Dessert for Dinner

If there was one crowd-pleasing dinner option out there, that title might just go to the classic lasagna. What with the pasta, protein, “cheese”, and countless veggie options, not to mention all of the flavor variations available, there’s always something for everyone at the table to enjoy. And yet, I will be the first to admit that to this day, I have never made a traditional lasagna. Sure, it has something to do with the long wait time from oven to table, and all of the labor involved if you start from scratch, but really, it’s more than that. I may get booted off the island for saying this, but I find the whole thing far too heavy! Much preferring light meals and decadent desserts, this is one main dish that doesn’t suit my eating habits very well. That’s why when the most recent Daring Baker challenge was announced, my heart dropped all the way to the floor.

The March 2009 challenge is hosted by Mary of Beans and Caviar, Melinda of Melbourne Larder and Enza of Io Da Grande. They have chosen Lasagne of Emilia-Romagna from The Splendid Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper as the challenge.

Seriously, this is wrong! It’s barely even applicable for the group, if you ask me!  Has there been some mix-up with the new Daring Cooks starting up soon? I thought in frustration, loath to begin upon this task. Having accepted the fact that the challenge will be something I dislike or am unenthusiastic about 90% of the time now, this was still over the line. For the first time in 1 1/2 years, I truly thought about sitting this one out. Besides, there were plenty of other things to be done, and it wouldn’t kill me to take it easy for this once.

…And if you know me, you would know that I got over it pretty quickly, and began to make some radical changes to make this challenge work for me.

It may look totally different, and be sweet instead of savory, but I promise I adhered to the rules and stuck with all of the required components!

Making my pasta, I threw in a good pinch of ground ginger to perk it up a bit, along with a handful of powdered sugar to sweeten the deal somewhat. After rolling it out paper-thin, it air-dried on the counter for 2 days to get as much moisture out as possible. Of course, I could have easily dehydrated it for an hour or two instead, but I took the lazy approach this time around. The drying step is very important though, because then the little rectangles went straight into… A vat of bubbling oil! That’s right, I fried my pasta!

Once beautifully browned and crisp, my ginger pasta was layered with pomegranate “fluff” made with versawhip, and a simple dark chocolate mousse. The colors were meant to somewhat represent the “tomato sauce” and “meat,” if you will. Placed on a dollop of almond bechamel and finished off with a curlicue of marzipan, it was certainly one of the most unusual lasagnas I had ever seen!

The combination of flavors and textures ensured that each and every bite was just as exciting as the last. This is why I love layered desserts, and I’m just happy I was able to turn an otherwise plain jane lasagna into something that I actually wanted to make!

84 thoughts on “Dessert for Dinner

  1. I love it! What a great way to complete the challenge yet still make it something you like. I’m also amused at how many of us were confused by having lasagne as a challenge instead of, you know, the usual stuff. ;)

  2. This is the best idea!! I have to say, I have never been a fan of lasagna either. I prefer decadent desserts and a light meal over heavy food as well.

    PS: There is a slight possibility I am moving to Fairfield! Nothing is set yet, but NYC is proving to be far too expensive at the moment.

  3. What a fabulous creation. I’d love to eat your lasagna any time. I’m so glad you made this challenge work for you!! The idea of your sweet fried pasta is just FABULOUS!! Layered with all that creaminess…mmm, mmm! I’m just so impressed.

  4. I was thinking of frying the pasta too when I was leaning toward a dessert lasagna! Now I wish I did, since yours came out so gorgeous! AMAZING job and it looks delish!

  5. Wow, you’re the second person I’ve seen who fried their pasta – I totally need to try that sometime. I love your take on it, especially the curlicue of marzipan – I’m a sucker for that stuff!

  6. I thought the same thing when I read about this month’s challenge: did they make a mistake? It’s not a baked good, and it’s not sweet! (Well, I suppose, technically, lasagna is “baked”). But I much prefer your interpretation of the challenge! Bravo for meeting (and besting) this month’s DB Challenge!

  7. Wow, great job in interpreting this month’s challenge. Love your dessert version of it and wish I had a taste of it.

  8. I hate lasagna too!I have never made it, and I’m never excited about this dish. I don’t know why everyone is so crazy about it…I didn’t do the daring bakers challenge this month, because I wasn’t excited about it and I was way too busy.
    But your lasagna is AWESOME.

  9. Though I do like lasagna a lot, I didn’t like this challenge in the sense that I thought it was cooking and not baking. But what can you do? A challenge is a challenge ;)
    Love your approach a lot! And I bet it was delicious! Still thinking what to make…obviously something sweet :)

  10. Even though I am a true lasagna lover, I love that you stuck to the rules and made something totally amazing!! Great job!! And it just looks so adorable :)

  11. You’re amazing not only are your photos outstanding but everything you make is creative, yours,and vegan! I struggle with the first three and can’t even imagine the challenges that come along with the last one.

  12. The thought of fried pasta is pretty dangerous for me…I just sneaked my mom’s circa 1970 fry-daddy out of her house! Your sweet lasagna looks quite wonderful! I love the twist. :)

  13. Oh, I love it. I’m not a big lasagne eater to begin with. This is definitely more up my alley.

  14. I really dislike lasgana with a passion…but your interpretation is BRILLIANT! I would eat it every day – gorgeous :)

  15. I would take your version over the traditional lasagne ANYTIME! I’ve made them before and it is way too much work. I’m glad you found a way to make it fun!

  16. I had the exact same thoughts as you. Was there a mix up with the DB and DC? I felt like sitting this one out too. But I guess we both decided to make a deep fried sweet pasta dessert that mimics a lasagna. Yours looks amazing.

  17. I’ve never thought of lasagna as adorable but yours fits the bill! oh my gosh I wish I had your sort of creativity to make the challenge as sugary as I was hoping.

    haha and I was also confused… but apparently your confusion can still rock the challenge :) great job!

  18. Kudos to you for seeing this challenge through and coming up with such a creative adaptation of the recipe! Admittedly, I haven’t been crazy about the challenges lately myself.

  19. You are too much! That is truly an inspired and creative lasagna! It looks so beautiful and delicious! :-D

  20. Very clever and the combination sounds delicious! You should have snuck in some matcha to make the pasta green like all the spinach versions. Are you going to come out with an e-book or otherwise start sharing your Verswhip recipes? I’d love to give them a try and offer my testing services *wink*.

  21. Very nice… a beautiful, delicate and colorful sweet lasagna, in a sea of savory ones! How refreshing! How creative!

    Two thumbs up!!!

  22. This is so amazing, Hannah! You are incredibly creative. Ginger, pomegranate, almond, and chocolate is a fantastic flavor combination.

  23. My toddler said it’s Ice-cream and insisted that I ‘plucked’ it out from the screen for him to eat! Well executed! 4 thumbs up from here! :-D

  24. Way to go Hannah!! You always come up with something so unique and creative for the DB challenges! How cool that you fried the pasta. Looks delicious.

  25. This is the best! You are so creative with all of your kitchen endeavors. Glad it worked out in the end, and you didn’t have to sit this one out.

  26. this is one of the most creative things i have ever seen you do!!!! well, ok everything you do is creative and perfect! but this one is like magic! love it!!!

  27. HA! Dessert Lasanga- too creative! :D
    I have similar habbits- not too heavy dinner and decadent dessert, but obviously it varies :)

  28. Genious! I absolutely loving your entry this month! Top it with a stunning photos and plating.. Gorgeous, simply gorgeous!

  29. hannah,
    i recently stumbled upon your blog and have marvelled on your creations, your text and your images. you are an excellent vegan recipe resource!
    i love your approach to this month’s DB challenge. a few years ago, i made something similar, sandwiching lychee mousse between wafer thin sheets of lasagna – baked instead of fried.
    your creation not only bring back fond memories but inspire new ones. thank you for sharing your wonderful work with all of us.

  30. You and I had the same thoughts about this challenge- I thought, ugh- lasagna? Really? I think there were only a few of us that made it into a dessert… Your’s looks adorable and more whimsical than mine!:)

  31. O wow!! I’ve been a little behind in reading your posts since I’ve been busy but… this is one hell of a lasagna!! How incredibly creative to make this beautiful dessert out of the Daring Bakers challenge! So far you’re the most creative one I have seen!!

  32. Mummm sa m’a l’air tellement excellent que sa me fait froid dans le dos,nous aussi nous faisons de plats alléchants comme vous si vous pouvez nous donner votre avis sur notre blog sa nous ferais très plaisir
    Merci votre blog est super
    Les 2 chefs

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