Archive | dessert

Shaker Lemon Pie for Pi Day

Pi Day. Pie Day. I don’t think there’s a better time to post about this Shaker Lemon Pie that we enjoyed plain and with vanilla ice cream. The pie crust (which I made with a healthy sprinkle of vodka) and the Meyer lemon custard filling were a welcome deviation from our never-ending winter of rain, as it’s always been.

It’s still Meyer lemon season and while my friends in California have had more than enough of it than all their cooking, baking, canning & preserving capacities can use up, here in Vancouver we get them mostly in pre-packaged Dandy-brand bags that remind us it’s the “The Chefs preference for desserts, beverages, main dishes and more!” I treasure every fruit because it’s not local to us. As much as I lean towards supporting local, Meyer lemons are imported treats I give myself permission to enjoy as much as I can.

I’ve made anywhere from lemon curd, lemon rolls, margarita, and putting lemon zest and juice in everything, but this Shaker Lemon Pie is the most special thing I’ve made from it this season. It makes me want winter to stay if only for the Meyer lemons.

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The crust is money: flavorful, flaky and leaves you wanting more.

The lemon curd-like custard filling uses up the whole lemon (minus the seeds) and pleases the use-everything Asian in me. This pie is said to have originated from the Shaker community of Ohio, and because their lemons came from far away, they wanted to make sure they didn’t waste any part of it. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Armed with a good mandoline, this shaker lemon pie can be yours, easy peasy. If you don’t have one, a little patience and a sharp knife will pull you through.

What you’ll need for the crust: Foolproof Pie Dough (PDF) from a previous post

  • 2 1/2 cups (or 12.5 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening, chilled and cut into 4 pieces
  • 1/4 cup vodka, cold (no substitutes)
  • 1/4 cup water, cold
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (use for double crust pie)
  • egg white of 1 large egg, beaten

And the simplest of recipes for filling:

  • 2 Meyer lemons, very thinly sliced preferably with a mandoline, seeds removed (you can use regular lemons, but they will be tarter)
  • 2 cups granulated white sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • egg wash from a small amount of beaten whole egg with a few drops of water

Preparation:

1. Mix the thinly slices of Meyer lemons with sugar in a small bowl. Let it sit at room temperature for at least 6 hours. Ideally you’d want to leave it for 24 hours. I did mine for 36 — heavenly.

2. Follow the instructions for the pie dough in the recipe. Preheat oven to 425°F and place a rimmed baking sheet inside. Oven rack should be in the lower third level.

3. Beat the eggs and sugar, combine with the macerated lemons. Pour into the pie plate with crust and place the other crust from the fridge on top. Flute the edges or seal with the tines of a fork. Brush the top with egg wash and don’t forget to cut vent holes with a sharp knife — whatever pattern you like.

4. Bake the pie on the rimmed baking sheet for 20 minutes, then lower the heat to 375°F and bake for another 20-25 minutes (check at 20 minutes for doneness). The pie is ready when an inserted knife comes out clean.

It’s less tart and more custard-y after a day or two and it gets better after a day. Re-heat for a few minutes at 350°F.

Posted in baking, dessert, fruits7 Comments

Lemon Curd Rolls

The holidays have come and gone, and so has the beginning of the new year. Yet, you still didn’t hear from me. I’m sorry. Again. I’ve never really thought I’d be away from blogging this much, but it surely followed the theme of my 2011: There’s always a first time for something. I’ll spare you the excuses. I really am trying to get back in shape, at least when it comes to this website.** So a very late happy holidays (I hope it was memorable) and happy new year (of the dragon) to all of you! I hope we’ll pick up where we’ve left off just like old friends.

Just like old chums, here I am again at odds with Mistress Winter. She vacillates between the sublime, the dreary, and anything depressing or wonderfully surprising in between. Yesterday was dreamy, a touch warm for the season, just the kind of day for last minute lunch dates and making any excuse to go out (coffee run!).

Krystal in the sun.

Krystal the Cat shows her appreciation, lolling on the floor. I'd do the same if I were her. Cats do have quite an enviable lifestyle, don't they?

The sun-worshiping cat and I were relishing every bit of this. I worked on the couch, the glass door ajar to let some fresh air in, computer on my lap, kitty on the area rug an arm’s length away. The radio announcer’s voice echoed from the kitchen, reminding us, “Enjoy the last day of sunshine (for the week), folks.” I did catch a glimpse of the sunset as I walked down Burrard street later in the afternoon to get some gelato, the buildings juxtaposed next to the snow-capped mountains from afar. I can’t complain about the view at all. And today we expect rain. Day after day of rain.

For those of you who don’t live in Vancouver (or the Pacific Northwest, really), let me explain by saying that our rains could be overbearing. I like baking in winter specifically to scare the doldrums away. So for the next few days, I’d like to propose baking some lemon curd rolls:

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Here’s a zesty alternative to a favorite comfort food, the cinnamon rolls. Lemon curd squeezed between soft pillows of yeast-based dough and topped with melting lemon curd cream cheese glaze. It’s a welcome treat even if you’re not a lemon curd fan, and perfect for sharing.

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I’ve made these a few times and we always finish it among family members. I suggest on preparing more as they do go fast. The citrus flavors could be deceiving, not too filling, that sticking to one roll might be a challenge.

If you make the lemon curd yourself (recipe below), you’ll have an extra jar to keep. You can top up the glaze with even more curd, or you can keep it for future consumption. I like having emergency lemon curd at hand. Why not?

So here’s the to the rainy days. I’ll be ready for you.

** Twitter, on the other hand, is another story. It’s easier to share what I’ve been up to in delimited semi-comprehensible outbursts. You can easily ping me there.

LEMON CURD ROLLS

he Lemon Curd Rolls recipe was inspired by my friend Tracy’s recipe for Sticky Lemon Rolls, and the Lemon Curd recipe adapted from the website, Earthbound Chronicles. The recipe for the glaze is a Gourmeted original.

Yields: 12 rolls in a 9”x13” glass or ceramic pan

Ingredients

Dough

  • 2 ¼ teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
  • ¾ cup milk, warm (whole, 2% and 1% are ok to use)
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, soft (mayonnaise-like)
  • 4 ½ cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup white granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • zest of 1 ½ lemons (leave the remaining ½ lemon zest for the filling)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs

Filling

  • ¾ cup white granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ cup lemon curd
  • 3 tablespoons butter, soft
  • zest of ½ lemon

Glaze

  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • ¾ cup (6 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • ¾ cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
  • ½ cup lemon curd** (Recipe included at the end)

Preparation:

1. Prepare the dough with a stand mixer: Place warm milk in the stand mixer bowl and sprinkle with yeast; leave it for 5 minutes. Using the paddle attachment, stir in the butter, sugar, and 1 cup of flour. Add the salt, nutmeg and lemon zest. Stir in the eggs, vanilla and enough of the remaining flour to create a soft and sticky dough. Depending on the humidity of your kitchen, you might only need 4 cups of flour in total. Switch mixing with a dough hook once it more or less comes together as one mass; knead for 5 minutes, or until dough is elastic and pliable. You can test by pressing a finger against the dough and it bounces back quickly.

OR Prepare the dough by hand: Stir all the liquid ingredients and sugar in a large bowl using a wooden spoon. Add a cup of flour at a time and mix. Once it comes together to from one big piece of dough, transfer onto a floured surface. Knead by hand for 5 to 8 minutes. Sprinkle additional flour if the dough gets too sticky.

2. Tuck the dough into one big ball (pinch together at the bottom) and spray or massage with vegetable oil, just enough so the surface doesn’t stick. Turn the dough in the same bowl you used for mixing to grease it. Cover with plastic wrap and towel. Leave to rise in a dry and warm area of your kitchen for an hour. You can also place it in your unheated oven.

3. Prepare the filling: Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl until a thick homogenous paste forms.

4. Form the rolls: Lightly grease a 9”x13” rectangular baking dish with baking spray or butter. Transfer the dough onto a floured surface and pat with your fingertip to spread into a large rectangle, about 10” x 15” in size. Spread the butter evenly on top of the dough, leaving at least half an inch space from the edges. Pour the filling and spread evenly using the back of a spoon. Roll the dough along its length; pinch the end of the dough with the roll (not the sides where you see the spiral pattern) to keep it from popping open. Cut the dough evenly into 12 rolls using a sharp serrated knife or a length of dental floss by wrapping and tightening it around the dough until it cuts through the dough [see photo here]. You can also use a sewing thread if you like. The string method keeps the dough from flattening out during slicing.

5. Place the rolls cut side up in the baking dish in 3 x 4 arrangement. Cover the dish with a kitchen towel and allow to rise for an hour, or until it has doubled in size. [Want to bake them later? Cover the pan with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for up to 24 hours. When you’re ready to bake, remove the pan from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for an hour before popping in the oven sans plastic wrap.]

6. Bake the rolls: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the rolls for 35 to 40 minutes, or until slightly golden on top.

7. Prepare the glaze while the rolls are baking in the oven: Whip the cream cheese with a hand beater or a stand mixer with a paddle attachment for about 3 minutes. Add the confectioner’s sugar and mix until smooth before pouring the lemon curd. Beat for a minute, scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula at least once.

8. Glaze the rolls right out of the oven. Spread at least half the glaze on the rolls as soon as you get them out of the oven. Save some for topping up individual servings.

Easy Lemon Curd

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • zest of all the lemons

Preparation:

1. Cream butter and sugar on medium speed in a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and yolks, and mix until combined. Pour lemon juice and mix. Resulting mixture will not be homogenous and will have butter curds – don’t worry.

2. Pour into a heavy bottom pan and cook over medium heat. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon or spatula until it thickens, about 10 to 15 minutes, or until the curd reaches 170°F. Don’t allow it to boil or it will curdle. It is done when it coats the back of the spoon or spatula, and when you wipe it with your finger it will leave a trail. Transfer to clean bowl and set aside. Add confectioner’s sugar and beat until smooth and free of lumps.

3. Transfer into a heatproof glass bowl and cool before using as filling.

Posted in baking, bread, coffee buddy, dessert, snacks7 Comments

Easy Fudge Brownies

While it’s a no-holiday-rush week for us Canadians this week (unless you’re getting ready to shop in the US like me!), I feel the “pain” of my friends in the US as Turkey Day approaches. Been there, done that last month. I love the holiday shared with friends and family, but it could be so stressful and tiring when you forget to come up for air and remind yourself that everything will turn out fine.

Speaking of coming up for air, if you won’t be one of the busy bees who will be knee deep in the kitchen for hours, why not make this for your Thanksgiving dinner host?

Fudge Brownies

Drop it off a day or two before the big day and tell them you appreciate all their efforts. Trust me, these babies and a glass of wine are better than a dehydrating dose of Red Bull. And the best thing about this recipe is that you have brownies in under an hour — including a prep time of less than 15 minutes! Using just one bowl and wooden spoon!

Even if you’re not celebrating Thanksgiving, I mean really…who needs a reason to bake brownies?

Fudge Brownies

EASY FUDGE BROWNIES
Adapted from the book, Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies by Alice Medrich (Artisan 2010)

This has to be my favorite effortless brownie recipe: it takes less than 15 minutes to prepare by hand with just a bowl and a wooden spoon, and bakes in 25 minutes or so. It comes out perfect every time – a thin top and bottom crust that complements a smooth fudge middle layer. Now this may or may not be due to the special “ice bath” quick-cooling method of this particular recipe, but I’ve done it each time and it works!

Yields: one 9”x13” pan of chocolaty goodness

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces (226.8 grams) unsweetened chocolate chopped (or use chips)
  • 2 ½ cups (17.5 ounces) white granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup (4.5 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/3 cup (4.66 ounces) walnut or pecan pieces (optional)

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven at 400°F with the rack positioned in the lower third of the oven. Line a 9″x13″ metal pan with aluminum foil.
  2. Place butter and chocolate in a large glass bowl and melt in the microwave twice for about 45 seconds, and for 20 seconds each thereafter. Stir with a wooden spoon after each interval until chocolate is completely melted and smooth.
  3. Stir in vanilla, sugar and salt. Add each egg separately; making sure it is incorporated in the mixture before the next addition. Fold in the flour and beat vigorously until the batter is smooth and glossy. Stir in the nuts (optional).
  4. Pour the batter into the pan and level. Bake for 25 to 28 minutes, until brownies begin to darken along the sides of the pan and pulls away from it. Insert a toothpick in the middle of the pan to test for doneness (only a fine crumb will stick to it). After 20 minutes of baking, prepare the “ice bath”: Fill a roasting pan or jellyroll pan with ice cubes and water.
  5. Once the brownies are done, remove from the oven and immediately place in the ice bath to cool completely. Lift the brownies in foil and transfer onto a cutting board.

Storage: Keep in an airtight container for 2 to 3 days.

Posted in baking, chocolate, dessert9 Comments

When The Macaroon Meets The Macaron, It Means I’m Back

I would bet a hundred dollars that when my friends and family see this, they won’t actually believe they’re reading something new on my site. Most of them have given up asking me about it. [I won't name any names... Ha ha.]

The past summer, Shulie, asked me if I would be interested in contributing to the tree nut-free macaron series she’s hosting on her website, Food Wanderings. I immediately replied that of course, I would, but admitting that realistically it probably won’t be until Fall that I can commit to it. She assured me that October would be fine. Super. [Thanks so much, Shulie!]

Fast forward to our Thanksgiving month here in Canada. I managed to whip up a few batches of macarons to test, including my worst macaron experiment to date — it never even made it to the parchment paper. I found a workaround so that I still had my craving for toasted coconuts satisfied in macaron form. Because I like to humour myself, I made a very macaroon-ish macaron, that still tasted like the macaroon, but not quite. It’s still a macaron. Am I confusing you?

Coconut Macaron with White Chocolate and Lime Ganache

Coconut Macaron with White Chocolate and Lime Ganache

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Read all about my nut-free macaron (mis)adventures over at Shulie‘s and find out what I used to naturally color the white chocolate ganache. If you’re allergic to tree nuts like her son, you’re in good hands — definitely check out the other recipes on her website!

Posted in dessert, experiments, nut-free, original Gourmeted recipe15 Comments

Dorie’s Perfection Pound Cake | Look Ma, No Need To Tweak!

March has whizzed by. April is beginning to blur . It has been a very busy springtime.  As I’ve mentioned earlier, we’re organizing Bake For The Quake, an event where  bakers, collaborative sponsors, and the supportive Vancouver community come together to raise funds for Japan. There’s no question it’s almost like a second job to organize a charity bake sale event and I won’t even pretend for a second that we know what we’re doing, but we are doing the best we can. Just a couple of days ago there was a strong aftershock that rocked Japan at 7.1 magnitude on the Richter scale, with a few fatalities. Now more than ever, they need our help. So we continue to work hard for this cause. If you’re able and so inclined, please consider donating directly to our fundraising page (it will automatically go directly to Doctors Without Borders). We would also appreciate your help in spreading the word — you might have a friend or family here in Vancouver. Every tweet, link, and word passed along helps. Ah, and we have printable posters for download that would be perfect for posting at your local cafe spot, restaurant, community centre, school, or local community board — just ask for permission first before putting up. :)

Before these all happened, I signed up for an Introduction To Pottery course at the local Shadbolt Centre for the Arts — what this really means is that my schedule for the next 2 weeks is f*****d a balancing act of fragile porcelain. The first class was 3 nights ago and wow, was it ever a humbling experience to make what resembles like mere child’s play:

It doesn’t help that I was practically brain dead from exhaustion. It was a good 3 hours of fortitude, with my patience being counted to the minute. My classmates were a funny bunch, so that is definitely a plus.

I’m not even sure why I’m sharing these embarrassing items to you, but I’m hoping that in a few weeks time, just like when I started cooking, baking, and taking photos, it will eventually become better. One just have to stick with it long enough to make progress.

So while my pottery skills leave a lot to be desired or emulated, this Pound Cake recipe by Dorie Greenspan, is true to it’s name: it is perfection. No tweaking necessary.

I couldn’t ask for anything more after a long day if I’m looking for a non-alcoholic happy hour. Pound cake + tea = instant relaxation. Its soft crust and moist buttery cake goes well with jam. Or if it’s that kind of day, even vanilla bean and dark chocolate ice cream.

If you’re looking at your calendar and you have a busy week ahead, my best advice would be to make this on a Saturday and keep it for the week to nibble on. It will last at room temperature for 5 to 7 days and even those tight deadlines and running around like a chicken without a head would melt in an instant as soon as you take a bite of this.

DORIE’S PERFECTION POUND CAKE
Adapted from Baking: From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2006)

A tender buttery cake with a soft crust to banish a stressful day. This delightful cake will keep for up to a week at room temperature and is lovely to eat with jams and even ice cream.  - Joy

Yields: one 9”x5” or 8.5”x4.5” pan

Ingredients

  • 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour (or 2 1/4 cups cake flour – creates a more tender crumb)
  • 1 teaspoon baking poder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven at 325°F with the rack positioned at the center of the oven. Grease a 9″x5″ loaf pan or an 8.5″ x4.5″ loaf pan with butter. Place the pan on an insulated baking sheet or 2 stacked baking sheets.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. Beat the butter and sugar on high speed in the bowl a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Continue until mixture is pale and fluffy, about a full 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle, and reduce the speed to medium.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 to 2 minutes with each interval. Don’t forget to scrape the sides of the bowl and beater to create a homogenous mixture. Add the vanilla extract.
  5. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour, mixing only until flour is in. This can also be done by hand by folding the flour into the batter with a rubber spatula.
  6. Scrape the batter into the buttered pan and smooth and level the top. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes. Check if it is browning too rapidly, and tent a foil over it if so. If your pan is 9″x5″, the cake needs to be baked for a total of 70 to 75 minutes. An 8.5″x4.5″ pan of cake would require a total of about 90 minutes.
  7. The cake is done when a thin knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  8. Transfer cake pan onto a cooling rack and let it rest for 30 minutes. Carefully run the back of a bread knife between the cake and the sides of the pan to loosen out the cake before inverting out and propping it right side up directly on the cooling rack. Cool to room temperature before wrapping.

Storage: Wrapped in clear plastic wrap, this cake will keep for 5 to 7 days at room temperature or up to 2 months in the freezer.

Posted in baking, cakes, coffee buddy, dairy, dessert, make-ahead, snacks7 Comments

Danish Water Kringle | A Game in Wrestling with the M-Word

A friend and I were just discussing the virtues of butter. To be more precise, I was oozing with my love for butter and in a mission to convince her (friend, not butter) that it is worth the sacrifice of fat when it comes to baking. Forget about the fat, think of the flavor! Omg, do it for the children. [Hmmm...children of the dairy fat?] Jokes aside, I told her I would rather use real butter and eat in moderation than let the integrity of the recipe suffer.

Oh, here it comes….words I would have to eat.

After all my Hail Butter! Hail Butter! I found another test of my love for it. Imagine seeing the LA Times recipe for Water Kringle and searching for the butter in the recipe and being face-planted with more than half a pound of…M-MM…M-Margarine. And not a single trace of butter.  Oh, my.

What’s a girl who’s never bought it or touched it in over a decade to do? Run out for some before her midnight baking spree? I put on my stubborn hat and told the recipe that it will have to do with butter. And while I was at it, I also took the liberty of omitting the vanilla custard or thick custard crème. Just because…

Sometimes I offer my sacred flours to failure experimentation. Behold, Exhibit A:

Water Kringle Deconstructed

Lightly flavored cinnamon bread with delicious brown butter cinnamon praline never looked so good, yet disappointing and humbling. I didn’t even continue to make the frosting and proceeded to gnaw at my defeat with a cup of coffee. Yes, the filling escaped! ACK!

All the hard work and mess of a counter looked so promising, too.

This weekend, we shall meet again, Danish pastry. I’ll come armed with margarine and custard. If you guys want to bake along with me, the recipe is here.

So what are you planning to make this weekend? Are you trying to conquer a particular recipe like I am?

Posted in baking, coffee buddy, dessert, experiments5 Comments

Lemon Curd and Shortbread Bars

Just a couple of announcements before we get to the golden luscious bars:

Aaaand…back to our regular programming…

Weeks ago I accidentally found some Meyer lemons at the Granville Island Market. I stopped dead in my tracks in disbelief. You’d think I won a mini lottery as my eyes bugged while picking up a bag. A lot of my California friends on Twitter talk so highly of these lemons, making me envy Kristina, who has a Meyer lemon tree in her backyard. I asked my Twitter friends what to do with 5 precious lemons and went with the popular suggestion: Meyer lemon curd. It’s so simple to make (check out Robyn’s method of making curd) that I couldn’t resist. That, and it was discussed like people were talking about liquid gold. To make the long story short: it was spoonfuls of zesty sunshine that I want to eat nonstop. I did manage to wean myself, leaving a little over 1 3/4 cups to freeze for later use.

Fast forward to Monday when I finally had time to think of what to make with them. What could be fitting for my pucker-inducing citrus curd? Then I remembered coming across a recipe Lemon Bars on Brown Butter Shortbread in the Tartine cookbook. I used the shortbread part and added oat flour instead of pine nuts — because I have a bazillion bags of oat flour. Don’t ask.

It ended up so incredibly good that I’m getting requests for more shortbread and fruit curd variations.

I love a good crust! The shortbread paired with an equal amount of lemon curd is a marriage of flavors and textures that is sure to be a keeper. Some people prefer thicker “filling”, but for the Meyer lemon curd, equal amounts, is perfect.

These bars are easy to make, so don’t even hesitate to make it. :-)

Get the Lemon Curd & Shortbread Bars recipe

Posted in dessert, make-ahead, snacks, sweets, tarts5 Comments

Cherry Clafoutis | This Ain’t No Pitted Party

New year, new recipes to conquer. I love trying something new. I’ve been on the lookout for a genuine Black Forest Cake recipe so I can compare it with the bastardized version I grew up with and I found one in a German cookbook I found at the library late last year. For some reason I thought I would need fresh cherries when I saw them at the market. Rarely do I buy fruits that are out of season, but I felt compelled to break my own rules sometimes for the sake of baking expeditions. When I got home and looked at my recipe again I guess I only needed bottled sour cherries! I was left with a rather expensive bag of cherries.

What to do…what to do with more than a pound of cherries? And they weren’t sweet enough to enjoy eating.

I turned to Twitter and sure enough my ever reliable friends had a lot of suggestions. In the end, the cherry clafoutis won.

Chef John pointed me to his video recipe and insisted I leave the pits be. Ken sent me the recipe he uses (from Martha, I believe) and it for pitted cherries, vanilla bean and kirsh (love). I created a compromise clafoutis: using whole cherries with kirsch custard, AND baking a small dish with pitted cherries to test if there really is a different. I also followed John’s method of pre-baking a layer of custard to keep the cherries from sinking down to the bottom of the pan. Brilliant!

Light, fragrant, mildly sweet bites of fluffy custard with fresh bursts of cherry goodness. And I have to say, the unpitted cherry owned the pitted cherry clafoutis by a landslide. Forget for one moment that you will bite into seeds. It’s a tiny price to pay for the great flavor.

Oh, and by all means, please use fresh vanilla beans if you can. Absolutely divine.

I can’t wait to bake more! Shall we make a pact and get ready to bake clafoutis come cherry season? Next time, I’ll take Barbara‘s recommendation and try Julia Child’s recipe. I’m also counting on the Tartine recipe I have from their book as well!

   Get the recipe for the Cherry Clafoutis

Posted in baking, coffee buddy, dessert, healthier choices5 Comments

Chocolate Donuts and a Donut Pan Giveaway!

Oh, boy. There are no excuses. I didn’t have time. The holidays just crept up on me and I didn’t even get a chance to do my annual holiday mail signup! I’ll set up a New Year’s one — that’s the plan. :) What little extra time I have, here it is…in Vegas before my flight back in the cold north.

I love my donut pan that’s about the size of a quarter baking sheet. I’ve always wanted to bake donuts, but my prior experience with a popular recipe I found online was a complete disaster. A bread is NOT a doughnut. These ones though were cake-y (my preference). They dry up after a day, BUT if you enjoy it the day of, it’s a pleasure to eat.

Baked Chocolate Donuts with Mocha Frosting

And I did mention it’s baked, right? No need to deep fry!

Baked Chocolate Donuts with Mocha Frosting

I have to “blame” my fellow Leo, Tracy of Shutterbean.com for luring me with her donuts a few months ago. Hey, no regrets, I’m baking these babies again soon for the holidays. Perhaps I’ll try a more fruity version since I already have so much chocolate in mind.

Baked Chocolate Donuts with Mocha Frosting

The recipe came from the packaging of the donut pan, and I’m glad it worked out for me. Hope it does for you, too!

And I know what you’re thinking: “But I don’t have that pan, Joy!” So here’s what I’ll do: I’m giving a pan each to TWO lucky winners. ‘ll keep the rules simple: just leave a comment or (re)tweet this post, and I’ll be picking the 2 winners on the 27th of December. This is only open to those with US and Canada mailing addresses because shipping would be too expensive outside of North America. I feel so bad about this, but next time I’ll have something else for international readers.

Oh, and if you think the donut pan will be rarely used in your kitchen aside from donuts, fear not! Make donut shaped rice crispies, small portion donut-shaped brioche french toast with the hole filled up with fruits, donut-shaped granola bars, and so much more. I love “playing” with food, and this is no different. It won’t be a white elephant in your kitchen, I promise.

Hopefully I’ll post again before Christmas. :) HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Chocolate Cake Donuts
Adapted from the Norpro recipe

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  1. Pre-heat oven to 325°F with the rack in the middle. Spray a small donut pan with cooking oil.
  2. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. Mix eggs, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl, until thick, scraping the sides at least once.
  4. Combine milk and butter in a small bowl. Pour and combine with the egg mixture alternately with the flour mixture in 3 increments, until smooth and soft.
  5. Fill donut pan 2/3 full for each donut. Bake for 8 minutes until the donut tops dome up. Cool in the tray propped on a cooling rack and carefully remove after 5 minutes. Repeat with the rest of the batter.
  6. Frost with your choice of icing or sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar for a lightly sweet treat.

Posted in baking, chocolate, coffee buddy, dessert, giveaways, snacks25 Comments

Mocha Cake ala Goldilocks

Goldilocks is a well-known institution of baked goods and pastries in the Philippines. Even though I can easily go to their Vancouver location to get my mocha cake fix, I’ve always dreamed of baking a copycat so I can enjoy it anytime at home and knowing the ingredients in the cake I’m eating.

Finally, this summer, I set out to do just that. I got insanely lucky on my first try of the series and the flavor and texture was right on. My family declared it identical to (and even better than) Goldilocks. It was too good to be true and I can tell you that I got teary eyed on the final tasting of the buttercream after tweaking the flavors. Just to be sure, I’ve baked it numerous times since that first time. It helps that another batch of cake is requested before the current one gets eaten, so I don’t have to bury my face in mocha cake. Hah! One cake is just not enough. In fact, I’ve been asked not to post it on the blog because it really does taste like the real thing.  However, what kind of food blogger am I if, after all the testing and perfecting, I don’t share it? That pretty much defeats my purpose for this site.

So here it is, one item off my To-Cook-and-Bake-From-Scratch list:

This was my sister-in-law’s birthday cake.

The mocha cake from Goldilocks defined my love for cakes at an early age. What cake do I want for my birthday? Goldilocks mocha cake please!

Back in university, whenever I felt down, all I needed was a quick jeepney ride to Philcoa to order a half roll of mocha cake and — gasp — finish most of it myself. [Either that, or Betty's Sans Rival.] I was shameless and guiltless in my 5 foot frame and in the 90-pound mark then. These days, I don’t want to think about that, but I still want to a slice of mocha cake or two with my cup of coffee.

The cake is light, fluffy, and soft, and the icing is a luscious combination of extra smooth coffee and cocoa, buttery but not greasy. To get the authentic taste, you will need to use Nescafe coffee granules. You can also use espresso granules (= coffee taste is bolder and more pronounced) or Starbucks VIA Italian roast (=icing has bitter and sour notes), but it’s up to you if you want to use what you have available. You will also need amaretto, an Italian almond liqueur to finish off the flavor and must not be skipped. I’ve never tried to substitute it with anything, so I cannot advise you on that for now. I’ll try making this with almond extract next time and see if that can be used!

Please enjoy!

The recipe can be made into a two-layer 9-inch round cake or a roll. I’ve included instructions for the roll in the recipe Notes if you want to take a stab at it.

Other Filipino Treats you can try making: Pan de Sal, Food for the Gods

4.0 from 1 reviews
Mocha Cake ala Goldilocks
Author: 
Recipe type: Filipino, Cakes
Serves: 8
 
TOOLS & EQUIPMENT: hand mixer or stand mixer, 2 9”x2” cake pans, 2 baking sheets, parchment paper cake comb (optional, for decoration); OR a 10.5”x15.5”x1” jelly roll pan if making a roll
Ingredients
  • For the Cake:
  • 6 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coffee/espresso granules [Nescafe instant coffee recommended]
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 6 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • For the Mocha Buttercream:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, soft, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon coffee/espresso granules
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 5 teaspoons water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 teaspoons amaretto
Instructions
  1. For the Cake: Preheat oven to 375°F with racks in the upper middle and lower middle positions. Spray two 9”x2” round cake pans with baking spray, and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer) over low, then medium speed, until creamy and light yellow in color.
  3. Dissolve espresso or coffee granules and cocoa powder in water and vanilla in a small bowl, getting rid of lumps while stirring. Pour into the egg-sugar mixture, along with canola oil, and beat until well combined.
  4. Remove large bowl from stand mixer (if using one) and sift cake flour and baking powder over it. Stir with a wooden spoon until well blended, scraping the sides of the bowl once.
  5. Whisk egg whites and cream of tartar into stiff peaks in a medium bowl, and fold into the mocha batter, a dollop or two first to liquefy the thick batter, and then in thirds.
  6. Divide the batter between two cake pans and place each pan on a baking sheet. Bake on two racks for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the pans and exchanging the pans between racks halfway through. The cake is done when the tops become golden brown and the cake tester comes out clean when inserted in the middle.
  7. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then carefully turn over on the wire rack, right side up. Cool completely before icing.
  8. For the Buttercream: Whisk sugar and egg whites for 3 to 5 minutes in a medium heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (water should not touch the bottom of the bowl), until meringue is hot to the touch. The sugar granules will be dissolved and you will be left with a fluffy marshmallow cream-like froth.
  9. Remove bowl from heat and beat for 5 minutes with a hand mixer set to medium speed, or pour into a bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment to mix.
  10. Add half of the butter and beat with a hand mixer (or paddle attachment for stand mixer) until smooth before adding the next half to combine. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula and give it a quick stir. Beat again on medium-high for another 6 to 10 minutes to thicken.
  11. Dissolve cocoa and espresso/coffee granules in water, vanilla extract, and amaretto in a small bowl. Pour into the buttercream and beat for 2 minutes, scraping the sides at least once.
  12. To Assemble the Cake: Dot 3 3”-wide parchment paper strips with buttercream. Use the icing to stick the 3 strips into a triangle on a plate or cake stand. Dot the center bottom of the cake with icing, and place cake on top of the strips. These will keep your plate clean while frosting the cake.
  13. Spoon about ½ cup of frosting on top and spread it evenly with a flat metal spatula. Place the second layer of cake and spread a thin layer of icing over the entire cake and let it stand for 15 minutes. Spread a thicker layer of frosting over the side, working from the bottom up to the top. Frost the top by placing a mound of icing and spreading it to the side. You can decorate the cake with the remaining frosting as you wish.
Notes
To decorate: You can use a cake comb to create ridges on the side of the cake. The traditional Goldilocks mocha roll and cake are decorated using a cake comb. I added finely grated chocolate at the top.

To make a mocha roll:
From Step 6 onwards -- Pour batter into a 10.5”x15.5”x1” jelly roll pan (sprayed with cooking spray and lined with a sheet of wax paper, and another coat of cooking spray) and bake for 12 to 15 minutes with the rack on upper middle position, rotating the pan halfway through. What I usually do is bake for 6 minutes and rotate and add minutes as needed to let it bake thoroughly. It is done when the top is golden brown and cake tester will come out clean. Lay flat a dry kitchen/tea towel that’s slightly larger than the pan and dust with a thin layer of powdered sugar. Remove cake from the oven and turn pan over onto the towel. Carefully peel the wax paper and scooping the towel from underneath, slowly roll the towel and cake together. Cool on a wire rack with the seam side down. After about an hour, unroll and remove the towel, spread a generous layer of mocha buttercream. Depending on your preference, you can put as much as half on it. Re-roll the cake and frost the outside and sides. OR you can use the other half of the icing to fill another roll. [Instructions to make the butter cream is the same.]

   

 

Posted in baking, coffee buddy, dessert, experiments, Filipino dishes, original Gourmeted recipe323 Comments