Saturday, March 27, 2010


The 2010 March Daring Baker’s challenge was hosted by Jennifer of Chocolate Shavings. She chose Orange Tian as the challenge for this month, a dessert based on a recipe from Alain Ducasse’s Cooking School in Paris.
Oh yay!! It's that time of the month again!! The first time I read the challenge for the month of March, I was excited yes and something more--I was a bit apprehensive, this is the first time I heard of an orange tian. But then, what is the point of joining such a daring group of individuals if I won't dare to make it? Summer is really hot this year in the Philippines, I was thinking that maybe my tian wouldn't set even if I put it in the freezer overnight. Or maybe it will melt while I'm taking pictures, worries which were all unnecessary because the tian set beautifully and didn't disintegrate in the warm weather.
What made me so excited about this challenge was making the orange marmalade, I'm not a big fan of it myself but then I wanted to try making it. And surprise of all surprises--It was really yummy! And now I'm thinking of making my own marmalades for my personal use...
The orange marmalade--I didn't remove the peel and it looks so nice in the bottle!

The "family style" orange tian, I garnished it with chopped brazil nuts and drizzled it with my ginger caramel syrup

And here is the individual tian I made in the ramekin, it was delicious!

For the Pate Sablee:
Ingredients U.S. Imperial Metric Instructions for Ingredients
2 medium-sized egg yolks at room temperature
granulated sugar 6 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon; 2.8 oz; 80 grams
vanilla extract ½ teaspoon
Unsalted butter ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons; 3.5 oz; 100 grams ice cold, cubed
Salt 1/3 teaspoon; 2 grams
All-purpose flour 1.5 cup + 2 tablespoons; 7 oz; 200 grams
baking powder 1 teaspoon ; 4 grams
Put the flour, baking powder, ice cold cubed butter and salt in a food processor fitted with a steel blade.
In a separate bowl, add the eggs yolks, vanilla extract and sugar and beat with a whisk until the mixture is pale. Pour the egg mixture in the food processor.
Process until the dough just comes together. If you find that the dough is still a little too crumbly to come together, add a couple drops of water and process again to form a homogenous ball of dough. Form into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.Preheat your oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.
Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface until you obtain a ¼ inch thick circle.
Using your cookie cutter, cut out circles of dough and place on a parchment (or silicone) lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until the circles of dough are just golden.
* I made my pate sablee by hand making sure everything was cold
For the Marmalade:
Ingredients U.S. Imperial Metric Instructions for Ingredients
Freshly pressed orange juice ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons; 3.5 oz; 100 grams
1 large orange used to make orange slices
cold water to cook the orange slices
pectin 5 grams
granulated sugar: use the same weight as the weight of orange slices once they are cooked
Finely slice the orange. Place the orange slices in a medium-sized pot filled with cold water. Simmer for about 10 minutes, discard the water, re-fill with cold water and blanch the oranges for another 10 minutes.
Blanch the orange slices 3 times. This process removes the bitterness from the orange peel, so it is essential to use a new batch of cold water every time when you blanch the slices.
Once blanched 3 times, drain the slices and let them cool.
Once they are cool enough to handle, finely mince them (using a knife or a food processor).
Weigh the slices and use the same amount of granulated sugar . If you don’t have a scale, you can place the slices in a cup measurer and use the same amount of sugar.
In a pot over medium heat, add the minced orange slices, the sugar you just weighed, the orange juice and the pectin. Cook until the mixture reaches a jam consistency (10-15 minutes).
Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge.
* I used unflavored gelatine instead of pectin
For the Orange Segments:
For this step you will need 8 oranges.
Cut the oranges into segments over a shallow bowl and make sure to keep the juice. Add the segments to the bowl with the juice.
For the Caramel:
Ingredients U.S. Metric Imperial Instructions for Ingredients
granulated sugar 1 cup; 7 oz; 200 grams
orange juice 1.5 cups + 2 tablespoons; 14 oz; 400 grams
Place the sugar in a pan on medium heat and begin heating it.
Once the sugar starts to bubble and foam, slowly add the orange juice. As soon as the mixture starts boiling, remove from the heat and pour half of the mixture over the orange segments.
Reserve the other half of the caramel mixture in a small bowl — you will use this later to spoon over the finished dessert. When the dessert is assembled and setting in the freezer, heat the kept caramel sauce in a small saucepan over low heat until it thickens and just coats the back of a spoon (about 10 minutes). You can then spoon it over the orange tians.
* I halved the recipe for caramel
* I grated a knob of ginger over the boiling syrup while I was cooking it and when my caramel was done, I strained the ginger
For the Whipped Cream:
Ingredients U.S. Metric Imperial Instructions for Ingredients
heavy whipping cream 1 cup; 7 oz; 200 grams
3 tablespoons of hot water
1 tsp Gelatine
1 tablespoon of confectioner's sugar
orange marmalade (see recipe above) 1 tablespoon
In a small bowl, add the gelatine and hot water, stirring well until the gelatine dissolves. Let the gelatine cool to room temperature while you make the whipped cream. Combine the cream in a chilled mixing bowl. Whip the cream using a hand mixer on low speed until the cream starts to thicken for about one minute. Add the confectioner sugar. Increase the speed to medium-high. Whip the cream until the beaters leave visible (but not lasting) trails in the cream, then add the cooled gelatine slowly while beating continuously. Continue whipping until the cream is light and fluffy and forms soft peaks. Transfer the whipped cream to a bowl and fold in the orange marmalade.[Tip: Use an ice cold bowl to make the whipped cream in. You can do this by putting your mixing bowl, cream and beater in the fridge for 20 minutes prior to whipping the cream.]
Assembling the Dessert:
Make sure you have some room in your freezer. Ideally, you should be able to fit a small baking sheet or tray of desserts to set in the freezer.
Line a small tray or baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone sheet. Lay out 6 cookie cutters onto the parchment paper/silicone.
Drain the orange segments on a kitchen towel.
Have the marmalade, whipped cream and baked circles of dough ready to use.
Arrange the orange segments at the bottom of each cookie cutter. Make sure the segments all touch either and that there are no gaps. Make sure they fit snuggly and look pretty as they will end up being the top of the dessert. Arrange them as you would sliced apples when making an apple tart.
Once you have neatly arranged one layer of orange segments at the bottom of each cookie cutter, add a couple spoonfuls of whipped cream and gently spread it so that it fills the cookie cutter in an even layer. Leave about 1/4 inch at the top so there is room for dough circle.
Using a butter knife or small spoon, spread a small even layer of orange marmalade on each circle of dough.
Carefully place a circle of dough over each ring (the side of dough covered in marmalade should be the side touching the whipping cream). Gently press on the circle of dough to make sure the dessert is compact.
Place the desserts to set in the freezer to set for 10 minutes.
Using a small knife, gently go around the edges of the cookie cutter to make sure the dessert will be easy to
unmold. Gently place your serving plate on top of a dessert (on top of the circle of dough) and turn the plate over. Gently remove the cookie cutter, add a spoonful of caramel sauce and serve immediately.
Thank you Jennifer for hosting this month's challenge, it was really fun to make and from now on, no more store-bought marmalade for me!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Daring Cooks' March 2010 Challenge-Comfort Food from the Heart

The 2010 March Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Eleanor of MelbournefoodGeek and Jess of Jessthebaker. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make risotto. The various components of their challenge recipe are based on input from the Australian Masterchef cookbook and the cookbook Moorish by Greg Malouf.
Hello fellow daring cooks! Doesn't it seem just like a few days ago that we posted our mezzes? Well technically it was a few days ago--tee hee! And now it's time to show what we've done with the March challenge which is yummy risotto. Rice has always been close to the Filipino, some of us eat rice three times a day, breakfast, lunch and dinner! So it's not a surprise to find a lot of rice-based recipes here.
I chose to combine east and west in my risotto recipe by making it into BRINGHE which is traditionally made with white rice and glutinous rice. The texture of the risotto is perfect for this dish. After making the risotto base. I added turmeric and coconut milk to the remaining stock. I used patis (fish sauce) in seasoning my risotto to make it taste more like bringhe. I sauteed diced red bell peppers, chicken fillet pieces, diced pork and small shrimps and topped my bringhe with it. I boiled eggs to decorate my plate after.
I still have some leftover Carnaroli risotto rice in my pantry and I am thinking of other variations I can try with it.
The risotto was colored with turmeric and cooked further in coconut milk

Chicken Stock
1 large chicken 2-3 pounds about 1 kg
chicken bones 2-3 pounds 1 kg
2 onions, roughly diced
1 medium leek - white part only, roughly diced
2 sticks celery, roughly diced
2 cloves garlic, halved
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp. white peppercorns ( Any type of whole peppercorn will do)
2 bay leaves (fresh or dried, it doesn't matter.)
peel of 1/2 lemon
1/4 tsp. allspice

Wash the chicken and bones and places in a 5 Litre pot, cover completely with water and bring to a boil
Skim away any scum as it comes to the surface
Add the vegetables and bring back to a boil
Add the rest remaining ingredients and simmer very gently, uncovered for 1.5 hours
Carefully lift out the chicken, set aside. The chicken meat can be removed from the chicken, shredded off and used for other things like soup!
Simmer the stock gently for another hour. At , at the end you should have around 2 Liters
Carefully ladle the liquid into a fine sieve, the less the bones and vegetables are disturbed in this process the clearer the stock will be. 
The stock is now ready for use. Freeze what you don't need for later use.

Risotto Base
olive oil 2 fluid oz 60 ml
1 small onion, quatered
rice 14 oz 400g Any type of risotto rice will do. I use Arborio but the recipe itself says Vialone Nano. Another to look for is Carnaroli.
white wine 2 fl oz 60 ml
chicken or vegetable stock , simmering 2 pints 1 L

Heat oil in a pan and add onion. Fry for a few minutes to flavour the oil then discard. (We diced ours and left it in as we like onion).
Add the rice and stir for a few minutes to coat each grain of rice with oil and toast slightly.
Add the wine and let it bubble away until evaporated.
Add enough stock to cover the rice by a finger’s width (about an inch or two). Don't actually stick your finger in, it will be hot. Just eye it off.
Cook on medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon from time to time, until most of the stock has been absorbed.
Repeat Step 5 making sure to leave aside approximately 100 ml. of stock for the final step. .
Repeat, save 100ml for the final stage.
Once you are at this point, the base is made. You now get to add your own variation
Thank you Eleanor of MelbournefoodGeek and Jess of Jessthebaker for this month's challege!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Chocolate Rum Truffle Cake

I loooove chocolate...everyone who knows me knows that for a fact. I'm not so fond of dessert, but when there's chocolate, I will eat it. Chocolate IS the ultimate comfort food, I believe that. I'm always looking for chocolate cake recipes, trying to find THE one. This recipe isn't THE one, but I'd have to admit, it's one of the best tasting that I have come across. The base is chocolate genoise, which is a French sponge cake made by whisking warm egg yolks and sugar until it has tripled in volume and then folding in the sifted flour and melted butter. I used my Professional Baking by Wayne Gisslen recipe for genoise since it's the most reliable that I have tried. Genoise can be tricky in that, if the flour is not folded in carefully, the whole mixture collapses, I'm always very careful in this crucial step and instead of using a rubber spatula, I use my trusty wire whisk. I think it makes my job easier and faster. The only drawback for the Professional Baking recipe is that it's in grams :) otherwise it's very reliable.


Eggs 7 pieces
Refined Sugar 234 grams
Cake Flour 200 grams
Cocoa Powder, unsweetened 30 grams
Vanilla Extract 5 ml
Butter, melted, cooled 75 grams

Whisk eggs and sugar over double boiler until thick and light. When mixture is warm, transfer to the bowl of your kitchenaid mixer and whip until triple in volume, around 10 minutes. Carefully fold in sifted cake flour and cocoa powder. Pour in melted butter on the side of the bowl and fold in. Folding in must be done with extra care so that the mixture will not deflate. Pour mixture onto a greased and bottom-lined 9-inch cake pan. Bake for 50 minutes in a preheated 350 degrees farenheit oven.


Sugar 1/2 cup

Water 1/3 cup

Rum 30 ml

Put ingredients in a pan and cook until thickened and sugar has dissolved completely, set aside.


Chocolate 200 grams (I used bittersweet couverture chocolate)

Cream 300 grams

Cut chocolate into smaller pieces and melt over double boiler, making sure that all the chocolate is smooth.

Whip cream on the kitchenaid mixer until double in volume, carefully fold in cooled melted chocolate, making sure that is it well incorporated and no streaks remain. Set aside in chiller.


Slice cooled chocolate genoise into two layers, making the bottom layer thicker. Brush soaking syrup until bottom layer is soaked through. Spread about half of the chocolate cream and put second layer on top. Brush with the soaking syrup making sure that the genoise is moistened completely. Cover the cake with the rest of the chocolate cream. Decorate top with chocolate cream rosettes, cocoa powder and chocolate sprinkles.

NOTE: This kind of cake relies on the proper whipping of the egg yolk mixture and careful folding in of the sifted cocoa powder and cake flour. Genoise can be quite dry, so the soaking syrup has to be used liberally.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Beefy Mushroom Pasta

Pasta is one of my comfort food, it might be the carbs or the warmth that a steaming bowl of freshly cooked pasta gives off that gives me a sense of security. I've always preferred red sauce (tomato) over other sauces, except that sometimes an olive oil-based sauce can take the lead. But when I tried to make a creamy version that will not turn me off with too much "creaminess", it ended up being suspiciously like beef stroganoff. So here goes my recipe:


Lean beef, ground 100 grams
Garlic, minced 5 grams
Onion, minced 15 grams
Mushrooms, button 1/4 cup
Green Peas 1 Tablespoon
Mustard 1/2 teaspoon
Sour cream 1 Tablespoon
Mayonnaise 1 Tablespoon
Chicken Stock or Water 1/4 cup
Wholewheat Spaghetti, cooked 100 grams

Preheat pan with oil and cook minced onion and garlic. Add the beef and break it up as you stir, add the mustard. When beef looks half-done, add in the mushrooms. Cook until beef is no longer pink. In a small bowl combine the mayonnaise and sour cream with the chicken stock or water. Pour over beef and continue cooking until the liquid is thickened, add the green peas. Season with salt and pepper. Add the cooked spaghetti, stir through until coated with the sauce. Serve hot.