Halo-Halo Cheesecake

Halo-Halo Cheesecake

Hello Everyone! Yes, I am aware that it has only been two days since my last post (I post a new recipe every Wednesday night), but today, the 16th of April 2021 is a very special day because:

AMCARMEN’S KITCHEN TURNS SEVEN!

I know I’ve told this story countless times, every year I think if I’m not mistaken, but this is really more for my new followers and new friends I’ve made in the past year, or even just those who happen to stumble upon this post while searching for recipes or inspiration.

Long before I started Amcarmen’s Kitchen, I was already posting my kitchen adventures on my personal Facebook page when I left for university back in 2011. I started it as a way to document the food that I was eating, you know, being a 19 year old girl who left home with zero experience in cooking. Honestly, the food I was making, super cringe-worthy, but nevertheless, I’m glad I did that because it’s always great to look back and compare yourself to where you are now, especially during times like this. If you want to read more about my journey leading up to when I first started this blog, you can read all about it here: My Kitchen Journey.

Fast forward from 2011 to 2014, I started Amcarmen’s Kitchen exactly seven years ago today, on April 16 of 2014; it was a fine Wednesday afternoon during my fourth year of university. It was the Easter holidays and I had zero willpower to tackle the mountain of assignments I had to complete before the holidays were over. Instead, I decided to explore the world of wordpress, and before I knew it, Amcarmen’s Kitchen (formerly known then as Kitchen Headquarters) was born.

Halo-Halo Cheesecake

To celebrate today’s occasion, as per tradition on my blog every year, I’ve baked a cheesecake inspired by a very popular dessert here in the Philippines known as Halo-Halo. The word, directly translated actually means ‘mix-mix’ in English, and is essentially a mixture of, but not limited to, crushed ice, evaporated milk or condensed milk, and various ingredients including, ube, sweetened beans, coconut strips, sago, gulaman (agar), pinipig rice, boiled taro or soft yams in cubes, fruit slices, flan, and topped with a scoop of ube ice cream. Though popular all year round, it’s most especially enjoyed during the hot summer days.

I came across the idea of translating this dessert into a cheesecake about a year and a half ago during a work event. A few colleagues of mine and myself took a short break from event rehearsals and stumbled upon a coffee and cakes corner in the lobby of the hotel we were at. While they were ordering coffee, I spotted a Halo-Halo Cheesecake on their cake shelf and was immediately wowed by such an ingenious idea! I unfortunately did not order a slice at that time, only because I was contemplating on whether I should, or shouldn’t (it was a bit pricey think), but when I finally made the decision to order a slice, on a different day, the day of the actual event, they didn’t have any left, or didn’t make a batch that day. So as Amcarmen’s Kitchen’s anniversary drew near, I knew that that was the cake that I was going to make for this special occasion!

Halo-Halo Cheesecake Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR 20 MINS | SERVES 8-10

INGREDIENTS

For the cheesecake mixture

  • 675g (3 packs) cream cheese, softened
  • 250ml all purpose cream, at room temperature
  • 3 large free-range eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp ube jam
  • 1 tsp ube extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the crumb base

  • 200g Lotus Biscoff biscuits, crushed
  • 75g unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the toppings

  • Fresh coconut meat strips
  • Leche flan
  • Nata de coco, red and green
  • Pinipig, lightly toasted
  • Sweetened red beans
  • Sweetened saba bananas
  • Sweetened white beans

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 130C (250F or gas mark 1).
  2. Prepare your spring-form pan (about 8” in diameter) and line the bottom and inside with parchment paper, and the outer with aluminium foil. Lightly grease the bottom and sides with a touch of unsalted butter.
  3. Crumb Base: Add the crushed Lotus Biscoff biscuits, salt, and melted butter together in a small mixing bowl. Mix together until well combined.
  4. Press the crumb into the base of your prepared spring-form pan. Set aside in the fridge for about 15 minutes to set while you prepare your cheesecake mixture.
  5. Cheesecake Mixture: Using an electric mixer fitted with a beater attachment, beat, on medium speed, the cream cheese and sugar together in a large bowl until smooth.
  6. With the mixer running, add in the eggs, all purpose cream, and vanilla extract. Mix for a further 2 minutes.
  7. Separate one third of the mixture into another mixing bowl. Add the ube jam and ube extract to the cheesecake mixture and slowly beat until combined.
  8. Pour the ube cheesecake mixture into the prepared spring-form pan, evenly covering the biscuit base. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until just set.
  9. Once set, remove from the oven and then pour the remaining cheesecake mixture into the spring-form pan. Continue to bake in the oven for another 45 – 50 minutes, or until set.
  10. Remove from the oven and let it cool down completely in its pan before placing it into the refrigerator overnight.
  11. Assemble: Decorate as you wish and serve chilled. Enjoy!

Halo-Halo Cheesecake

As always, before I end tonight’s post, I just want to say a special thank you to my Mom. She was the one who patiently taught me how to cook my favourite dishes when I was growing up. She was my #1 supporter. I lost her in September 2019 due to a fatal stroke which was caused by a sudden rupture of a vein in her brain, but before all that she had underlying illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and chronic kidney disease. One of the main reasons why I drastically cut out meat such as beef and pork from my diet and started eating healthier (as reflected in my blog for the past 2 years). Thank you Mama for passing down your knowledge and love for food on to me. I know you’re proudly watching from above. I love you.

Lastly, next to my Mom is of course, my very supportive boyfriend. Ever since the day we met, you’ve been proudly sharing my recipes for your family and friends to see. And for that, thank you for your continuous encouragement and for motivating me to continue doing what I love to do! I love you.

Stay tuned tomorrow as I have another special post to share with you all!

Halo-Halo Cheesecake

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Ube Biscoff Cheesecake

Ube Biscoff Cheesecake

Hello Everyone and a Happy belated Birthday to me! I was supposed to get this recipe up on the day of my birthday, but only having baked this Ube Biscoff Cheesecake the night before, I didn’t have time to edit the photos and videos for uploading and for my Instagram posts. Nevertheless, to make up for that, I have a special announcement to make, which you can read at the end of this post!

If you had asked me where or how I would be spending my birthday this year at the start of our country-wide Enhanced Community Quarantine due to the on-going pandemic, I would’ve never guessed that 8 months later, we’d still be celebrating birthdays in quarantine. Nevertheless, I’m still super thankful that even with the virus still spreading, my family, friends, and myself included, are all safe and healthy.

Ube Biscoff Cheesecake

So to be perfectly honest, this wasn’t the cake I had intended to make for my birthday. I only made the last minute decision (as in the morning before my actual birthday) to make an Ube Biscoff Cheesecake, inspired by an Instagram post I saw about a week or two ago. Well okay, the plan was to still push through with the cake I originally had in mind, and then bake mini Ube Biscoff Cheesecakes to share with my workmates, but baking two cakes in one day sounded daunting. I could already foresee the countless mishaps that are bound to happen juggling two recipes at the same time.

This Ube Biscoff Cheesecake is the perfect recipe for all the ube, biscoff, and cheesecake lovers. If you’ve never tried biscoff before, you should definitely try this dessert! This is utterly delicious and different to my other cheesecakes I’ve made in the past – the biscoff spread on top gives a nice rich addition to the cheesecake and creates a delicious spiced cookie flavour. The biscoff crust is buttery and sweet, and the cheesecake filling is thick and rich with ube that just melts-in-your-mouth with every bite. Honestly, it’s everything a cheesecake should be, and you may opt to do a no-bake or baked cheesecake with this recipe.

Ube Biscoff Cheesecake Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR | SERVES 6-8

INGREDIENTS

For the ube cheesecake mixture

  • 450g cream cheese
  • 250ml all purpose cream
  • 2 large free-range egg
  • 1 cup ube halaya (or ube jam)
  • 1/4 cup white or brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ube extract

For the biscoff crumb base

  • 200g Lotus biscoff cookies, crushed
  • 75g unsalted margarine, melted
  • Pinch of salt

For the biscoff spread

  • 50g Lotus biscoff cookies, crushed
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/8 cup coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp unsalted margarine, melted
  • Dash of vanilla extract
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 130C (250F or gas mark 1).
  2. Biscoff Crumb Base: Add the crushed biscoff cookies, salt, and melted butter together in a small mixing bowl. Mix together until well combined.
  3. Grease an 8” spring-form pan with a bit of margarine and line the bottom and sides it with parchment paper. Cover the outside of the pan with tin foil. Press the crumb into the base of the cake pan and set aside in the fridge for about 15 minutes to set.
  4. Ube Cheesecake Mixture: Using an electric handheld mixer, beat, on medium speed, the cream cheese and sugar together in a medium-sized bowl until smooth.
  5. With the mixer running, add in the eggs, all purpose cream cream, ube halaya, and ube extract, mixing for a further 2 minutes.
  6. Pour the mixture into the prepared spring-form cake pan, evenly covering the biscuit base.
  7. Place the cake pan in a water bath and bake for 1 hour, or until just set.
  8. Allow to cool down to room temperature and then chill in the fridge for about half an hour before serving.
  9. Biscoff Spread: While the cake is chilling in the fridge, add the crushed biscoff cookies, ground cinnamon, vanilla extract, coconut oil, and butter into an immersion blender cup. Blend until the ingredients are well incorporated.
  10. Add the water and blend further until you have a nice, smooth, and creamy spread. Set aside until ready to use.
  11. Assemble: Carefully remove the cheesecake from the spring-form pan. Top the cheesecake with the biscoff spread and a biscoff cookie. Serve a slice or two… maybe three, immediately! *cheeky grin* Enjoy!

Ube Biscoff Cheesecake

Ube Biscoff Cheesecake

And now, here’s the announcement that I promised to share with you guys. One of my Auguesters, known as Karina Pineda a.k.a. @wanderlittlegirl, partnered up for my birthday to launch our very first Instagram Giveaway! The giveaway was launched on Monday and will run through until November 20. Further details of the giveaway are specified on my Instagram post which you can find here on @amcarmenskitchen. The giveaway is only open to residents in Metro Manila, but if you have family or friends living in the area, feel free to share the giveaway with them. My goal is to help my lovely friend promote her smol home-grown business (@madebywanderlittlegirl) and also in return, treat two (2) lucky winners with some home-baked goodies!

#AMCxMADE Cookie Giveaway

#AMCxMADE Cookie Giveaway

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Magic Salmon Sushi Bake

Magic Salmon Sushi Bake

Sushi Bake is one of the latest gastronomic trends to pop up during the community quarantine period. It is basically a deconstructed version of the original Japanese rolled sushi; a quick and easy way to make in a large batch.

Hand making sushi rolls requires special skills to do, but this sushi bake recipe takes the hard work and time out of rolling each piece individually. With sushi bake, all you have to do is scoop a portion of it and wrap it in a small sheet of roasted seaweed, and then eat; making it a great option for larger parties or gatherings.

The basic ingredients you need to make this dish is sushi rice (or short/medium-grained rice), Japanese mayonnaise, cream cheese, sriracha for heat, ebiko (shrimp roe), Furikake, and your choice of seafood from salmon, to kani (imitation crab sticks), to tuna, or even unagi (eel). Furikake is a mixture of dry ingredients that is used as seasoning and sprinkled on top of cooked rice, fish, and vegetables. Since the sushi bake wave hit, it’s relatively easy to find Furikake in stores, online, or from small local businesses. If you can’t seem to find Furikake, then you can easily make it at home with roasted sesame seeds, Korean roasted seaweed flakes, salt, and sugar.

Magic Salmon Sushi Bake

Being a person who doesn’t immediately hop on the trendy bandwagon, here is my take on it four months later. For the sushi bake that I will be sharing tonight, I decided to add a little twist to it since this month is all about cooking with or showing off the colour blue. I threw in some dried butterfly pea flowers into the rice cooker to give the sushi rice a blue (almost violet) hue. Thus, my Magic Salmon Sushi Bake!

I sourced my salmon, Furikake bonito, ebiko (shrimp roe), and roasted nori sheets from seabites.ph. They basically have all the sushi bake needs including mirin and Japanese mayonnaise that you can get as a kit. I just happen to have the latter already in my pantry as well as the other ingredients to support my dish. Bottom line, go and support small local businesses especially during this pandemic!

Magic Salmon Sushi Bake Ingredients

PREP TIME 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 40-55 MINS | SERVES 6-8

INGREDIENTS

For the sushi rice

  • 2 cups white sushi-grade rice (short or medium-grained rice will also do)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp loose dried butterfly pea flowers
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt

For the creamy topping

  • 100g cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup Japanese mayonnaise, plus extra
  • 1/2 cup sriracha, plus extra
  • 1 tbsp Furikake bonito

For the topping

  • 500g sashimi-grade salmon, sliced
  • Ebiko (shrimp roe)
  • Furikake bonito
  • Korean roasted nori sheets

METHOD

  1. Sushi Rice: Rinse the rice with cold water to wash away the excess starch, until the water runs clear, and then drain. Soak the rice in 2 cups of its cooking water for about 20-30 minutes. This is said to give the rice extra time to moisten and cook more evenly. Place it into your rice cooker and let it work its magic.
  2. Once done, set aside to cool down slightly. Remove the butterfly pea flowers and then season the rice with the red wine vinegar, salt, and sugar. Mix well and set aside until ready to use.
  3. Preheat oven to 200C (400F or gas mark 6).
  4. Creamy Topping: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, Japanese mayonnaise, sriracha, and the Furikake bonito. Optional: dice some of the salmon slices and then add them into the bowl too. Mix well and then set aside.
  5. Magic Salmon Sushi Bake: In a heat-proof rectangular baking dish, spread the sushi rice evenly then lightly press down. Sprinkle a thin layer of the Furikake bonito on top of rice until fully covered.
  6. Spread the creamy topping on top of the rice, and top with the sliced salmon. Top with more Furikake bonito, ebiko, extra Japanese mayonnaise, and extra sriracha.
  7. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the top just starts to brown and bubble.
  8. Scoop and serve immediately with a sheet of roasted nori. Enjoy!

Magic Salmon Sushi Bake

Notes:

  • How do I store sushi bake?
    If you happen to have leftovers it is best stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • How long does sushi bake last?
    About 3 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • How can I reheat my leftover sushi bake?
    You can easily reheat your sushi bake in the microwave or oven until heated through.

Magic Salmon Sushi Bake

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Pear & Walnut Cake with Spiced Red Wine Pears

Pear & Walnut Cake with Spiced Red Wine Pears

Hello Everyone! I’ve got a special post for you this evening as today marks 4 years of Amcarmen’s Kitchen! Don’t worry, I’ll still post a Breakfast Smoothie Bowl up for you guys most probably towards the end of the week since I already had the post and pictures prepared for it.

Anyway, technically I started this blog on April 16th, but it wasn’t until 2 days after on the 18th that I posted my very first recipe! You can check it out here: Cheesy Mushroom Omelette with Avocado Mint Greek Yoghurt & Wilted Spinach. Yes, you could say I was less talkative (wordy) for my first few posts, mainly because I had no clue on what else I could write about. When I started this blog out of pure procrastination way back in 2014 during my uni mid-semester break, I didn’t think I would be able to make it this far to be honest! I did slack behind a bit (a lot) towards the end of last year as it wasn’t easy juggling both a very demanding job, this blog, time for family and friends, and wanting some free time to myself as well. I have been doing a better job at keeping up so far, but it’s too early to tell to be honest, since I only just started getting back into this last month.

Pear & Walnut Cake with Spiced Red Wine Pears

I want to say that I promise that I will try to do better this year, but even I know that that’s a promise that I won’t be able to keep, so bear with me my dear followers! I know it is not in any way an obligation for me to share with you guys every single week, but I feel a sense of accomplishment for when I do so, and I don’t ever want this blog to drift away. It’s the only passion that I have going on for me right now because of my busy work schedule, and I don’t want all the hard work I’ve put into this blog for the past now coming 4 years to just become all for nothing.

With that being said, tonight I will be sharing a recipe that I tackled last November actually… For my 26th birthday! I never got around to posting it, and since I literally just got back from Hong Kong last night and had to report straight to work this morning, I’ve had no time to bake a new cake to celebrate Amcarmen’s Kitchen turning 4. So here’s my Pear & Walnut Cake that I drew inspiration from Olivia over on Liv for Cake. The cake itself was moist, not too sweet and had a lovely texture from the soft pear chunks and crunchy toasted walnuts. The honey buttercream was light and fluffy, beautifully contrasted by the deep red pears sitting atop a white-frosted cake.

(Apologies for not having an ingredient shot like how I normally do for almost all my recipe posts, but the photo didn’t turn out so great so I just decided not to post it)

PREP TIME 20 MINS | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 8-10

INGREDIENTS

For the pear and walnut cake

  • 2 & 1/4 cups plain flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped (plus extra to top)
  • 180g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large free range eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 large pears, peeled, cored, and coarsely shredded
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

For the honey Swiss meringue buttercream

  • 4 large free range eggs, whites only
  • 360g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey

Optional: for the spiced red wine poached pears to top

METHOD

  1. Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears: Follow the recipe method provided in the link above.
  2. Pear and Walnut Cake: Preheat oven to 180C (350F or gas mark 4). Grease and flour two 8-inch cake rounds and line with parchment paper.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the plain flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt until well combined. Set aside.
  4. Next, using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until the mixture becomes pale and fluffy (approximately 3 minutes). Reduce the speed and add the eggs in one at a time to allow to fully incorporate after each addition. Add the vanilla extract.
  5. Alternate adding the flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour (3 additions of flour and 2 of milk altogether). Make sure to fully incorporate after each addition. Then, gently fold in the toasted walnuts and shredded pears, and divide the mixture evenly between the two pans.
  6. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of both cakes come out mostly clean. Place the cakes on wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes and then turn out onto the wire rack to cool further.
  7. Honey Swiss Meringue Buttercream: Place the egg whites and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer, and whisk until combined.* Place the bowl over a double boiler on the stove and whisk constantly until the mixture is hot and no longer grainy to the touch (approximately 3 minutes), or until it registers 70C/160F on a candy thermometre.
  8. Place the bowl back on your stand mixer and whisk on medium-high speed until the meringue is stiff and has cooled (the bowl is no longer warm to the touch (approximately 5 to 10 minutes).
  9. Switch to a paddle attachment and slowly add in the butter (cubed). Mix until smooth.** Add the honey and whip until smooth. Set aside.
  10. Assembly: Place one layer of cake on a cake stand or serving plate. Top with approximately 1 cup of the buttercream and repeat with the remaining layer. Crumb coat the cake and place in the fridge to chill for about 20 minutes.
  11. Continue to frost the top and sides of the cake in a rustic manner. If desired, add toasted walnuts along the bottom and top, and place the poached pears on top. Secure pears in place with toothpicks and drizzle with the poaching syrup.
  12. Serve and enjoy!

* Ensure that there are NO traces of egg yolks in your whites and that your mixer bowl and whisk is completely grease free or your meringue won’t stiffen.

** The buttercream may look like it’s curdled at some point. Keep mixing until it is completely smooth.

Pear & Walnut Cake with Spiced Red Wine Pears

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com