Seri Muka Kuih

Seri Muka Kuih

Hello Everyone! Our last recipe for the month of June is an amazing Malaysian and Nyonya kuih made of glutinous rice, coconut milk, sugar, and pandan leaves. Kuihs (or kuehs) are common snacks of the Hokkien, Teochew and Peranakan cuisine.The terminology is actually a general description for bite-size pastries/nibbles. These traditional delights come in many different forms and are either sweet or savoury snacks/desserts.

Seri Muka literally translates to beautiful face in Malay. It is a two-layered cake that consists of a glutinous rice layer steamed with coconut milk and topped off with a sweet and silky smooth pandan custard layer (hence the green colour). It’s heady with the flavour of coconut milk, a key ingredient used to impart a creamy taste when cooking the glutinous rice and making the custard layer.

Seri Muka Kuih

My fondest memory of Seri Muka would have to be during the festive season of the Islamic New Year. These pretty faces, alongside other kuihs of course, were served at almost every Malay household I would visit during that time of the year. The soft, sticky rice underneath with just a hint of saltiness pairs so deliciously with the decadently sweet pandan custard on top.

Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please take the time to check out the original where I drew my inspiration from over on Rasa Malaysia by Bee. Seri Muka can also be found in the Indonesian province of South Kalimantan, and is also known as Kuih Putri Salat in Singapore.

Seri Muka Kuih Ingredients

PREP TIME 35 MINS | COOKING TIME 50 MINS | MAKES 14-16 SLICES

INGREDIENTS

For the bottom layer

  • 1 & 1/3 cups glutinous rice, soaked in water for 30 minutes
  • 1 cup thin coconut milk (1/2 cup coconut milk plus 1/2 cup water)
  • 2 pandan leaves
  • 1 tsp salt

For the top layer

  • 1 cup thick coconut milk (or coconut cream)
  • 1/2 cup pandan juice*
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • 2 large free range egg yolks
  • 5 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch

*For the pandan juice

  • 8-10 pandan leaves
  • 1/2 cup water

METHOD

  1. Bottom Layer: In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients needed, except for the pandan leaves, to make the bottom layer. Evenly spread onto a lightly greased 8in x 11in rectangular baking dish and add the in pandan leaves, making sure that they are submerged in the rice mixture. Steam over high heat for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the pandan juice for the top layer.
  2. Pandan Juice: Place the pandan leaves together with the water in a food processor or heavy-duty blender, and blitz/blend for a few minutes until the pandan leaves have been finely puréed.
  3. Pour the blended pandan-infused water over a fine sieve and into a small bowl. Strain the liquid from the pandan leaf pulp, pressing down firmly with the back of a spoon to extract all of the juice from the pulp. Discard the pandan leaf pulp.
  4. Top Layer: Mix all the remaining ingredients for the top layer in a medium-sized heatproof bowl until well combined.
  5. Create a bain-marie (double-boiler) by pouring some water into a pot that is slightly larger than your heat-proof bowl. Very important, check to see if your bowl can sit on top of the pot without any water touching the bottom of the bowl.
  6. Heat your pot of water over low-medium and bring to a slight simmer. Once slightly simmering, place the bowl with the pandan, coconut milk, and egg mixture over it. Cook until the mixture thickens slight, but is still runny enough to pour, about 8-10 minutes.
  7. Seri Muka Kuih: Once the rice layer is done, discard the pandan leaves. Stir and flatten the rice with the back of a spoon, making sure that it is compact. Using a fine sieve, strain the pandan, coconut milk, and egg mixture over the cooked rice. Return to the steamer and steam over medium heat for 30 minutes.
  8. Remove from the steamer once done and leave aside to completely cool down before cutting them into diamond or rectangular-shaped bite-size pieces. Serve with a hot cup of coffee or tea for a lovely mid-afternoon snack. Enjoy!

Seri Muka Kuih

Seri Muka Kuih

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Salted Sweet Corn Ice Cream (No-churn)

Salted Sweet Corn Ice Cream (No-churn)

Hello Everyone! Earlier on the beginning of this month we’ve been experiencing dangerously high heat indexes, to the high 40s and I think even 50 degrees celsius in some cities in the provinces. The scorching weather we’ve been experiencing has left me craving for something sweet and something cold to beat the heat! Something like Salted Sweet Corn Ice Cream!

Central Coast, NSW (July 2011)

I remember when I was still studying in Australia for my Bachelor’s Degree in Design; I went on a weekend away trip up north to the country with my friend to visit her family. We stopped over… Somewhere (I can’t remember where) and ended up having Cold Stone Ice Cream at the beach in the dead winter. So there’s really no excuse to only have ice cream during the summery days! *cheeky grin* Also, I just realised that the photo above was taken almost 9 years ago (July 2011)!

Mini tangent aside, you can still whip this up even though we’re now entering the rainy season here in the Philippines; I mean we still have relatively hot and humid days in between the rainy days anyway.

This Salted Sweet Corn Ice Cream is sweet, summery, and creamy with that perfect hint of salt for that classic sweet-and-salty buttered corn at the backyard cookout kind of flavour. Perfect for a quick quarantine dessert! The great thing about it is that you don’t need an ice cream churner for this recipe, and most may already be readily available in your pantry. If not, be sure to pick them up on your next grocery run.

Salted Sweet Corn Ice Cream (No-churn)

It’s common for many to not associate or equate corn to something sweet, but rather used in savoury meals. But in Southeast Asia, specifically in Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines, corn is widely used in various desserts, most especially in ice cream.

Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please take the time to check out the original where I drew my inspiration from over on My Recipes by Stacey Ballis.

Salted Sweet Corn Ice Cream (No-churn) Ingredients

PREP TIME 4 HOURS* | COOKING TIME | SERVES 4-6

*For freezing time, minimum 4 hours or up to 24 hours.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 bag (200g) frozen corn**, thawed, quickly blanched, and roughly chopped
  • 1 can (218g) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup (250ml) all purpose cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • Yellow food colouring (optional)

** Alternatively, you can use fresh corn or canned corn as well for this recipe. Whichever is readily available.

Note:

When selecting fresh corn, look for plump ears with tight, green husks that feel cool and a little bit moist in your hand. Note that the natural sugars in sweet corn start converting into starch the minute it’s picked so buy the freshest ears you can find and be sure to use them within a day or two of bringing them home.

METHOD

  1. In a chilled medium-sized mixing bowl, whip the all purpose cream using an electrical hand-held mixer until soft peaks start to form.
  2. Add the sweetened condensed milk and continue to whip to soft peaks, it should be fluffy and mousse-like. Add the corn together with the vanilla extract and pinch of salt. Gently fold through and then, using a stick blender, blitz the mixture to break down the corn kernels.
  3. Pass the mixture through a sieve to get rid of the corn fibres to get a smooth-textured ice cream. Pour into an airtight container and freeze for 4 hours or up to 24 hours. Let sit at room temperature for about 15-20 minutes before scooping and serving on a hot summer’s day!

It’s excellent garnished with caramel sauce (and/or caramel popcorn), nut of choice or cornflakes for an added element of crunch! Enjoy!

Salted Sweet Corn Ice Cream (No-churn)

So before I end tonight’s post, I just want to share the little mishaps I had when making this ice cream. Firstly, I wanted to add just a hint of yellow food colouring to give a mixture a slight tint. I was slowly tipping the bottle over and nothing came out. I shook the bottle a bit, and only a tiny drop came out. I shook it again and then… boom. I think a teaspoon or more of it spilled out. Now it looks like the kind of ice cream you’d get from the stores that are 90% food colouring/flavouring *le sigh*.

Secondly, after freezing the ice cream mixture overnight, I was super excited to dig into it the next day. To my dismay, the ice cream was way too salty for my liking. It was really unpleasant to eat. On top of that, the ice cream tasted nothing like sweet corn at all. The corn kernels that were added to the mixture were hard and frozen. I was basically eating salty ice cream with cold chunks of corn that barely taste like corn. I was so disappointed.

I decided to try and fix this without having to throw out the first batch I made, all I needed was more cream, which I had to wait to get a week later on my fortnightly grocery run. I took the batch of ice cream out of the freezer and just let it sit on the countertop for about half an hour until it melted back into cream. Then I whipped the new all purpose cream in a chilled bowl until soft peaks started to form and then added the melted ice cream to the bowl. This definitely made the cream mixture less salty, but still hits just right. This also made the colour of the ice cream less intense.

Salted Sweet Corn Ice Cream (No-churn)

After adding the cream and melted ice cream together, I whipped it further and then got my stick blender out to blitz the corn into the cream mixture. This basically ensures that the corn flavour is mixed into the cream and also solved the issue of having icy chunks of corn. And violà! Fixed.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Grilled Pineapple Dessert

Grilled Pineapple Dessert

Hello Everyone! Pineapples are packed with nutrients, antioxidants and other helpful compounds, such as enzymes that can fight inflammation and disease. They are especially rich in vitamin C, which is essential for growth and development, a healthy immune system, and aiding the absorption of iron from the diet.

Firing up the barbie tonight? This may be one of the most delicious ways to eat a pineapple! Try this Grilled Pineapple Dessert for a healthy alternative that’s fast and tasty. The tequila adds a tart flavour to balance the natural sweetness of the pineapple, and the sugar from the caramel. You may also substitute the tequila out for rum instead, or whatever bevvy tickles your taste buds.

Grilled Pineapple Dessert

There was no doubt that I wanted to buy a whole tub of ice cream to pair with this dessert, especially after all the summer heat we’ve been experiencing. But given the circumstances of Enhanced Community Quarantine, my priorities were focused elsewhere. Considering the capacity of my freezer, I first made sure that it was full of seafood that would last us until our next grocery trip, which is every two weeks now to limit the time I spend outdoors amidst the on-going pandemic.

But by all means, feel free to get creative by serving it with ice cream for a warm (and cold at the same time), sweet, tart, and creamy dessert. Take it to another level by topping the dessert off with nuts or granola to add a fun crunch to it!

Grilled Pineapple Dessert

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 20 MINS | SERVES 2-3

INGREDIENTS

For the grilled pineapple

  • 1 medium-sized pineapple
  • 1 shot tequila (or rum)
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground nutmeg

Optional:

For the vegan caramel sauce

  • 1 cup raw sugar
  • 1/2 cup soy milk
  • 60g unsalted margarine
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste)

To garnish/serve with

  • Fresh mint leaves
  • Handful of granola
  • Ice cream (flavour of choice)
  • Nuts of choice, roughly chopped

METHOD

  1. Prepare Pineapple: Remove the leafy crown with a sharp knife and cut a thin slice from the base. Slice the skin away from top to bottom, removing any brown eyes as you go.
  2. If you have a pineapple corer at home, use this before cutting your pineapple into rounds. Otherwise, cut the pineapple into 6-8 rounds, and like me, use a round cookie cutter to cut the cores out of each round.
  3. Set aside on a plate and coat with the ground cinnamon and nutmeg. Optional, spike the pineapple rounds with a shot of tequila.
  4. Vegan Caramel Sauce: Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer over low heat, whisking constantly or until thickened and no longer watery, about 6 to 9 minutes. Keep in mind that the caramel thickens more as it cools.
  5. Grilled Pineapple: Preheat grill pan over high heat. Slightly oil the grill and then carefully place each round into the pan. Cook until grill marks form, about 4 to 5 minutes per side. Once done, remove from the pan and transfer to a serving dish.
  6. Serve: Top with a squeeze of fresh lime juice, drizzle with the vegan caramel sauce, and sprinkle with fresh mint. Serve with ice cream flavour of choice topped with some roughly chopped nuts for some crunch, if desired. Enjoy!

Grilled Pineapple Dessert

Notes:

  • You may also opt to drizzle the pineapple slices with homemade salted caramel sauce instead.
  • Any homemade caramel sauce can easily be made ahead; great served warm, at room temperature or chilled with refrigeration. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. You can warm it slightly to make it more drizzle-able before use.

Grilled Pineapple Dessert

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Lemon Sunshine Cake

Lemon Sunshine Cake

Hello Everyone! Yes I am fully aware that it’s Thursday today, which means I’m a day late from my normal upload schedule of every Wednesday night (Philippine time). There’s a reason for this, because:

AMCARMEN’S KITCHEN TURNS SIX TODAY!

For my new followers and friends who don’t know the story behind my blog, before I got it up and running, I already had an interest in cooking. I was already sharing photos of my kitchen adventures on Facebook throughout my first year in university up until my third year. Throughout these years, I kept getting comments and messages from family and friends, encouraging me to start up a blog and share my recipes online.

Finally, after many years of encouragement and pure procrastination, I started what was formerly known as Kitchen Headquarters back in April 16 of 2014. It happened when I was 2 months into my last year of university and in the middle of my mid-semester Easter break; not wanting to tackle the many assignments I had on my to-do list before resuming classes.

Lemon Sunshine Cake

To celebrate today’s occasion, I’ve baked a Lemon Sunshine Cake. It strikes the perfect balance between tart and sweet with homemade lemon curd, a moist lemon cake, and a rich, creamy vanilla buttercream frosting. It’s delicious and sure to brighten your day!

Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please take the time to check out the original recipe that I drew my inspiration from over at The Simple Sweet Life by Claire.

Lemon Sunshine Cake Ingredients

PREP TIME 2 HOURS & 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 35 MINS | SERVES 10-12

INGREDIENTS

For the lemon curd

  • 60g unsalted butter, cubed
  • 4 free-range egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest

For the lemon cake

  • 200g unsalted butter, melted
  • 6 large free-range eggs
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 & 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 6 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 4 tsp baking powder

For the vanilla buttercream frosting

  • 500g unsalted butter (cold), cubed
  • 10 free-range egg whites*
  • 2 cups white granulated sugar
  • 10 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Yellow food colouring (optional)

* Don’t throw away the egg yolks! You can keep them in the fridge for up to two days while you decide what you can make with them. I made an easy Leche Flan (Crème Caramel) recipe. If you’re feeling a little bit creative and inspired, try turning them into Crispy Fried Leche Flan instead!

METHOD

  1. Lemon Curd: Whisk together the sugar, lemon juice and zest, and egg yolks in a heat-proof bowl over a pot of boiling water.
  2. Cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, until it thickens. It should almost have the consistency of a pudding. Once the lemon curd has thickened, carefully remove the bowl from the pot of boiling water and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.
  3. Slowly incorporate the cubed butter into the slightly cooled curd mixture. Cover and then allow for the curd to cool completely in the refrigerator before use.
  4. Lemon Cake: Preheat oven to 180C (350F or gas mark 4).
  5. Add the eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Using a handheld electric mixer on high speed, whip them together until light and fluffy.
  6. Add the dry ingredients (flour and baking powder) and mix on low speed until just combined. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
  7. Evenly distribute the batter into four 8” parchment paper-lined and greased cake pans. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cakes come out clean. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for about 5 to 10 minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack to cool down completely.
  8. Vanilla Buttercream Frosting: In a small saucepan, combine the water and sugar and bring to a boil over high heat, cooking until the sugar becomes clear.
  9. While the syrup cooks, whip the egg whites in a large mixing bowl until stiff peaks form.
  10. With the mixed running on high, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the egg whites and whip until the mixture has cooled down to room temperature.
  11. Turn the mixer speed down to low and slowly incorporate the butter and vanilla extract. Continue beating until the frosting is thick and smooth.
  12. Assembly: If necessary, level your cakes before layering for assembly. Place one cake layer on a cake board and spread a layer of frosting on top.
  13. Using an offset spatula, carve out an indent in the frosting and fill with the lemon curd. Repeat with the second and third layer and then top with the fourth. Coat the outside with a thin crumb coat and allow for the cake to set in the refrigerator for about 15 to 20 minutes to set.
  14. Optional: Equally divide the remaining frosting into three batches. Tint each batch a different shade of yellow.
  15. Cover the cake with the frosting and use an offset spatula or bench scraper to smoothen the frosting and remove any excess. Feel free to get creative in how you’re going to use the colours to decorate and present your cake.I topped the cake with the remaining lemon curd and added a few slices of baked/dehydrated lemon slices for that finishing touch.
  16. Place in the refrigerator to chill before serving. Enjoy!

Lemon Sunshine Cake

Here are some helpful tips to note when making this Lemon Sunshine Cake:

  1. Make the lemon curd in advance: You can make the lemon curd a week and store it in the refrigerator if you’re looking to save some time when you come around to making this cake.
  2. Crumb coating: Spreading a thin layer of frosting around the sides and top of the cake, and then refrigerating it will lock in any crumbs and keep them from reaching the surface of your frosted cake.
  3. The trick for smooth frosting: You’ll need a rotating cake stand and a bench scraper. Place the small end of the bench scraper on the cake stand, long end against the frosting and turn the table. Once excess frosting is removed, heat the scraper in hot water, wipe and drag around the outside of the cake.
  4. Chill your cake: Cool cake is easier to cut and handle, so chilling your cake for a short while before use will make this process easier.

Lemon Sunshine Cake

Before I end tonight’s post, I want to thank everyone for all the love and support. Of course all the hard work that goes into Amcarmen’s Kitchen wouldn’t have been possible without my #1 supporter, my Mom. I asked my Mom to teach me how to cook after trying to survive off regular takeaway meals from the nearest shop or my attempts at home-cooked food of very poor quality during my first year away from home.

I have my Mom to thank for the days she had to put up with my very little knowledge in the kitchen, and my inability to choose the best produce when she would bring me along to her trips to the market. Thank you Mama for passing down your knowledge and love for food on to me. I know you’re proudly watching over me.

Lastly, I want to thank a very special someone in my life. Since the day we first started talking to each other, you’ve always been very proud and supportive by sharing my recipes each week. And for that, thank you for encouraging and motivating me to continue doing what I love to do!

Lemon Sunshine Cake

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Hong Kong Style Egg Tarts

Hong Kong Style Egg Tarts

Hello Everyone! Happy first day of the month! A new month means it’s time to change it up again on the blog. Here’s a recap of the previous months and upcoming month’s theme:

  • January & February: Red-coloured food
  • March: Orange-coloured food
  • April & May: Yellow-coloured food

Do any of you guys have a guess yet for this year’s theme on Amcarmen’s Kitchen?

Yesterday, I went on an insane grocery spree for the first time in two weeks. I’m usually the type who gets her groceries on a weekly basis. So having to push around a heavily-loaded trolley, with a physical grocery list in my hand was indeed a stressful task for me.

I’m normally the one who takes charge of the groceries in the household, so I know exactly what I need, and what brands to choose. If I was already stressed out from a weekly norm of mine, what more the husbands who were by default, named head of the household, tasked to do the groceries amid our Enhanced Community Quarantine? I saw helpless and confused husbands on the phones with their wives, either texting, talking, or on video call, arguing back and forth on what brand of milk they should be getting.

Hong Kong Style Egg Tarts

Moving forward, here’s an easy quarantine treat to whip up in the kitchen over the weekend. These sweet-tasting Hong Kong style Egg Tarts draw its influences from the English Custard Tart and the Portuguese Pastel de Nata.

The crust for these egg tarts are extremely flaky, tender, and buttery; made from a rough, shortcut puff pastry dough. The filling only has 5 ingredients – all of which you will probably already have sitting in your pantry. The end product? You get a smooth as silk, shiny custard that will absolutely put a smile on your face.

These tarts are best devoured fresh hot out of the oven. Trust me, it’s a completely different experience from the lukewarm version you would normally get at a dim sum restaurant. Of course, you should wait for them to cool down slightly if you don’t want to burn your tongue off!

Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please do take the time to check out the original recipe I followed to make these favourite pastry treats of mine over on The Woks of Life by Sarah, one of a family of four cooks.

Hong Kong Style Egg Tarts Ingredients

PREP TIME 1 HOUR 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 25 MINS | MAKES 18 – 20 TARTS

INGREDIENTS

For the rough puff pastry dough

  • 200g unsalted butter, at room temperature (but not softened)
  • 1 & 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp cold water
  • 1 tbsp white granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt

For the egg filling

  • 3 large free-range eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup hot water (scant cup)
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract

METHOD

  1. Pastry Dough: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, and sugar. Add the butter and break it up roughly using your fingertips, making sure that visible little chunks of butter can still be seen in the dough.
  2. Add the 2 tablespoons of cold water to the flour mixture and bring the dough together. Add a bit more water if needed, but not too much. Cover the dough and leave it to chill in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.
  3. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead to form into a neat rectangular shape. Roll the dough away from you (not back and forth), to roughly form a 20 x 50 cm rectangle. Try to keep the edges even. Don’t overwork the dough. Flecks of butter should still be visible in the dough.
  4. Fold the top third of the dough down to the center, then the bottom third up and over the top fold. Roll the dough out again to three times the length. Fold the same way as before, then cover and chill for another 30 minutes.
  5. Egg Filling: While the dough is resting, make the filling. Dissolve the sugar into the cup of hot water and allow to cool to room temperature.
  6. Whisk the eggs and evaporated milk together and then thoroughly whisk in the sugar water and vanilla altogether.
  7. Strain through a very fine mesh strainer. This step is extremely important to getting a smooth and glassy egg tart.
  8. Egg Tarts: Preheat oven to 200C (400F or gas mark 6) and position a rack in the lower third of your oven. Grease a 12-hole muffin pan with butter.
  9. Roll out the dough to about 0.5cm thick and cut circles to fit your muffin pan. Press the dough into the pan and fork to make a little fluted edge on the dough (optional). This is just to make the egg tarts look pretty once baked.

Hong Kong Style Egg Tarts

Hong Kong Style Egg Tarts

  1. Use a ladle to fill each tart shell until just reaching the edges of the outside crust. Once filled, immediately, but very carefully transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 180C (350F or gas mark 4) and bake for a further 10-12 minutes, until the filling is just set. If you see the tart shells start to puff up a bit, crack open the oven a little and they should settle back down.
  2. Serve: Let the tarts cool down for a couple of minutes and then you can enjoy them while they’re still hot!

Hong Kong Style Egg Tarts

Before I end tonight’s post, I’m happy to say that I will be able to cook up the dishes I had originally planned for the upcoming months ahead! If you read the end of my post last week, I talked about how difficult it has been to go out and shop at the bigger supermarket chains because of the lack of public transport to get there. Yesterday my cousin, who owns a car, offered me to go grocery shopping with her and thus I’ve managed to source the ingredients that I need!

Hong Kong Style Egg Tarts

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Deconstructed Pumpkin Pie in a Jar

Deconstructed Pumpkin Pie in a Jar

Hello Everyone! I’ll keep tonight’s introduction short as I have quite a bit to say at the end of this post – a disclaimer, or a little announcement(?) regarding Amcarmen’s Kitchen in light of the current pandemic.

This Deconstructed Pumpkin Pie in a Jar is where it’s at. It is super easy to make and adorably cute served in a jar! Seriously delicious. Pumpkin Pie Purée. Cream Cheese Frosting. Ginger Biscuits. Layer, layer, layer and you’ve got yourself a dessert that’s sure to please everyone, not only with your culinary skills, but also with your creativity!

Deconstructed Pumpkin Pie in a Jar

Now, I think with the measurements I’ve stated below, you can make at least 2 large jars of Pumpkin Pie, 3 would be pushing it, but if your jars are smaller, it is possible. I only made one jar for the purpose of getting a photo for this post because I ended up saving two thirds of the pumpkin for our daily meal consumption. You’ll find out why at the end of this post.

Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, do take the time to check out where I drew my original inspiration for these Deconstructed Pumpkin Pies in a Jar over on Life, Love, and Sugar by Lindsay.

Deconstructed Pumpkin Pie in a Jar

PREP TIME 2 HOURS | COOKING TIME 20 MINS | SERVES 2-3

INGREDIENTS

For the pumpkin pie layer

  • 250g pumpkin, peeled, seeded, and cut into chunks
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp tequila
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream

For the cream cheese layer

  • 150g cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla

For the biscuit layer

  • 200g Ginger Nut Biscuits, crushed
  • 50g unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp salt

METHOD

  1. Pumpkin Pie Layer: Preheat oven to 220C (425F or gas mark 7).
  2. Toss the pumpkin, sugar, spices, and everything nice (liquor) in an oven-safe baking dish. Sorry, I could not resist not saying that! *cheeky grin*
  3. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes. Once done, set aside to completely cool down before puréeing the pumpkin. Mix the 2 tablespoons of cream into the pumpkin purée thoroughly.
  4. Biscuit Layer: Add the crushed ginger nut biscuits, salt, and melted butter together in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Mix together until well combined. Set aside in the fridge for about 15 minutes to chill.
  5. Cream Cheese Layer: Using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat, on medium speed, the cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla together in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Set aside in the fridge for about 15 minutes to chill.
  6. Assembly: Add about 1 & 1/2 tablespoons of the ginger nut biscuit crumbs to the bottom of the jar. Layer with 2 tablespoons of the pumpkin pie purée, and the 2 tablespoons of the cream cheese mixture. Repeat the layering process until your jar is full.
  7. Top each with a dollop of cream and a biscuit, of biscuit crumbs. Set in the fridge for about 30 to 60 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Deconstructed Pumpkin Pie in a Jar

Deconstructed Pumpkin Pie in a Jar

As promised, here’s the announcement: with the on-going pandemic affecting the world to date, enhanced community quarantine here in the Philippines has already proven that it may be a little difficult for me to source the ingredients I need for the dishes I have planned out for the upcoming weeks (hopefully not months).

Public transportation systems have completely ceased, and the only way to get around now is by foot since I do not own a car, and I unfortunately don’t know how to ride a bike. It’s been difficult to get to the nearest market for fresh food, which I learnt on Sunday has also ceased its operations. The only way I can get access to fresh food is at the grocery store, which is even further than our local market.

Anyway, I will definitely have recipes up in the next two weeks since I managed to cook them in advance before we went into enhanced community quarantine. I will still try my best to find ways to source the ingredients I need to keep Amcarmen’s Kitchen up to date. I have some delicious recipes lined up for you until July and I’m excited to share all of them with you!

In the meantime, stay safe guys! Make sure you wash your hands, stay at home if you don’t have a reason to go out, and practice safe social distancing!

Deconstructed Pumpkin Pie in a Jar

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Vegan Gajar Ka Halwa (Indian Carrot Pudding)

Vegan Gajar Ka Halwa (Indian Carrot Pudding)

Hello Everyone! I’m about to switch things up a bit tonight and share with you a recipe from a country that I have yet to culinarily explore. Amcarmen’s Kitchen is afterall, a Third Culture Foodie! It’s a bright orange Indian carrot pudding that is absolutely decadent and is sure to please, not only yourself, but your guests as well.

Gajar Ka Halwa, is a delicious and rich carrot pudding that’s perfect for any celebration. In India, this dessert is enjoyed mainly on the occasion of Diwali, Holi, Eid al-Fitr, and Raksha Bandhan. It can be served hot or cold. The classic Indian dessert is traditionally made using ghee and full-fat milk, but of course, you can easily substitute those dairy products out for non-dairy products for a vegan option of this dish, but apparently it won’t taste as great. I can’t judge for myself as I haven’t tasted the traditional version.

Vegan Gajar Ka Halwa (Indian Carrot Pudding)

Also, I just want to add that I had a hard time sourcing cardamom in store here in the Philippines. Cardamom has a complex flavour of fruity, nutty, spicy, woody, and citrusy that’s hard to replicate with other spices. However, cardamom substitutes like ginger, nutmeg & cinnamon are the closest.

If you too have difficulty in sourcing cardamom, I found online that you can mix together equal parts ground cinnamon and nutmeg and use in place of the cardamom called for in your recipe – which I already conveniently had both lying around at home in the pantry. If you don’t have nutmeg, then try equal parts cinnamon and ground ginger or equal parts cinnamon and ground cloves instead.

Before we delve into tonight’s recipe, please do check out the original by Ashley of My Heart Beets.

Vegan Gajar Ka Halwa (Indian Carrot Pudding) Ingredients

PREP TIME 5-10 MINS | COOKING TIME 25 MINS | SERVES 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 medium-sized carrots, peeled and grated/shredded
  • 1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup white granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/8 tsp ground cardamom (or 1/16 tsp ground cinnamon and 1/16 tsp ground nutmeg)
  • Handful of chopped pistachios or other nuts, to garnish

METHOD

  1. Add the shredded carrots, coconut milk, and water to a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Cover and bring to a rapid simmer.
  2. Once simmering, add the sugar and cook for a further 6 to 7 minutes, or until most of the liquid has reduced.
  3. Add the coconut oil and stir-fry the carrots for a further 6 to 7 minutes, or until the carrots become dry and the coconut oil separates from the mixture. The carrots should look dark orange or reddish in colour.
  4. Add the ground cardamom and mix well.
  5. Transfer to individual serving ramekins and top with the chopped pistachios. Enjoy!

Vegan Gajar Ka Halwa (Indian Carrot Pudding)

Note: You can easily double or triple this recipe if you plan on making this dessert for a crowd.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry Shortcake

Hello Everyone! I feel like February is flying by so quickly; in just a few days, it’ll already be March! But before we think ahead into the new month, let’s focus on tonight. Tonight, I will be sharing a classic recipe of strawberries, sweet biscuits, and whipped cream. A trio of decadence!

Skip the store-bought strawberry shortcake and make your own at home completely from scratch – it’s much easier than you think! With only a handful of basic ingredients, you can make tall, fluffy, and sweet biscuits, layer them with juicy strawberries and freshly whipped cream for a dessert that’s sure to impress.

Strawberry Shortcake

The name shortcake is derived from an old English cooking definition of short. It refers to something made crisp with the addition of fat. Therefore, shortcake is a crisp, crumbly cake that is made from butter which is how it got its name.

Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please check out the original where I drew my inspiration from over on Cooking Classy by Jaclyn.

Strawberry Shortcake Ingredients

PREP TIME 25 MINS | COOKING TIME 10-12 MINS | MAKES 12 BISCUITS

INGREDIENTS

For the strawberries

  • 300g fresh or frozen strawberries, washed and hulled
  • 3 tbsp white granulated sugar

For the sweet biscuits

  • 1 & 1/2 cups plain all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk*, cold
  • 60g unsalted butter, cold and diced into small cubes
  • 1 large free-range egg
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • 5 tbsp white granulated sugar, plus 1 tbsp extra for topping
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda

For the whipped cream

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose cream
  • 3/4 tsp white granulated sugar
  • Fresh basil leaves, for garnishing (optional)

* Buttermilk is required for this recipe. If you do not have buttermilk, you can make your own by mixing 2 teaspoons white vinegar or lemon juice with 1/2 cup milk. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes.

METHOD

  1. Strawberries: Slice the strawberries and add them to a small bowl together with 3 tbsp of sugar. Toss and allow to macerate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Sweet Biscuits: Preheat oven to 220C (425F or gas mark 7) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, 5 tablespoons of sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the cubed butter and rub them into the flour using your fingertips until the mixture resembles a breadcrumb-like texture. Make a well into the centre of the flour mixture
  4. In a separate mixing bowl, or large liquid measuring cup, add the buttermilk, one whole egg, and vanilla extract. Pour the buttermilk mixture in the well of the flour mixture. Mix with a flat-bladed knife until a soft dough starts to form.
  5. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently until it smoothly comes together. Pat the dough into a square about 2cm thick and using a floured cutter, cut 6-cm diameter rounds. Press the dough together and cut out the remaining rounds, and transfer to the lined baking sheet.
  6. Brush the tops of each round with egg white and sprinkle evenly with the 1 tablespoon of sugar. Bake in the preheated oven until cooked through and lightly golden brown, about 10-12 minutes. Once done, transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool for about 10 minutes.
  7. Whipped Cream: Pour all-purpose cream and sugar into a chilled mixing bowl. Using an electric hand-held mixer, whip the cream and sugar until stiff peaks form. Be cautious as to not over whip the cream.
  8. Assemble: To assemble the shortcakes, use a serrated knife to split each biscuit in half, lengthwise. Dollop a spoonful of the whipped cream over the bottom halves and then top with a generous amount of the sliced strawberries. Top with the second half of the biscuit and serve immediately after assembling. Enjoy with a cup of hot tea for a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack.

Strawberry Shortcake

Here are some tips for the best Strawberry Shortcake:

  • Use well-chilled butter. Those cold little clumps of butter will melt into the biscuits as they bake, leaving them perfectly tender and buttery.
  • Use cold buttermilk. This is so that the clumps of butter rubbed into the flour mixture stays cold as does not melt in the mixing and kneading process.
  • Be gentle with the dough. Don’t knead it too much or your biscuits will be quite tough when baked.
  • Flour your biscuit cutter. This is to reduce sticking. In addition, don’t twist the biscuit cutter when cutting into the dough or else or it seals the edges and the biscuits won’t rise as high.
  • Don’t skip the resting time for the strawberry mixture. Allowing time for the strawberries to macerate in sugar helps soften them up a bit.
  • Use cold, full-fat cream. These will whip up nicely. Did you know that you can actually add the sugar at the beginning for the whipping process? That was there’s no grittiness.

Strawberry Shortcake

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Raspberry, Almond, and White Chocolate Bread Pudding with Vanilla Cream Sauce

Raspberry, Almond, and White Chocolate Bread Pudding with Vanilla Cream Sauce

Hello Everyone! I hope everyone had a great weekend celebrating love, be it with your families, friends, or significant others. Tonight I’ll be sharing an elevated version of a classic bread pudding recipe.

Raspberry, Almond, and White Chocolate Bread Pudding with Vanilla Cream Sauce

Bread Pudding is a bread-based dessert that originated in Europe, but popularised in many countries’ cuisines. It is typically made with stale bread, with milk or cream, eggs, butter, and depending whether the pudding is sweet or savoury, a variety of other ingredients.

Raspberry, Almond, and White Chocolate Bread Pudding with Vanilla Cream Sauce

Sweet bread puddings may use sugar or honey, fruits, nuts, vanilla, and spices such as cinnamon and/or nutmeg. The bread is soaked in the liquids together with the other ingredients, baked, and then served with either ice cream or a sauce. Tonight’s recipe will include all of the above, with raspberries, white chocolate, and sliced almonds, topped with a rich vanilla cream sauce.

Raspberry, Almond, and White Chocolate Bread Pudding with Vanilla Cream Sauce Ingredients

PREP TIME 1 HOUR | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR | SERVES 6-8

INGREDIENTS

For the bread pudding

  • 1 loaf wholemeal bread
  • 1 punnet (250g) fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 1 large free range egg
  • 100h mascarpone cheese
  • 2 cups soy milk
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • Handful of sliced almonds
  • Handful of white chocolate chips

For the raspberry coulis

  • 100g fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar

For the vanilla cream sauce

  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 200ml heavy cream, or all purpose cream
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt

METHOD

  1. Bread Pudding: Grease a rectangular baking dish, mine was about 7.5″ x 11″ in size, with the unsalted butter. Cut the bread slices in half diagonally and arrange them into the baking dish. Set aside.
  2. Whisk together the egg, soy milk, sugar, mascarpone cheese, ground cinnamon, and ground nutmeg until well combined. Pour over the bread, making sure to press the bread down to absorb the egg mixture.
  3. Top with crushed raspberries, white chocolate chips, and sliced almonds. Sprinkle an extra tablespoon of sugar on top if you wish. Cover with aluminium foil and let it sit for about an hour before baking.
  4. Preheat oven to 180C (350F or gas mark 4) about 45 minutes into its sitting time. Baked, covered for 30 minutes, and then uncovered for another 30 minutes or until lightly browned and set.

Raspberry, Almond, and White Chocolate Bread Pudding with Vanilla Cream Sauce

  1. Raspberry Coulis: Chuck the raspberries and sugar into a small saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn’t burn on the bottom. It doesn’t take long before the juices start to run and things start to look syrup-y.
  2. After the sauce has simmered for about 10 minutes, it should be just right. Not too thick, not too thin. Optional: If you like your raspberry sauce satiny-smooth, pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer. Then use the back of a ladle to push it through, discarding the seeds and reserving the sweet, fruity puree.
  3. Pour on top of the bread pudding and leave to seep.
  4. Vanilla Cream Sauce: Melt butter in a medium-sized saucepan over low heat. Once melted, increase the heat to medium and add the flour. Whisk together for about 10 minutes until it has a nutty aroma, but make sure not to brown the roux.
  5. Add the salt, cream, and sugar, whisking until the mixture becomes thick. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. If your sauce is too thick, you can add a few tablespoons of soy milk to loosen the sauce a bit.
  6. Drizzle or pour a generous amount of the vanilla cream sauce over a warm single serving of the raspberry bread pudding and enjoy immediately!

Raspberry, Almond, and White Chocolate Bread Pudding with Vanilla Cream Sauce

Before I end tonight’s post, do check out my Blueberry Bread Pudding recipe that I tackled back in 2017. I also made an all-crust bread pudding with dates from 2014; it’s not up on my blog only because I made it out of the blue one night with leftovers from an afternoon tea party I held when I was still living in Australia.

Raspberry, Almond, and White Chocolate Bread Pudding with Vanilla Cream Sauce

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Red Velvet Cinnamon ‘Love’ Rolls with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

Red Velvet Cinnamon ‘Love’ Rolls with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

Hello Everyone! Valentine’s Day is just 2 days away and if you don’t have any creative ideas up your sleeve to surprise your significant other just yet, then I’ve got the perfect recipe for you! These beauties really are the perfect way to show your special someone how much you care about them for Valentine’s Day – or for any occasion as a matter of fact! Love, care, and affection should not only be celebrated and shown on one specific day.

Red Velvet Cinnamon ‘Love’ Rolls with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

Everyone loves cinnamon rolls, but the regular-shaped ones don’t quite shout ‘creative’ or a perfect Valentine’s Day treat. So why not make them into lovely red velvet heart-shaped rolls? I’m sure your sweetheart will feel even sweeter biting into these fluffy rolls stuffed with fresh red cherries that are topped with a rich vanilla cheese frosting. Simple. Quick. Oh-so tasty!

Before we dive right into tonight’s recipe, here are the two recipes from where I drew my inspiration from for these ‘Love Rolls’: Le Creme de la Crumb by Tiffany and Rasa Malaysia by Bee.

Red Velvet Cinnamon ‘Love’ Rolls with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients

PREP TIME 45 MINS | COOKING TIME 10-12 MINS | MAKES 10 ROLLS

INGREDIENTS

For the dough

  • 3 & 1/4 cups plain all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup soy milk
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 60g unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large free range egg
  • 2-3 tsp red food colouring
  • 2 & 1/4 tsp active quick rise yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the filling

  • 70g unsalted butter, very soft
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 3 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Fresh red cherries

For the frosting

  • 115g cream cheese, softened
  • 85g unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 3-6 tbsp soy milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

METHOD

  1. Dough: Add the milk and butter to a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the butter is melted and then remove from the heat. If the milk and butter mixture is too hot, allow it to cool down to lukewarm temperature.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 & 1/4 cups of flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. Add the milk mixture, egg, and red food colouring. Mix to combine well.
  3. Using the dough hook attachment on your mixer, knead while slowly adding the remaining cup of flour until the dough forms a ball and pulls away from the edges of the bowl. Alternatively, you may also knead by hand. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Filling: Once rested, roll out the dough into a rectangle on a floured surface. Spread the softened butter on top. Combine the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl, and then sprinkle the mixture on top of the dough.
  5. Cut the dough into 10 strips and make each strip into a heart shape. Transfer the cinnamon rolls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place a cherry into the centre of each cinnamon roll and cover with a damp towel and to allow them to rise, about 25 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 180C (350F or gas mark 4). Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to completely cool down.
  7. Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting: In a small mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla. Mix well and then add in the powdered sugar a quarter cup at a time until thick. Add the milk one tablespoon at a time until the frosting is smooth and spreadable.
  8. Spread the frosting over cooled cinnamon rolls and serve immediately. Enjoy it with a cup of hot coffee or tea for a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack!

Red Velvet Cinnamon ‘Love’ Rolls with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

Red Velvet Cinnamon ‘Love’ Rolls with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com