July 29, 2010

Egg Pie

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Egg Pie

Egg Pie

One of the few Filipino baked goods that was unappealing to me and therefore never had before is egg pie. The custard dessert I remember had very thick nuclear yellow filling and it smelled eggy too. I don't know what came over me today but I suddenly wanted to try a friend's recipe that has only 3 eggs and no cornstarch or flour as thickener. And I'm glad I did bake it. The pie with its light creamy custard filling and my homemade buttery flaky crust is heavenly delicious but oh so rich. The filling has half a cup of butter in it! It is rather an indulgent dessert but I love it specially the subtle flavor combination of vanilla and lemon extracts and the dark brown crust on the custard gives a nice color contrast to the pale yellow filling beneath. This is great stuff.

Filipino Egg Pie

buttery flaky pie crust
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
½ cup very cold diced unsalted butter
½ cup ice water with a few ice cubes
  • In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, and salt. With fingertips and working quickly, rub the butter into the flour. Sprinkle ¼ cup water, adding more if needed, ½ tablespoon at a time, and stir with a fork until the dough comes together and gathers into a ball. Flatten the dough, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2 h0urs. Roll to fit into a 9 or 10-inch pie plate. Trim and crimp the edges using the back of a table knife. Refrigerate while preparing the filling.
custard filling
3 whole eggs
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
12 ounces whole milk, scalded and slightly cooled
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure lemon extract
  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • In the bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs, butter, and sugar until fluffy. On low speed, beat in the rest of the ingredients until fully incorporated. Remove the pie shell from the refrigerator, pour the filling in, bake on the lower third shelf of the oven for 1 hour or until crust is golden in color. Cool on a rack for 3 hours before serving. Refrigerate leftovers.

food friday chiclet

July 26, 2010

Whole Wheat and Rye Bread Rolls

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Whole Wheat and Rye Bread
Whole Wheat and Rye Bread

A long-time reader Raissa asked if I have the recipe for the Cheesecake Factory® dark bread that the restaurant chain serves along with a sourdough loaf. I have never been to CF and I presumed it would be a dark whole wheat roll. I searched online for description and photos of the bread and found several copycat recipes, from pumpernickel with a little rye flour with cocoa powder and coffee, to sweetish squaw bread. I combined all the recipes with Peter Reinhart's soft rye sandwich bread method of retarding the dough in the refrigerator and came up with a sweetish soft delicious rolls. The rye flavor is almost indistinct and I think they came out a bit lighter in color than the photos. I will add more rye flour and a teaspoon more of caramel powder to the next batch. The old-fashioned oats on top give the loaves a good crunch and texture. I love it freshly baked with unsalted butter. I'll try to get some of the CF loaves to have a taste and to know if I did a good copy of their bread.

Whole Wheat and Rye Rolls
1 cup bread flour
1¼ cups whole wheat flour
½ cup whole grain rye flour
½ tablespoon vital wheat gluten
2 teaspoons instant yeast
¼ cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon caramel powder
¼ cup powdered milk
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup room temperature water
3 tablespoons light olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon molasses
extra oil for folding and shaping
water in a spray bottle
old-fashioned oats for topping
  • Mix all the dry ingredients in the bowl of a standing mixer. Add all the liquids and mix on low speed with the paddle attachment for 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium-low and mix for another minute. Replace attachment with the dough hook and knead on medium speed for 2 minutes.
  • Shape the dough into a ball and transfer, smooth side up, into a lightly oiled plastic container (with a lid). Cover tightly with plastic wrap and leave on the kitchen counter for 30 minutes. Stretch and fold the dough on all sides, shape into a ball, flip, and return to the container. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for another 30 minutes. Repeat the stretch and fold, cover with plastic wrap and the lid and refrigerate overnight. [The reason for the stretch and fold is to make the dough stronger since it is a very sticky dough and difficult to knead by hand or machine.]
  • The next day, remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide into four 7-ounce pieces. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes. Shape the dough pieces into small logs 7 inches long and 2 inches thick. Arrange on a sheet pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise 2 hours or until doubled in size.
  • 20 minutes before the rising period ends, place a rack on the lower third position and preheat the oven to 450°F.
  • Just before baking, score the loaves ½ inch deep right down the middle. Let it spread a little then spray lightly with water. Sprinkle oats on top of the loaves and bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the pan and bake for 7 - 10 minutes more or until nicely browned.
Whole Wheat and Rye Bread
the loaves have a sweetish soft crumb

July 21, 2010

Mango Tart

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Mango Tart
Mango Tart

The recipe for this delicious Filipino mango tart is adapted from a recipe I found in one of the countless Filipino recipe directories on the web. It's a bit involved but worth making. The baked shell is very crispy and flaky and the tart is really really yummy.

Mango Tart
pastry shell, homemade or store bought
pastry cream
sliced ripe mangoes
meringue buttercream

pastry shell
1½ cups pastry or all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1½ tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
2 tablespoons shortening, cubed and chilled
1 large egg
  • Sift together flour, sugar, and salt. With fingertips mix in butter and shortening until crumbly. Add the egg and stir with a fork. Form into a ball/s. Wrap in plastic and chill for 1 hour. Roll out thinly and ease into tart pan/s, trim edges. Bake in a 400°F oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Cool. Remove from pans and set aside.

pastry cream
6 tablespoons sugar
3 large eggs yolks
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup milk, scalded
  • In a saucepan, mix the egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch with a rubber spatula. Pour the scalded milk and cook over low heat until thick, stirring constantly. Strain into a shallow container and cool for 5 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
meringue buttercream
2 egg whites
pinch of fine sea salt
6 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons water
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
1 teaspoon rum or mango vodka, optional
  • In a small saucepan, boil sugar and 3 tablespoons water to to 230°F. In a standing mixer with the wire whisk attachment, beat egg whites on medium speed until until stiff but not dry. With mixer on high speed, slowly pour hot syrup and beat until the bowl is cool to the touch. Add butter one piece at a time and continue beating until it holds its shape. Add rum or vodka if using.
Assemble the mango tart: Fill tart shell/s with a ½-inch thick layer of pastry cream. Arrange mango slices on top of cream. Top with meringue buttercream.

July 15, 2010

Food Friday Panzerotti

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I have been itching to make panzerotti, fried pizza dough filled with cheese and tomatoes or ham, since the day I saw a travel show where people were eating them on the street in Italy, can't remember the city. They're like calzone but much smaller in size, and they are fried not baked. They're easy to make with store-bought pizza dough.

These are 5 inch thin dough rounds filled with cheese mixed with chopped tomatoes and pepperoni. The rounds are folded and sealed just like empanada then fried in hot oil until golden brown. They have to be eaten right away as they don't stay crispy.

food friday chiclet

July 14, 2010

Daring Cooks Nut Butters

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Cold Soba and Vegetables with Cashew Butter Sauce
cold salad of buckwheat soba, spinach, sugar snap peas, and strips of nori with cashew butter sauce

The July 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by Margie of More Please and Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make their own nut butter from scratch, and use the nut butter in a recipe. Their sources include Better with Nut Butter by Cooking Light Magazine, Asian Noodles by Nina Simonds, and Food Network online.

Sorry for my seemingly never ending post but I went nuts with this challenge. I made 5 savory dishes and an easy sweet one using homemade nut butters. Nut butters are easy to make in a food processor, they are delicious and very healthy too.

First is one of the recipes given for this challenge, a noodle salad with cashew butter sauce. I omitted just one ingredient from the sauce (ginger), adjusted the seasonings to suit my taste, and added a few drops of sriracha sauce. The salad has cold Japanese buckwheat noodles, spinach, sugar snap peas, and strips of nori for a completely vegan dish. The mildly spicy cashew butter sauce is absolutely delicious with the cold noodle salad specially on a hot summer day.

Cold Buckwheat Noodle Salad
½ pound buckwheat soba, cooked and chilled on ice
blanched baby spinach, room temperature
precooked sugar snap peas, room temperature
cashew butter sauce
nori, cut into thin strips

cashew butter sauce
1 cup roasted unsalted cashews
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ cup cashew butter
¼ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
¼ cup water
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
sriracha hot sauce, to taste

Cashew Butter Sauce
  • Make cashew butter: Grind cashews in food processor for about 2 minutes until smooth.
  • Prepare cashew dressing: Combine garlic, cashew butter, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, sesame oil, and water in food processor. Process until smooth and garlic is completely pureed.
  • The dressing should be pourable, about the same thickness as cream. Adjust consistency to your liking by adding more water or cashew butter.
  • Add a few drops of sriracha hot sauce if desired. Taste and add salt if needed.
The second dish I prepared is Filipino tamales which I never had back when I was living in the Philippines, I don't know why. I have made a similar tamale recipe once, it was from another region in the Philippines and so I can say this is the first time I made this kind of tamale. Unlike the Mexican corn tamale, this is made with rice flour, peanut butter, and lots of coconut milk. They are wrapped in wilted banana leaves and steamed for hours. I love its peanuty and soft creamy texture.

Filipino Tamales


2 cups rice flour
7 cups coconut milk
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon black pepper
salt to taste
¼ cup annatto seeds soaked in ¼ cup warm water
½ cup lightly toasted peanut butter
slices of hard boiled egg
boiled peanuts
cooked pork belly, sliced
cooked chicken breast, shredded
squares of banana leaves
  • Toast the rice flour in a large non-stick wok or Dutch oven until light brown.
  • Add the coconut milk, salt, sugar, and pepper and cook over low heat, stirring constantly. Add the peanut butter and stir cook for 10 minutes.
 Nut Butter
  • Divide this paste mixture into two parts leaving one part in the wok.
  • Strain the annatto, discard the seeds and add the colored water to the remaining mixture in the wok and continue cooking for 2 minutes longer.
  • Wrap the tamales: On three layers of banana leaves, put 3 tablespoons of the red mixture, then an equal amount of the white mixture, pat lightly to flatten, then arrange slices of pork or the shredded chicken, boiled peanut halves, and hard cooked eggs on top of mixture. Wrap each tamale and tie securely. Place the tamales in a steamer and steam for 2 hours.

I love Spanish tapas and one of the easiest to make is Albondigas, meat balls. After frying the meat balls they are usually simmered either in almond or tomato sauce.

Albondigas (Spanish Meatballs in Almond Sauce)

Albondigas with Almond Saffron Sauce

meat balls
1 pound minced pork or beef
1 small onion, finely minced
1 clove finely minced garlic
2 slices bread, crusts removed and soaked in milk
1 egg beaten
1 tablespoon finely minced parsley
dash of nutmeg
olive oil for frying
flour for dusting

¼ cup olive oil
1 slice bread
½ cup almond butter
½ cup white wine
1 clove minced garlic
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon ground clove
a pinch of saffron
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
lemon juice
chopped parsley and toasted slivered almond for garnish
  • In a bowl combine all the ingredients for the meatballs and mix until well blended, then divide and shape into small walnut sized balls. Roll in flour and fry gently in hot oil until brown all over. Set aside and keep warm.
  • Prepare the sauce: Fry the bread and garlic in the oil until golden, then put into a food processor along with the almond butter, black pepper, saffron, clove, and white wine. Process to a smooth paste. Pour this into the same pan and add the stock, mix well and bring to the boil. Add the meatballs to the pan and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Just before serving add a squeeze of lemon, a little chopped parsley and a few slivers of toasted almonds.
For my fourth nut butter dish, I processed dehydrated coconut flakes to a thin almost liquid consistency. I added some vegetable broth, salt, and lemon juice and drizzled the sauce on a dish of steamed oysters and sauteed vidalia onions seasoned with soy sauce, lemon juice, and 1 sliced red finger chili. It's very yummy.

Oysters with Coconut Butter Sauce
Coconut Butter

The last dish is also Filipino called Kare Kare, a meat stew colored with annatto seed oil. It has lots of peanut butter and an assortment of precooked vegetables and served with salty fermented shrimp fries called bagoong (bah-goh-ong). The usual vegetables are yardlong beans, banana blossoms, baby bokchoy, and Asian eggplant. I had some pig tails already boiled and stored in the freezer with the broth and made the peanut butter with medium dark roasted peanuts. My favorite Kare Kare is made with ox tail, recipe and photos here.

Pig Tail Kare Kare
pig tail kare kare

And I couldn't resist making something sweet out of peanut butter and chocolate chips. I mixed equal amounts of peanut butter and chocolate chips then added powdered sugar until crumbly but holds its shape. These are similar to candies in the Philippines called Choc*Nut.


Thank you Margie and Natashya for coming up with this surprisingly delicious and delightful challenge.:p

July 13, 2010

Mellow Bakers French Bread

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French Bread
French Bread

When I started baking our bread more than 3 years ago, same day French baguettes were the first ones I made. They were not bad but also not any better than store-bought. With more experience and better recipes [with poolish or my favorite, BBA's Pain à l'Ancienne] I have become a baguette snob. And yet, I baked Jeffrey Hamelman's same day French baguettes from his excellent book BREAD, the second bread I chose to bake for this month's MellowBakers....just because....

French Bread

The bread is okay flavorwise, nothing to rave about, as expected. The loaves have a thin crispy-ish crust but don't have my obsession an open crumb. This recipe [which IMHO is out of place in the book reminds me of the Sesame Street song "One of these things is not like the others. One of these things just doesn't belong."] will be in the "do not make again" list. ^_^

French Bread

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July 11, 2010

Praline and Chocolate Pots de Crème

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Praline Pots de Creme

I found a recipe for pots de crème (a fancy term for pudding) with gianduja which sounds really good and one with praline paste which sounds even better. Praline paste is available from the stores but I made it at home with 4 ounces each of blanched and toasted whole almonds and hazelnuts stirred into 9 ounces of golden or darkish hot caramelized sugar; the praline was left to cool for 1 hour then broken into small pieces before processing into an oily paste. This makes about 2 cups of praline paste. The praline paste is delicious and I love to eat it by the spoonful straight from the jar.

Almond and Hazelnut Praline

Praline Pots de Crème
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 ounces milk chocolate
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate
7 ounces praline paste
4 egg yolks
  • Preheat the oven to 300°F.
  • Place four 6-ounce ramekins on a cookie sheet and set aside.
  • Place the milk chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, and praline paste in a mixing bowl with pouring lip and set aside.
  • In a small mixing bowl, break up the yolks with a fork. Set aside.
  • Combine the cream, milk, sugar, and salt in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Pour the mixture over the chocolates and praline paste. Using a whisk, gently mix the ingredients while occasionally scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Continue until the ingredients are fully incorporated. You may use an immersion blender for a finer texture but don't incorporate too much air. Add the egg yolks to the chocolate mixture and gently whisk until fully incorporated. Using a small strainer pour the liquid, filling the ramekins to the top.
  • Bake in a bain marie for about 50 minutes or until they are jiggly.
  • Let them cool for about 15 minutes on a rack, cover with plastic film, and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Enjoy them chilled or at room temperature.
The pudding is silky smooth and a bit runny but will firm up in the refrigerator.

Praline Pot de Creme
the yummiest smooth as silk nutty caramelly chocolaty pudding

July 8, 2010

Mellow Bakers 70% Rye with a Rye Soaker and Whole Wheat Flour

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Sourdough Rye Bread
cucumber open sandwich on thin slices of rye bread

This bread from Jeffrey Hamelman'sBREAD is one of three (or four) for this month's MellowBakers. The other two are Bialys and French Bread.

I was not too keen on sourdough rye maybe because I have never eaten an authentic rye bread. Most of the rye loaves I've had before were made with light rye flour and flavored with molasses and caraway seeds. I was also disappointed with The Bread Baker's Apprentice's sourdough rye bread which I considered one of the worst my least favorites.

I was surprised how flavorful Mr. Hamelman's rye bread is. It is tangy, moist, dense, chewy, nutty, smells reeeaaally good, and perfect for my favorite cucumber open sandwiches. I can now honestly say I know what rye bread tastes like and that I love it.

The sourdough bread recipe has medium rye flour, soaked rye chops, and a little whole wheat flour. I have some rye berries which I purchased when I was reading Daniel Leader's LOCAL BREADs but I never had a chance to use them. I "chopped" them using my burr coffee grinder which did an excellent job. I also soaked some in water and ended up chopping them by hand because they just swirled around in the food processor without getting chopped.

Rye Chops
chopped in a burr coffee grinder, soaked and hand chopped

The dough was very sticky and I don't know if it can be formed into a log as written. I just dumped the dough into the Pullman loaf pan sprinkled with rye flour. The aroma of the bread while baking made me want to slice it right away but the procedure says to wrap the loaf in baker's linen and leave for 24 hours.

Sourdough Rye with Soaker

July 6, 2010

Buttermilk Cheese


Buttermilk Cheese

I purchased a quart of heavy cream and didn't notice the expiration date was the same day I got it. I used some of the cream for up to a few days after the expiry and the rest I made into butter. I added less than a quarter teaspoon of culture to the cream [the cream can also be churned into butter without] and beat it with a spiral beater on medium speed until the butter and buttermilk separate.

The thing I love about this process is I get to use not just the butter but also the buttermilk. The buttermilk is delicious either to drink, yes it's a bit tangy but it's yummy, or to add to biscuits and pancakes. It can also be made into delicious fresh white cheese by mixing with whole milk and boiling until curds form. The curds are spooned onto a sieve lined with round white coffee filter then weighted down. I keep the whey in the refrigerator and I use it for making bread or add it in certain dishes in place of regular tap water. See, no waste at all. I made three different goodies from a quart of heavy cream: butter, buttermilk, and cheese.

Buttermilk Cheese
1 quart whole milk
1½ cups low-fat cultured buttermilk
2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Line a strainer with three layers of 12-inch cheesecloth squares and set over a deep bowl (if using the whey) or sink.
  • Combine ingredients in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat and cook until mixture reaches 180°F and separates into white curds and translucent whey, about 8 minutes. Ladle contents into prepared strainer and drain completely.
  • Gather corners of cheesecloth together and gently twist to press out excess whey. Serve immediately, or cool to room temperature before serving, about 10 minutes.
  • For firmer consistency, transfer cheese on a small flat-bottomed plate lined with round white coffee filter. Shape into a rectangle or round, wrap the cheese with the coffee filter, weight down, let stand in refrigerator until cool, about 10 minutes. Unwrap and gently invert onto plate, discard paper, wrap in plastic film, and refrigerate for another 10 minutes before slicing.
Buttermilk Cheese
buttermilk cheese is non-melting and is delicious grilled or pan-fried

July 2, 2010

Food Friday: Pan de Sal Crescent Rolls

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Filipino Crescent Rolls

These soft sweet crescent rolls are called Spanish rolls in the Philippines. They have more eggs and are sweeter than regular pan de sal, almost as rich as ensaimada. Just like pan de sal they are rolled in very fine bread crumbs before baking making them uniquely Filipino. I filled the crescent shaped rolls with brown sugar and vanilla paste. So soft, so delicious specially when freshly baked and hot.

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