.
I found the fermented dried black beans at the Chinese Store. They are quite tasty.

sushi,dragon roll

Decorative sushi - a nori-coated rice roll which reveals a decorative pattern when cut.

I used tofu (marinated in Guilin Sauce and fried), chinese chives, carrot and cucumber as filling.

decorative roll

Nigiri sushi - hand-shaped rice rolls with toppings.

I used fried tofu again with pickled courgette slices rolled and secured on top of the rice with a strip of nori.

For the pickled courgette (zucchini), I sliced them thinly using a vegetable peeler them marinated them while preparing the other ingredients in some rice vinegar, salt, sugar and chilli sauce.

I think this one was my favourite! The pickled courgette added great flavour!

nigiri sushi,sushi

All were very tasty and I was very satisfied with this challenge!

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