Sunday, March 27, 2011


The March 2011 Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Ria of Ria’s Collection and Jamie of Life’s a Feast. Ria and Jamie challenged The Daring Bakers to bake a yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake.
I swear there's something therapeutic in making bread, from patiently weighing all the ingredients on the scale, to combining them and then kneading the dough and waiting for it to rise, and then baking. Sometimes I just need to make bread and this is one of those times. And I was really pleasantly surprised that this month's challenge is yeasted coffee cake, I need therapy :)

The mandatory items for this challenge are the brioche dough and the meringue. We were allowed freedom with the filling, if we wanted to make sweet or savory, I chose to follow Jamie's recipe but I didn't put nuts. And I made a second one with frozen blueberry as filling.

Makes 2 round coffee cakes, each approximately 10 inches in diameter
The recipe can easily be halved to make one round coffee cake

For the yeast coffee cake dough:
4 cups (600 g / 1.5 lbs.) flour

1/4 cup (55 g / 2 oz.) sugar
¾ teaspoon (5 g / ¼ oz.) salt
1 package (2 ¼ teaspoons / 7 g / less than an ounce) active dried yeast
¾ cup (180 ml / 6 fl. oz.) whole milk
¼ cup (60 ml / 2 fl. oz. water (doesn’t matter what temperature)
½ cup (135 g / 4.75 oz.) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 large eggs at room temperature

For the meringue:
3 large egg whites at room temperature
¼ teaspoon salt½ teaspoon vanilla
½ cup (110 g / 4 oz.) sugar

For the filling:
1 cup (110 g / 4 oz.) chopped pecans or walnuts
2 Tablespoons (30 g / 1 oz.) granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup (170 g / 6 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips or coarsely chopped chocolate
Prepare the dough:
In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 ½ cups (230 g) of the flour, the sugar, salt and yeast.
In a saucepan, combine the milk, water and butter and heat over medium heat until warm and the butter is just melted.
With an electric mixer on low speed, gradually add the warm liquid to the flour/yeast mixture, beating until well blended. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes. Add the eggs and 1 cup (150 g) flour and beat for 2 more minutes
Using a wooden spoon, stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a dough that holds together. Turn out onto a floured surface (use any of the 1 ½ cups of flour remaining) and knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes until the dough is soft, smooth, sexy and elastic, keeping the work surface floured and adding extra flour as needed
Place the dough in a lightly greased (I use vegetable oil) bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let rise until double in bulk, 45 – 60 minutes. The rising time will depend on the type of yeast you use.
Prepare your filling:In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon and sugar for the filling if using. You can add the chopped nuts to this if you like, but I find it easier to sprinkle on both the nuts and the chocolate separately.
Once the dough has doubled, make the meringue:In a clean mixing bowl – ideally a plastic or metal bowl so the egg whites adhere to the side (they slip on glass) and you don’t end up with liquid remaining in the bottom – beat the egg whites with the salt, first on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high and continue beating until foamy and opaque. Add the vanilla then start adding the ½ cup sugar, a tablespoon at a time as you beat, until very stiff, glossy peaks form.

Assemble the Coffee Cakes:

Line 2 baking/cookie sheets with parchment paper
Punch down the dough and divide in half. On a lightly floured surface, working one piece of the dough at a time (keep the other half of the dough wrapped in plastic), roll out the dough into a 20 x 10-inch (about 51 x 25 ½ cm) rectangle. Spread half of the meringue evenly over the rectangle up to about 1/2-inch (3/4 cm) from the edges. Sprinkle half of your filling of choice evenly over the meringue (ex: half of the cinnamon-sugar followed by half the chopped nuts and half of the chocolate chips/chopped chocolate).

Now, roll up the dough jellyroll style, from the long side. Pinch the seam closed to seal. Very carefully transfer the filled log to one of the lined cookie sheets, seam side down. Bring the ends of the log around and seal the ends together, forming a ring, tucking one end into the other and pinching to seal.

Using kitchen scissors or a sharp knife (although scissors are easier), make cuts along the outside edge at 1-inch (2 ½ cm) intervals. Make them as shallow or as deep as desired but don’t be afraid to cut deep into the ring.

Repeat with the remaining dough, meringue and fillings.

Cover the 2 coffee cakes with plastic wrap and allow them to rise again for 45 to 60 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

Brush the tops of the coffee cakes with the egg wash. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes until risen and golden brown. The dough should sound hollow when tapped.

Can I just say that I agree with some of my fellow Daring Bakers in saying that rolling the dough with the meringue was a bit of a challenge! It was oozing and I was worried that my bread won't be as delicious or good looking. But after I baked them, they were delicious and thankfully the meringue didn't all ooze out. So thank you Jamie and Ria for this fantastic challenge! Visit my fellow Daring Bakers and be amazed with their creativity here.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


March signals the end of winter and the start of spring in the US where our host for this month's Kulinarya Cooking Club Erika is from. It's also the start of summer here in the Philippines and it's perfect for this month's theme: Vegetables.
Summer is hot and sticky here in the tropics and I couldn't be bothered to cook in a hot kitchen so I decided to make a salad which is one of my favorites, Ensaladang Pako or Fiddlehead Fern Salad.
According to Wikipedia: Fiddleheads or Fiddlehead greens are the unfurled fronds of a young fern harvested for use as a vegetable. Left on the plant, each fiddlehead would unroll into a new frond (circinate vernation). As fiddleheads are harvested early in the black season before the frond has opened and reached its full height, they are cut fairly close to the ground.

The pako that we buy from the nearest vegetable market here is not unfurled anymore but they are still fresh and taste great. I added crispy dilis to the salad for texture and to round out the taste.


Fiddlehead Fern/Pako, washed
Tomatoes (sliced, deseeded and diced)
Red Onions/Sibuyas Tagalog (peeled, and sliced thinly)
Anchovies/Dilis (fried until crispy)

Garlic, peeled
Bird's Eye Chili/Siling Labuyo
Calamansi Juice (from 4 Calamansi)
Fish Sauce/Patis

Pound garlic and bird's eye chili until the crushed and combined. Add the calamansi and fish sauce, taste and adjust.

Kulinarya Cooking Club was started by a group of Filipino foodies living in Sydney who are passionate about the Filipino culture and its colourful 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.

If you’re interested in joining our Kulinarya Cooking Club, please feel free to drop by our foodblogs and leave a comment. We would love to hear from you!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Daring Cooks March 2011Challenge: ¡Me Encanta Perú! - Ceviche and Papas Rellenas

Kathlyn of Bake Like a Ninja was our Daring Cooks’ March 2011 hostess. Kathlyn challenges us to make two classic Peruvian dishes: Ceviche de Pescado from “Peruvian Cooking – Basic Recipes” by Annik Franco Barreau. And Papas Rellenas adapted from a home recipe by Kathlyn’s Spanish teacher, Mayra.

Oooohhhhkay...I'm not so crazy about potatoes but I love fish so I had mixed feelings when I read this challenge. Don't get me wrong--I'm always interested to learn about different cultures and I know that one of the best ways to learn is to taste the food, so even if I wasn't too keen on the papas, I still wanted to do it, and I did!

But first things first...according to kathy...CEVICHE is basically raw fish or seafood that has been "cooked" with a treatment of citrus juice (traditionally sour orange but here we will use lime). Wait...this sounds exactly like a Filipino style of "cooking" which is called Kinilaw. Here in the Philippines, we use Tanguige or mackerel in English for making Kilawin. So, it was what I used for my ceviche.

I also used the local lime here, Calamansi for my "cooking" agent. And the result was really delicious. I had it for breakfast today :)

2 lbs. (about 1 kg) firm white fish (scallops or other seafood may be substituted)
2 garlic cloves, mashed
1 chili pepper, minced (I recommend Aji if you can find it, but Jalapeno or other peppers can sub)
1 cup (240 ml) freshly squeezed lime juice (between 8-12 limes) Fresh juice only, no bottled. Can use lemons in lieu of limes.
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (4 grams) (1/8 oz) fresh coriander (cilantro), finely chopped
1 red onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
Salt and pepper (to taste)

  1. Wash and trim your fish. Slice into pieces between ½ inch (15 mm) cubes to 2 inch (50mm) pieces, depending on taste.
  2. Place fish in a non-reactive, shallow pan in a thin layer. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Combine lime juice, chili pepper, coriander and garlic. Pour mixture over fish. Stir lightly to expose all the fish to some of the lime juice mixture.
  4. Put sliced onion on top of fish as it “cooks”
  5. Let fish stand for 10 minutes. Lift fish out of the lime juice and plate individual portions
Papas Rellenas, Kathy said is essentially a clever way to use up leftover potatoes. The filling is usually made with beef. I stuffed mine with a cooked mixture of onions, mushrooms, tofu and spinach.

For the dough:

1 kilo potatoes
1 large egg, beaten

For the final preparation:
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup (240 ml) (140 gm) (5 oz) all-purpose flour
Dash cayenne pepper
Dash salt
1 cup dry (240 ml) (110 gm) (4 oz) or fresh (240 ml) (60 gm) (2 oz) bread crumbs (you can use regular, panko, make your own or use store-bought)

Oil for frying (enough for 2” (50 mm) in a heavy pan like a medium sized dutch oven


In order to save time, you can boil the potatoes, and while they are cooling, you can make the filling. While that is cooling, you can make the potato “dough.” In this way, little time is spent waiting for anything to cool.

For the dough:

  1. Boil the potatoes until they pierce easily with a fork. Remove them from the water and cool.
  2. Once the potatoes have cooled, peel them and mash them with a potato masher or force them through a potato ricer (preferred).
  3. Add egg, salt and pepper and knead “dough” thoroughly to ensure that ingredients are well combined and uniformly distributed.
  4. While the potatoes cool down before finishing the dough, you can make the filling
Forming and frying the papas:
  1. Use three small bowls to prepare the papas. In one, combine flour, cayenne and salt. In the second, a beaten egg with a tiny bit of water. Put bread crumbs in the third
  2. Flour your hands and scoop up 1/6 of the total dough to make a round pancake with your hands. Make a slight indentation in the middle for the filling.
  3. Spoon a generous amount of filling into the center and then roll the potato closed, forming a smooth, potato-shaped casing around the filling. Repeat with all dough (you should have about 6 papas).
  4. Heat 1 ½ - 2 inches (4 – 5 cm) of oil in a pan to about 350 – 375° F (175 - 190°C).
  5. Dip each papa in the three bowls to coat: first roll in flour, then dip in egg, then roll in bread crumbs.
  6. Fry the papas (in batches if necessary) about 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Flip once in the middle of frying to brown both sides.
  7. Drain on paper towel and store in a 200ºF (95ºC) (gas mark ¼) oven if frying in batches.
  8. Serve with salsa criolla (or other sauce of preference) immediately.
I still don't like potatoes after I tasted the papas I made. But it was a very good experience making this dish. I ate the left-over filling and it was delicious!

You can check out the other Daring Cooks versions of their own papas and ceviches here. Thank you Kathy for this challenge!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Pancit Molo

If it's pancit, where are the noodles? A lot of people ask and I have to admit that I was one of them. According to this article, pancit Molo is a specialty of a place called Molo in the province of Iloilo which is in the south of the Philippines in the Visayas region. My father's side is Ilonggo which means they also specialize in Pancit Molo, but where is the connection to this article? Nothing much, but it's my way of saying I have sort of a right to this recipe (LOL).
My recipe for Pancit Molo is very simple and straight forward. I'm trying to recreate the taste of my friend's version which uses ground chicken instead of pork in the dumpling...okay so I thought we were talking about pancit, where does the dumpling come in? Well this kind of pancit uses dumplings instead of noodles. A mixture of ground meat with vegetables and spices in made into a dumpling encased in wonton wrappers. Some versions include shredded wanton wrappers which look a lot like noodles when cooked.



Ground Chicken 1/4 kilo

Garlic, minced 3 cloves

Spring Onions, sliced thinly 4 stalks

Ginger, grated 1/2 inch knob

Soy Sauce 2 tablespoons

Black pepper, cracked 1/2 teaspoon

Wonton Wrappers 1 pack

Egg, beaten 1 piece

In a clean bowl, mix ground chicken, minced garlic, spring onions, grated ginger, soy sauce and black pepper. Make sure that everything is well combined. Place bowl over an ice bath (another bigger bowl with ice cubes) to keep it cold while working. This also prevents bacteria from multiplying.

Lay a piece of wonton wrapper on a clean plate, spoon a teaspoon-full of ground chicken mixture, brush a little beaten egg on the sides and fold in half to form a triangle. Do not overstuff the dumpling or you might have a hard time sealing it. Take the two sides and fold, letting them meet in the middle and brush with egg to seal. Set aside on a clean plate, repeat procedure until all the filling is used up. You can use the dumplings right away or they can be stored in an airtight plastic container in the freezer for about a week.

Coconut oil 1 tablespoon
Onion, sliced thinly 1 piece
Lemongrass, white part,sliced thinly 4 stalks
Chicken Stock or vegetable stock 500 ml
Fish sauce (patis) to taste
Preheat a pot with coconut oil, saute onions and lemongrass until fragrant. Pour in the chicken stock/vegetable stock. Let it come to a simmer, drop the dumplings and let it boil. Dumplings are done when they wrinkle and become translucent. Season with patis and more cracked black pepper. Garnish with sliced spring onions and toasted garlic. Serve hot.

And there you have it, a simplified version of pancit molo which takes so little time to make (except for the dumplings--which can be prepared ahead of time) but tastes so good. Actually I've been wondering why I didn't make this sooner!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

THE DARING BAKERS FEBRUARY 2011 CHALLENGE: Here's to a Creamy Dreamy Crunchy Sweet February!

The February 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen. She chose to challenge everyone to make Panna Cotta from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe and Nestle Florentine Cookies.

Yes, it's time for the Daring Bakers' February Challenge! When I first read the challenge, I thought it was better to do it right away because I knew I would be busy and so I accomplished it way ahead of time, but I forgot to post it! So here is my layered chocolate panna cotta with coffee jelly and florentine cookies.

Florentine Cookies

2/3 cup (160 ml) (150 gm) (5.3 oz) unsalted butter

2 cups (480 ml) (160 gm) (5 2/3 oz) quick oats

1 cup (240 ml) (230 gm) (8 oz) granulated sugar

2/3 cup (160 ml) (95 gm) (3⅓ oz) plain (all purpose) flour

1/4 cup (60 ml) dark corn syrup

1/4 cup (60 ml) whole milk

1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla extract

pinch of salt

1½ cups (360 ml) (250 gm) (9 oz) dark or milk chocolate


1.Preheat oven to moderately hot 375°F (190°C) (gas mark 5).

2.Prepare your baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper.

3.Melt butter in a medium saucepan, then remove from the heat.

4.To the melted butter add oats, sugar, flour, corn syrup, milk, vanilla, and salt. Mix well. Drop a tablespoon full, three inches (75 mm) apart, onto your prepared baking sheet. Flatten slightly with the back of your tablespoon, or use a spatula.

5.Bake in preheated oven for 6-8 minutes, until cookies are golden brown. Cool completely on the baking sheets

6.While the cookies are cooling melt your chocolate until smooth either in the microwave (1 1/2 minutes), or stovetop (in a double boiler, or a bowl that fits atop a saucepan filled with a bit of water, being sure the water doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl).

7.Peel the cookies from the silpat or parchment and place face down on a wire rack set over a sheet of wax/parchment paper (to keep counters clean).

*I used organic honey instead of dark corn syrup, rolled oats instead of quick oats, and hemp milk instead of whole milk. I also omitted the chocolate and kept my cookies plain.

Panna Cotta


1 cup (240 ml) whole

1 tablespoon (one packet) (15 ml) (7 gm) (¼ oz) unflavored powdered gelatin

3 cups (720 ml) whipping cream (30+% butterfat)

1/3 cup (80 ml) honey

1 tablespoon (15 ml) (15 gm) (½ oz) granulated sugar

pinch of salt

1.Pour the milk into a bowl or pot and sprinkle gelatin evenly and thinly over the milk (make sure the bowl/pot is cold by placing the bowl/pot in the refrigerator for a few minutes before you start making the Panna Cotta). Let stand for 5 minutes to soften the gelatin.
2.Pour the milk into the saucepan/pot and place over medium heat on the stove. Heat this mixture until it is hot, but not boiling, about five minutes. (I whisk it a few times at this stage).

3.Next, add the cream, honey, sugar, and pinch of salt. Making sure the mixture doesn't boil, continue to heat and stir occasionally until the sugar and honey have dissolved 5-7 minutes.

4.Remove from heat, allow it to sit for a few minutes to cool slightly. Then pour into the glass or ramekin.

5.Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight. Add garnishes and serve.

Thank you Mallory for this challenge! And bravo to the Daring Bakers for their exquisite panna cotta creations!