Mallory, that looks like poo. Are we supposed to eat it? This month's Daring Bakers Challenge was unfortunately not gummi bears like i had predicted, but something much better, something i have always dreamed about baking. Oh wait, no baking involved. Have i told you that i hate deep frying? Well, i will tell you now. Save doughnuts and chiros, anything coming out of a fryer looks like a piece of crap. More honesty box? Cannolis have got to be the ugliest confection in the book. They are unattractive, look like a cross between a cigar and a poo that is starting to get furry on the ends. And they are a pill to make. Appetizing non? You want to make them now? Go for it, millions of people love them, and for those who don't eat with their eyes first, well they are perfect for you. Have i ever wanted to make a cannoli? No. I am 100% about appearances, if it doesn't look good, the photo won't look good. So how do you make a turd look good? Damn near impossible if you ask me. But you didn't ask me, so we'll try. We don't accept defeat with grace here at the Salty Cod, no we will curse and throw the dough mass in the trash and start over before accepting defeat, even with the chuckles burning down out neck. Oh cannoli you have spleaned me, at least now though we have met. Will you ever be on our bakery menu? Absolutely not. But you know, as with all thing in life, it is never pointless to have performed a task you disliked, you can't know that you don't like something until you try it. So here is the story of a white chocolate cannoli named kaka.
Purple and black are really hot right now. Said the grasshopper. I decided that if i had to make cannolis, i might as well make them when i had to cook, so i waited for Thanksgiving like every other American Daring Baker did. Who wants a Cannoli on Thanksgiving? Well, maybe the Italian American families do; mine is not far from an that though. A gaggle of French Canadian immigrants and a few Norwegians who think they are Vikings and you have a loud yelling stereotypical Italian family dinner table. Brilliant! Back to the story. Cannolis, hmm. The idea in the mind was dough dyed black filled white; piano key cannolis. As i made up the dough and began to fry, my uncle bellows from behind me, that looks like a dog turd!! A fried kaka! Joy. And i still have half the dough left. The rest of the family looks at them nervously, then finishes in a bout of laughter. My aunt adds, oh like krumkaka (Norwegian cookie cone) certainly is kaka! In my defense, i cry, hey! i didn't want to make these! and besides, they'll look better when they are filled. As the rest of my family were to arrive the next day i thought, damn, i better start a batch over. Black cannolis sound better in theory. So next morning, new batch. This time, purple.
The purple didn't solicit much praise either. Oh well, now it's all about the photo. Who cares if they taste like kaka, they'll at least match their appearance. I made up the cream. Shit, didn't drain the ricotta. Try number two, i'm not doing too well with this recipe apparently. 0 for 2. I frost their beards as i wait for it to chill, melted white rolled in crumbled white. Chocolate, that is. Will this damn recipe ever end. Piped. Time for some photos. Will we manage? Will we make the kaka look like a jewel? Is it possible? A Thanksgiving miracle perhaps? At this time i think of Martha Stewart, they say Martha could wrap a poo in tin foil and make a pretty ornament. Martha eh...i can turn this kaka into something that glitters like gold. Really? No. But a girl can dream can't she.
To be fair to the cannoli, appearances aren't everything. They were consumed lickety-split. Beauty is on the inside? Indeed. Said the cannoli to the biscotti: will you still love me when i lose my looks? The reply: honey, i didn't marry you for your looks. Love is blind. Cannolis are a delightful treat (those who ate them reported to me) despite their appearance. Daring Bakers i wanted to yell that this challenge was a fail, but i suppose failing would only be giving up. May we please do something with a cake, a cookie, a bread next time? Anna i'm talking to you.
The cannolis came, the cannolis went. If anything they gave us all a laugh, i always want a kitchen filled with laughter. Thanksgiving at my aunt's house has always been my favorite. And i have no doubt that i will miss it for many years to come, but will be able to look back on it with a wry smile in remembrance of the sweet, crispy fried kaka.
This month's Daring Bakers Challenge was chosen and hosted by Lisa Michele of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives. The cannoli recipe is from the book Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and from
Ingredients: 2 cups flour, 2 tsp sugar, 1/4 tsp salt, 3 tbsp white vinegar, 3 eggs (BIG difference from the recipe used for the challenge), 2 tbsp melted butter, 3 tbsp water (i used wine for the purple color) and oil for frying. The method will follow the same as the recipe used for the challenge.
The kakas were not so bad, i suppose. Will i make these again? I think you'd have to hold a gun to my head. Though if the cannoli are here already, you must have left the gun. Couldn't resist, i'm sure every Daring Baker this month quoted the Godfather at least once. In the end, i believe this was exactly what i needed. A humbling reminder that there are many thousands of things i am no good at making, and that even when you are fumbling in the kitchen, when you are fumbling with your family around, it is all worth it. This is a Thanksgiving i will remember with a smile, and who knows, maybe next year when i feel a nostalgia for Thanksgiving, maybe i'll make a batch of cannolis to remember and laugh. Only joking, not even for sappiness would i make these again. Cannolis, i quit you!