Passport to Baked Good(nes)s

I can’t say that I’m an intrepid adventurer but I have seen different parts of the world. Many of my memories of these places are linked to food.

I spent three weeks touring Peru with my sister and her friends. The highlight of that trip was the Lares to Machu Picchu trek. During the trek, we visited with a couple living in the middle of the Andes. They kept live guinea pigs in cages underneath their beds. Later on, our group stopped at a restaurant where they served us whole roasted guinea pig. Initially, I was grossed out at seeing whole guinea pigs but the staff took them away and chopped them into bite size pieces. I did try a bit. It reminded me of herb roasted chicken, with extra gristle!  Also, while visiting Lake Titicaca I had trout. I don’t remember trying any Peruvian desserts but I do remember having banana splits for supper one night. I was young at the time so it was fun to break the rules, and it was a comforting reminder of home.

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My travels have been valuable experiences. However, people don’t have to leave the comfort of their own homes to have culinary adventures. Take this blog for instance. Through it, people of different backgrounds get to share their baking experiences. We as readers get to live out their adventures through these pages and we have the option to try out the recipes. The Internet, TV, and cookbooks have opened the doors to delicious destinations.

Besides media and technology, a big part of the adventure comes through living our lives. When I went through NAIT’s Culinary arts program, I made and filled cannoli shells as a part of a test in the international food and culture course. Here’s the recipe that I used:

Homemade Cannoli Recipe with Mascarpone Cream

Becky. Homemade Cannoli Recipe with Mascarpone Cream. Accessed March 18, 2015. From http://www.thevintagemixer.com/2012/03/homemade-cannoli-recipe-with-mascarpone-cream/

Yield: 16 cannoli

Make cream filling and refrigerate. Make dough, roll out and cut into circles. Fry dough using cannoli forms. Let cool for 15 minutes. Fill cannoli with cream and then dip ends into chocolate

Ingredients

Cannoli Shells

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 3/8 cup sweet Marsala wine
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 large egg white, lightly beaten
  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate (preferably 61 percent cacao)
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Mascarpone Creme

  • 3/4 cup whole milk ricotta cheese (drained overnight w/ cheesecloth & squeezed dry)
  • 3/4 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla or Grand Marnier
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

Cannoli Shells

  1. Combine flour, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add Marsala and oil, and beat on medium speed until dough comes together. Using your hands, knead dough on a lightly floured work surface until smooth and elastic, about 15 minutes. Wrap in plastic, and let rest 30 minutes.
  2. Divide dough into 2 pieces. Pass 1 piece of dough through the widest setting of a pasta machine (keep remaining pieces covered) OR roll out into a thin sheet of dough. Continue passing through narrower settings until it is the thickness of a dime. Lay on a floured work surface. Cut out rounds with a 3 1/4-inch cutter. Gather scraps and reroll.
  3. Pour enough oil into a large, heavy saucepan to come about 4 inches up sides. Heat over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 380 degrees.
  4. Wrap each round of dough around a 3 3/4-inch-long cannoli form, sealing with a dab of egg white. Working in batches of 3 or 4, fry until golden, about 1 minute. Using a wire skimmer or tongs, transfer to paper towels, and let cool 5 minutes. Carefully slide out forms, and let shells cool. Continue rolling, cutting, and frying the remaining dough.
  5. Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Dip ends of cannoli shells in melted chocolate. Let set 15 minutes on parchment paper.

Mascarpone Cream

  1. Mix filling ingredients together.
  2. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (at least a couple of hours).
  3. When ready to serve, use a ziploc bag (cut the corner) or pastry bag with 1/2 inch star tip. Pipe filling into one end of a shell to the center, then into other end. Repeat with remaining shells and filling. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, and serve immediately.
  4. Let the filling smoosh out of each end of the shells, just a tad.
  5. Some people sprinkle powdered sugar on top right before serving or dip the ends into chocolate shavings.

Here’s a YouTube video showing you how to make the shells.

While going to school, I have worked part time at Popular Bakery. It’s owned by a Portuguese family. One of their specialties are a Portuguese custard tart or Pasteis de Nata, as they call them. For a recipe follow this link:

http://leitesculinaria.com/7759/recipes-portuguese-custard-tarts-pasteis-de-nata.html

Pasteis de Nata | Portuguese Custard Tarts Recipe

Without even leaving Canada, I got to experience Italian and Portuguese desserts. Canada is a melting pot of cultures. Within Edmonton, there are many local and ethnic baked goods just waiting for you to discover.  So get out there and explore. I hope you find baked goodness and make delicious memories.

 

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