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.
O.k..with that said.. I only check the Daring Kitchen about once a month. Sometimes I get there twice but not too often. So when the date got changed from the 29 to the 27 I didn’t know. You can bet I totally freaked on Friday when I saw daring lasagnes popping up all over the internet.
I was reassured that for this month the 29th was acceptable but that in the future the post date will be the 27th. Whew. I have made homemade lasagne before numerous times..In fact I have made homemade lasagne from homemade pasta to homemade ricotta to homemade sauce…so this challenge seemed to me as if I would be cheating by doing a regular lasagne. I thought about chicken and artichoke Parmesan lasagne…I thought about prosciutto, pear, and bleu cheese lasagne…I thought and I thought..How could I be different and challenge myself?
Dessert lasagne..only rule I gave myself was..No chipotle. This is what I came up with:
Cannoli Dessert Lasagne with Ganache
Yeah. Cardamom pasta cooked in orange juice, star anise, and sugar, wrapped around a sweet cannoli filling, drizzled with bittersweet chocolate ganache, topped with whipped cream and garnished with pistachios.
So…here’s how I did it. Ready?
1 pound of whole milk ricotta, drained in a cheesecloth for 30 minutes
4 oz cream cheese
4 oz bittersweet chocolate chopped
1/2 cup chopped pistachios
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of cinnamon
1 tablespoon vanilla
Whip the cream cheese and the ricotta together until well blended. Add the sugar, cinnamon and vanilla, and beat well. Stir in the pistachios and chocolate and set in the refrigerator to thicken. This is best made one day ahead if possible.
2 tablespoons very fresh cardamom
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons walnut oil (not toasted walnut oil..just plain walnut oil)
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
couple of tablespoons of orange juice if needed to acheive the proper consistency
Mix dry ingredients. Beat eggs and stir in to flour mixture with walnut oil. Form into a ball. Knead for about 10 minutes until the dough is very supple and elastic. Cover and set aside until ready to roll or at least 1 hour.
Unless the dough is sufficiently relaxed you will not be able to roll it thin enough. The main cause of pasta dishes that are just bland or mediocre is the pasta being too thick. A thin pasta is delicate and adds a whisper of texture and flavor.
On a counter dusted with flour roll the dough as thinly as possible. You will want to be able to almost read a newspaper through it. Cut it in long strips about 2 1/2 inches wide.
Mix 2 quarts of orange juice, 1/2 cup of sugar, four whole star anise, a pinch of salt, and about 4 cracked cardamom pods (or a few teaspoons of cardamom) in a pan. Add enough water to make it deep enough to cook the lasagne noodles.
Bring to a boil and then carefully add the noodles while stirring. Cook until done. You do not want these to be al dente..you want them to be cooked well but not mushy.
Drain well and pat dry.
8 ozs of chopped bittersweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
Bring cream just to a boil. Remove from heat and add chocolate, stirring until smooth and melted. Keep warm.
Take a noodle and lay it flat on the counter. Spread it with a thin layer of the cannoli filling. Carefully and gently roll it up. Drizzle some of the ganache on a serving plate, carefully lay the lasagne on the plate at an angle. Drizzle with more ganache. Garnish with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkling of pistachios.
Once again, thanks to the Daring Bakers for helping me to push myself to be a little more creative than I would normally be
images (c)Marye Audet 2009, all rights reserved