Friday, August 27, 2010

AUGUST 2010 DARING BAKERS CHALLENGE ~ Nutty and toasty meets cool and creamy...

The August 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Elissa of 17 and Baking. For the first time, The Daring Bakers partnered with Sugar High Fridays for a co-event and Elissa was the gracious hostess of both. Using the theme of beurre noisette, or browned butter, Elissa chose to challenge Daring Bakers to make a pound cake to be used in either a Baked Alaska or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa’s challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”.

I didn't know how delicious browned butter cake was and how good it smelled until I baked it last night. I think I was on a sugar high for the rest of the evening while it was baking. And I was in sugar heaven when I trimmed the edges and had to eat them--I didn't want them to go to waste :)
I've been quite busy and didn't think I'd be able to make it but here I am, and I'm glad I participated in this challenge. I made vanilla ice cream with blueberries to top my beurre noisette pound cake. I remember freezing the ice cream in plastic-lined cups, but in the morning, they were not frozen, more like chilled but I tried to salvage everything and covered it with my meringue (which didn't whip too firmly due to the weather). I stuck it in the oven for 5 minutes but didn't get the "torched" look, I had to bring them out or risk the ice cream melting on me.

Brown Butter Pound Cake

19 tablespoons (9.5 oz) (275g) unsalted (sweet) butter
2 cups (200g) sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring) (See “Note” section for cake flour substitution)
1 teaspoon (5g) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (3g) salt
1/2 cup (110g) packed light brown sugar
1/3 (75g) cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C and put a rack in the center. Butter and flour a 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) square pan.

2. Place the butter in a 10” (25cm) skillet over medium heat. Brown the butter until the milk solids are a dark chocolate brown and the butter smells nutty. (Don’t take your eyes off the butter in case it burns.) Pour into a shallow bowl and chill in the freezer until just congealed, 15-30 minutes.

3. Whisk together cake flour, baking powder, and salt.

4. Beat the brown butter, light brown sugar, and granulated sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well, and then the vanilla extract.

5. Stir in the flour mixture at low speed until just combined.

6. Scrape the batter into the greased and floured 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) square pan. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula and rap the pan on the counter. Bake until golden brown on top and when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.

7. Cool in the pan 10 minutes. Run a knife along the edge and invert right-side-up onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Vanilla Ice Cream

1 cup (250ml) whole milk
A pinch of salt
3/4 cup (165g) sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise OR 2 teaspoons (10ml) pure vanilla extract
2 cups (500ml) heavy (approx 35% butterfat) cream
5 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon (5ml) pure vanilla extract

1. Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a medium saucepan until the liquid steams. Scrape out the seeds of the vanilla bean with a paring knife and add to the milk, along with the bean pod. Cover, remove from heat, and let infuse for an hour. (If you do not have a vanilla bean, simply heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a medium saucepan until the liquid steams, then let cool to room temperature.)

2. Set up an ice bath by placing a 2-quart (2 litre) bowl inside a large bowl partially filled with water and ice. Put a strainer on top of the smaller bowl and pour in the cream.

3. In another bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks together. Reheat the milk in the medium saucepan until warmed, and then gradually pour ¼ cup warmed milk into the yolks, constantly whisking to keep the eggs from scrambling. Once the yolks are warmed, scrape the yolk and milk mixture back into the saucepan of warmed milk and cook over low heat. Stir constantly and scrape the bottom with a spatula until the mixture thickens into a custard which thinly coats the back of the spatula.

4. Strain the custard into the heavy cream and stir the mixture until cooled. Add the vanilla extract (1 teaspoon [5ml] if you are using a vanilla bean; 3 teaspoons [15ml] if you are not using a vanilla bean) and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, preferably overnight.

Meringue (For the Baked Alaska)

8 large egg whites
½ teaspoon (3g) cream of tartar
½ teaspoon (3g) salt
1 cup (220g) sugar

Beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt on high speed in an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Beat in the sugar gradually in a slow stream until stiff peaks form.

Thank you Elisa for this challenge! The browned butter pound cake recipe alone was worth it!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Kulinarya Cooking Club August 2010--Lumpia

Lumpia is the theme for this month's Kulinarya Cooking Club. This was supposed to be posted last August 22 but I have been extremely busy. I found the time today because I came home from work early and I made this for my dinner. I grew up eating all kinds of lumpia, fried and fresh, with meat filling and vegetable filling. But my favorite kind would be fresh vegetable lumpia with home-made crepe wrapper. I already did a fresh lumpia post with heart of palm or ubod which is one of my favorite lumpia filling. But today, I didn't have it here at home so I made my filling with cabbage, carrots and shrimps. And wrapped it with home-made crepe that I sprinkled with chopped flat parsley.
Lumpia Wrapper
All-purpose flour
Fresh Milk
Chopped parsley
I have a confession to make--I didn't have measurements for this. I just eyeballed it.
I whisked the flour with the water, and milk. Added the egg and oil and added more water to make it runny but not too thin. Then I sprinkled the choppped parsley to make it more attractive. I cooked this on a teflon pan that I wiped with a little oil.

Lumpia Filling
Cabbage 1/4 shredded finely
Carrot, 1/2 peeled and sliced thinly
Onion, 1/2 peeled and sliced
Garlic 1 clove, minced
Oil, 1 tablespoon
Shrimps, peeled

Preheat pan with oil. Saute onion and garlic until fragrant. Add the carrots and cabbage. Cook until the vegetables are wilted. Pour the shrimps and season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking until shrimps are pink. Do not overcook vegetables.

Lumpia Sauce
Brown Sugar
Garlic, minced
Peanuts, chopped finely

Mix all ingredients together except the peanuts. Combine until well blended and cook over low heat until mixture thickens, the sugar dissolves and the sauce becomes dark and fragrant. Sprinkle some peanuts on top and reserve some for garnish.
Lay the wrapper on a clean surface, place some lettuce (I used arugula) and spoon the cooked filling on top. You can also sprinkle some of the chopped peanuts. Roll carefully making sure the lettuce peeks out of the top. Drizzle some of the sauce and garnish with peanuts again. Enjoy!

Kulinarya was started by a group of Filipino foodies living in Sydney who are passionate about the Filipino culture and its colorful cuisine. Each month, we will showcase a new dish along with their family recipes. By sharing these recipes, we hope you find the same passion and love for Filipino food as we do.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Champorado at Tuyo

I love eating breakfast...that's a non-negotiable. When I don't eat breakfast I get cranky and feel out of sorts. It is usually a piece of fruit, yogurt, lunch meat and coffee. But there are special days when I want to indulge myself and this is one of those special days...what to have for breakfast? How about a steaming bowl of champorado and tuyo (salty dried fish). Champorado is a sweet rice porridge made from glutinous rice flour, cocoa powder and sugar. It is usually served with milk.

While others eat them with bread, tearing them into little bits and dunking them in the champorado, I prefer eating this sweet rice porridge with salty dried fish. The crunchy, salty fish balances the sweetness and creaminess of the champorado, perfect for rainy day mornings!
Thanks to my friend Judy who was generous enough to share her delicious champorado with us.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


The August 2010 Daring Cook's Challenge was hosted by LizG of Bits n' Bites and Anula of Anula's Kitchen. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make pierogi from scratch and an optional challenge to provide one filling that best represents their locale.
It's the time of the month again for posting our challenges for the Daring Cooks and to tell you honestly this is the first time that I've ever come across a challenge that was not familiar with me at all. Yes I have heard of pierogis but they are not something that were appealing enough for me to try. We have Asian dumplings here (Chinese siomai, Japanese gyoza and Korean mandu) and we even have our own version which we call empanada which have flaky layers. But I'm glad I tried making these pierogis and I must say the recipe (number 1) that I used is very nice. I wasn't able to roll them out as thinly as I wanted to, but they worked well with the fillings I used.
For my savory pierogi, I chose Pork Adobo which is an iconic Filipino dish--they say that there are as many adobo recipes as there are cooks in this country. I rolled out my pierogi dough and filled it with the shredded pork adobo. After I sealed them, I put them in the freezer overnight, cooked them in boiling water and then I finished the pierogis in the Adobo sauce. Cooking them until they were coated evenly.
For my sweet pierogis, I used banana as my filling. I wanted to make them into Turon which are fried banana spring rolls. They are usually filled with banana and jackfruit, but since I didn't have jackfruit, I chose to mix it with nutella. This is really yummy! After filling the rolled out dough, I also put them in the freezer overnight, cooked them in boiling water and fried them in butter. After which, I sprinkled them with muscovado (raw) sugar.

Really yummy! The bananas and nutella go so well together, making this taste better than I expected. And the smell of butter and sugar is so delicious!
Thank you LizG and Anula for this challenge! I had a fun time making this pierogis, although I don't think I will be making them again.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Kasuy (Cashew) Bars

I love using local ingredients and substituting for the more costly or harder to find items in recipes that I like. Case in point, this wonderful recipe I found on it's supposed to be a cross between cookies and brownies (brookies?) is what she calls them. They're called congo bars but I christened them kasuy (cashew) bars because I substituted cashew which is local here for the imported and hence more expensive pecan. She also gave two options--by hand or by mixer. Of course, I chose the path of least resistance and made it by mixer. It came out crumbly and fudgy (is that the right word?). Let me share my local Filipino version of bakerella's congo bars
Kasuy Bars:
2 3/4 cup all purpose flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
450 grams light brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
200 grams semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup cashew, chopped roughly

Grease and line a 13 X 9 pan. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees farenheit. Sift flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Set aside. Cream butter and sugar with the paddle attachment of your mixer until blended. Add eggs, one at a time to sugar mixture, mixing on low in between each addition. Making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl. Add vanilla and mix. Add flour and mix until combined. Stir in chips and the chopped cashew, spread batter evenly into dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until top is golden brown. Make sure you don’t over bake.

Best enjoyed with a cup of coffee and a friend :)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Rainy Days and Mondays...'s not Monday...but that sounds the Carpenter's song. But rainy days are here again in my part of the world. We can definitely feel the chill which is really welcome because we have summer here almost all year round. And times like these call for warm filling soups and stews like this re-worked Brunswick stew from last April's Daring Cook's Challenge. This time instead of using stewed tomatoes, I cooked it with crushed tomatoes. I have to say in addition to other Filipino soups and stews that I crave when the rainy season starts, this is becoming a new favorite.
Rainy Day Stew
Oil 2 tablespoons
Bacon, chopped 200 grams
Chicken fillet, diced 500 grams
Hungarian Sausage, halved then diced 4 pieces
Crushed tomatoes 1 can
Celery, peeled and diced 2 stalks
Bay leaf, dry 2 pieces
Potatoes, peeled and diced 4 pieces
Carrots, peeled and diced 2 pieces
Onion, peeled and diced 1 piece
Corn kernel 1 can
White beans, boiled until tender 250 grams
Chili, dried 2 pieces
Chicken stock 1 liter

Preheat pot with oil, fry bacon, transfer to plate and in the same pot, fry chilies until fragrant, remove and add to bacon on plate. Season chicken pieces and place in pot, brown until golden in color. Remove to plate. Deglaze the pan with 1/2 of the stock. Boil until reduced. Add remaining stock, celery, bay leaf, potatoes and the meats including the sausages. Cook for 30 minutes and add in the onions, beans, crushed tomatoes and corn. Cook until vegetables are tender. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot. Curl up with a good book and a bowl of this :)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Chocolate Banana Mousse

Hello August! I can hardly believe that 2010 is more than halfway through! This year has been more pleasant than the last and I definitely have more to be thankful for. Life and love have never been sweeter...and so to celebrate the beginning of this month, I made this cake which has my favorite ingredient--why chocolate of course! And banana...which I think makes for a great combination. Why don't I share the you can try it and see for yourself :)
Chocolate Banana Mousse
Base: Chocolate Butter Cake
Unsalted Butter 1/2 cup
Vanilla Extract 1 teaspoon
Refined Sugar 3/4 cup
Eggs 2 pieces
All-purpose Flour 1 1/2 cups
Baking Powder 1 tablespoon
Milk 1/2 cup
Grease and line the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan, set aside. Cream butter, vanilla extract and sugar. Add eggs one at a time making sure it is well incorporated. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and pour into prepared cake pan. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees farenheit oven for 30 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack.

Banana Mousse
Bananas, ripe (peeled and mashed) 4 pieces
All-purpose cream 250 grams
Unflavored gelatine 1 sachet
Water 1/4 cup
Sprinkle gelatine in water, leave to bloom for about 10 minutes. Microwave for 1 minute until dissolved, set aside to cool. With the whip attachment of your mixer, mix bananas and cream and whip until fluffy. Add the cooled gelatine mixture and whip until firm peaks.

Turn out cooled cake and remove the wax paper from the bottom, turn it right side up. Using an acetate. Wrap the cake and tape sides together making sure it is snug. Pour the banana mousse, level with an offset spatula and let firm in the chiller for at least one hour.
Chocolate Mousse
Bittersweet chocolate 100 grams
All-purpose cream 250 grams
Unflavored gelatine 1 sachet
Water 1/4 cup
Sprinkle gelatine in water and set aside to bloom for 10 minutes. Microwave for 1 minute until dissolved and set aside to cool.
Microwave chopped chocolate and half of the all-purpose cream for 1 minute. Stir mixture together until chocolate is dissolved and is well incorporated into the cream. Set aside to cool.
Whip the remaining cream with the whisk attachment and slowly pour the cooled gelatine. Mix the chocolate and cream and whip until firm peaks. Pour this mixture on top of the firm banana mousse and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Decorate top with banana slices dipped in melted bittersweet chocolate. Serve cold.