Fry Another Day

Not to sound cocky, but there’s little that can intimidate me these days when it comes to elaborate recipes and complicated baking procedures. In fact, I get a certain thrill from the more difficult preparations- The more involved, the better! That’s why I signed up to be a Daring Baker, after all, and have continued to meet the challenge every month for exactly two years now. It boggles the mind how time flies… And yet, there is still one fear that I haven’t fully conquered: Frying. How perfect that it should be the chosen method for creating my second anniversary challenge.

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.

Sure, I’ve fried a good number of times, and am certainly no stranger to a vat of hot oil bubbling away on the stove, but it takes a bit of doing to work up my courage to approach it. Forever scarred by safety videos warning of the dangers of hot oil spills and the resulting 3rd degree burns, it’s the mental image of melting flesh that tempts me into putting away the jug of oil and flipping on the oven instead. No matter, there was no way baking would result in nearly as crispy or delicious cannoli shells, and so this was on fear that needed to be faced.

I’d love to say that my worry was all for naught, but alas, this was perhaps one of the most painful Daring Baker challenges I’ve ever endured. Though I did indeed feel the burn of a few errant splatters, dropping in the heavy homemade cannoli forms with too much enthusiasm, and scorched the tips of my fingers clear off while wrestling them onto waiting paper towels, it was the damn lemon that did me in.

You see, my shells were flavored with a gingerbread-inspired melange of spices and a touch of molasses, and the filling was a light and creamy lemon custard. It was while zesting a lemon that my hand slipped… And I very forcibly zested all the way down my left thumb. There was a brief and frightening threat of getting stitches, at which point I decided that it wasn’t so bad, really, and finished filling and photographing the cannoli. They were beautiful, and got rave reviews, but I must admit I had no appetite for them by the time all was said and done.

The good news is, I did not end up needing stitches, and now two weeks later, I can finally bend my thumb without it splitting open again. Ah, the little victories in life… I just don’t think that cannolis will become a regular staple in my repertoire, and perhaps, I should find a safer lemon zester!

58 thoughts on “Fry Another Day

  1. Cannoli is my bfs favourite food!
    They look so great after all the trouble you went to! I know what you mean about having no appitite for them after a frustrating recipe.
    I would love to try one of these :)


  2. Ouch! I’m glad to hear that your “battle wound” has healed. The cannoli are gorgeous, and they sound delicious! Gingerbread spices and lemon are a lovely flavor combination.

  3. Hannah, OUCH!! That definitely sounds like a painful Daring Bakers challenge. At the very least, I’m glad to hear the finished product was a success!

  4. Aw, sorry to hear about what happened to your finger! Hope it’s ok now… I made canollis once but since I was too lazy to try to make a fried shell, I used sugar cones, vanilla pudding and pistachios hehe. Take care! :)

  5. Inspite of your fears and that accident, You managed to comethrough very well for your second DB anniversary. Congratulations. Hope your fingers don’t hurt too much.

  6. Hope the injury isn’t too bad. But the final result looks so elegant and almost too good to eat (only for a moment LOL LOL) and a gingerbread-inspired melange of spices and a touch of molasses, and the filling was a light and creamy lemon custard is what I’m doing next time it sounds so delicious and light.

  7. OW! That sounds painful, but the cannoli do sound delicious! I love the combo of gingerbread spices and lemon…so tasty together. Gorgeous photos, too!

  8. My good ness. What you go through to bake:) I’m just about to fry mine now and I’ll admit I’m a littled scared. Not so good with the whole boiling oil thing. Luckily the skin on my fingers is in tact. Gingerbread spices and lemon are a great flavour combination. Looks beautiful!

  9. Ooh ouch…I hope your finger is better soon! Cannoli (plural – I really can’t just have one hahaha) are my absolute favorite pastry…yours look absolutely delicious!

  10. Ouch! Glad your hand is ok now… Congratulations on your second DB anniversary! And congrats as well on this challenge, the cannoli are lovely and I simply adore your choice of flavours!

  11. Hannah..your poor finger!!! I’m sorry you hurt it while zesting, but damn, you turned out some of the most beautiful cannoli in this challenge, and I love the gingerbread shells with the lemon custard filling..SO creative. Oh, and your photos, as I always say, are spectacular! Thank you so much for deep frying with me this month, despite your slight fear of it, and congrats of two years and no truancy! I’ve missed one, but that was due to my knee injury and

  12. moi aussi, je fête mes 2 ans de Daring Bakers aujourd’hui :) la friture ne m’a jamais fait peur, moi c’est la crème au beurre !
    tes cannoli sont superbes, ils sont parfaitement réussis :)
    Joyeux Daring bakers anniversaire :)

  13. Zesters and peelers ~ they are out to get me too! Glad you triumphed though because these are absolutely gorgeous. I’m so impressed with how thin and crispy-looking your shells are. Beautiful.

  14. Sorry to hear about your finger! :O

    I’m with you on the fear of frying – except my fear is related to having to do excessive amounts of cleaning up afterwards :P Beautiful cannoli – looks like the ‘pain’ was worth it.

  15. OUCH! I’m sorry you hurt yourself! Nevertheless, those cannoli (without the “s”) are very beautiful. I love the filling you used. I wish I would have thought to use lemon. YUM! I’m glad you’re feeling better.

  16. Owwww! Now I get the title. I routinely have similar mishaps. I was making some caramel this week and realized too late that the spatula I had borrowed from my parents’ kitchen was not as heat resistant as they said it was. A piece of the spatula broke off in the caramel and my first instinct, which I sadly followed through on, was to reach my gingers into the caramel and pull it out. I’m usually good at managing the pain but I had to consistently dip my fingers in ice water all morning.

    I know what you mean about finding complex recipes comforting. I am certainly not at your skill level yet, but I feel that way. It was eye opening when I made something at my parents’ house and they called it “a production” but for me it was just an average recipe in the kitchen.

  17. Ouch about the thumb! Especially since you were zesting lemons–*shudder* the acid. The cannolis turned out beautifully though!

  18. Congrats on two straight DB years! Your gingerbread spiced shells and lemon custard filling is my new favorite. I’m definitely trying these flavors on my next batch of cannoli.

  19. How awful to avoid the hazards of the hot oil only to be taken down by a zester! The gingerbread/lemon flavor combination sounds wonderful though.

  20. I think I see a little bit of thumb in your cannoli.. I kid, I kid. I am the biggest kitchen klutz, I actually cut the tip of my knuckle off on a mandoline & tried to keep cooking. Oy!
    Anyway, the cannoli look amazing! What a great flavor combo.

  21. Ouch! I once cut up a finger with an immersion blender. I still can’t believe that I didn’t need stitches. To this day, I can’t bring myself to make anymore of those chickpea patties.

  22. Ack! I ALWAYS zest my thumb, and then the lemon juice gets in it! It’s the worst! You took some very nice photos with only 9 working fingers, I must say.

  23. Oh, I got the chills reading about the zester slip! Your cannoli shells sound so good and they “blistered” beautifully! Congrats on your anniversary!

  24. Sounds like you went through one hell of an ordeal, though glad to hear that things worked out in the end, especially with your zested thumb.

    After all that fuss though, nice looking cannoli. Best they would have tasted a treat! :)

  25. I’m so sorry that had so many mishaps on this challenge… I decided to forgo the frying altogether and ended up making baked cannoli crackers (that I didn’t post about) but mine didn’t turn out nearly as well as yours did.

  26. Ouch! I’m glad you didn’t need stitches. I wish you’d been able to enjoy eating them, since they look so beautiful and the flavorings sound perfect.

  27. UGH! Sorry you got hurt, and glad you’re feeling better now! The canoli came out really gorgeous, of course.

  28. Ow! I winced reading your post. Only because I’ve done the same thing to a few knuckles!
    Great cannoli- totally worth the injury!
    Gingerbread and lemon? Amazing!
    Congrats on 2 whole years!

  29. I sliced my fingers open when I was in 4th grade and wouldn’t go near a knife again for years and years! Thank goodness you’re starting to heal.

  30. Oh no!! Zesting your skin always sucks and even more so that it went all the way down your thumb!! Glad to hear it healed up well though. These cannoli look delicious and I love that you put gingerbread spices in them!

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