Friday, August 16, 2013

Key Lime Pie


I ♥ Key West, Florida. It is the most beautiful place. I miss dancing in the pouring rain, their famous key lime pie, the warm (but very salty) ocean water, key lime pie, walking around town, key lime pie, cod fritters, and enjoying a big slice...or two...of key lime pie under the sun. I didn't want to leave because I would've loved to eat key lime pie all day, everyday. But, unfortunately, we had to. Before we flew off back to Vancouver, we took some Key Lime Pie Mix to taste a bit of Key West at home. However, it came out more of a curd than a dense, creamy pie. So, I went searching for the ultimate, perfect, mouth-watering, scrumptious, and most fab key lime pie. And on my third try, I had finally found the one.

This pie is light, creamy, and of course, limey. With the addition on whipped egg whites, the filling is more fluffy and light than the original pie. The limey-ness from the filling isn't too over powering that it forces you to make that hideous face, just like if you ate a lemon. :D




~from Pepe's Cafe Key Lime Pie
Makes one 9-inch pie.

You'll need a pastry bag with a 1/2-inch star tip.

for the graham cracker crust:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs from about (2 1/4-inch by 4 3/4-inch) crackers
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon. Drizzle with the melted butter and stir until well combined. Press the mixture evenly onto the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate. Bake until set and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Leave the oven on.

for the filling
2 large egg whites
4 large egg yolks
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh or bottled key lime juice

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or a large mixing bowl with a whisk of hand mixer, beat the egg whites until the hold stiff peaks.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk. Add the lime juice and whisk until combined. Gently fold in about 1/3 of the egg whites to lighten the mixture then add the remaining egg whites and fold until combined. Gently spread the mixture in the pre-baked crust and bake until just set in the center, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely then refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

to finish
1 cup whipping cream
3 tablespoons icing sugar

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the heavy cream and sugar until medium peaks form. Fill the pastry bag and pipe stars around the edge of the pie.

Bon appétit!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Dulce de Leche Lava Cakes

   
These lava cakes are easy to make and very delicious. I paired these cakes with my roasted strawberry ice. The only thing about these cakes is that you have to watch them bake. Don't overcook them. I did, and ended up with cakes, just plain cakes, not molten lava cakes, just plain cakes. I didn't have any ramekins so I just used a cupcake tin, which worked out perfectly.    




Makes six cakes.


unsalted butter for the ramekins
2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour plus more for ramekins
2 large egg yolks
1 large egg
1 1/3 cups canned dulce de leche
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
strawberry or vanilla ice cream, or, any ice cream of your choice

You'll need six 4-oz. ceramic ramekins.

Preheat oven to 425°. Butter and flour ramekins and transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. 

Using an electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, beat the egg and egg yolks until doubled in volume and forms a ribbon and slowly disappears, about 2 1/2 minutes. Add dulce de leche and mix until well blended, then gradually add the flour; mix until well blended. Divide batter among ramekins.

Bake the cakes until the outsides are golden brown in color but the centers still jiggle, 10–14 minutes. Transfer sheet to a rack. Run a knife around edges of ramekins to loosen cakes; invert onto plates or into shallow bowls. Serve hot with ice cream.


Bon appétit!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Chocolate Eclairs


I've always been a fan of cream puffs. I still am. The more whipped cream, the better. Éclairs on the other hand, I never found them appealing, until I saw Thomas Keller's Dulce de Leche Éclair. It's so pretty that it made me want to make some. The traditional éclair is filled with pastry cream and dipped in a shiny chocolate glaze but Thomas Keller suggested chocolate pastry cream. Its just an explosion of chocolatey-ness in your mouth. 







Makes 12 éclairs.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Roasted Strawberry Ice Cream


This roasted strawberry ice cream is my absolute favorite. It is by far the best ice cream I have ever tasted in my life. The texture is perfect, the color is perfect, the consistency is perfect, and most important of all, it taste delicious.



The technique to make the strawberry flavor way more intense than a commercial ice cream, is to roast the strawberries with balsamic vinegar and sugar, to caramelize the fruit. It is better to roast them because it prevents any ice crystals to form because if you do not roast the strawberries, all the juices will crystallize when you freeze the ice cream, leaving you with ice crystals in your supposed-to-be-creamy ice cream. So, roasting the strawberries removes the liquids. The balsamic vinegar adds a deep flavor to the ice cream and the caramelizing part happens with this and the granulated sugar.

For the vanilla base, when you cook it on the stove top you want to get the right consistency, otherwise it won't thicken and your ice cream won't look like ice cream. Click here for the original recipe by Raiza Costa's blog, Dulce Delight and check out her amazing videos! =)




for the strawberries
1 pound fresh strawberries
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 tablespoon light corn syrup


Preheat the oven to 300°F. Clean the strawberries, but leave them whole. Place them on your Silpat on a baking sheet and coat them with the balsamic vinegar and sugar. Bake for approximately 45 minutes, or until they are very dark color and will be mushy. Depending on the size of your strawberries, the bigger they are, the more you have to bake them.

Collect all the strawberries and the juices released from it. Mash it with a fork or a masher, leaving the size of the chunks you want. Add the corn syrup. It is important that you add the corn syrup so don't leave it out! It won't leave any grains in the ice cream. Then, chill in the refrigerator. 

for the vanilla base
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 vanilla bean 
5 egg yolks
100 grams granulated sugar


In a large pot, big enough to hold all of the ingredients, combine the whole milk, heavy cream, and the vanilla bean and seeds. Bring to a boil. This process allows the vanilla to infuse the milk with its flavor. When it starts to boil, turn off the heat, and cover the pan with a lid.

Whisk to break the yolks and add the sugar. Whisk until it becomes a pale yellow. Put the yolk mixture close to the milk, still on the stove top. Bring the milk, again, to a boil. Temper the eggs by slowly pouring a little bit of the hot milk into the yolks and whisk nonstop, so you don't end up with scrambled eggs. Keeping on pouring the hot milk into the yolks until about half of the milk is incorporated into the egg mixture. Bring the eggs back to the pan on low heat and keep stirring. The motion with your arm should be an 8 pattern. The lower the heat is, the creamier your ice cream will be. Do not stir quickly; aggressive stirring upsets the egg and your custard will be runny. Stir gently. 

To test if your custard is ready, lift your spatula. If the custard is dripping and has not coated the back of your spatula, it's too runny and needs more time to cook. If you can draw a line with your finger on the spatula and it forms a clean channel, it's ready.

Sieve the custard and immediately place over an ice bath. Keep stirring over the ice bath until there is no more steam. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. The more you leave it in the fridge, the more mature it will get; at least 3 hours but the best way to make it really mature is to refrigerate it overnight. 

FREEZING THE ICE CREAM: Add the cold strawberries to the cream and mix to combine. With your ice cream maker running (or, depending on the manufacturing,...) pour it in and mix. After a while, your ice cream will gain body and volume, about 20 minutes. Put it into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and put it in the freezer.

Once your ice cream is firm, take it out of the freezer, and serve! 

Bon appétit!

NOTE: Remember to always use fresh and good ingredients since the recipe only requires few items, every little thing will strongly affect the final taste. Try to use whole milk, because it adds more fat, which makes the result of your ice cream even more delicious.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Banana Crepe Cake with Butterscotch

All I want to do all day is eat, sleep, and... eat. Don't you? So when I walked down the stairs and into the kitchen this morning, I thought, just another day I have to cook breakfast, instead of having it already made for you. Well, I stuck my head in the fridge, looked up and down, grabbed some Chinese sausages, fried it, microwaved some leftovers, and  sat down and finally ate. I did this for a couple mornings, and thought that I needed something sweeter, maybe something other than rice, something fancy, something pretty, something unhealthy. =)
So one night, I thought of making some crepe batter and cooking it the next morning. But then I remembered that smitten kitchen had a banana bread crepe cake thing lookin' all fancy there, so I made that. Knowing me, I'm slow at everything, so I ended up taking about 2 hours(not including making the crepe batter and chilling) until I got to eat it. Oh well.






 


Makes 11 to 12 9-inch crepes, or a 1 1/2-inch cake.


INGREDIENTS:

for the banana crepes:
4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus extra for greasing pan
1 large speckly ripe banana (should yield a scant 1/2 cup peeled, pureed)
1 cup (235 ml) milk
3/4 cup (95 grams) all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons (25 grams) light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Pinch of ground cloves

Blend the banana in a food processor until smooth. Add melted butter and blend again. Add remaining ingredients and blend until they are combined. Transfer batter, which will look pretty thin, to a bowl (even easier later if it has a spout), cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour, preferably overnight, and up to two days. When you remove the batter, it will seem surprisingly thick. Stir it to redistribute the ingredients before using it.

Heat a medium skillet or crepe pan over medium-high heat. Once heated, brush pan thinly with melted butter. Pour 1/4 cup batter into skillet, swirling it until it evenly coats the bottom and cook, undisturbed, until the bottom is golden and the top is set, about 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the crepe and cook it for 30 seconds on the other side, before transferring it to a plate to cool. Repeat with remaining batter. You can stack your crepes and they should not stick together. Let crepes cool completely before assembling.

for the cream cheese yogurt filling:
8 ounces (225 grams) cream cheese, well-softened
1 1/2 cups (345 grams) plain Greek-style yogurt
1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whip cream cheese until fluffy, then beat in yogurt, 1/2 cup at a time. When fully combined, add sugar and vanilla then beat until rich and fluffy, just another minute.

Lay first crepe on a cake plate or serving platter. Spread with 1/4 cup of the yogurt-cream cheese filling. Repeat with all but the last remaining crepe, which should be stacked but have no filling on top, as it is the lid.

for the walnut butterscotch topping:
1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup (50 grams) packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon (15 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (about 50 grams) chopped walnuts, toasted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt, or to taste


Combine the cream, brown sugar and butter in the bottom of a medium, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally in the beginning and more frequently as it reduces and thickens. You’ll know it’s done when it becomes thick and smells toasty. Stir in the vanilla and salt, then walnuts. Immediately pour over stack of filled crepes, nudging the butterscotch to the edges with your spoon — if it goes over the edge, so be it.

Serve immediately, or keep in fridge until ready to serve. Crepe cake keeps for up to 3 days, possibly longer, but good luck with that. If you’d like to pass the walnut butterscotch alongside cake servings, rather than drizzling it over the top of the cake, I recommend you double the yield, and keep it warm so it stays pourable. If it still seems too thick, a little extra cream will thin it. The butterscotch sauce can also make do without the walnuts. 

Bon appétit!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Black-on-Black Truffles

"Dark, velvety, lumpy, bumpy chocolate truffles are as prized as the fungi for which whey were named, and after which they were modeled. These luxurious candies are the simplest of the truffle family, made of nothing more than cream, butter, and bittersweet chocolate. In French, dark chocolate is called chocolat noir or black chocolate, so you can understand why Pierre dubbed these "black truffles." Once the black truffles are shaped between your palms, they're plunged into cocoa powder, giving truth to the name "black on black." -quoted from Pierre Hermé.

Well, Pierre Hermé said pretty much everything about these truffles. I really have nothing else to say... well... other than that I had no idea that truffles are way easier to make than I thought they were. Only four ingredients.  

Just imagine, eating your very first truffle; you savour every bite, or choke as you stuff your face with more and more truffles, or just live in the moment as it melts in your mouth, wouldn't you want more? I did. But the only truffles thats were left in the Godiva box had nuts and I'm allergic to most nuts. And so I was anxcious to make some truffles and take all the creds for it =)  and that's exactly what I did.











-from Pierre Hermé's cookbook "Chocolate Desserts." 

Makes about 40 truffles. 

The truffles can be served as soon as they are coated or they can be stored in the fridge for a day or two, covered and away from foods with strong odors. 

INGREDIENTS:
9 ounces (260 grams) bittersweet chocolate, preferably Valrhona Caraïbe, finely chopped
1 cup (250 grams) heavy cream
3 1/2 tablespoons (1 3/4 ounces; 50 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 4 pieces
Dutch-processed cocoa powder, preferably Valrhona, for dusting

DIRECTIONS:
Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl that can hold all of the ingredients. Bring the cream to a full boil in a saucepan or microwave oven, then pour the hot cream into the center of the chocolate. Working with a spatula, gently stir the cream into the chocolate in ever-widening concentric circles until the ganache is homogeneous and smooth. Allow the ganache to rest on the counter for about a minute before adding the butter.

Add the butter 2 pieces at a time, stirring gently to blend. When all the butter is blended into the mixture, pour the ganache into a baking pan or bowl. Put the pan in the refrigerator and, when the ganache is cool, cover it with plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours. The ganache can stay in the refrigerator overnight, if that's better for you.


When you are ready to shape the truffles, spoon a generous amount of cocoa powder into a bowl, and set out a baking sheet lined with parchment or waxed paper. Remove the truffle mixture from the fridge and scoop up a scant tablespoon of ganache for each truffle; put the dollops of ganache on the paper-lined pan. Dust the palms of your hands with cocoa powder and, one by one, roll the mounds of ganache between your palms to form rounds. Don't worry about making them even-they're supposed to be gnarly and misshapen. As you shape each truffle, drop it into the bowl of cocoa powder, toss it in the cocoa so that it is well coated, and then very gingerly toss it between your palms to shake off the excess cocoa. Alternatively, you can roll the truffles around in a sieve to encourage them to shake off their extra cocoa. As each truffle is finished, return it to the parchment-lined pan, and it's ready to be served!


Bon appétit!    


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Melt-in-Your-Mouth Shortbread Cookies

These are the easiest cookies that I've ever made. You only need four ingredients which you will definitely have in your kitchen; butter, icing sugar, cornstarch, and all-purpose flour. Click here for the original recipe by allrecipes.com and nutritional information.

One time, way before I'd known this recipe, I was given a cookie that looked exactly the same as this one. When I grabbed it from the goodie bag, it almost completely crumbled in my fingers. I was surprised, I've never had a shortbread cookie like this one, it melts the moment you put it into your mouth. I made shortbread cookies before but it was the exact opposite from these cookies-crunchy and hard-definitely not melt-in-your-mouth. But the shortbread I ate was from a bakery though and I thought I wouldn't ever be able to make a replica of it. That cookie was sooo good though, one of my favorite cookies(the bestest cookie would be Thomas Keller's double chocolate chip cookie).  





INGREDIENTS:
1 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat the oven to 375°F(190°C). Line two trays with parchment paper.

Whip butter with an electric mixer until fluffy. Stir in the confectioners' sugar, cornstarch, and flour. Beat on low speed for one minute, the on high for 3 to 4 minutes. Drop cookies by spoonfuls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Or, if you want them to look much prettier, pipe the dough in a pastry bag with a large, star tip.

Bake for 12 to 15 mins. Watch that the edges don't brown too much and cool on wire racks.

Bon appétit!