Lemon Bars

Lemon Bars

Lemon Bars

My dog loves pastry and this is one of her favorites. I’ve been trying real hard to bake anything with no chocolate in them so I could share this with her.
She loves it and I love giving it to her that for some reason I’m beginning to plan what to bake according to her tastes.
Heh.

Lemon Bars

For the Shortbread
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup white sugar
¾ cup butter

Procedure
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line the bottom and side of an 8×12 inch rectangular baking pan with parchment paper, allowing it to extend over the sides for lifting the pastry after baking,
In a bowl, blend butter and sugar. Add flour and mix just until dough holds together. Press dough in the pan to form a crust. Bake for 15 minutes.

For the lemon filling
4 large eggs
1 ½ cups white sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
powdered sugar for sprinkling

Procedure:
In a mixing bowl, beat eggs and sugar until thick and pale. Add flour then juice, mix until blended. Pour over hot crust and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until top is firm. Remove from oven and cool.
When cool, carefully lift from the pan using the extended paper. Slice into bars. Sprinkle with powdered sugar just before serving.

Custard Pie

I’ve been at loss for words and ideas as of late. I’ve found a bit of free non-sleepy state time this past week , I’ve finished my New Year’s first post and is excited to post it. So why didn’t I post it? I was looking for inspiration! Really I was.
So I turned to twitter. Yes, twitter. I follow and read tweets from random people (like myself) and celebrities and news updates. I find it enlightening and relaxing to read ranging topics right? At least I think so.
Exciting and funny things happened to me on twitter! I interacted with (as with their other fans) CL and Dara of 2NE1, G-Dragon of Big Bang and Yoo Ara of Hello Venus. I couldn’t care less even if I were told, “what if that’s not them?’ I was like, “No I’m sure it’s them.”

I share to you my Custard Pie.

Thin Custard Pie
For the Flaky Pie Dough (1 9-inch pie or 2 20×2 CM tart pan)
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
6 oz cold unsalted butter, cubed
2 oz shortening, cubed
1/4-1/2 cups ice water
For the custard
6 large eggs (whites and yolks)
1 cup condensed milk
1 cup full cream milk ( the ready to drink kind)
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 tsp lemon rind, finely grated (or lime rind)

Make ahead.
For the flaky pie dough. In a bowl, place flour and salt. Whisk slightly to combine. Sprinkle the cubed butter and shortening. Next sprinkle the ice water. Using a pastry cutter or two bread knives cut the butter and shortening into the flour until it forms close into a ball. Using a clear plastic bag, tightly seal the dough and freeze for at least 2 hours. Preheat oven at least 15 minutes before baking. After two hours, take the frozen dough out of the freezer. Once ready lay on a floured surface then flatten using a rolling pin. Lay on top of your pie/tart pan and carefully cover the pie/tart pan.

Custard:

Pour the prepared custard over the pie dough then bake for 30 minutes THEN another 20 fan forced. ( I honestly wouldn’t know how to convert that into regular baking. You see, I was using a small convection oven. My oven and I named Pyonpyon are still in the getting to know each other stage. To be helpful please check http://www.casaveneracion.com and search for perfect custard cake” because that’s where I based my custard base.)
To check if it’s already cooked. Lightly press the custard with the back side of a spoon, if the custard keeps its shape then its cooked. It would feel like the top of a freshly baked dinner roll. Soft and steady.

Lemon Pudding

<

Lemon Pudding

Serves: 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Baking Time: 30-60 minutes

You will need:
3 tbsp butter, extra for greasing
1 ½ cups fine sugar
3 eggs separated
3 tbsp all purpose flour, sifted
pinch baking powder
1 ½ cups milk
2 pcs lemons, juice and zest
hot water (for bain-marie)

What to do:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 4 individual ramekins or pudding mold (you may use a teacup or mug) or an 8-inch round baking dish.
2. Beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, then add in egg yolks. Combine flour and baking powder. Add into the butter-sugar mixture ALTERNATELY with the milk, mixing between addition to make a smooth batter.
3. IN ANOTHER BOWL, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold into batter. Add lemon juice and zest. Gently stir to combine. Pour into prepared ramekins.
4. Place ramekins in an oven proof deep dish. Fill with hot water at least 3/4 full. Bake for at least 40 (up to 60) minutes for ramekins. The top should have a light golden brown texture.

Mrs. Bonners Sweet Potato Pie (plus a few pointers)

You would forgive me if for sometime I would be posting an all-baked goodies won’t you? It’s not like that’s all I’d be posting just that I’ve been making every effort to bake and I missed it so much that I’m all over it.

This time I made Sweet Potato Pie.

You see that time I was contemplating on what to read and was browsing my bookshelf and found Two for the Road by Jane and Michael Stern. A couple, who according to Nora Ephron of The New York Times, “…write about food so simply and exuberantly that they deserve a room of their own in the Smithsonian Instiution.”

I hope I don’t get into trouble for this. I just wanted to give you an idea why i chose this recipe over what I already have. This exchange between Jane, Michael and Mrs. Bonner is something I might dread or not or booth, who knows?

Mrs. Bonner’s Sweet Potato Pie (page 181)

“Mrs. Bonner’s cafe was a restaurant without written menu. Mrs. Bonner went shopping every morning and cooked what looked good at the market, and when customers walked in and found a booth, she would size them up and decide what they ought to eat…”

Jane Stern had chicken and dumplings while Michael had smoked mullet. They declared that both dishes were excellent and so were Mrs. Bonner’s sweet potato pie. Here’s the recipe:

8 tbsp butter, softened (1 stick)
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups mashed sweet potatoes*
1/2 cup evaporated milk**
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp fine salt
1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell***

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl with an electric mixer. Beat in the eggs. Beat in the sweet potatoes, then the milk, vanilla and salt. Mix well.
Pour into the pie shell and bake for 40 minutes, until dark-red gold (if using orange or yellow sweet potatoes). Cool and serve at room temperature.

* I used purple
** I used full cream milk
***Recipe available in my Apple Pie post.

Let me tell you it was heavenly. Everyone I served it to said, “Whaa, how did she make this, it’s delicious.” Even Shem, who’s a precocious and picky eater shoved one forkful after another!

Mrs. Bonner’s method of sizing up what her customers would eat is something I wouldn’t mind trying. As long as the comeuppance grave or rewarding would rest solely upon the cook ( it doesn’t have to be Mrs. Bonner, anyone brave enough or confident enough will do).

I’ve always, always been generous with tips (as long as the service and food is really good and satisfactory) and I believe it is just proper to be so. I have a high regard to those who treat food and cooking with dignity and pride that a lot of restaurant staff seems to have forgotten. I’ve been duped many times before by advertisements that doesn’t live to its claim and have handed my opinion in a very plain and exact manner. ” Uh, excuse me but this not how it is described in your menu. It doesn’t taste good.” Like so, I didn’t say that when I ordered curry ( the stew version) I expected curry (it didn’t even taste anything like curry) not a piece of meat drizzled ever so lightly with a light yellow coconut cream sauce. Really, how difficult is it to make curry? if you can’t make that then don’t for God’s sake open a restaurant and serve curry. Curry/ How can they shame curry like that?! Needless to say, I never ate or even looked at that restaurant again. ( It was in Davao City, SM ground floor).

Why the rant? I had a dream about it! Probably because of what I’ve read from Table for Three, Please and Dessert Comes First. I was highly influenced to write about my opinion, so I did.

***A Special Section***

It rained non-stop yesterday because of Tropical Storm Pablo (for news and donation efforts please click

Apple Pie

At times when I want to make something and it’s something that I’m doing for the very first time. I always trust my instinct. It’s not luck or anything else that almost always I make it work and no disaster comes from it. I’ve been cooking for years now and I’ve learned a lot from numerous mistakes, misses and hits to know when I can make it work or not. With instinct alone however, it won’t work that’s why it’s imperative that I follow procedure explicitly.
This apple pie recipe is a combination of a flaky pie dough recipe and an old fashioned filling.
The flaky pie dough recipe is from Aileen Anastacio of Goodies n’ Sweets (Manila, Philippines) from her Yummy magazine column May 2009. The filling is from Connie Veneracion of http://www.casaveneracion.com. Connie’s food blog is still my number one most trusted Filipino based blog. She makes almost everything and as much as she can makes international dishes using easier to find ingredients (if at all possible) in our local market.

Here’s my thanksgiving tribute to my friends in the United States.

Apple Pie

For the filling:
12-18 cooking apples, peeled and cores removed (I used Fuji apples)
juice of half a lemon
3/4 c. of sugar
1/2 tsp. of salt
1/2 c. of all-purpose flour
1 tsp. of ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. of ground nutmeg
1/3 c. of butter, cut into small pieces

Flaky Pie Dough (makes one 9”dough)
2 ½ cup all purpose-flour
1 tsp salt
6 ounces cold unsalted butter, cubed
2 ounces shortening ( I used Crisco), cubed
¼ to ½ cup ice water

1. Make the pie dough: In a large bowl, combine flour and salt, and stir to mix. Scatter butter and shortening pieces over the flour mixture. Using a fork or pastry blender, toss flour to coat, then cut in the butter and shortening until the mixture forms large, coarse crumbs. Drizzle ice water over the mixture and toss with the pastry blender until dough is evenly moist and begins to come together in a mass but does not form into a ball. Wrap dough tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for an hour overnight. Thaw the dough for an hour before baking. Once thawed roll out the dough into a circle (this recipe makes one 9 inch open faced pie but since I used a smaller baking tin I have extra to cover the pie) then place into a baking dish. ( I used a tin since I have no oven safe baking dish.)

2. Pre-heat oven to 177°C (or 350°F). (conversions guided by http://www.joyofbaking.com)
3. Make the filling. Cut the apples into cubes (if you can try to cut it into one inch cubes). Toss with the lemon juice. Toss. Add the sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg and toss to blend well. Feel free to use your hands as I did. I was trying to accidentally bruise (even if it is unnecessary) the apples.
4. Pour filling into the prepared bottom crust. Sprinkle the cubed cold butter all over the filling. Don’t worry about the filling if it overflows. It will shrink and soften as it cooks. Cover with the remaining crust, seal the edges. Prick the top crust with a knife for the steam to escape as you bake.
5. In a small bowl, beat an egg and about 1 tablespoon of milk. Brush this all over the top crust including the edges. (I skipped this part because I forgot so a fair warning to you, do this to achieve a glossy and golden top crust.)
6. Bake for an hour to one hour and a half or until top crust is golden. Cool then chill for several hours before serving. You may opt to serve it with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream or as it is.

Cookies and Cream Sandwich

It has been raining every other day now and I’ve been blessed. I’ve always loved rain (but not too much because then that would be called a disaster in every sense of the word) even if most people don’t. When it rains during the day I feel like its cleansing the earth therefore making it neater and quieter. If it rains during the night I believe its giving life to the farmers crops and soothes our tired working souls. Also when it rains I get to have a chance to repair the house. You know, do some DIYs while trying to avoid getting soaked. So far I’ve hammered down floppy and flapping plywood underneath a window cover. Sealed ceiling leaks and other leaks all throughout the grocery. I need not do this if only I was present during the construction but that’s not something I still want to look back to.
So in the past posts, when it rains I usually feature something to the likes of soup or any other hearty/heavy meals for warmth this time I’m being whimsical.
Truth be told I’ve been coughing non stop (yes, it’s back after days of thinking I got better) and this time its worse. I was so sick the other day that I had to sleep the entire daytime. Still I’m feeling the magic. Here’s my cookies and cream sandwich as I enjoy a chilly and windy afternoon in the front porch.

Cookies and Cream Sandwich

5 ½ cups semi-crushed cookie sandwich (I used Oreo)
½ cup melted butter
1 ½ cup condensed milk, room temperature
1 cup sour cream, chilled
2 cups heavy cream, chilled

Line 10-12 3×3-inch round pans with plastic wrap, make sure to leave extra plastic to hang over the rims. ( To make it easier to remove the cookies later.)
In a food processor, pulse semi-crushed cookies and butter until well mixed. It should feel damp, smooth and sticky. Divide half of the cookie-butter mixture amongst the pans. Press firmly to form the sandwich’s bottom crust. Set aside.

In another bowl, whip heavy cream until thick, fold in condensed milk and sour cream. Blend well to balance the flavours. Spoon over bottom crust of each pan, smooth the cream filling with the back of the spoon. Chill for 2 hours in the freezer, covered. Carefully press remaining cookie-butter mixture over the cream filling to form the top crust. Freeze overnight (or if you made this early in the morning, 8 hours will do).

Lift the cookies and cream sandwich carefully using the extended plastic wrap. Peel off the plastic wrap and serve immediately.

I made these the first time during summertime and served it in the afternoon, it melted quickly thus I suggest you make your guests peel off the plastic wrap themselves. Of course that will only work if your having a very relaxed, lounging around kind of get together. Back to my rain story, so this time I had these lovely black and white marvels yesterday afternoon as it rained and I was sold.

Its good rain or shine, of course that just me but who knows? You might like it that way as well. So go and try.