Hello! Happy Sunday (or Monday)! You knew I was taking a little time off here and there to celebrate my 30th wedding anniversary and to work on some projects, didn’t you?
I have a couple of treats to share with you today. Just a little something Buddy the Cake Boss and I made together. Well, sort of.
To clarify, I’m asked multiple times each week to sample products, review cookbooks and attend launch parties and junkets in LA for all things culinary and it can be a lot of fun. I don’t say ‘yes’ to very many things I’m offered and it must fit into what my blog is about and something that I would use and potentially recommend to you, my readers. If I do agree to try a product I always qualify with the company making the offer that there are no guarantees of a mention if I’m not over-the-top-crazy about it. Period. So far, nothing has made the cut until, “Holy Moly Creamy Cannoli”, Carlo’s Bakery left two big boxes at my front door on Friday!
When I was asked if I would be interested in sampling pastries from the world famous Cake Boss at Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken, New Jersey, I had preconceived ideas of what these Italian pastries would be like. Southern California isn’t exactly a mecca of Italian bakeries and the only cannoli I had ever eaten was from a local Italian restaurant where they threw a couple in with my order because they messed up. Even then I knew cannolis shouldn’t be concessional.
Carlo’s Bakery Bakeshop sent me two pastry orders overnight – cannolis and lobster tails, both intended to be finished in my own kitchen. I opened the styrofoam boxes packed with dry ice to find pastry boxes tied with red and white baker’s twine. Nice touch.
There, perfectly formed cannoli shells sat unbroken in their own little sections. Good so far.
Since Buddy was handing off the finishing of the cannolis to me, the how-to card was easy to understand of how to fill the shells. Of course, Buddy supplied the beyond delicious, huge pastry bag filled with pastry cream with little melt-in-your-mouth chocolate bits.
When cracking off a small corner of the shell before filling it I could taste a sweet hint of cinnamon. And no, I could not wait. There’s something about the combination of warm spice paired with the note from a deep fryer that uncontrollably makes me grab a cup of coffee at three in the afternoon, sit my tookus down and experience pure bliss.
I snipped off the pointy end of the bag and squeezed the cream into the thick but tender shells so I could call these little babies my own.
That said, these shells have that flavorful combination without being greasy – at all. Maybe they’re baked. I don’t know. The filling is light and creamy with a wonderful flavor. The cannolis are winners all around and you will definitely leave the gun if you and Clemenza have to make a quick decision.
Onto the next pastry which was the favorite of my football watching taste testers – the lobster tails pastries. OH MY!
Only slightly remembering hearing the words “lobster tails” while watching the Cake Boss, I really didn’t know what they were or how they were supposed to look so I was surprised on all fronts.
They go into the oven, thawed, looking like this, little clams …
…and come out looking like this – lobster tails or in my case, big geoduck clams!
Even I had my nose pressed up to the oven door and called everyone to come look as they finished baking. I wasn’t expecting this little clam shaped triangle piece of dough to morph into a long shape. Very cool. I’m sure my next batch will be straighter now that I know to space them very far apart on the baking sheet.
Due to how they expanded and the nature of the crust and hollow interiors, it confirmed the lobster tails are puff pastry in nature thus being crunchy, flaky and light.
Inserting the tip of a knife at the larger end of the pastry and wiggling it around a bit allows access to the hollow interior (per the directions) and gives you an insertion point for these bad boys of vanilla pastry cream that are so large they span an entire length of a cookie sheet.
Snip, squeeze and fill. Sprinkle with a little powdered sugar. Flaky and creamy perfection.
Although I am not obligated in any way, shape or goeduck form to post on these pastries I have to say we were all very impressed with everything about them. They tasted great and were fun to co-create. Both pastries far exceeded our expectations and I highly recommended them for a cannoli/Italian pastry fix.
Now you might ask, would I serve them to company? You bet your sweet lobster tail I would! And that says a lot because I bake everything from scratch.
The same old desserts this holiday season? Fuhgettaboutit. I’m taking the cannoli. And the lobster tails are comin’ with!
Note: I baked more pastries than we ate initially so I filled the left-overs with the pastry cream and put them in the fridge over night. Both were still crunchy and perfect 24 hours later. Good to know if you want to bake and fill ahead of time.