Sunday, June 26, 2011

Caramelicious Custard Cake

Question: What do you get when you combine: Liquid caramel + delicious custard flan pillow soft chiffon cake?
 

A.  Unwanted Cellulite


B. Clogged artery


C. Heaps of dirty dishes
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D. A Custard Cake aka Flan Cake!

It's so good an '' all of the above'' answer is totally worth it. If such indulgence were a sin, I would commit it again and again and again . 

Making it requires time, potential blisters, patience and yes an over exhausted dishwasher : machine or human alike. The end product will have you yearning for more.
There's probably hundreds and hundreds of recipes out there but  here's how I did mine.


Custard Cake ala Emily

First Step: Make caremelized sugar.


Heat 200 g of granulated sugar in a pan. Let it caramelize without stirring. Transfer hot caramel into your molder tilting it if necessary to cover  the surface bottom. I have several ramekins so I used it for this cake but end up having enough liquid caramel so I poured the rest into a rectangular baking pan or loaf pan. Set it aside and cool off completely. The liquid sugar will crack and will make  a tiny tingling sound as it cools. It won't affect the end result though.


Second Step: Make the flan.

 Yes, that is a measuring Cup. It has more purpose than calibration I tell you. In this case, I used it as a mixing bowl which happens to be quite handy and ideal for pouring liquid mixture.Less dished too. Into my measuring cup/mixing bowl goes 4 large egg yolks and 1 whole egg. Whisk 'em cholesterol until well combined.


Pour 1 can of condense milk into the beaten eggs and whisk everything until well combined. Since I used my measuring cup as a mixing bowl. I used the emptly can as a measuring cup then. (^_^). Add 2 cans of fresh milk into the egg mixture.


I then added a teaspoon of vanilla paste ( which I happen to marvel as much as my deep fryer by the way). You could see the tiny specks of vanilla seeds in it! It's like having the essence of vanilla in a jar minus the splitting and scrapping and cooking of the actual vanilla pod. Simply marvelous and undeniably practical too. Where were we? Ah yes, vanilla paste, vanilla extract could be an alternative. Whisk everthing until well incorporated. Hold your pants. don't pour in into you caramel yet. It will dissolve some of the caramelized sugar. Simply cover it with aluminum film and put it in the fridge for safety keeping. Don't start skipping, we ain't finished yet.


Third Step. Make the Cake.


In a big mixing bowl, whick together 5 large egg yolks and 100 gram of granulated sugar until pale and thick. In another mixing bowl combine 200 g of flour, a pinch of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder.
  

Sieve 1/3 of the flour mixture into the beaten egg yolks and gently whisk the batter. Add in about 3 tablespoon of milk. Alternately add flour and milk into the egg yolk mixture until all the flour and about 1/4 cup of milk is all used up.

Add in lemon rind from one lemon into the batter and whisk gently until everything is well combined and  try not to throw miserable glance over the messy kitchen at this point if you could help it.

In a  clean mixing bowl, beat the 5 egg whites using an electric beater until frothy. Gradually add in 100 g of granulated sugar, beat until it egg whites turn:
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Shiny and could give a a rude finger sign stiff swirl.

In batches, fold the meringue into the egg yolk mixture....gently. Use a spatula, whisking the batter at this point will incorporate unwanted air bubbles into the batter rending a dense and flat cake. Not good. The cake batter must remain light and fluffy.


Fourth Step. Assemble the cake.

Pour flan into your molder, cake pan or ramekin that's lined with caramelized sugar. The measuring cup, definitely serve its purpose well. The amount of flan in the cake may depend on one's preference. Some people wanted to have the flan layer as thick as the cake itself. The above flan recipe makes about a liter of custard. I was able to fill about 1/3 of  10 ramekins and 1 loaf pan.


Gently pour cake batter over the custard. Don't worry if the liquid custard mixes with the cake batter. As it cooks, the flan hardens and will settle at the bottom and will push the cake batter up.



Fifth Step: Bake the cake

Using a spatula, smoothen the top of the batter carefully. This cake must be baked Bain-marie style. To do that, you need a roasting or deep baking pan that is big enough to hold your molders, ramekins or baking pan. Fill this big roasting pan with  1 liter hot water . Place your molder into the hot water bath. Bake the cake at 180 °C for about 45 minutes or until custard is set and cake is done. To check, insert a toothpick into the cake and if it comes out clean, than the cake is ready. Take the cake out of the pan and cool off completely. Don't get too excited, inverting the cake too soon will ruin it. That's 2 hours work straight into the bin. Let the custard set. Go out,watch a movie.




Once the cake have completely cooled off, run a thin knife around the edges to loosen it up and carefully invert it into your serving plate. The caramel will drench the chiffon cake as you turn the cake upside down, partially soaking it and giving a bitter sweet sugary flavor. A nice boost to the chiffon cake's subtle note.



Last step: Sit back and enjoy the fruit of your labor!

Aaaaaaaaaahhhh such a bliss.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Cookies and Cream Ice Cream


One can't have enough creams! The sudden plunge of temperature this week is not enough to put me off from making another ice cream. And so the battle between Emily vs. ice cream machine and hips vs. calories continues.  The Cookies and Cream ice cream recipe came into my mind after a short trip to Mc Donalds. Here's is my answer to Ronald Mc Donald's Oreo Mc Flurry.


Oreo Ice Cream Recipe



Beat 5 egg yolks and 120 g white sugar  until pale and fluffy. Heat 300 ml cream and 200 ml milk to a scalding point. Slowly pour hot cream mixture into the whipped  egg yolks while whisking constantly to avoid eggs from curding . 




 .Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, cook until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.Stir in vanilla extract.Let custard cool to room temperature and refrigerate. Transfer the cold custard to your ice cream machine and process according to the manufacturer's instructions
Few minutes before ice cream is done, crush 3 small packs of Oreo Cookies using a rolling pin ( make a tiny slit at the edge to let the air out). Stir in crushed Oreo Cookies into the cold custard.
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Liquid chocolate, ice cream and silhouette . A pretty yummy portrait .

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Restaurant Engel, B├╝hlertal



 After deliberately eating lots of fruits and vegetables ( which would make my doctor proud) , going low... low... low... on rice ( which is like sapping the life out of me) and going back to nordic walking  for weeks and  still unable to shred another gram, I finally gave up. I'm never going to win the never ending battle againts weight gain . Hormones, age and chocolate won.


I bet life would be less complicated if weighing scales and  magazine with Miranda Kerr and co flashing their flat as a pancake abs were not invented.  Staying fit and fab after 30  is not as easy as they claimed. Yes, I am like  most women , I have weight issues.








So what to do after weeks of fruitless self inflicted agony? Go out and eat like a man!




The restaurant Engel in our sleepy town simply pops into my mind. It's a non fussy, laid back restaurant, strip of any flair but has a pleasing homey feel to it. Plus, they make protein rich foods rather well. Since I'm feeling all defeated and hollow, I raked my eyes over the menu and look for something that would fill me up and fill me up good . I found it.



A T-Bone steak big enough to feed a pack of hungry wolves and it's all mine! It's thick, heavy and  almost intimidating, a real manly portioned, I was almost bursting with testosterone by simply looking at it! The plate occupies almost half of the cozy table. I'm starting to feel better already! The meat was seared exactly as I requested: medium rare . Unlike the usual lean  steaks that I could get at many restaurants here, this one has enough fat in it ensuring a juicy goodness . The meat is subtly seasoned, with a nice smokey hint, buttery and very tender. It was a delight to eat   . Between blissful bites, I realized how thankful I am  that I am a carnivore.

The big slab of meat is devoid with the usual gravy but came with three sauces instead.  Since it was enormous, I guess one sauce would not be sufficient . You could have a pick among the mustard sauce, cocktail sauce and to my delight, garlic sauce as well. Since I felt like I've committed a sin ( Gluttony), I might as well make it a major one. I ordered extra fries on the side.




For once, FF's meat looks like a schoolboy compared to my  Godfather sized T-bone. Next to my plate his meal appeared almost dainty, somehow cowering. A lean 250 g rump steak served with caramelized onion and fries. He easily finished it without batting an eyelid . Constant practice certainly helps.




As for me, the battle of  man vs.meat lasted for about an hour. Our table was quiet, only the faint sound of tinkering cutlery as our  steak knives effortlessly cut the meat into bite size pieces, like hot knives on butter, giving a muffled clang as it touches our warm plates could be heard. Alas, I threw in the white towel. It looks like I'm going to loose this battle as well. The steak stretched my stomach to it fullest, filling its cavity with beefy and tasty goodness that another mouthful from this succulent meat will have my eyes rolling and me in seizures . FF who had long finished his meal, was eyeing my leftover with a raised eyebrowse. A hint of defeated smile and he obligingly finished it off for me. We might occasionally splurge our hard earned money on food  but we definitely hate the idea of throwing away leftovers. For once, I did not longed for dessert. I felt full, flabby and fabulously happy. A feeling a plateful of lettuce leaves could never give.  I bet Miranda and co. haven't had such a filling meal for a long long time. (^_^)                                                                                              

Friday, June 10, 2011

Baked Siopao Asado




GOLDEN SIOPAO

It was one of those boring days. The weather was rather dim, gray and too cold for June. It's suppose to be summer but temperature  never rises above 12° C! Although I was looking for a nice excuse to go out and get some Vit. D, I simply could not step out of the house  without the fear of catching a cold . With icy wind blowing wildly and fat rain drops soaking up everything it touches, I end up staying at home instead.What a lousy time to have a day off!  To make myself productive , I decided to do some experiments in the kitchen instead. After hours of cooking, kneading and baking, I was quite happy with the product of my hard labor. It  was a very rewarding day after all . I wouldn't mind another sunless and rainy days again, as long as I have enough of these treats in my kitchen!


The best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain, says Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and I could not agree more. However, such a dreary weather often calls for something homemade and  warm that would give a sense of coziness and a freshly baked ,pipping hot bun with succulent meat and delicious sauce is a perfect example for that. My 3 cent opinion. It's almost as cozy as hot chocolate on a snowy day.
















First step, make the filling.  Leftover adobo could be a nice alternative, just shred the meat or chop it finely, toss it in its sauce and it's ready to go. Since I have all the time in the world ( or a least enough time to make these), I decided to make asado filling from scratch. Here's how I did it.

Pork Asado Filling:





Heat a bit of oil in a pan, saute 1 medium sized finely chopped onion until translucent. Add in 3 gloves of finely chopped garlic until aromatic. After a minute or two, as in 400 g pork ( cubed) . I used pork neck. The pork neck is a well muscled and very flavorful cut of meat, with a lot more fat than the pork shoulder, and yet still a lot less fat than the pork belly. Just enough fat to keep the asado dish juicy. After browning the meat, season it with salt and pepper. Add in soy sauce, hoisin sauce and oyster sauce. Stir frequently. Add in two bay leaves and about half a tsp. of powdered anise and about 2 tbsp of brown sugar. Pour about half a cup of water, cover and turn heat to low. Cook until meat is tender and the liquid almost evaporated. Set aside and cool off completely.










  
                                          
Since I am perfectly happy with the siopao dough recipe  that I used in previous Siopao experiment, I don't see any reason why I should alter it. Make the dough as instructed here. Divide dough into 16 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and cover. for about 15 minutes.


   
          
 Flatten each piece using a rolling pin. Place 1 heaping  of Pork asado  filling in the center or as much as the dough could handle. It's your siopao so fill it up good! Gather edges of circle over the filling, twist and pinch edges together to seal. Place buns seam side down few inches apart in a baking sheet. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place for about 30 mins. Beat 1 egg yolk and about 4 tablespoon of milk together. Brush each bun with egg wash. Bake siopao in a preheated oven at 180°c for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown.
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Smooth  as a baby's bottom!
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Almost crunchy exterior with light and fluffy dough insides that blends wonderfully well with the savory and tasty filling.
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Ridiculously yummy! It tasted even better that steamed siopao!  I ate until I could  eat no more. It certainly made my gloomy day , a holiday! (^_^)






          
                                                 




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