Friday, November 27, 2009

November 2009 Daring Bakers Challenge #34: Cannolli with Strawberry and Diplomat cream

For this month, the daring bakers host Lisa Michele, wanted all of us to try the Italian pastry "Cannolo" . The traditional Cannolo is made in a tube form, but I didn't have a chance to buy the tube.
She said that " Cannoli are known as Italian-American pastries, although the origin of cannoli dates back to Sicily, specifically Palermo, where it was prepared during Carnevale season, and according to lore, as a symbol of fertility. The cannoli is a fried, tube-shaped pastry shell (usually containing wine) filled with a creamy amalgamation of sweetened ricotta cheese, chocolate, candied fruit or zest, and sometimes nuts. Although not traditional, mascarpone cheese is also widely used, and in fact, makes for an even creamier filling when substituted for part of the ricotta, or by itself. However, cannoli can also be filled with pastry creams, mousses, whipped cream, ice cream etc. You could also add your choice of herbs, zests or spices to the dough, if desired. Marsala is the traditional wine used in cannoli dough, but any red or white wine will work fine, as it’s not only added for flavor or color, but to relax the gluten in the dough since it can be a stiff dough to work with. By the way, the name ‘Lidisano’ is a combination of Lidia, Lisa and Sopranos..LOL "
Luckily, there is a variation for the people who don't have the tube to fry the dough in a sheet form, and sandwich them with the filling.
But I copy the method for making the cannoli tube for anyone who want to make it in a traditional style. For the filling, I
use the Diplomat cream with the strawberry (well, it's easy, haha, and delicious). As the recipe suggests, the dough should be very thin before frying or the texture of the finish product will be tough.

I really want to make the traditional cannoli if I have a chance, but anyway I have to buy the tube first, ^ ^. So, as soon as I get the tube I will make the traditional cannoli, I promise.

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 with Strawberry and Diplomat Cream
Makes 22-24 4-inch cannoli

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
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)

1. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer or food processor, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the oil, vinegar, and enough of the wine 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 cut and fry the dough without making the tube.

2 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). Cut out 3 to 5-inch circles (3-inch – small/medium; 4-inch – medium/large; 5-inch;- large. Your choice). Roll the cut out circle into an oval, rolling it larger and thinner if it’s shrunk a little.

3 Oil the outside of the cannoli tubes (You only have to do this once, as the oil from the deep fry will keep them well, uhh, Roll a dough oval from the long side (If square, position like a diamond, and place tube/form on the corner closest to you, then roll) around each tube/form and dab a little egg white on the dough where the edges overlap. (Avoid getting egg white on the tube, or the pastry will stick to it.) Press well to seal. Set aside to let the egg white seal dry a little.

4. In a deep heavy saucepan, pour enough oil to reach a depth of 3 inches, or if using an electric deep-fryer, follow the manufacturer's directions. Heat the oil to 375°F (190 °C) on a deep fry thermometer, or until a small piece of the dough or bread cube placed in the oil sizzles and browns in 1 minute. Have ready a tray or sheet pan lined with paper towels or paper bags.

5. Carefully lower a few of the cannoli tubes into the hot oil. Do not crowd the pan. Fry the shells until golden, about 2 minutes, turning them so that they brown evenly.

6. Lift a cannoli tube with a wire skimmer or large slotted spoon, out of the oil. Using tongs, grasp the cannoli tube at one end. Very carefully remove the cannoli tube with the open sides straight up and down so that the oil flows back into the pan. Place the tube on paper towels or bags to drain. Repeat with the remaining tubes. While they are still hot, grasp the tubes with a potholder and pull the cannoli shells off the tubes with a pair of tongs, or with your hand protected by an oven mitt or towel. Let the shells cool completely on the paper towels. Place shells on cooling rack until ready to fill.

7. Repeat making and frying the shells with the remaining dough. If you are reusing the cannoli tubes, let them cool before wrapping them in the dough.

Make the filling:

200 ml

Whipping cream

500 ml



Vanilla pod


Egg yolks




Corn flour (sifted)

A dash of salt

Bring the milk to a boil in a saucepan.

Meanwhile whisk the egg yolk, sugar, seeds from vanilla bean, corn flour and salt together in a bowl.

Whisk the boiling milk into this mixture and return the mixture into the saucepan.

Bring the mixture back to a boil and boil the cream for one minute whisking constantly to avoid scorching. When it boils, whisk mixture constantly for another 30 - 60 seconds until it becomes very thick and it is hard to stir.

Remove from heat. Pour into a clean bowl and immediately cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a crust from forming. Cool.

Pour the cream into a bowl. Using a balloon whisk or electric beaters, whip the cream until it just forms soft peaks.

Make the filling:

Fold the whipped cream into the pastry cream, and spoon the filling into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm nozzle.

Place the cannoli sheet in the plate and pipe the filling over the sheet and decorate with strawberry.

November 2009 Daring Bakers Challenge #34:
Cannolli with Strawberry and Diplomat cream

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Lemon Squares: My portable lemon pie...

Lemon is one of my favorite both for its flavor and fragrance, so, it isn't a surprising that lemon pie is my favorite dessert too. But I make lemon pie many many time, and I think I need something else.
I never made this kind of cookie before, why? I don't know, but I felt regret that I should make it a long time ago, haha.
For me, this cookie is like a lemon pie in a portable (and easier) form, and because the filling is not too rich, eating it 2-3 pieces still fine for me ^ ^.

The method for making the crust is very easy, actually I never thought that it will be like this, you can see that the texture of it is very crumble before baking, but after baking it will form a nice cookie base that can stand a wet filling. I think keeping this cookies in the refrigerator is better, because the crust contains a lot of butter it's will be soft in the hot climate but stay nice and firm when taking out of the refrigerator.

Because I just want to try the recipe so I made only half of the original recipe, that if you want to bake it in 9x13 inches pan, just double the recipe.
I must confess that I ate almost half of this cookies by myself! The soft filling with a tangy sweet taste that comes along with the crumble crust. As always, I reduce a bit of sugar from the original recipe, so, this cookies is for anyone who love the tangy taste too.

Lemon Squares
Make using 7x7 square pan

for the crust:
85g unsalted butter, frozen plus more for dish
110g all-purpose flour
45g confectioners’ sugar
¼ teaspoon salt

for the filling:
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
110g granulated sugar
1½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
⅛ teaspoon salt
85ml fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons whipping cream
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 7-inch pan ,and line with parchment (I forgot to line the pan with parchment but luckily, my pan is the loose bottom so I didn't have a problem when taking the cookie out).

2 Make crust:

Grate butter on a cheese grater with large holes; set aside. Whisk together flour, confectioners’ sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Add butter; stir with a wooden spoon until combined and mixture looks crumbly.

3 Transfer mixture to prepared dish; press evenly onto bottom with your hands. Freeze crust 15 minutes. Bake until slightly golden, 16 to 18 minutes, Leave the oven on.

4. Meanwhile, make filling: Whisk together eggs, granulated sugar, flour, and salt in a bowl until smooth. Stir in lemon juice and whipping cream.

5 Pour the egg mixture over hot crust.Reduce oven temperatures to325°F, and bake until filling is set and edges are slightly golden brown, about 18 minutes.

Let cool slightly on a wire rack. Lift out; let cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into squares. Dust with confectioners’ sugar. Lemon squares can be refrigerated in airtight containers up to 2 days.

Lemon Squares: My portable lemon pie...

Monday, November 23, 2009

Tiramisu, I fall in love with it, again and again ^ ^

After I posted the lady finger recipe, many people told me, they wanted the Tiramisu recipe. Actually I already posted it in my blog (it's a long time ago, you can see here), but there a little problem with the last recipe, it uses only 125g of mascarpone cheese, when most of the package come in 250g.

So, it will be better if you can use all the cheese at once, haha, and the other benefit is this Tiramisu has a longer life in the fridge. The last recipe uses many eggs (5 of it) and has a very light texture, that is very good if you can finish the dish in 1-2 days otherwise the lightness will gone.

This recipe use only 2 egg, and a lot of cheese, ^ ^, so the texture is a bit denser but the taste is more intense too.
But as a tiramisu follower, I love this recipe too (or, you can say that I love tiramisu anyway, haha), the cream is not too sweet, most of the sweetness comes from the cheese itself.
You can use any kind of the glasses or if you feel a bit lazy, just use one 15X24cm pan. As always I don't use cocoa powder to sprinkle over the top of the tiramisu, but if you like, it's up to you ^ ^.
This time because I got the Savoiardi biscuit at home, so I use it without baking the lady finger by myself, but if you don't have (or don't want to go out to buy it), you can bake by yourself, just follow the recipe here.

I can't promise you that it is the last recipe for the Tiramisu in my blog, as I say, I fall in love with this dessert over and over again.

the Savoiardi biscuit

Serves 5-6 people
(depend on the glasses that you use)

Mascarpone Cheese
Egg yolks
Egg Whites
50ml + 1tsp
Kahlua® or other brand coffee liqueur
Strong black coffee

Sponge fingers

Dark chocolate for grating

Beat egg yolks and 25g of the sugar in a large bowl. Add the mascarpone and 1 tsp of coffee liqueur, mixing gently until just combined.
Note from dailydelicious: When mixing the cheese and egg, folding by using the spatula is the better way to smoothen the cheese without breaking down the fat.

Beat egg whites with 25g of the sugar in a medium bowl until medium stiff peaks form.
Using a large metal spoon or rubber spatula, gently fold egg whites into the mascarpone mixture.

Pour coffee into a cup with 50ml of coffee liqueur. Soak the sponge fingers into the coffee mixture.

Add a layer of soaked sponge fingers; Add a layer of mascarpone mixture to cover the soaked sponge fingers. Add another layer of soaked sponge fingers; Cover the top with the rest of the mascarpone mixture.
Dust generously with grated chocolate. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Tiramisu, I fall in love with it, again and again ^ ^

Friday, November 20, 2009

Japanese Strawberry Shortcake: Soft, light, easy and very delicious!

There are some misunderstanding, when talk about shortcake, because the shortcake in Japan is not the sweet biscuit that sliced and filled with whipped cream and strawberry.

The name comes from the short time that you use to make this cake, it's a short time cake! The cake is made from sponge cake, whipping cream, and strawberry, the ingredients which you can find it almost everywhere.
I love this kind of cake too, from the look (the red color of the strawberry is standing out of the white whipped cream), the texture of the cake that is so soft and light, and from the taste that is delicious mix of the rich cream and the sweetness of the strawberry. Because of the lightness of the texture, you will finish it without feeling full up.

The recipe is an adaptation from the book: 12か月のハッピーバースデーケーキ (Birthday Cake for 12 Months) by Miwa Nakanishi
The one that I will show you today ^ ^.

12か月のハッピーバースデーケーキ (Birthday Cake for 12 Months) by Miwa Nakanishi
The book divided into 12 months, there are about 3-4recipes per month. There are many kind of cakes, mousse cake, buttercake, choux, tart and cookie. All of them turn into lovely birthday cake, in many styles.

The idea for decorating the cake is very cute too (you can see from the photograph), I like the way that they are look great, even they are the simple recipes. Like the one that you can see, the bear cake (the one on the right) is the genoise, vanilla mousse, and decorated with sweetened whipped cream the ingredient is simple, the method is easy, but the result is very good.

There are some idea for the wrapping too, it's very cute, the book shows you how to do it with ease but make a great impression.
So, this book is very good for everyone, ^ ^, because it's not only the recipe, it's comes with the idea!
The Japanese Strawberry Shortcake is very easy to make, you can bake this cake into a 18cm round if you want too. But I always like to make small one, ^ ^. I love the look of the cute little cake (you can see from my blog that I always turn big one into mini size, both for it's appearance and less guilty for eating too much, haha).

The syrup that use for soaking the cake is very important too, if you forget the cake will be too dry, and the syrup adds the slightly sweetness and great fragrance. I use my home made vanilla extract instead of the liqueur, if your vanilla extract is commercial one, add very little of it.

Adaptation from: 12か月のハッピーバースデーケーキ (Birthday Cake for 12 Months) by Miwa Nakanishi

Japanese Strawberry Shortcake
Makes 4 (6cm) or 1 (18cm)


Cake flour (sifted)
Unsalted butter (melted)



Whipped Cream

Whipping cream
Icing sugar


Make the syrup by put the sugar and the water together into the pan, heat until boil, then let it cool to room temperature.
When cool, mix with the liqueur.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.
If you want to make small cake, prepare the 27x27cm pan with the baking paper.
Or using 18 cm round cake pan, line the base with the baking paper.

Beat the egg until mix and lighter in color, gradually add the sugar into the egg and beat until ribbon stage (you can see that you can lift the beater and make the letter 8).

Take ¾ cup of the egg mixture and mix it with the melted butter.

Sift the flour into the egg mixture, fold gently until combine.
Pour the egg and butter mixture into the bowl fold gently and follow with the milk.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.
Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes for 18 cm cake, or 15-18 minutes for the 27cm pan cake.

When finish, let the cake cool to the room temperature before filling the cake.

Assemble the cake:

Cut the 8 of the strawberry into small pieces.

Pour the cream into a bowl and add the icing sugar. Using a balloon whisk or electric beaters, whip the cream until it just forms medium stiff peaks.

If making 18 cm cake, slice into 3 layers and follow same the instruction.
Cut the cake into 12 pieces, using 6 cm cutter. Put the one piece into each ring mold.

Sprinkle the cake with the syrup and place the strawberry over the cake.
Pour the whipped cream over the strawberry, put the cake over the cream and sprinkle the syrup and follow with the strawberry and cream, then cover with the cake.
Chill the cake until set and cover all the cake with the whipped cream.

Decorate with the strawberry, and yes, serve it with a big smile!

Japanese Strawberry Shortcake:
Soft, light, easy and very delicious!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

CHOCOLATE COFFEE CAKE: Chocolate, Chocolate, I ask for more of it !

Whenever, my sister comes to visit, I have to bake something for her (Ok, a lot of is more properly, haha). She is the one who tried to bake a long time ago but, after she felt that it's not her real passion, she just stopped. So, it become my mission to bake for her, even when I plan to
go to her place, she will send me the order, and I'm so happy to do do it.

This time, she want to have a coffee cake, not a plain one, it must be chocolate (^ ^, and you know that I love it). So, I choose the chocolate coffee cake, that is easy to make but can be very intense in flavor. This chocolate cake is great to look at and delighted to eat, the contrast between the deep brown cake base and the light brown streusel top make this cake looks lovely. I add the chocolate extract to intensify the chocolate flavor in this cake but if you don't have it just omit it, the cake will be great anyway.

The recipe comes from one of my old book, well, the first time that I start to collect the cookbooks, I loved to buy the book that cames in set, like this one, from  .............. They are great for everyone who love to bake. The recipes are easy to follow and there are tips for better baking too.

This chocolate cake is very good to have with a cup of coffee, (^ ^, the name coffee cake already suggest it), but I love to have it with a cup of milk too. I think it's the contrast of the flavor, the deep chocolate flavor with the mild flavor of the milk, or if you like to intensify the chocolate flavor, serve it with the hot chocolate will be a great option too.

Makes 8x8 pan


all-purpose flour
light brown sugar
¼ teaspoon
Ground cinnamon
cold unsalted butter
Mini chocolate chips

A dash of salt

all-purpose flour
cake flour
unsweetened Dutch- process cocoa powder
½ teaspoon
baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
½ teaspoon
baking powder
¼ teaspoon
unsalted butter
granulated sugar
large egg
Egg yolk
Sour cream
Vanilla extract
Chocolate extract (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease and flour a 8-by-8-inch (20-by-20-cm) baking pan.

To make the streusel, stir together the flour, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon in a small bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the bowl. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers cut or rubs in the butter until coarse crumbs form. Stir in the chocolate chips until evenly distributed. Set aside.

In a bowl, stir together the all-purpose and cake flours, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
In another bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and egg yolks, beating thoroughly after addition, then add the vanilla and chocolate extract.

Add the dry ingredients in 2 or 3 increments, alternating with the sour cream. Using the mixer on low speed, beat until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle evenly with the streusel.
Bake until the topping is golden brown, 40-45 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely. Cut into squares to serve.

Chocolate, Chocolate, I ask for more of it !


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