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Biscuit with Gravy

October 13, 2013 1 comment

When i was making these biscuits this morning. I didn’t think that i was going to write  a blog post about them.

All i wanted was to use up the gravy that i made the day before.

My impression of biscuits was never fantastic. Gone were the days where I would nibble on a piece of tasteless, unsavoury Popeye’s biscuits.

In addition to that, biscuits were never photogenic.

Biscuits doused in pale, white-ish sauce were even less impressive.

However, i decided to weather all the negativity. Because it is of utmost importance that i were to journal this recipe.

The recipe that had the power to erase all the bad judgement i passed on all the biscuits that i ecountered before.

I’m sorry Biscuits, I’ve been harsh on you.

biscuits and gravy

Original recipe makes 6 grand sized biscuits Change Servings
(taken from allrecipes.com)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1/3 cup shortening ( I used butter)
  • 1 cup milk
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Gradually stir in milk until dough pulls away from the side of the bowl.
  3. Turn out onto a floured surface, and knead 15 to 20 times. Pat or roll dough out to 1 inch thick. Cut biscuits with a large cutter or juice glass dipped in flour. Repeat until all dough is used. Brush off the excess flour, and place biscuits onto an ungreased baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges begin to brown.

And in case you were wondering about the gravy, the recipe can be found HERE

Peach Pie

September 5, 2013 3 comments

I am taking a break from all the healthy, wholesome cooking to make way for this peach pie.

This pie is a full butter, double crusted, gluten-full pie made from refined white wheat flour.

The peaches came from a can which probably leached BPA.

White refined sugar was added to the peaches.

peach pie

While the overall goal here is to make healthier, whole foods to feed my family. I’m taking baby steps towards it.

That canned peach? It was something I unwittingly bought a few months ago. I am using it as I am clearing my pantry of the less healthy food items and replacing it with the healthier ones.

peach pie 1

Having said that, I don’t think i will go to the extremeties such as completely eliminating a certain food.

I ‘ll still use wheat flour to create gluten-full bread.

I will still dump cupfuls of sugar into my cookies. ( well, maybe I will hold back just a little)

peach pie 2

My version of “healthy” is defined in the most universal way. Health ideas that most of us can unanimously agree on. And my first focus would be to buy ingredients as fresh and as less processed as possible.

I really don’t like the idea of reading the ingredient list on  say, a pack of biscuit in the supermarket and not being able to pronounce some of the items listed there, be it preservatives, additives, or even coloring,  So if i were really craving for that pack of biscuit, i would load up my grocery cart with flour, butter, sugar and whatever it takes to make that biscuit.

So wish me luck everyone. *tosses empty can of peach*

Peach Pie

Makes a small pie with a diameter of about 12 cm

80 grams flour

60 grams butter, cubed and frozen

pinch of salt

pinch of sugar

1 to 1.5 tablespoon ice cold water

Filling

1 tbs beaten egg

1 cup of peaches (I used canned peach)

1 tbs flour

25 grams sugar

pinch of cinnamon

pinch of salt

1/2 tbs butter

1. In a food processor, add the flour, salt and sugar and pulse a couple of times.

2. Add the butter, and pulse a few times until the mixture resembles peas.

3. Add ice water and pulse. The dough should start to hold together.

4. Remove dough from the food processor, and place it over your working surface. Form the dough into two discs, cover in pastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.

5. Preheat oven to 425 F

6. Take the dough discs and roll it out till it’s at least 18 cm in diameter.

7. Place the rolled dough and arrange it into the pie dish. Brush the pie crust with egg whites so that it doesnt get soggy.

8. In a large bowl, place the sliced peaches. In another bowl, mix the flour, sugar cinnamon,salt and the beaten egg. Pour the mixture over the sliced peaches and mix gently with a wooden spoon.

9. Roll the second disc of dough to make the top crust. Cut small round holes into the disc to let air during baking

10. Spoon peaches onto the pie dish, cover with the second dough, folding the edges under.Dip a fork in the egg wash, and start pressing the edges with the tines of the fork.

11. Bake for 10 mins in a preheated oven. the reduce the heat to 350 F and bake for an additional 30-35 mins.

12. Cool before removing from pie dish,

 

 

Nigella’s Caramel Croissant Pudding

August 25, 2013 4 comments

What strikes me the most about Nigella Lawson is her beauty.

It’s almost a pity that she is hosting a cooking show instead of starring in a blockbuster movie. What a waste of pretty face, me thinks.

After watching numerous episodes of her show, I’ve come to conclude that Nigella’s style of cooking comes with a careless wanton. She is not very rigid on her measurements. It’s always a “drizzle of this” or a “handful of that”. That doesn’t sit well with me. My sense of estimation is tragically useless.

Thankfully, someone was able to convert her recipes into teaspoons, tablespoons and cups. Precise instructions are my bedrock. Without it, I am just a piece of wood drifting about cluelessly in the world of culinary.

So the recipe I’ve chosen for this month’s cook like a star , organised by Bake for Happy Kids, Joyce from Kitchen Flavours and Anuja from Simple Baking –  is Nigella’s Caramel croissant pudding.

croissant bread pudding 1

 

croissant bread pudding 3

What made this pudding stand out is the use of croissant instead of the common stale bread. This made a very soft, melt-in-your-mouth pudding texture which you barely have to chew.

So, grab a spoon and dig in!

croissant bread pudding 4

Recipe taken from Food Network.

Caramel Croissant Pudding

Ingredients

2 stale croissants
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons bourbon
1/2 cup whole milk
2 eggs, beaten

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Tear the croissants into pieces and put in a small gratin dish; I use a cast iron oval with a capacity of about 500ml/ 2 cups for this.

Put the sugar and water into a saucepan, and swirl around to help dissolve the sugar before putting the saucepan on the hob over medium to high heat. Caramelize the sugar and water mixture by letting it bubble away until it all turns a deep amber colour; this will take 3 to 5 minutes. Keep looking but don’t be too timid.

Take the pan off the heat and add the cream – ignoring all spluttering – followed by the bourbon and milk. Whisk to mix, then still whisking add the beaten eggs. Pour this quickly over the croissants and leave to steep for 10 minutes.

Place in the preheated oven for 20 minutes and prepare to swoon.

 

Durian Cream Puff

July 31, 2013 2 comments

Mr. Crustabakes is never one to care for diplomacy.

If i made something that didn’t appeal to his delicate taste buds, he’ll express it point blank.

He calls it “being honest”. i call it “tactless”

So when he said “I wish to eat this at least ONE more time in my life”. It was the crowning accomplishment of all my baking history.

I couldn’t believe it came from a cream puff.

durian cream puff 1

DURIAN cream puff to be exact.

I wish it were something more sophisticated, more cosmopolitan. Like a macaron.

But homeboy likes it “domestic” (He grew up in Singapore)

durian cream puff 2

Which is ironic because the durian in the filling came all the way from Thailand. I’ve splurged and bought the premier Monthong Durian which were guaranteed of its sweetness.

durian cream puff3

If you were wondering why i am making so many durian themed dessert,

It’s because i am entering my second post to July’s Aspiring baker: Tropical Spiky Month, hosted by Charmaine of Mimi Bakery House

durian cream puff

Also because i have a durian crazed husband, who loves durian in everything.

Choux Paste Recipe (makes 2)

50 ml water

32 gram butter

38 grams all purpose flour

1 egg

pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 180 degree celcius

Over the stove, heat the water and butter together till it comes to a rolling boil. Add all the flour and salt, and mix till it comes together in a dough. Set aside to cool.

Add the egg, and beat into the dough. Mix till well combined.

Put dough into pipping bag, and pipe on greased baking paper

Bake for 30 mins or till the choux turn golden brown

Cool completely before filling.

 

Durian Filling

Whipping cream 30 grams

Durian Flesh 90 grams

whip the cream till soft peaks, Add the durian flesh, and mix till well combined.

 

 

Egg benedict and Bacon Sandwich

May 16, 2013 1 comment

It’s an Egg-citing day for me today,

Because i successly:

1. Poached an egg

2. Made hollandaise sauce.

egg benedict hollandaise sauce 5a

Yay Me!

For tips and instructions to make these two, i refer to KitchenRiffs, here

Baby Pineapple Tart

April 22, 2013 2 comments

A sugar free, gluten free homemade pineapple tart for Baby Crustabakes!

baby pineapple tart

Pastry
140 gr gluten free flour
95 gram unsalted butter (cold)
1 egg yolk (free range)

Rub butter with flour till crumblike, add yolk, mix till well combined. Set aside to chill in refrigerator
Pineapple Jam
1 pineapple (get the small, ripe ones)

Cinammon stick
Cloves

Peel Pineapple, get rid of its “eyes”
Blitz  pineapple with a food processor along with its core (do not discard core as it gives the jam the fiber it needs).

Cook pureed pineapple, cinammon stick and cloves over stove till it thickens and has a jam like consistency. Discard clove and cinammon stick

Set aside to cool. Roll into balls.

Wrap pineapple jam in pastry.

Bake at 180 degree for 20 mins.

Durian Cream Puffs

June 30, 2011 14 comments

I kept quiet and held my breath as i watched my sisted picked one of these up to eat.

My sister didnt know it, but this cream puff was filled with durian whipped cream. And she absolutely hates durians. I was hoping that it will slide past her and she will eat it unknowingly.

But no such luck it seems. The puff came with a very potent scent that gave it away.  She narrowed  her eyes at me and asked suspiciously “is this durian?”.

A reluctant nod from me and the rest was history.

Notoriously (and deservedly) known as the King of Fruits, durians indeed evoke strong behaviours from its audience. Some cab drivers refuse your business when you are carrying durians. My sister dropped the puff like a hot potato.

On the other extreme though, there are fanatics who anticipate the durian season and participate in “all-you-can-eat” durian buffets. Some go from shops to shops to hunt for the “perfect durian”. 

I guess i am a balance in this nature. I choose to straddle across the fence.

Made of choux pastry, these were filled with whipped cream with durian bits.  It’s really quite interesting to find out how peoples’ reactions are when offered a puff. Just by learning whether they liked or disliked durians, i feel like i got to know them just a bit better.

Between the enthusiasts and the cynics,  i am glad that the recipe yielded me only 8 puffs. Had it been more, i think i won’t be happily lugging an empty box home tonight.

Chicken handpies

June 27, 2011 12 comments

Making puff pastries intimidates me. I remember clicking the “x” button in resignation on a web page that was trying to fill me in with some basic puff prophecy. It felt like reading an instruction manual on how to assemble a multi tier rack. A rack with its bonus packet of assorted bolts and nuts.

so for the past couple of years, i forged ahead with my baking journey. Carefully sidestepping recipes which included  this elusive pastry. It was okay at first, but it became quite limiting after a while. I felt i was constrained in my baking menu.

I decided it was time to pick up that instruction manual again.

And boy, was it rewarding.

Truthfully, i was all set for disappointment and a tray of greasy, un-inflated dough.  Imagine my sweet delight when i pulled a batch of puffy chicken handpies.

These puffy handpies came companionably with my puffed up my ego. It was one of those moments where i felt like i owned baking. Or that i must be the Martha stewart of my past life.

Well, they weren’t exactly perfect. Some of them burst open at the sides from the fillings. But that’s okay. it just meant whoever picked them up knew exactly what to expect inside the pastries.

A creamy mix of chicken, potatoes, broccoli and carrots. The same filling for my tube-shaped chicken pies actually.

or my chicken pot pie,

In which i filled a ramekin with pie fillings and topped it with a sheet of puff pastry.

Of course, with all that cutting and shaping, you are bound to get a few scraps.

And u know what they say! Waste not, want not…

I egg washed them, sprinkled some sugar and sent them to bake of course!

Chicken Handpies

(This is the exact recipe as my previous post. Just that i served them different)

Spiral Curry Puffs

June 22, 2011 12 comments

Truth be told, i was more intrigued with making the “skin” of this curry puff rather than the whole  snack itself.

These flaky, layered skin is built with the same concept of the puff pastry. But with lesser threats.

 

Two types of dough went into these pastries. An oil dough, and a water dough.

So what’s an oil and water dough?

The oil dough is a dough made of only flour and fats. It is supposed to replicate the butter in puff pastries to create the layerings. This oil dough is much more easier to work with as compared to working with naked butter as you have the flour to help you hold the fats together. You won’t run the risk of butter melting and oozing out of everywhere with this. And you will be less likely to pull your hair out in frustration should that happen.

 As for the water dough, there is of course water included in the dough. The water and the flour allows gluten to be formed. The dough is then kneaded till it gets pliable enough to wrap the oil dough. This step is pretty much identical to enclosing that slab of butter in your dough to create the puff pastries. With much less frustration, as mentioned.

Okay, not to bore you with anymore skin details, i shall now move on to the fillings.

Much as i wanted to say how I made this from scratch on my own, i think it’s better to be truthful and be blatantly honest.

#1. I used a premix for the curry flavouring

#2. I had someone else cook the filling for me

I am sorry. I really can’t cook to save the day.

Nevertheless, i stuck around enough to know that there are potatoes in it. and chicken. and big onions.

Needless to say, the filling gets wrapped into the skin, before the whole thing goes slidding down a deep fryer.

Hmmm. Deep Frying…

#3. I had someone frying for me.

Oops.

Nevertheless, there i  we had it. Curry puffs!

Of course, if you didn’t have insufficient pleating skills like i did, your curry puffs probably wouldn’t turn out so oddly shaped

But nevertheless, they are still tasty snacks!

Spiral Curry Puffs

Taken from Do what I like ( Pls visit her site, she has the most amazing step by step pictorial on the rolling)

Creamy Lemon Bars

June 13, 2011 5 comments

All these while, i have only made stirred lemon curd. The type of lemon curd you labour over your stove over.

Which is quite the irony cause my competence in stove cooking is pretty much a joke at best.

So i decided to do what i do best (or at least better) and BAKE some lemon curd instead.

These are Martha Stewart’s Creamy Lemon Bars. Buttery shortbread crust with creamy lemon curd.

From the couple of lemon bars recipes featured on her site, this one stood out cause it had the additional “creamy” word in it, as opposed to just “lemon bars”.

Here’s why.

 This curd has a whole can (yes, all 14 ounces)  of condensed milk in it.  

And as opposed to just the average “lemon bars” which uses whole eggs for the curd, this “creamy lemon bars” topped them by using only the yolks, which i conclude produces a richer, thicker curd.

 

Thick, creamy curd which you can pretty much just spoon onto your plates had it not been for the crust.

And while the suggestion was to dust these with icing sugar. I decided a bit of leftover raspberry curd could join in the fun and add some needed colour to these pale beauties.

Get ready to pucker up with these two sourheaded fruits!

Creamy Lemon Bars from Martha Stewart.

Baguette and Mushroom Crostini

May 24, 2011 12 comments

This is ground breaking.

I think i might have cooked (as opposed to baking) today.

And i think i might have liked it!

In fact, i liked it so much that i am gonna focus on the cooking today, and downplay the fact that the cooking lies over homemade, freshly baked baguettes.

Homemade baguettes. That’s pretty groundbreaking too.

I am always baking Asian breads, so this is a bit out of my area. Literally.

But let’s keep that to another day.

So what was cooking anyways?

Sauteed creamy mushroom, flavoured with cheese and garlic

Sure, it’s nothing impressive. But it’s a mile stone for me (I can barely cook an egg!)

They call this arrangement a “crostini”.

And just as i like these crostinis, i think i am liking cooking too!

Mushroom and Swiss Crostini

Recipe from Tomcat in the Kitchen

Jam Filled Scones

April 28, 2011 8 comments

These scones have been pre-filled with jam,

Just so you don’t have to.

I was reading Amber’s suggestion in my comment box on posting a scone recipe to get into the English mood, for the upcoming Royal Wedding. Because, what can be more English than scones right? But my impression of scones was that they were chunks of dry, tasteless pastries.

I did however, have this recipe bookmarked for the longest time.  A scone filled and baked with jam as filling. That would definitely jazz up these pastries. So what better time to make these than now right?

Besides the wonderful jam filling, these scones were also winners as it calls for pre-toasting the flour and the oats before they were sent to bake.

If you haven’t already tried it, you should really try tossing your oats in a saucepan and heat it over medium heat. The fragrance and the flavour the heat brought out from the oats was just so incredible!

I held my head over the saucepan and felt as if i just walked up to a popcorn stand in a movie theatre. I know oats and corns probably came from different plants. But the aromatic nutty smell from them was uncannily identical!

Needless to say, my scones were extra flavourful today. Of course, if you still doubting these scones to dry and flavourless, you can always pile on the whipped cream. Amber suggested using clotted cream, but i have no inkling on how to go about making them, and settled with the regular one (Sorry Amber!).

Or maybe some butter?

The possibilities are endless!

So with these scones, i wish Will and Kate a happy wedded bliss. And to Amber too, for making such a wonderful suggestion!

Recipe taken from Sugar Plum,

Click HERE for recipe.

Eclairs

April 18, 2011 19 comments

I wanted to break away from the monotomy of baking the usual cakes and cookies. Much as i liked baking them, i can see the end users of my bakes losing their interests in what i brought out from my kitchen.

So i journeyed west, and went a little French this morning with the French Eclairs.

Finger shaped choux pastries filled with pastry cream and topped with chocolate.

Before baking, my choux pastries started out sleek and smooth. They were just slightly bigger than regular pencils, only half the lengths.

But, they grew in the oven though, and turned out like these Frankenstein fingers. Fat and ripped.

 Not that i minded of course. Ugly, big, fat fingers was exactly what i was looking for. In fact, they bigger they get, the better, cause it means they got bigger caves in them.

 

Which means you can pipe in more fillings!

Of course, the choice of fillings is completely up to your discretion. I’ve made both vanilla and chocolate pastry cream. Just because majority end users are pro-chocolates!

 

Recipe taken from Ounces and Grams

For Recipe, Click–> Eclairs

Salted Butter Breaks Up and A Chocolate Dip

March 21, 2011 7 comments

So the most recent French Fridays with Dorie feature a certain giant sized buttery cookie with a hint of saltiness. And just from reading that description, i know that this is exactly my thing. I lcve a good, generous sprinkle of salt in my desserts. 

Plus, this is a Dorie recipe. Any recipe with Dorie’s name on it have an imaginary stamp of guarantee for me. I knew i was working with something fail proof (unless i messed up due to my idiocacy), and extra delicious.

 

Making these cookies is very liberating to say the least. Unlike pies and tart dough, which call for you to exercise your architectural instict, and roll your dough in a certain circular fashion, you can pretty much roll this dough in any direction you fancy, just as long as you keep them of the same thickness.

You then bake you weird shaped dough as a giant cookie.

Then comes the more liberating part of breaking these cookies as you please, in even more stranger shapes or sizes.

And keeping up with my over-indulging tendencies, I decided to serve this with a chocolate dip.

Why not right?

But having said that, dipping these cookies in chocolate did mask away some of that salted, buttery goodness in the cookies. So if you have made some heavy investments in buying French butter, or some fancy sea salts, i wouldnt really recommend the chocolate dip.

Or alternatively, you can just serve the dip as a side, letting your guests choose to dip, or not to dip.

Keeping up with FFWD, i will not be posting the recipe for this, but u can find it in Serious Eats if you are interested. So hop over!

Categories: Cookies, Pastries

Samoas Scones

March 15, 2011 12 comments

If you think that scones are just tasteless, dry, breakfast pastries, you got something coming at you today.

Meet the Samoa Scone- a spin off from the Samoas Cookies

Inspired by the Samoas Cookies, these scones are dipped in chocolate, topped with caramel and coconut, and drizzled with more chocolate.

These scones are first baked at a moderately high temperature to get that beautiful golden crust outside, while the insides remain moist, soft and crumbly.

To facilitate that, the scones are brushed with melted butter and sprinkled with coarse sugar which caramelises quickly.

Off the oven, the scones are dipped in melted chocolate. 

After which, coconut and caramel are spooned over their tops.

And to top it off, more drizzled chocolate over the caramel. YUMM!

Take a bite into these scones, and you will first experience the chewy caramel. You might need to battle a slight bit with the sugar threads as you pull the scones away from your lips.

Beneath that chewy, stringy caramel, we arrive at a soft pastry so subtly sweetened so as not to overwhelm you with a sugar high. The scone is downplayed to allow you to truly savour the smokey, butterscotch flavour within that caramel.

Your journey with the bite ends with a soft “cluck” of the chocolate base, and now you get to taste them altogether as your mouth works on that blissful combination.

So, take the journey, and give these blissful scones a try!

Samoas Scones

(Taken from BakingBites)
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, chilled and cut into pieces
3/4 – 1 cup milk
6-oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup prepared caramel sauce (store bought or use recipe below)
3/4 cup shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add in chilled butter and cut it into the flour mixture until no pieces larger than a pea remain visible (this can be done in a food processor).
Add in 3/4 cup milk and stir to combine. Gradually add in remaining 1/4 cup milk until dough comes together into a ball.
Divide dough in half. Working with one piece at a time, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and flatten into a disc about 1/2-inch thick. Cut into quarters and place on baking sheet. Repeat with second piece of dough.
Bake for 16-20 minutes, until scones are a light golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Melt the chocolate in a small bowl. Use a small knife or spatula to spread a thin layer onto the bottom of each scone. Place coated scones on a cool baking sheet lined with a piece of wax or parchment paper to set up.
Combine caramel and shredded coconut in a small bowl. Spread about 3 tbsp of the caramel and coconut mixture onto each scone and drizzle with remaining melted chocolate. Allow chocolate drizzle to set for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Makes 8 scones.

Homemade Caramel Sauce
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/8 tsp salt
7 tbsp heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, water and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until syrup turns dark gold. Working carefully, stir in cream and vanilla. Caramel will start to steam and harden when you add the cream – continue to cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until caramel is smooth. Transfer caramel to a refrigerator-safe container and cool. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Note: You may have extra caramel sauce if you use it for the scones, so feel free to use it as a topping for ice cream, etc.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse Tart

February 27, 2011 39 comments

Oh lordy lord. I have just made a tart.

And boy, was it good.

Can i tell you all about this pie? Pls say yes, i feel like i will burst if i don’t.

Let’s start with the crust. The crust tastes just like peanut butter cookies. See the cookies on the side? Those are made from leftover tart dough, and they are good enough to be eaten as they are.

But cookies are not the topic for today. Today, it’s about a certain tart, a chocolate peanut butter mousse tart.

That’s the peanut butter mousse, all smooth, silky, soft and luscious. This mousse makes me go weak in my knees and my head swoon like a top.

I just love recipes that totally scale to what you just need. This recipe makes just enough tart dough to make a full tart (and a few cookies), while the mousse recipe was just enough to fill up that tart.

Frankly speaking, i was quite hoping that there will be some mousse left for me to dip my spatula into and lick off.

But let’s be disciplined adults here. Good things will come. Soon.

Chocolate ganache over peanut butter mousse. I don’t think i need to convince anyone.

Next, comes the hardest part of the steps in the recipe- Refigerating this tart (2 hours at least) to set.

I am sorry, i didn’t do that. I popped it into the fridge, and went to read some Archie Comics.

I lasted about 15 minutes, and came back with a knife in my hand.

So now, please please please do not fault this perfect pie for my impatience. This pie WILL cut cleanly if i didn’t muck around with it too soon. Trust me, i had another slice two hours later,  because i wanted to see whether it set as it was supposed to (what a lame excuse!).

For now, let’s just be contend with a half set pie.

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Mousse Tart Recipe

(Taken from David of Leite’s Culinaria)

Ingredients

| metric conversion

For the peanut butter mousse
  • 7 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream, softly whipped
For the milk chocolate ganache
  • 3 ounces milk chocolate
  • 2 ounces bittersweet  chocolate
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Make the peanut butter mousse

1. In the bowl of a standing mixer, preferably fit with the whisk beater, beat the cream cheese, peanut butter, and sugar just until the mixture is uniform in color. Reduce the speed to low and add the vanilla. Beat in 1/4 cup of the whipped cream just until it is incorporated. With a large rubber spatula, fold in the rest of the whipped cream, mixing until the mixture is well blended but still airy.

2. Scrape the mousse into the sweet peanut butter cookie tart crust and smooth the surface so that it is level. (If the dough is rolled to the exact thickness specified, the filling and ganache amounts will be exact. If the dough is rolled a little thicker, there will be a little leftover filling and ganache.) Refrigerate the tart while preparing the ganache.

Make the ganache topping

1. Break the milk and bittersweet chocolates into several pieces and place in the bowl of a food processor fit with the metal blade. Process until the chocolate is very finely ground.

2. Bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat or in a heatproof glass measure in the microwave. With the food processor’s motor running, pour the hot cream through the feed tube into the chocolate mixture. Process until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl once or twice, about 15 seconds. Add the vanilla and pulse a few times to incorporate it. Transfer the ganache to a bowl. Cool to room temperature.

Assemble the tart

1. Pour the ganache over the peanut butter mousse in a circular motion, being careful so that it does not land too heavily in any one spot and cause a depression in the mousse. Using a small metal spatula, start to spread the ganache to the edges of the pastry, then spread it evenly to cover the entire surface of the tart. If desired, make a spiral pattern by lightly pressing the spatula against the surface and running it from the outside of the tart to the center. Refrigerate the tart for at least 2 hours to set or up to 5 days. (You can wrap the tart well and freeze it for up to 3 months.)

2. Remove the tart from the refrigerator at least 15 minutes before serving. Unmold the tart and cut it with a sharp, thin-bladed knife, dipping it in hot water after each slice. It is as good lightly chilled as it is at room temperature.

Sweet Peanut Butter Cookie Tart Crust Recipe

Ingredients

| metric conversion

  • 1/2 cup (2.5 ounces) bleached all-purpose flour (dip and sweep method)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/16 teaspoon salt (um, that’s a pinch)
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, preferably superfine
  • 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter, preferably Jif, at room temperature
  • 1/2 large egg (beat the egg lightly before measuring out half of it, which ought to weigh .8 ounce)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

2. If using a food processor: In a food processor with the metal blade, process the sugars for several minutes or until very fine. With the motor running, add the butter cubes. Add the peanut butter and process until smooth and creamy, about 10 seconds. With the motor running, add the egg and vanilla and process until incorporated. Scrape the sides of the bowl. Add the flour mixture and pulse just until incorporated.

If using an electric mixer: In a mixing bowl, beat the sugars until well mixed. Add the butter (you’ll need to softened it slightly) and peanut butter and beat for several minutes on medium-high speed until very smooth and creamy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until incorporated, scraping the sides of the bowl. Reduce sped to low and gradually beat in the flour mixture just until incorporated.

3. Scrape the dough into a bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.

4. Press the dough evenly into the tart pan. (It is a little more challenging, but faster and neater to roll the dough out between sheets of plastic wrap to about 1/16 to 1/8 inch thickness and 11 1/2 inches in diameter. Remove one piece of plastic, invert the dough into the tart pan, and gently ease the edge of the dough inside the pan so that the sharp top surface does not cut it off.) Use a piece of plastic wrap to gently and evenly press the dough into the pan, pressing it against the sides. If the dough softens and sticks, refrigerate it until the plastic wrap doesn’t stick. If the dough tears, simply press it together or use the scraps to press into any empty areas. Cover the tart pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 1 week. (You can wrap the unbaked crust well and freeze it for up to 3 months.)

5. Bake the tart shell, without weights, in a preheated 375°F (190°C) oven for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden. It will puff at first and then settle down toward the end of baking. The sides will be soft but spring back when touched gently with a finger. Cool on a wire rack.

Banana Cream Pie

November 15, 2010 13 comments

The recipe for this banana cream pie has been chilling in my email inbox for a couple of weeks. My good friend happened to have visited the Tartine Bakery and picked up a copy of their cookbook. She scanned the pages for this recipe and sent it along my way. This is not your average banana cream pie, btw. This pie has TWO extra special components that brought this up pie up TWO notches from the average banana cream pies out there – Chocolate and Caramel.

Let me see you through the steps.

First, we have a chocolate covered crust.

Drizzle a bit of caramel over that chocolate

and then of course, we cant forget the traditional vanilla bean speckled pastry cream

But, wait, before i go on, lemme show you my most prized possessions,

My vanilla essence in the makings. 🙂

I swoon each time i open this jar of scented goodness.

Anyways, so we spoon some of that cream over the caramel and chocolate

Den of course we have the cardinal bananas. LOL

Top it with a generous amount of whipped cream

And voila!

Now, comes the HARDEST part, refrigerating the pie overnight.

it’s hard, but pls be patient. You WILL be rewarded.

Now, this is not the kind of pie that cuts cleanly. It’s messy, but, really, who gives a hoot?

Are you going bananas over this yet?

Banana Cream Pie, with caramel and chocolate, adapted from Tartine.

Serves 8-12 (10 inch tart)

Flaky Pie Crust:
1 tsp / 5ml salt
2/3 cup/ 150ml very cold water
3 cups plus 2 tablespoons / 455 gr. flour
1 cup plus 5 tablespoons / 300 gr. chilled butter, cut into 1 inch cubes

In a small bowl, dissolve salt in water and keep cold.
To make dough with a food processor: put flour in the work bowl, scatter butter over flour, and pulse until the mixture forms large crumbs, but some of the butter is the size of peas. Add salted water and pulse for several seconds, until the dough comes together as a ball, but is not completely smooth (you should see some butter chunks).
On a floured surface, divide dough into two balls, shape into a 1-inch-thick disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
To fill a 10 inch tart pan, roll out one disk on a lightly floured surface to 1/8 inch thick, rolling from the center toward the edge in all directions, lifting and rotating the dough a quarter turn every few strokes. Cut out a circle 1½ inches larger than the tart pan and carefully transfer dough round to the pan (folding in half, if necessary), easing it into the bottom and sides and pressing into place, and trim the edge with a knife.Line with parchment paper and pie weights or dry beans.
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Bake until the surface looks dry with no opaque areas left, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and remove parchment and weights or beans and return shell to oven for another few minutes. If the center starts to rise, gently pierce with a knife tip. Let cool completely.

Ganache Layer:
1 cup/ 250 ml heavy cream
3 oz/85 gr. bitter sweet chocolate

Set the chocolate into a bowl. Heat the heavy cream to boiling point and pour over the chocolate. Let stand a couple of minutes an gently stir until fully incorporated and glossy. Cool to room temperature. Pour over the cooled pastry shell and refrigerate.
Salted Butter Caramel Sauce:
240 gr. sugar
80 ml water
115 gr salted butter
150 ml heavy whipping cream

In a heavy saucepan set over low heat, combine the sugar and water and heat just until the sugar is dissolved. Add the butter. Let it come to a boil and cook until it reaches a golden caramel color. Remove from the heat and add the cream ( it will splatter and get crazy, but do not fear and trust the recipe). Whisk to combine and put back on the stove. Let it come to a boil again over low heat and cook 10-15 minutes until you reach a nice creamy consistency. Let cool to room temperature.Pour over the cooled chocolate ganache and refrigerate.

Pastry Cream:
2 cups/ 500ml whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean, cut open down the middle, seeded
1/4 tsp of salt
4 tablespoons of cornstarch
1/2 cup/ 110gr. sugar
2 large eggs
4 Tb/ 55 gr. butter, cut in small cubes

Heat the milk, vanilla seeds and salt in a pan and put over medium heat, and bring to a boil.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the sugar, cornstarch and eggs until smooth. Slowly add 1/2 of the milk mixture into the egg and whisk constantly to temper them. Add the remaining milk and return the whole thing to the saucepan. Cook until you get a thick consistency, whisking non-stop. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl, let cool for 10 minutes and then incorporate the butter, one tablespoon at a time, until smooth . Cover the surface with plastic wrap, directly touching the cream, let cool completely.

Layer the pastry cream on top of the chocolate and caramel. Cut 2 ripe bananas in medium-thick slices (you know, not a mouthfull but not disintegrating when you pick it up), and arrange them over the cream, lightly pressing down. Decorate with chocolate shavings and if you really need it, some whipped cream.

Oh, before i go, i wanna thank my good friend, Yenny for scanning all five pages of this recipe and sending it to me! So Yen, if you are reading this, Thank bangets yeahh! LOL

Categories: Pastries Tags: , , , , ,

On a Berry High

November 9, 2010 18 comments

I was wishing I could be bottling the scent i was smelling the whole time i was handling these berries.

They smell like the familiar berry scented shampoos and soaps we are so used to, except these are more natural. Way more natural in fact.

I am quite sensitive when it comes to commercial artificial fragrances. I find most of them too sharp and pungent for my liking. I get headaches when i spray perfumes on myself. That’s kind of weird.

So anyways, for these berries, i decided that i want to use them both ways. One in its au naturel, untouched state, and another cooked senseless and sweetened with sugar.

So i settled on two items, egg tarts topped with the fresh berries, and a blueberry cheesecake.

The Egg Tarts:

Now these are your standard sweet shortcrust pastry, baked in a muffin pan. Well, they are supposed to be baked in a pie pan, but i went ahead and baked it in a muffin tin as i  wanted it to be deep enough to house all that wonderful custard.

This crust is baked blind before i poured in the uncooked sweet egg mixture. The custard is baked in the cavity of the pastry,  just a different version from the usual pastry cream that gets piped on top of a pre-baked shell.

I then arranged my berry precious* over the egg tarts and glazed jello mixture over it. And i must say, of all the activities involved in making these egg tarts, the hardest for me was the glazing.  I used a mixture of Jell-o dissolved in water. That was a major flop for me. The jell-o was dead set against me (no pun intended). It set too quickly and instead of a nice liquid glossy consistency, i get this gloopy, gooey mess. Yuck.

Anyways, i won’t be providing a recipe for this, because this egg tart is just meh. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t taste bad, but i just don’t want to steal the limelight any further from the other candidate,

The Blueberry Cheesecake:

As with almost all cheesecakes, this cheesecake has three components.

Graham cookie pie crust, a lusciously smooth cheese filling and a sweet sunshine-y blueberry topping.

And if you insist on making you graham cookie crust from scratch, that’s quite a lot of work, but definitely definitely worth it. I thought the three components of this cheesecake went together perfect, but of course, u can’t please everybody. The graham cookie crust which is baked briefly with melted butter and sugar might be too grainy for some, who prefers a base which is more fine textured.


But once u get that cookie crust issues out of the way, this cheesecake comes together very easily. The topping was a breeze to make, and the filling was even more of a breezer (ok, this word probably doesnt exist).

The only thing i wished i did different was probably to add lemon juice to the blueberry topping, which i know from experience could really brighten up the taste by a notch.

Other than that, this dessert deserves a double thumbs up. This is a recipe i would definitely visit over and over again..

For more of this cake, head HERE.  Obviously Mel is so much better at capturing and describing this blissful dessert. LOL.

Thanks Mel for sharing the recipe!

Recipe adapted from My Kitchen Cafe who adapted from William Sonoma Desserts

Crumb Crust:
9 large rectangular graham crackers (around 1 1/2 cups), crushed
2 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons melted butter

For the cheese custard:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
Freshly grated zest from 1 lemon

For the berries:
2 cups blueberries, rinsed
½ cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons cold water

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the crushed graham crackers, sugar and butter. Pat the crumb mixture into a 9-inch pie pan and bake for 8 minutes, until very lightly browned and set. Let the crust cool completely before filling. Leave the oven on.

Meanwhile make the cheese custard: in a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla and beat until thoroughly mixed and smooth. Add the eggs and beat well. Stir in the lemon zest. Pour into the cooled shell and bake until just set, 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

While the custard is baking, combine the berries, water, and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes, stirring once or twice to prevent sticking. Remove from the heat and add the cornstarch mixture. Return to a boil and cook for one minute, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thickened. Remove from the heat and cool until tepid.

Spoon the berries over the custard. Chill for at least one hour before serving.

* Note: Berries are very rare in my part of the world. They usually cost quite a bit!

Categories: Pastries

Watermelon Chiffon Pie

October 24, 2010 13 comments

I dont know if any of you would agree with me, but for me, pie making is generally laborious. As if all that mixing chilling, rolling and (sometimes) pre-baking pie dough isn’t enough, there is still all that fancy filling to prepare.

I guess there are steps in which you can prepare before hand, but for this pie, i was feeling a lil too ambitious.

I just had to make my own graham cracker crumbs for my pie, the actual pie crust and the filling, on the SAME day. And when it came to the final step of popping the pie into the refrigerator, i was quite sure that i needed the chilling more than that pie.

I’ve never had chiffon pies before, so i don’t really have a standard. But as far as this goes, it is pretty delightful. Instead of a thick creamy filling that accompanies most pies, this has a light, fluffy, mousse-like filling.

Did i mention that this was watermelon flavoured?

Apparently, slicing across a watermelon is not as easy as it looks, and it definitely justified my take on “laborious” in this pie making.

Whoops, sorry for the slightly wobbly and weather beaten filling in this pic. I was kinda taking my time taking the first few uncut shots of this pie under the sun, which happens to be the best lighting prop. Ever.

Anyways, as you can see Lil Miss Maintenance is definitely not liking the sun too much. No biggie, just pop her back into the fridge, and she’ll be fine 🙂

A lil side note, the filling recipe makes waaaay too much. I poured the remaining into a mini cup.

Or a lot of mini cups. See when i said  “Waaaaaay too much”? LOL

I am not complaining though. They are pretty handy to grab off the fridge!

Recipe from Nancy at Food.com (Thanks for Sharingg!)

Ingredients:

Servings:

10 10

10-12

Filling

Garnish

Directions:

Prep Time: 20 mins 

Total Time: 4 1/2 hrs

  1. 1 Place a medium sized bowl and a set of beaters in the refrigerator to chill.
  2. 2 Bake pie crust according to directions and let cool; Refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. 3 Combine the watermelon and granulated sugar in a very large bowl; using a potato masher, mash until the mixture is quite liquid; set aside for 15 minutes.
  4. 4 After 15 minutes, drain the mixture through a strainer, reserving almost 2 ¾ cups of the watermelon juice and then discard pulp and seeds.
  5. 5 Put ¼ cup of the juice in a medium size bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over it; set aside for 3 to 4 minutes to dissolve.
  6. 6 Heat ½ cup of the juice in a small saucepan over medium heat (or in the microwave) to a near boil; whisk the hot juice into the dissolved gelatin.
  7. 7 Pour the remaining 2 cups watermelon juice into a large bowl an stir in the gelatin-watermelon juice mixture; stir in the lime juice; place in refrigerator.
  8. 8 Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites in a medium size bowl until stiff peaks form; set aside; clean and dry beaters;
  9. 9 Using the chilled medium-size bowl and chilled beaters, beat the heavy cream with the mixer until it holds soft peaks; add the confectioners? sugar and beat until smooth and stiff but not grainy; refrigerate.
  10. 10 When the watermelon juice mixture starts to firm up, add about one-quarter of the whipped cream and beat with the electric mixer until smooth.
  11. 11 Add the beaten egg whites and remaining whipped cream and gently fold them in with a large rubber spatula; if necessary, use a whisk-very briefly- to smooth the mixture and break up any large globs of whites or whipped cream;
  12. 12 Pour the filling into the cooled pie shell; shake to settle; cover with loosely tented aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
  13. 13 To serve, garnish each slice with a dusting of confections? sugar, and then add a dollop of whipped cream, if desired.
Categories: Pastries Tags: , ,

Gorgeous Gougeres

October 18, 2010 8 comments

When it comes to French baking, I am probably as french as french fries could get.
Sure i have heard of the legendary Pierre Hermes and his macaroons,
but when it comes to creating this kinda advanced, sophisticated baking, I am lost at sea.

Recently, the foodism blogosphere has been hyped about Dorie Greenspan’s new cook book “Around my French table”.
If you haven’t heard about French Fridays with Dorie, then you’ve probably heard about Tuesdays with Dorie.
Both are groups dedicated to cook or bake pre-chosen recipes from the two of Dorie’s books.

And as foreign as the name sounds to me, i felt impelled to try.
One, because they look like balls of cheesy goodness

And two, because it’s a Dorie!
And i can’t tell you enough how much i worship her first book, Baking from My Home to Yours,
or how it lays beside my bed, as one of my favourite bedtime reading..

Like most of Dorie’s recipes, this one did not disappoint.

I pulled out a tray of aromatic cheesy little orbs which were crisp on the outside and absolutely moist within.
They were so packed with flavour, I felt as if my sense of smell was working overtime, in a good way of course as i bit into them.

I was also impressed by the powerpuff lift (*cue for the cartoon network themesong) which created a cavernous interior.

Although these are made to be eaten empty, i just wished i had something to fill it up with. Really, the gorgeous hollow just screamed to be filled with more goodness!

Anyways, as much as i love Baking from my Home to Yours, i think i would be giving Around My French Table a pass, cause after all, it’s about French cooking, not baking. and God knows how challenged i am with a stove.

I was however, able to get the recipe off the Amazon webbie. It is one of the first few recipes which Amazon allows to you to browse through.

I will not be posting the recipe here as there is a code against that with the group

Oh, one last thing though, please do serve these immediately. These babies kinda lose their crispness after a while.

Categories: Pastries Tags: , ,

Eclairs

September 18, 2010 1 comment



After my bout with choquettes, i was kind of excited to make these eclairs, since they are both made of choux pastries.

I decided to try on a different recipe instead of sticking to the choquette recipe, as i am not really in the habit of repeating recipes, unless i am absolutely certain that that was the best recipe.For other times, i like to experiment.

After a brief search, i discovered that making eclair was a Daring Baker’s challenge, with Pierre Hermes’ choux recipe. I settled on that, since many daring bakers have had success with the recipe. And boy, was i impressed. This version of the choux pastry tastes way richer than the choquettes. It has a strong “eggy” aroma to it, which oddly speaking is kinda pleasant (well to me at least).

The steps in the both recipes were pretty much the same and executed in the same orders. However, i totally dissed the part on wedging ur oven door open with a wooden spoon in Pierre’s recipe. No harm done deviating there it seemed.

The DB challenge also requires a chocolate pastry cream to be filled into the eclairs. I chose to make a vanilla version, as i happen to have vanilla beans on hand, and plus, i didnt want to get a chocolate overload.

Eileen from Living Tastefully happened to have similar ideas with the pastry cream issues. She has a vanilla pastry cream version (also from Pierre) on her blog instead. I chose to follow that instead.

The pastry cream came really easily despite the part that called for a thermometer. Dont worry, i totally skipped that part (too!) and my pastry cream came out perfect.

The last part to the challenge was to create a chocolate glaze.Again, i threw caution to the wind and totally went on my own on that. The recipe just seemed to fussy, requiring a two step process. I just stuck to my  trusted dark cocoa plus shortening combination.

As you can see, i went astray from the recipe in quite a number of ways and in quite a number of times. But i guess i got lucky today since nothing major went wrong. (phew!)

For me, this recipe is definitely for keeps. I just loved the contrast of the crispy shells against the soft pastry cream. It’s also a good thing that all of the components of this eclair can be done in advance as they have to be served immediately after assembly, to prevent the crust from getting soggy.
Pierre Hermé’s Chocolate Eclairs ( Taken From Living Tastefully)
recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 20-24 éclairs)

CREAM PUFF DOUGH (see below for recipe), fresh and still warm

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Divide the oven into thirds by positioning racks in the upper and lower half of the oven.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2.  Fill a large pastry bag fitted with a 2/3 (2cm) plain tip nozzle with the warm cream puff dough.  Pipe the dough onto the baking sheets in 4-inch lengths.  Leave about 2 inches between each dough strip to allow room to puff.  The dough should give you enough to pipe 20-24 éclairs (I got about 18).
3.  Slide both the baking sheets into the oven and bake for 7 minutes.  After 7 minutes, slip the handle of a wooden spoon into the door to keep it ajar.  When the éclairs have been in the oven for a total of 12 minutes, rotate the sheets top to bottom and front to back.  Continue baking for another 8 minutes or until the éclairs are puffed, golden and FIRM.  The total baking time should be approximately 20 minutes (I did not open the door after 7 minutes, and after 20 minutes I turned my oven off, but left the éclairs in the oven for another 5 minutes.  It’s probably just my oven).
NOTES:  The éclairs can be kept in a cook, dry place for several hours before filling.

Assembling the éclairs:
• Chocolate glaze (see below for recipe)
• Chocolate pastry cream (see below for recipe)

1.  Slice the éclairs horizontally, using a serrated knife and a gently sawing motion.  Set aside the bottoms and place the tops on a rack over a piece of parchment paper.
2.  The glaze should be barely warm to the touch.  Spread the glaze over the tops of the éclairs using a metal icing spatula.  Allow the tops to set and in the meantime fill the bottoms with the pastry cream.
3.  Pipe or spoon the pastry cream into the bottoms of the éclairs.  Make sure you fill the bottoms with enough cream to mound above the pastry.  Place the glazed tops onto the pastry cream and wriggle gently to settle them.

Pierre Hermé’s Cream Puff Dough

• 1/2 cup whole milk
• 1/2 cup water
• 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter cut into 8 pieces
• 1/4 teaspoon sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 5 large eggs, at room temperature

1.  In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan, bring the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to the boil.
2.  Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, add all of the flour at once, reduce the heat to medium and start to stir the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon.  The dough comes together very quickly.  You need to carry on stirring for a further 2-3 minutes to dry the dough.  After this time the dough will be very soft and smooth.
3.  Transfer the dough into a bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each egg has been added to incorporate it into the dough.  You will notice that after you have added the first egg, the dough will separate.  Do not worry.  As you keep working the dough, it will come back together by the time you have added the third egg.  In the end the dough should be thick and shiny and when lifted it should fall back into the bowl in a ribbon.
4.  The dough should be still warm.  It is now ready to be used for the éclairs as directed above.

NOTES:
1.  Once the dough is made you need to shape it immediately.
2.  You can pipe the dough and then freeze it.  Simply pipe the dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and slide the sheet into the freezer.  Once the dough is completely frozen, transfer the piped shapes into freezer bags.  They can be kept in the freezer for up to a month.

Vanilla Pastry Cream

• 2 cups whole milk
• 1 plump, moist vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped
• 6 large egg yolks
• 1/2 cup (slightly rounded) sugar
• 1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
• 3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1.  In a small saucepan, bring the milk and vanilla bean (pulp and pod) to a boil over medium heat.  Cover the pan, remove from the heat, and allow the mixture to rest for 10 minutes, time enough for the liquids to be infused with the warm flavor of vanilla.
2.  Fill a large bowl with ice cubes and set aside a small bowl that can hold the finished cream and be placed in this ice bath.
3.  Whisk the yolks, sugar, and cornstarch together in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan.  Whisking all the while, very slowly drizzle a quarter of the ot milk into the yolks.  Still whisking, add the rest of the liquid to the tempered yolks in a steady stream.  Remove and discard the pod.
4.  Place the saucepan over high heat and, whisking vigorously and without stop, bring the mixture to the boil.  Keep at the boil, whisking energetically, for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat.  Pour the cream into the reserved small bowl.  Set the bowl in the ice bath (you can add some cold water to the cubes now) and, stirring frequently so that the mixture remains smooth, cool the cream to 140 degrees F, as measure on an instant-read thermometer.  Stir in the butter in three or four additions.  Keep the cream over ice, stirring occasionally, until it is completely cool.  The cream can be used now or refrigerated.

Chocolate Glaze

• 1/3 cup heavy cream
• 3 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
• 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
• 7 tablespoons Chocolate Sauce (recipe below), warm or at room temperature

1.  In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil.  Remove from the heat and slowly begin to add the chocolate, stirring with a wooden spoon.
2.  Stirring gently, stir in the butter, piece by piece followed by the chocolate sauce.

Chocolate Sauce

• 4 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
• 1 cup water
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
• 1/3 cup sugar

1.  Place all the ingredients into a heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil, making sure to stir constantly.  Then reduce the heat to low and continue stirring with a wooden spoon until the sauce thickens.
2.  It may take 10-15 minutes for the sauce to thicken, but you will know when it is done when it coats the back of your spoon.

Fruit Pastry Cake

August 28, 2010 Leave a comment



With all the raves that’s been going on about this cake, i couldn’t turn a blind eye to it.
Type the words fruit pastry cake and u will see many, many, many versions of it.

And it doesnt hurt one bit that this cake, in however way u choose to decorate it, always turns out so effortlessly pretty.

So, this morning, i decided to hop on the bandwagon…

It was a good decision.

This cake delivers everything that the other food bloggers promised – Soft, moist, tender crumbed and …. sweet..

too sweet in fact.

No biggie with that. Just hold back on the sugar and we are good to go.

Although it’s almost a norm to use blueberries, strawberries and peach, i deviated a wee bit by using pineapples.

Aside from that,i followed adhered strictly to the recipe.

Categories: Cakes, Pastries

Chicken and Potato pie

August 26, 2010 Leave a comment



Believe me or not, but i do eat other stuffs apart from desserts.

I came across this blogpost a few years ago, but shelved it aside cause it involves rolling pie dough.

And back then, i had a mortal fear of that task.

Fast forward a few years later, we arrive at present day.

I did my homework and I paid my dues.

I sweated over sticky doughs,

i cursed over dry, cracked doughs

and wept over inedible doughs that fed the bin

But i persisted and have gotten somewhat more comfortable with the task of rolling dough.

And today, like a grown up, i came back and took the challenge i dismissed a few years ago.

And as if that wasn’t enough, my leap to maturity was further reinforced by filling these pies with ReaL Food.

Real food in the form of chicken, potatoes and fro-vegs. None of those fancy chocolate, cream, or custard dessert pies.

These are wholesome meal pies. Sensible and adult-worthy.

Categories: Pastries Tags: , , , ,

French Apple Pie

August 6, 2010 Leave a comment

Apple and almond cream. Yums.
Crisp Crust and almond cream. Yummss
Apples and Crispy Crust against almond cream. Double Yums.

The recipe is from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking from My home to yours. But she used apples.

I substituted Pears for Apples cause i just happened to have extra apples mottling about. No complaints there. Everything seemed to work out. But i would definitely cut back on the baking time next time though. Am not fancying the crack lines between my custard. And maybe, just maybe, i will hold back slightly on the sugah.  Just slightly.

Cheers!