Lemon Blueberry Loaf

This is actually very similar to the mandeltorte recipe. Adapted from recipe found here: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/simple-white-cake/ Quite fail-proof!

Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 40 min
Makes 1 loaf

3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 teaspoon lemon extract

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup milk

1/2 cup fresh blueberries

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream butter and sugar. Add in eggs one at a time. Mix in both extracts.
  3. Mix flour and baking powder and add to creamed mixture.
  4. Mix in milk. Sprinkle blueberries on top. Bake for about 40 minutes until lightly browned and springs to the touch.

Strawberry Mandeltorte

It’s been a while, but finally updating the blog again!

German for “almond cake,” this moist dessert is sure to please any nut lover! Adapted from recipe found here: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/simple-white-cake/

Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 35 min
Makes 12 cupcakes or one 9″ cake

3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup ground almonds (almond meal)
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup milk

1/3 cup strawberry jam
1 tbsp sliced almonds
chocolate bits

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream butter and sugar. Add in eggs one at a time. Mix in both extracts.
  3. Mix flour, almonds, and baking powder and add to creamed mixture.
  4. Mix in milk. Bake for about 35 minutes until lightly browned and springs to the touch.
  5. Top with jam, sliced almonds, and chocolate bits.

Mango Custard Pie

So much eggcitement going on! Yes, more egg madness with this creation…the Mango Custard Pie! Growing up, egg tarts were one of my favorite dim sum/dessert/pastry items. The puffy flaky crust (or sometimes cookie crust ;)) enveloping the gelatinous egg custard in the middle. Sometimes if I had bread, I would share it with the birds (GASP! Yes, I realize you shouldn’t feed the birds but I was three, okay? Annnndd now, I duck whenever birds fly by.). But, I would never share my prized egg tart. My 蛋撻 (daan taat).

Among tropical fruits, I also had a favorite- mangoes. Fresh, ripe mangoes. When cut right by cutting out a meaty half and then slicing it horizontal and vertical, you could flip it inside out where perfect little cubes could be bitten off piece by piece. In fact, I loved mangoes so much that I cried when my family left a perfectly delicious mango in the fridge upon checking out of the hotel when I was three. #toddlerprobs

Last but not least, the pie portion. Crust has probably always been my favorite part of a pie. CARBSCARBSCARBSgalore. Instead of a traditional graham cracker crust of a cheesecake, I thought I try out a childhood favorite, McVitie’s Digestive wheat meal biscuits.

These are a few of my favorite things! *cue Sound of Music tune*

 

 

Biscuit Crust

Prep time for crust: 5 minutes
Cook time for crust: 5 minutes
Equipment: 9 inch springform pan, food processor or thick ziploc bag (to crush biscuits), giant bowl, measuring cups, spoon


2 1/2 cups of digestive wheat
2 tbsp butter, melted
4 tbsp water

  1. Preheat oven at 350 degrees.
  2. Mix all biscuit crust ingredients together and press firmly into the bottom of the pan using the back of a spoon.
  3. Bake for 5 minutes.

Mango Custard Filling

Prep time for filling: 25 minutes
Cook time for filling: 35 minutes
Equipment: blender, sieve, bowls, measuring cups, knife

1/2 cup simple syrup (basically sugar dissolved in water)
3 large mangoes
2 additional mangoes (optional)
9 large eggs
1 cup evaporated milk
2 tsp cornstarch

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Blend everything in a blender.  (Note: This will create a lot of bubbles in your mix, but it’s the easiest method.  You can also substitute about 1 1/2 cups mango puree and beat the eggs separately to minimize the bubbles.)
  3. Pour the mix into another bowl through a sieve.  Remove all extra foam!  You can let the mixture sit so more bubbles and foam rise to the top.
  4. Pour mix on top of biscuit crust.  Bake for 35 minutes. To check whether it is done, the custard should jiggle when shaken, similar to gelatin desserts (Jell-O), but not seem watery. Parts of the top may also have burnt bubbles but that’s fine.
  5. Let cool in the pan.  Can be eaten hot or cold.
  6. (Optional) Dice up the extra 2 mangoes and put it on top.

Chinese Steamed Egg Pudding (Dun Daan 燉蛋)

I begg your pardon, but did you want the “eggs benedictted to sweets” or the “eggs, sugary side up”?…

Eggs, eggs, and more eggs! In my silliness, I accidentally bought a carton of eggs when I already had a practically full one.  What do you do when you have too many eggs AND a perpetual sweet tooth AND a carton of milk that’s about to expire?  Why, you make chinese egg pudding (燉蛋) of course!  It’s pronounced dun daan-“dun” meaning stewed or steamed and “daan” meaning egg.

This is a simple and relatively healthy dessert popular in China.  It’s similar to flan or creme brulee except it’s a lot easier and quicker to make.  It has the consistency of flan but is less dense and even softer.  What’s most interesting about this is the cooking method.  No oven, no problem!  This is cooked by steam!  (I will also later upload a recipe for a steamed cake, maybe in a few weeks.)

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1 egg
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 cup of milk

Prep time: 2 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Equipment: steaming rack, tongs (or something to remove bowl from steaming pot), sieve, foil, pot, 3 bowls, fork

  1. Put the steaming rack into the pot. Pour about 3 cups of water inside and boil.
  2. Microwave milk for 1 minute.  Mix in sugar.
  3. Beat the egg in separate bowl. Add in milk mixture. Mix well.
  4. Pour mix through sieve into another bowl to get the bubbles and foam out.
  5. Cover bowl with foil and steam for 15 minutes.
  6. Remove bowl from pot with tongs. Let it cool down a bit before eating.  Another option is to refrigerate it and eat it cold.

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The smooth top and the less gelatinous layers below.

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Another picture of what it looks like on the inside.

Osamagato Coffee Drink

Hi there Culinary Faries! Join me in welcoming our first guest post.  Here is a delicious coffee recipe from my friend Osama Ahmed.
As a side note, he also produces music with two of my favorites being his Titanium Dance Remix and DJ OMA in the Mixx.


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Coffee is an incredibly sophisticated beverage to be connoisseured, not merely a medication to wake us up in the morning. And sometimes, it can also be a classy dessert as well.

Introducing the Osamagato: the simple dorm room way to make tasty coffee-dessert beverages without having an espresso machine. Yes, real coffee snobs will laugh at me for using instant coffee, but simplicity is of the essence here.

I uncovered this recipe completely by means of trial and experimentation. Moreover, the portion sizes are incredibly variable to suit each of your own tastes.

Ingredients (Makes 3-4 cups)

  1. 3 tablespoons of good tasting instant coffee (I prefer Nescafe Tasters Choice Dark French Roast)
  2. A can of condensed milk
  3. 2 Tablespoons of Nutella
  4. A few tablespoons of water
  5. 2 cups milk
  6. Caramel Sauce for topping
  7. Whipped cream for topping

Steps

  1. Place the water – just enough to allow for the coffee and Nutella to dissolve in – in the microwave and bring to a boil
  2. Add the Nutella and the coffee beans to a mug and stir vigorously until everything is dissolved
  3. Add the can of condensed milk to the solution. This forms your concentrate. The concentrate can be stored for a few days in the fridge and can be used to prepare the drink anytime
  4. Take concentrate and make a 1/3 (or higher depending on your taste) dilution with milk. Stir thoroughly
  5. Add ice, top it with whipped cream, and add some caramel sauce to decorate and sprinkle a little crushed coffee beans on top. Serve with a straw.

Japanese Chiffon Cheesecake

We’ve probably all tried the standard New York cheesecake…thick, creamy, cheesy goodness atop a graham cracker crust.  As a fierce competitor to that stands the Japanese cheesecake, a cotton-soft chiffon cake with the slightest hint of lemon mixed into the cream cheese clouds.

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I tried out this recipe from here, but changed the cream cheese to 8 oz (whole box) and the sugar to 1/3 cup.  Also changed the directions a bit, putting it inside emptied eggshells and a 13 x 9 pan.  I copied the slightly altered recipe below for your convenience, but the link to the original recipe is provided in the link above.

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Prep time: 20 minutes
Bake time: 45 minutes

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup whole milk
1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
3 eggs, separated
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
2 1/2 cups boiling water

  1. Preheat oven 350 degrees.
  2. Crack eggs at the top when separating the egg whites and eggs yolks. Save the eggshells
    (I like cracking a smaller hole at the top so that you can simply pour out the egg whites in one bowl and use your fingers to block the egg yolk from slipping out, and then put the egg yolk in a separate bowl.)
  3. Coat baking pan and eggshells with oil.
  4. Beat cream cheese with milk.
  5. Add egg yolks, cornstarch, lemon juice, and half the sugar. Beat until smooth.
  6. Beat egg whites in a separate bowl until foamy. Then gradually add the remaining sugar and cream of tartar and beat for about 4 minutes on high until soft peaks form.
    (When beating the egg white mixture to soft peaks, make sure you use clean and dry attachments. Water and other ingredients added to your mixture may make the peaks unable to form, only making a very foamy mixture. You can check if you’ve reached the “soft peaks” point by first stopping the mixer and scooping some of the mix up. The scooped up mix should stand up like the “peaks” of a mountain, except be “soft” like clouds.)
  7. Fold egg white mixture into the cream cheese mixture.
  8. Pour the mix into the three eggshells, a little less than 2/3 full in each, and the rest into the 13 x 9 pan.
  9. Place the cake pan into a larger roasting pan.  Make little foil stands for the eggs simply by making a ring with aluminum foil and scrunching slightly at the middle. Place into the larger roasting pan as well and the whole roastingn pan in the lower rack of the oven.
  10. Pour enough water into the roasting pan so it is halfway up the side of the cake pan.
  11. Bake for about 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out cleanly.

CORDON ROUGE ET BLEU

Sorry for the break, but I’m finally getting back on my cooking and baking grind.  My simplified take on the Cordon Bleu with chopped French BACON instead of ham
Cordon Bleu is French for “blue ribbon”

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Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes

4 pieces of chicken breast
150 grams chopped lardon (about 2/3 cup of fatty French bacon)
4 slices of swiss or light cheese
2 tsp white wine

  1. Preheat oven 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Pan fry lardon, about 4 minutes or until cooked.
  3. Pound or cut chicken breast so it’s about 1 cm thick.
  4. Layer a slice of cheese on the chicken breast and a fourth of the cooked lardon on top of the cheese.  Pour 1/2 tsp of wine over the lardon.
  5. Roll up the chicken breast and secure with many toothpicks poked through it.  (As you can see in the picture, I didn’t put enough toothpicks…the chicken unraveled, and the cheese and lardon were exposed!)
  6. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes until chicken is golden brown.

Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Maple Syrup Frosting

Finally a recipe from scratch! (Sort of)

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Cupcake
2 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter
4 eggs
2 tbsp vanilla extract
3 cup flour
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cup half and half
3/4 cup peanut butter

Frosting
white vanilla frosting (this is where it’s not quite from scratch)
maple syrup

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Melt butter in large bowl. Mix in sugar.  Beat in eggs, one at a time. Stir in vanilla. Mix flour and baking powder; then mix into large bowl. Mix. Stir in half and half.
  3. Microwave peanut butter for 30 seconds to melt. Mix into batter.
  4. Bake for about 20 minutes or until toothpick poked into cake comes out cleanly.012
  5. For frosting, mix frosting with maple syrup in 3 to 1 ratio (less syrup).  Frost by putting a large dollop on top and then smoothing it out with the back of a spoon in a swirling motion.

I had some extra batter left so I decided to make a swirl pound cake with it.  More updates on this later!

Tiramisu Cupcakes and Cake

A cake version of the Italian favorite, tiramisu

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Cake
Yellow cake box mix
Accompanying ingredients necessary for box mix (eggs, oil, water)
2 tbsp coffee liqueur (or non-alcoholic equivalent)
3/4 cup coffee
1 tbsp instant coffee powder

Coffee Liqueur Mix
2 tbsp coffee liqueur
1/4 cup coffee

Zabaglione (the filling and topping)
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
8 oz mascarpone cheese
1 tbsp instant coffee powder
1 tbsp coffee liqueur

Garnish
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 small chunk of chocolate

  1. Preheat oven. Make cake mix as directed, except replace part of the water with 2 tbsp coffee liqueur and the rest with coffee. Also add in 1 tbsp instant coffee powder and mix. Pour half of the mix into 12 cupcake tins and half into an 8 inch pan. Bake.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together all the ingredients for the zabaglione. (While most recipes like to chill this in the fridge for 30 minutes before using to make it thicker and easier to spread without being runny, I just opted for quickness.)
  3. Poke holes throughout the entire cake using a toothpick. Pour half the coffee liqueur mix over the cake and half over the cupcakes so it soaks in.
  4. Cover large cake in zabaglione and put in the freezer. I opted to fill the cupcakes with zabaglione inside.  Cut out a piece from the top of the cupcake and remove part of the cake inside (almost like taking the seeds out of a cantaloupe).  Fill with inside.  Put the “cover” back on top. Finally, frost the cupcake with the zabaglione and freeze.
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  5. Garnish with cocoa powder and chocolate shavings by grating a piece of chocolate against cheese grater or using a peeler or a knife.
  6. Remove from freezer 20 minutes before eating. Best served chilled.

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Mille Crepe Cake

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Apologies for the blurry photo but this is how it looks like when cut.  As you can see, there’s one layer with chocolate, but I’d recommend adding a few more layers with chocolate.)

Crepe Mixture
1 cup complete pancake mix
2 tbsp melted butter
2 tbsp sugar
2 1/2 eggs (the other 1/2 saved for later)
1 cup milk

Peanut Filling
1/2  package (4 oz) softened cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 egg
3 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp peanut butter

Chocolate Chips
Powdered Sugar

Chocolate Drizzle
2 tbsp chocolate chips
1/2 tsp vegetable oil

  1. Mix crepe mixture together.  Make sure to grease the skillet for each crepe.  On a preheated pan, add 2 tbsps of batter and make sure you tilt the pan in a circular motion so as to spread out the mix. Repeat for a total of 15 times.
  2. Beat together the softened cream cheese, vanilla extract, egg, and sugar as a cheesecake filling base.  Melt the peanut butter in the microwave in 30 second increments until melted and add to the cheesecake mixture.
  3. Layer peanut filling between each crepe layer. Add some chocolate chips or melted chocolate to random layers.
  4. Drizzle melted peanut butter and melted chocolate in a criss-cross pattern.  Sprinkle on powdered sugar and chocolate chips on top. (Chocolate drizzle instructions: Microwave the chocolate chips and the oil in 30 second increments until melted, mixing between each time.)