Saturday, December 10, 2011

Imaginary cake.

So whenever it's someone's birthday, they get their choice of whatever baked good they want, and I'll make it, or at least try to. Eric wanted a carrot cake. My dad did too. My grandmother wanted an apple pie. What does my mom want? A cannoli cake that my (3 years deceased) great grandmother used to make when she was a kid.

You may be aware that cannolis are...things. Cream in pastry tubes. Not a cake.

But, no. She says it was a creamy fillimg of some description, layered with ladyfingers. Sound like anything else you've heard of? Like...oh...tiramisu? But no, she insists, it is similar to tiramisu but not the same. Also, it has chocolate shavings on top. Well, chocolate shavings I can do.

Cooking with Collies: Imaginary Cake Edition

So I cobbled together a Frankenrecipe involving cannoli filling from one recipe, homemade ladyfingers from another, a ladyfinger soaking technique from another, a putting-it-all together plan from the only thing I could find on the entire internet - the entire freakin' internet, guys - called "cannoli cake." I rolled up the sleeves on my cardigan, grabbed my cooking assistant Collie, and headed to the kitchen.

I made the ladyfingers, which turned out alright - a little chewier than I think of ladyfingers being, but I assumed that they would soften with soaking, and they did, to a nice, normal ladyfinger texture. I soaked them in coffee and imitation rum, which Eric fairly enough said smelled like a hangover, but in the finished product they tasted as ladyfingers should, which is definitely an acquired taste. Then came the cannoli filling.

First of all, this required separating like half a dozen egg-yolk pairings. Second of all, I found a freaking chicken embryo in one.

I'll let that sink in for a moment.

Reactions to this bit of news have been mixed, divided evenly between gross-out oh hell no, shock and bewilderment of the "I've been cracking eggs for 40 years and that's never happened" variety, and, most perplexingly to me, "That's never happened to you before?" Well hell no it hadn't.

I was so alarmed and traumatized that that was pretty much a half hour detour. Ultimately, I had to beat this stuff for ten minutes. With a hand mixer, thank God, but I was beating some peanut butter stuff the other day for three minutes and it seemed like a freakishly long time. Ten minutes...well, Eric left to pick Adam up from school, got halfway there, called me, and I was still beating. My wrist got sore. It was insane. "Beat ten minutes, until light and fluffy."

Ten minutes came, light and fluffy never did. It was like a thick pudding consistency. I layered it as instructed and ended up putting it in the freezer to hopefully thicken (or freeze, whatev) which it did sort of? It's not a "pile of stuff on a plate" kind of thing, it holds its form, but if you take too long to eat it, it sort of melts. I have no idea what went wrong. It's tasty. I just seem to have an ongoing problem in my life called "Why is this soup/batter/dough/filling so thin?" I do not know why, but I hope to one day get a handle on it.

It had some damn chocolate shavings. Hand-shaved from a Ghirardelli chocolate bar.

In other news, theme of the week has been getting busted snuggling. First it was Eric and Violet.


"I wasn't snuggling this Collie. I was being real mean to her."
A couple days later it was Piper and Violet (whose nose wasn't really as up Peep's butt as it appears, it's just the angle), ruining Peep's big black Shepherd reputation. They've been all but spooning lately, regularly. Violet's Christmas collar seen here.

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