Monday, July 31, 2006

Pie Are Square

Well, it's Friday night, you have to (well, not HAVE to out of compulsion, for there is no compulsion in religion, so, its HAVE TO out of lurve) whip up some semblance of supper for your cell group mates. I was feeling lazy this Friday, and I had a pack of Pampas Puff Pastry which I bought two weeks back, so what to do, what to do?

Not every thing has to be done from scratch, though there is no clear boundaries as to what constitutes "scratch". I mean, strictly speaking, we don't plant our own wheat and grind our own flour, or milk our own cows (though son did suggest once, "Papa, why don't we buy a cow?", "Why" I ask, "So that we can make our own cheese", he says). So, when people say, you made it from scratch, I ask, what do you mean scratch??? Is using ready made pampas puff pastry cheating? Actually, I reckon making puff pastry is too much effort. And not cheap either. Not with the price of butter these days anyway.

So, I stopped by at TMC on the way home, and bought a roast chicken, honey roasted, for RM6.99!!! And a bag of frozen vegetables, ie, peas, carrots and corn combo.

The wonderful thing about this is how quickly it is to assemble. I start at 8.20pm, bible study starts at 9.00pm.

First, cut the pastry into squares, and put into a muffin tin, alternating pattern so they don't overlap. I can't be bothered to cut the pastries into rounds, and reroll the cut offs.

Shred the chicken, and add a cup or so of cream, frozen veggies, a handful of shredded cheddar, (or even those sliced kraft cheeses adds a nice taste), and for added flavour, one packet of Campbell's powdered mushroom soup, mixed in some water. Guess you could use a can too, but more expensive.

Fill the little pies. Funnily, one chicken fills exactly 12.... and a pack of 6 sheets, divided into 4 squares, yields 12 pies.

Cover with another square, and using a fork, press the top and bottom sheets together.

Employ slave/child labour to glaze the top of the pies, with either milk or egg, or both.

Bake in 180C or 190C oven until brown.

And VOILA, freshly baked pies, which are square, hence PIE ARE SQUARE!!!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Tiramisu Cake

This baked version of tiramisu is a lot more work than the version where you used ready made savioardi sponge fingers, unless you're making the sponge fingers yourself. For this version, you need 3 main components, the coffee chiffon cake, the filling, and the caramelised nuts. I got this coffee chiffon recipe from Alex Goh's Creative Cakes. Altered somewhat, to avoid copyright infringement. In any case, with recipes, I wonder who does one really define copyright.

Coffee Chiffon
Group 1
4 egg yolks
2 tbspn coffee powder
115 ml water
85 ml vegetable oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 ½ cups flour
1 tsp baking powder

Group 2
4 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 tspn cream of tartar

1. Mix the group 1 ingredients until all properly mixed.

2. In separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks appear and gradually add in sugar and cream of tartar.

3. With a light hand, mix the two groups of ingredients until well combined, pour into a 8" round pan, sides UNgreased, and bake at 175C for 40 minutes. Apparently chiffon needs to climb up the sides of the pan, hence no need to grease. (no need to use the chiffon pan)

4. When cake is done, invert and let cool, as one usually does with chiffon. Remove from pan after the cake has cooled.

5. Split cooled cake into 3 horizontal layers.

250gm mascarporne, but if you are feeling generous, then 500gm.
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup castor sugar
2 cups cream, whipped till fairly thick.
Kahlua or Marsala wine - to taste

1. Beat the egg yolks with the sugar, until pale and creamy.

2. Add in the mascarporne and stir until combined, and all lumps removed. It should be a creamy texture. Add the kahlua. I usually chuck in about 6 tablespoons, that's why, cannot sell commercially. Too expensive.

3. Mix together with the whipped cream.

4. Chill mixture.

Coffee & Kahlua Mixture

Usually, I put 2 tablespoons coffee, into 3/4 cup water. Very concentrated. And also embellished with another 4-6 table spoons kahlua. This is to be brushed over the cake to make it nice coffee-ish moist.

Caramelised Nuts

1 cup sugar
50gms butter
1 cup chopped almonds (chopped coarsely as per picture)

1. Melt the sugar and the butter, until it turns a beautiful golden, caramelly thick liquid.
2. Stir in the nuts, and quickly lay out onto a tray lined with baking paper. Let cool, and when it has cooled, crush it either with a mortar, or food processor, or whatever heavy object you have. With mortar, just put into plastic bag and pound.
3. Set aside

Putting together the cake.

1. Brush the bottom layer of cake with the coffee mixture. Don't drown it. It should be just enough to make it moist, with disintergrating the whole thing in coffee.
2. Pour 1/4 of the mascarporne filling. Sprinkle chocolate chips or chocolate pieces evenly over the layer of mascarporne.
3. Repeat with another layer, but no need for more chocolate, unless it is your desire.
4. After finishing with top layer, sprinkle the caramelized nuts over the cake, and on the sides, if you wish. I put chocolate rice around mine, coz I didn't have enought caramelized nuts.
5. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours

1. I put back the cake, when layering, into the 8" pan with removable base. This way, it's in a mold, and won't flop about, as the mascarporne cream isn't really very "thick"

2. You might want to add the element of gelatine, as recommended by some books. I personally loathe the idea of putting gelatine into tiramisu, but I suspect that is how the cake holds its shape for long distance travel. This recipe is fine, if you are serving it right from the fridge to the mouth, but if you need it to stand around for awhile, it'll melt really fast, as the ingredients are pure.

Gelatine: 1½ tablespoons to 40 ml water. Go try and see, and let me know.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Tiramisu, Cake Version

Stay tuned, for my experimental recipe of this cake version (okay, it's somewhat inspired by the Alexis and Su Chan versions, but is also available partially in the Australian Women's Weekly).
Eat your heart out, Jackson Kah.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Son's Favourite Lemon Meringue Pie

Another dessert that falls into the very niche category, coz if you don't like the sour taste of life, then this certainly is NOT the dessert for you. Also, for reasons I can't fathom, the calorific content in this seemingly "healthy" dessert, is shocking. I think it's about 500 kcal per slice, according to the Australian Women's Weekly Cookbook.

There are so many recipes to choose from, eventually, I've just settled on a composite of several different recipes, for the pastry, as well as the filling and meringue.

Pastry :

125gm butter
2 tablespoons castor sugar
2 cups flour
cold ice water, about 2-3 tablespoons

1. Blitz the above (without the water) in a food processor. If don't have food processor, then tough luck, you gotta rub the butter into the flour and sugar, until it resembles breadcrumbs. Keep your fingers cool, (I don't know how, maybe intermittently put them in the freezer), and when it resembles breadcrumbs, (both manually or food processor), add the ice water, little by little until if forms a nice cohesive dough that looks like it can be easily rolled.

2. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, prepare the filling and also preheat oven to 180C


Group 1
1/2 cup corn flour
1 cup water
3/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup - 3/4 cup castor sugar (depending on your sourness tolerance)

Group 2
grated rind of two lemons
60 gms butter
3 yolks

4. Mix the group 1 ingredients in a saucepan, or pot, over moderately high heat, until the mixture become thick and glossy. It should look like yellowy transparent play dough.... well, maybe not THAT thick....yellowy transparent err.... jelly like.... oh well, you'll learn through trial and error.

5. Lower the heat, and leave it on while stirring vigorously, for another minute.

6. Remove from heat, and add in the group 2 ingredients, and stir until all combined. You should get a lovely yellow lemony curd, the texture of thick custard. Lovely to eat on its own. Leave aside to cool.

7. Meanwhile, blind bake the pastry shell, in a flan or pie tin.

8. When tart shell is ready, put in the lemon curd filling, and whack on the meringue on top, and bake for another 10 minutes, until meringue is nice and brown.

4-5 egg whites, absolutely unpolluted
pinch of cream of tartar
1/2 cup castor sugar

Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, gradually add tartar and sugar. The way to test if your egg white is sufficiently beaten is, if you invert the bowl, the mixture doesn't spill. Of course, don't invert too long, just quickly to test if the egg whites stay in the bowl, defying gravity.

I think this is good enough to be served without any embellishments.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Durian Season Is Upon Us Again

Posted the recipe before, but for lack of anything new to post, and also, for the newer readers who might not have seen this before, made my "signature" durian poppy seed cake for friend's birthday last saturday. The recipe has been posted earlier, here, but as I said....nothing new to post.

The stuff on top of the cake is just pure durian, as I found this species that I bought so creamy as it is, it wasnt necessary to add whipped cream. It was a hit, as usual. Ahem.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Godma's Banana Loaf

This has to be one of the easiest and rather yummy loaves to put together. Recipe courtesy of "godma" Pat. Better copy it quickly, for I haven't gotten her permission to post this, and if she objects, off it goes.

Mix together
2 eggs
1 cup sugar or less
1 cup oil

1½ cups high protein flour sifted
pinch salt
1½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda

5 large ripe bananas or more, mashed
raisins soaked in liquor, or in my case, 10 prunes soaked in rum, plus handful of raisins
chopped handful walnuts, or replace with pistachios, as some people (like my evil twin) find walnuts too bitter.

Literally just mix all the ingredients together. A kid could do this, and my 3½ year old did just that.

Pour into loaf pan, lined and bake at 170C for 50 minutes.

Delicious on its own, sinful with butter or fresh cream.

Allan's Sour Cream Blueberry Cake, and Other Stuff

Allan's Blueberry Sourcream Cake

Ham, Basil, Coriander & Mushroom Quiche

Friday Night, Bible Study Night. What to make, what to make, for man does not live by bread alone.

A friend of mine, from Singapore, who is also a semi professional baker, and caterer, (check out his website,, very kindly gave me his recipe for a blueberry sour cream cake. Alas, I am not at liberty to publish it here, since it's his recipe, but he might oblige you if you went to his website and contacted him directly.

The cake turned out quite well, and was aptly described by Allan as a sponge but damp. I wasn't sure what the texture was meant to be, so I was relieved to find out that it was indeed a damp sponge. As I had reduced the sugar dramatically, I wasn't sure if the blueberry taste would overpower all else. I personally liked it, and thought it was nice especially when warm and freshly baked.

To complement the sweet cake, I also prepared a Ham, Basil (Homegrown by boy no 1), Coriander and Mushroom Quiche. If you want the quiche recipe, it's been posted here before. Quiches, like pizzas, are a blank canvass, with endless possibilities for the artist. For this particular filling, I used 3 thick slices sandwich ham, sliced into cubes, a handful of coriander, chopped finely, 7-10 basil leaves, chopped, two large button mushroom, finely sliced, 3 eggs, 1 cup cream, a slice of cheddar cheese roughly torn up and chucked in. Stir all the ingredients together and bake in the prebaked pastry shell (see recipe), in 180C oven for about 20-25 minutes till set. If you have the time, add in a whole chopped sauteed onion as well, it would go very well.

Banana Loaf With Raisins, Prunes and Walnuts

I forgot to blog about this banana loaf that I made two weeks ago, a recipe given to me by "godma". Very VERY easy to make, and rather good to eat, especially when warm. Contains no butter, just vegetable oil, prunes soaked in rum, raisins, walnuts, bananas, and high protein flour. Let me know if you want the recipe.