Friday, March 27, 2009

"Cook-up" dessert lasagna

I love a good lasagna. Who doesn't?!? But since my blog focuses on the sweet, I decided to forgo the typical tomato based lasagna and make a sweet variation using a slight modification of the noodle recipe that is part of this month's DB challenge. I removed the spinach and replaced it with a little more egg and water to hold the dough together. All other steps were the same as the posted recipe which can be found here.

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.

Why "cook-up" lasagna? In my house growing up, my mom would often make "cook-up" rice which is what she called rice combined with whatever leftovers we had in the fridge. When I looked into my fridge and freezer this month, I saw the remnants of past desserts that needed to be cleared out and I though the lasagna was the perfect recipe for that. I had little bits of lemon curd, whipping cream, and homemade strawberry sauce. Add in a 1/4 pint of strawberries and a small tub of ricotta and the idea was born.

The pasta dough came together quite easily and was nicely smooth and elastic to work with. I enjoyed mixing and kneading the dough but hand rolling it to right thinness was a different story. I'm sure a pasta roller would make this step much easier and efficient but with all of the kitchen gadgets I currently have and the lack of space for more, it's not one that I will be investing in any time soon. Homemade noodles are good, don't get me wrong, but there are other things that I like to take the time to make that give a better return in terms of taste and cost savings over store bought. To me it's like making puff pastry - not necessarily worth the time and effort given some excellent products that you can buy off the shelf for a reasonable price.

Once the noodles had dried and I cooked them for a few minutes in salted, boiling water, I was ready to assemble. I was pleasantly surprised how quickly everything came together and how easy the noodles were to work with. The layers got a little soft while I prepared to photograph them but I thought it gave an a homey feel to the presentation. The taste was awesome and my only complaint was that the softness of the fillings made for a difficult time in cutting precise pieces. It ended up looking a bit like slop on the plate - although very tasty slop!! Not a dessert I would serve to guests but one that was fun to make nonetheless. Thanks to Mary, Melinda and Enza for another great challenge. Come check out the new Daring Kitchen website to see all the great creations and lots of fun and informative forums and articles.