Summary

Give me cake or give me death cookies.

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Chocolate Pie- Recipe

This chocolate pie is a trap. A creamy, dreamy, delicious trap of deliciousness.

Can you guess the secret ingredient?


The secret ingredient is... *drumroll*

...Tofu!

Yes, this is actually a chocolate tofu pie, and a no-bake pie at that: but if you didn't tell anyone, they'd be none the wiser. I promise. It has significantly less fat than its cream-based cousins, removing some of the sin. Don't kid yourself though, you're still using Oreo cookies and chocolate: the tofu just helps to soften the blow a bit.

I've been wanting to make this pie for so, so long. The reason why I've been holding off is because of my lack of food processor, which makes life so much easier when it comes to crushing biscuits for cookie pie crusts. I couldn't wait any longer though: I came home from work, literally rolled up my sleeves, shoved the cookies in a sandwich bag and took a rolling pin to them. Old school, baby.

You will, however, at least need a hand blender if not a full-sized blender or food processor for the filling. My cheapy cheapo £4 supermarket one did the job just fine.

Ingredients for Pie Crust:

- 3 'sleeves' of Oreo cookies (about 36... 35 since one somehow got eaten before it joined the others...)
- 3tbsp margarine or butter, melted

Ingredients for Filling:

- 1 block firm silken tofu, drained (it's usually stored suspended in water)
- 12oz (about 2 cups) semisweet chocolate chips (not 70% dark chocolate, or it'll be bitter)
- 1tbsp honey
- 1/4 cup strong brewed coffee (or your favourite liqueur...)
- 1tbsp vanilla (or 1tsp if you're using booze)

Method:

1) If you have a food processor, bully for you: throw all the Oreos into it and blend into crumbs. If not, put them in a sandwich bag and beat the snot out of them. Got someone you hate? Had a tough day? Then this is the job for you. You might have to do this in several stages: if you fill the bag up too full you risk bursting it and sending crumbs flying (guilty).
 

I got impatient and left some big chunks.

2) If you have a food processor, add the melted butter and pulse until well-combined. It should still be a bit on the crumby side. If no food processor, tip your massacred oreos into a bowl and mash the melted butter in with a fork to blend it in thoroughly.

3) Now pack the whole lot into the sides and bottom of an 8" or 9" tart or pie dish to line it, and stick it in the fridge while you make the filling up.


4) Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave (do it in short 20 second bursts to stop the chocolate from burning), and add it, along with the drained tofu, honey, vanilla and coffee into a blender, and blend until smooth and well-incorporated (or, if you have a stick blender like me, put all the filling ingredients into a big bowl and blend it that way).


5) Take your cookie pie crust out of the fridge and pour the filling in, smoothing it out evenly.


6) Put the whole thing in the fridge and chill for at least 4 hours (this is the hardest part: not eating the pie at this stage!)

7) Now you can serve it. If you've used a loose-bottomed tart dish like I have, unmould it. If not, just serve it straight from the dish.



I served this to my mum and dad: Mum being a fellow seasoned tofu-eater, and Dad being a seasoned tofu-avoider. Neither of them could tell that it was made with tofu (I told Dad what it was made of after he ate it just to be sure), and both agreed that it tasted just as lovely and rich as a regular chocolate cream pie.

Serving Suggestions:

This was more than rich enough for me and I loved it just the way it was, but if you must, you can top it with whipped cream before cutting it up and serving. Sprinkle over some dark chocolate curls to contrast against the fluffy white cream, add a few strawberries to garnish on the plate, and you have yourself a very decent Valentine's Day dessert.

Note: If presentation is a must, use a food processor to get those Oreo crumbs as fine as possible, or really spend some quality time with that rolling pin (I'd just come back from work and was juggling dinner at the same time, hence my impatience). That way when it comes to packing the crust into the tin, you can get a really clean edge.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Cocomango Cupcakes- Competition Entry

I baked these for these cupcake challenge hosted by Emerald Street- the first prize winner gets their cupcakes sold in Hummingbird Bakery branches all over the country for two months.


Mango sponge using fresh mangoes with a coconut cream frosting!

Head on over to emeraldstreet.com to check out the entries so far and enter your own creations (you need to subscribe with your email first).

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Sticky Sticky Toffee Pudding- Recipe

I know what you're thinking and yes, the second 'Sticky' is intentional.


But why the second 'Sticky'? It's because this pudding is extra pudding-y, verging on the gooey. The very last sticky toffee pudding I had was at a pub for a friend's birthday, and it was dry, dry, dry. Today I decided to create a better one, but ended up overcompensating on the wet ingredients, resulting in an almost fudge-like pudding. It tasted fantastic though, even if I was hoping for a more cake-like pudding. The pecans were a wonderful textural foil to the pudding, and the maple syrup I drizzled at the bottom of the pan caramelised into crunchy bits.

If you're looking for a hot, butterscotchy pudding that's squidgy and moist, here's how you do it.

Ingredients for Pudding:

- 2 large eggs
- 2oz butter or margerine, melted
- 2oz dark brown sugar
- 200g dates, chopped
- 200ml strongly brewed tea
- 80ml strongly brewed coffee
- 4oz self raising flour
- 2tbsp black treacle
- 100g pecans
- About 70ml maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp each of cinnamon and nutmeg
- Extra butter to grease the pan

Ingredients for Butterscotch Sauce:

- 6tbsp dark muscavado sugar
- 2tbsp butter/ margarine
-120ml cream (single, double, Elmlea- any of those will do)

Method:

1) Soak the chopped dates in the tea and coffee for at least an hour. I did this in the morning so the dates had a good few hours to go soft. When time's up, blend into a mush (or mash them, if you don't have a blender).

2) Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C and generously grease a 18cm square pan with butter or margarine.

3) Scatter the pecans at the bottom of the pan, drizzle with maple syrup and set aside. The pecans will float into the centre of the pudding mixture when you add it later, but the maple syrup will caramelise and form crunchy bits.

4) Whisk together the melted butter and muscavado sugar (I just used a balloon whisk). Whisk in the eggs, then the flour and spices. Then add your caffienated dates and black treacle, mixing thoroughly,

5) Pour the mixture over the pecans in your pan, and bake for about an hour. If the top starts to burn, cover it with foil and continue cooking (this didn't happen to me, but it might to you- all ovens are slightly different).



6) Start making the butterscotch toffee sauce once you take the pudding out of the oven to allow the pudding to rest a bit: add the butter and sugar to a saucepan and bring it to the boil- once it boils bring the temperature down and simmer gently for about three minutes (you don't want to boil it harshly in case you burn it). After three minutes, stir in the cream.

(The butter and sugar should look like this for 3mins before adding the cream.)
7) Scoop up a square of steaming pudding onto a place, spoon some hot butterscotch over, and enjoy! It's awesome with ice cream.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Nutella Torte - Recipe

I think this counts as Nutella torte rather than Nutella cake. It only contains a little bit of flour and the rest ground nuts: and there's nothing to officially say (that I'm aware of) that a torte has to be made 100% without any flour whatsoever. The general consensus on the internet is that a torte is made with 'little to no flour', so in that respect, a torte it is.


I adapted the recipe from Nigella Lawson's Torta Alla Gianduia: instead of ground hazelnuts I used ground almonds (because I can't find ready ground hazelnuts and my food processor died quite a while ago), and I cut the amount of ground nuts by half and substituted with self raising flour (because I wanted a slightly lighter texture while keeping it dense and moist enough to be recognisable as a torte). I also used vanilla instead of frangellico, rum or brandy because I don't have any of those, and I used more butter because... well, just because. I tweeked the topping a bit and left out decorating it with toasted hazelnuts because I quite liked the look of it plain.

Ingredients for Torte:

- 6 eggs, separated
- 400g jar nutella
- 200g butter
- 100g dark 70% chocolate
- 50g ground almonds
- 50g self raising flour
- 2tsp vanilla

Ingredients for Ganache Glaze:

- 60g dark 70% chocolate
- 60g milk chocolate
- 5tbsp milk

Method:

1) Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C and line and grease a 9" springform tin.

2) Melt the butter and sugar together (I did this in the microwave- be cautious and do it in short 30 second bursts- but you can also do it in a heat proof bowl sat over a pan of simmering water). Set aside to cool.


3) Whip the egg whites until very stiff/ until you can literally hold the bowl over your head and not end up looking like a snowman (if you've done it right, it works). Set aside.



4) Now that your chocolate butter has cooled, stir thoroughly into the egg yolks, flour, ground almonds and vanilla...

 


 5) ... And stir in the Nutella. All of it.


Remember, Nutella goes in bowl, not in face

6) Take a couple of tablespoons of the egg white out of the big bowl and stir into the chocolate mixture to loosen it up a bit: then put it all back in the bowl with the rest of the egg whites and fold gently. Remember: only fold for as long as you have too: the less you move it around, the less air bubbles you smash out of it and the fluffier the cake.


7) Scrape the mixture into your tin, and bake for around 30 minutes or until the centre of the cake doesn't wobble any more.



8) Whilst your cake is cooling, make your ganache glaze by melting the chocolate and milk together (again, I did this in the microwave). One the cake is cool enough to handle (no need to wait until it's completely cold for this recipe), take it out of the tin, plate it up, and pour/ spread your ganache over the top.

9) Serve warm, preferably with some ice cream.


Enjoy!

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Swiss Roll - Video Recipe!

Check out my how to make Swill roll video on YouTube!

Swiss roll is one of the easiest things in the world to make. This one was meant to be a full-sized one, but I rolled it up the wrong way and ended up making mini rolls instead (I could have totally lied and said I meant to do this all along, but I'm far too honest).

Awesome with clotted cream!

Ingredients for Cake Roll:

- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup caster sugar
- 1/4 cup self raising flour
- 1tbsp hot milk
- 1tsp vanilla

Ingredients for Filling:

- strawberry jam (or which ever jam or spread you like- could be lemon curd, could be Nutella- anything you like!)

Method:

1) Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C, and line and grease a 26 x 32xm baking pan (grease the baking paper itself- see how it stuck in the video when I forgot to do this!)

2) Whisk the eggs and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy, and when a trail of puffy mixture is left behind when you lift the whisk

3) Sift in the flour and gently fold in

4) Fold in the hot milk and vanilla

5) Pour into your pan, spread evenly and bake for 10 minutes.

6) Whilst the sponge is baking, put down some more baking parchment on your worktop and sprinkle it with caster sugar to stop the cake from sticking later

7) Take the sponge out of the oven and immediately flip it over onto your sugared paper

8) While still hot, spread as much jam as you like- not too much though or it'll all squish out when you roll it up

9) Roll your Swiss roll up- lengthways from the shortest edge for a fat roll, widthways from the longest edge for mini rolls

10) Eat by itself or with cream/ custard/ ice-cream

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Bubur Cha Cha - Recipe

The first recipe and post of 2013- not a bake at all, but I think the name alone of this dessert makes it worthy of its own post. So let's begin 2013 with a laugh.

Bubur Cha Cha!

Pronounced 'boo-boo cha-cha'.

I can't say the name of this dessert without giggling like an idiot. Even writing it out phonetically just now made me crack a smile. 'Boo-boo cha-cha'. Ha! Anyway, 'bubur' is Malay for 'congee' (porridge), and 'cha cha' means 'plentiful'.

Bubur cha cha's main ingredients traditionally consist of sweetened coconut milk, sweet potatoes, taro (or yam) and tapioca pearls, usually served warm but occasionally over ice, and is popular in Malaysia. It is in fact a nonya (or nyonya) dish- that is, a fusion of (but not limited to) Chinese and Malay food in particular.

Sweet food, colourful food. You guys already know what I like.

Here's my take on this traditional dessert, where I've made flavoured and coloured 'dumplings' out of tapioca instead of loose tapioca pearls.

Ingredients for Potatoes:

- Potatoes.

Just kidding, I know that part's pretty obvious.

- 1 large normal (orange) sweet potato
- 2 small taros/ yams (sometimes sold as eddoe)
- 2 small purple sweet potatoes (if you can find them- usually found in Chinese supermarkets)

Ingredients for Tapioca Dumplings:

- 3/4 cup tapioca pearls (get the tiny 'seed' ones, or sago)
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 2tbsp cornflour
- a few drops of pink and green food colouring (I used pandan paste and rose syrup for extra flavour)

Ingredients for Sweet Coconut Soup:

- 1 tin thick coconut milk
- 2tsp cornflour to thicken
- 4tbsp caster sugar
- a pinch of salt
- 2 pandan leaves, slightly shredded and tied in a knot (again, if you can find them, and again found in Chinese supermarkets)

Method:


1) First you want to prepare your potatoes. Peel and dice them as big or small as you want, and steam them. I did this in the microwave (place in a microwavable bowl, cover with clingfilm and microwave for about 3mins, or until tender). Make sure your yam is fully cooked in particular- yams and taro are toxic when raw, and could give your stomach a really rough ride if eaten raw. Set them aside for later once cooked.

I burned the purple sweet potatoes. *Cries* Curse you, dodgy microwave timer!

2) Make your tapioca dumplings (or tapioca jelly, if you prefer). Mix the boiling water with your tapioca in a bowl, stirring until sticky. Divide into two bowls, and colour as you wish. Then add about a tbsp of cornflour to each bowl and knead until dough-like.

Pandan extract comes from the pandan leaf, as shown here.

3) Roll each of your dough lumps into long, thin sausages, and cut little coin-shaped slices.

Uneven dividing of tapioca led to an over-abudance of pink.

4) Boil each colour separately in a pan of water and stir lightly until the dumplings start floating. Now keep them on the boil until they go clear-ish (about half an hour), and then fish them out and put them in separate bowls of lukewarm water to keep them from sticking to each other (not cold water, or you'll lose some of the chewiness and they'll become tough).



5) Now make your sweet coconut soup: put your can of coconut milk in a saucepan with your pandan leaves (or without), sugar and salt. Take out a tablespoon of coconut milk and mix with your two teaspoons of cornflour in a small bowl until liquid, and add back to the saucepan. Now thicken on a low heat for about five minutes, stirring continuously, and bring to a simmer.

The pandan perfumed the coconut soup with a wonderfully fragrant smell and flavour.

6) Now divide up your potatoes, tapioca dumplings and hot coconut soup into three bowls and serve.

Happy new year, everyone!

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Want more Malaysian desserts? Check out my recipes for Kueh Dadar: sweet coconut-stuffed pancakes,and layered Kueh Ubi Bingka: a custardy, chewy steamed cassava cake.