Tag Archives: marzipan

A Sicilian cocktail party, a lost recipe, the triumph of gluttony

gluttony-01 This week, Liz and I are gatecrashing a Sicilian cocktail party! What is a Sicilian party without drinks and food? Liz brings Clam Casino (below left) and a gorgeous coloured negroni (below right); I went for sweets from Sicilian convents with the Triumph of Gluttony. liz-clams-casinoliz-negroni

To read about our partying hijinks and get the clam and cocktail recipes, please head over to Liz’s blog (where you will also find the Dr Who cocktail (squee), bread on a stick, N2O gas-leavened cakes, and more fun than you can poke a pogo stick at).

{Interlude … }

{ I’ll be here sipping a negroni when you come back }

gluttony-06gluttony-07gluttony-08 A triumphal idea As for the Triumph of Gluttony, this is not so much a recipe as a tumble of ideas, an attempt to turn words on a page into something real, sans star trek replicator. The moment I read about the Triumph of Gluttony in Mary Simeti Taylor’s book, Sicilian Food, a love affair was born. It was an unrequited love affair, because Ms Simeti Taylor said each convent had its secret recipes that were, or are likely to become, forgotten with the last generation of nuns. So, I did what any mildly obsessive home cook would do, and made my own. For anyone who’s had the real Triumph of Gluttony from Palermo convents, this ain’t it. But if you didn’t make it before the convent stopped selling them to the public, this is for you.

PS, it’s also for everyone at Angie’s Fiesta Friday bash, you should also visit my co-gatecrasher Liz’s blog for the full story!!

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Cannonballs, with no pirate in sight

Do a google search for ‘cake’ and ‘cannonballs’, and you’ll turn up quite a few results for pirate themed cakes decorated like cannonballs.

This is not one of those cakes.

I often serve improvised dishes for dinner, and tell Mr Gander we are having ‘[insert mystery ingredient] surprise’. When I served these balls at a Gander clan gathering, and said there’s mystery stuff inside, Mr Gander asked ‘cannonball surprise?’. And the name stuck.

The first brave taster made ‘mmmm’ noises and nodded sagely, while his mother insisted that we tell her what was inside (we didn’t, she had to eat one to find out). Ahh, families at Christmas.


In short, each cannonball has cake-pop mixture wrapped around a candied clementine, and then wrapped in marzipan. A few of them had dark chocolate drizzled over the top. The clementine keeps the mixture very moist, while the marzipan and chocolate more or less helps the ball to keep its shape.

The idea came from rave reviews of Heston Blumenthal’s Christmas puddings, which had a candied orange in the middle. I wasn’t making puddings this year, but thought the dense, sugary, buttery cake pop mixtures would provide a similar foil for the candied fruit. And, since I was making these before Christmas, somehow marzipan found its way into the product.

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