Mexican Sweet Corn Cake

Mexican Sweet Corn Cake

Hello Everyone! Tonight’s recipe is one that I came across while I was doing some research for my blog. I instantly fell in love with these words, “…soft, moist, tender, savoury, sweet corn…” I knew that this was a recipe that I wanted to tackle, and it did not disappoint! It was tender. It was moist. It was… dangerous. Dangerous in a way that you can literally take the whole pan with you and hide; devouring it all by yourself. It’s that good.

This Mexican Sweet Corn Cake is deliciously moist, buttery, and crumbles as you dig into it (but in no way means that it’s dry). This corn cake utilises corn in 3 ways: masa harina (or corn flour), regular corn meal, and is flecked with sweet corn niblets/whole corn kernels. That’s three times the corn flavour! In addition, you can roast the corn kernels first for extra flavour and flair!

Mexican Sweet Corn Cake

The cake is baked in a water-bath, sort of like a cheesecake so that it won’t crisp or turn golden; so it’s kind of like a cake-y cornbread. You could have this savoury cake on the side with pretty much any dish, or even on it’s own as a perfect mid-afternoon snack.

It’s a perfect recipe to whip up under quarantine as all ingredients may already be readily available in your pantry. If not, it’s easy to grab them on your next grocery run! If you can’t find masa harina at your local supermarket, then you can swap it out with either all purpose flour or cake flour – which is exactly what I did for this recipe! It wasn’t because I could not source for corn flour; it was simply because I didn’t want to have an opened pack of it sitting in the pantry for centuries (which is what happened, and is still happening, to my pack of cornmeal). The corn flavour still pops through nonetheless, but probably not as powerful as if you would have used masa harina instead.

Anyway, before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please take the time to check out the original where I drew my inspiration from over on Simply Scratch by Laurie.

Mexican Sweet Corn Cake Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 50 MINS | SERVES 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 225g unsalted butter/margarine, softened
  • 1 cup sweet corn (fresh, frozen, or canned), roughly chopped
  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour*
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup white granulated sugar
  • 4 tbsp soy milk
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

* If you have masa harina (cornflour) on hand, then use this instead!
** If you are using canned corn, drain before adding to the batter. If you are using frozen corn, make sure you thaw them first.

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F or gas mark 4).
  2. In a large mixing bowl using an electric hand mixer, beat the butter until fluffy and light in colour. Add in the all purpose flour (or masa harina), together with the water and continue to mix until just combined.
  3. Add in the corn kernels, cornmeal, sugar, salt, and baking powder, followed by the soy milk. Mix until well combined. Using a spatula, scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl if needed to incorporate any missed dry ingredients.
  4. Pour the batter into a greased 8in x 11in glass baking dish. Spread the batter so that it is evenly distributed and smooth. Cover tightly with foil and place the dish into another baking dish (about 9in x 13in in size) and fill it with water about a third of the way.
  5. Carefully place the dish into the preheated oven and bake for 50 minutes. Once done, remove from the oven and leave it aside to cool down for about 10 minutes.
  6. Slice the cake into 6 equal squares/rectangles. Alternatively, you may use a spoon or an ice cream scoop to dish and serve. Enjoy!

Mexican Sweet Corn Cake

Mexican Sweet Corn Cake

Before I end tonight’s post, I just wanted to give you guys a quick update on how our country has responded to the current global pandemic. We’re currently into Day 58 of Enhanced Community Quarantine here in the Philippines, or as some may jokingly say, Season 3 of ECQ. Our original enhanced quarantine period was only supposed to last a month, from the late afternoon of March 16 until April 15.

Due to the significant increase in positive cases in our country, and the death count being much higher than the recovery count, we were not ready to go out of quarantine. With that ECQ was extended until April 30, and again to May 15. With our numbers still increasing by the hundreds each day, here we are again, under a ‘modified’ enhanced community quarantine until the end of May. On the bright side, at least our recovery rate is much higher than our death counts.

So what have I been up to since we went into quarantine 58 days ago? Well, I’m thankful that I still have a full-time job and that our company was able to carry out a work-from-home set up amidst the pandemic. I don’t go out anymore; only once every two weeks to our local supermarket to stock up on food. We also get our fruits and vegetables delivered to us weekly from a stall just down the road from us; really just to avoid and limit the times we go out of the house.

Other than that, I find myself having more time to do the things I want to do. Even if it means having more time to do nothing at all *cheeky grin* Just kidding! My time in the morning now isn’t being consumed by waking up early to prepare for work, and getting stuck in hour-long traffic going to and coming home from work. In return, I’m less tired during the week, which also means that I don’t find myself having to recover over the weekend. Not having to recover over the weekend also means that I can use my free time more efficiently for recipe research, development, experimentation, and writing for Amcarmen’s Kitchen!

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

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

Fudgy Avocado-Chilli Brownies

Fudgy Avocado-Chilli Brownies

Hello Everyone! Firstly, apologies for not getting this post up last week as originally planned. It has been a crazy hectic week with early days and late nights in the office – even working the weekends ‘til late to meet deadlines for an event that our department/team organised on this day just last week. So because of that, I barely had any time to sit down and comfortably write this post with a stress-free state of mind. Having said that, here I am, back on track again to share a deliciously (healthy?) dessert that’s sure to knock your socks off!

The first time I experienced a Chilli-Chocolate flavour combination was when I was still studying in Sydney for my Bachelor’s of Design Degree. I remember I was at Circular Quay with a friend, and one of the gelato stalls there (can’t remember the name) was having a chocolate gelato fest! I clearly remember the difficulty I had in choosing a chocolate flavour out of the possible 10 or 15 they had available. For those of you who don’t know me, I like my chocolate like how I like my men – dark. Just kidding – I just wanted to say that. I have no particular preferences on skin colour or race when it comes to men. Tangent aside; I’m just not very fond of milk or white chocolate unless I really REALLY crave for it. Well technically I’m not very fond of chocolate altogether unless I really want something chocolatey for dessert.

Fudgy Avocado-Chilli Brownies

Finally getting back to the original story, I remember having doubts on choosing just a regular Dark Chocolate Gelato, or one called Death by Chocolate which was essentially the Dark Chocolate Gelato, but with chilli in it. Me being adventurous to a certain extent (hey we all gotta draw a line somewhere!), I decided to go for the Death by Chocolate since never had I ever, up until that moment of course, tried the pairing of chilli and chocolate before. Boom. My life changed. It was a magical moment. The subtle yet just enough kick of heat that played on my tongue together with the cold creamy gelato that was slightly sweet and slightly bitter at the same time was to die for. It truly did live up to its name – Death by Chocolate. Ever since then, Chilli and Chocolate became my new best friends.

So what about Chocolate and Avocado? How did they also become my new best friends? Well, a couple of years back, when I was still studying abroad, I was out having a weekend (or maybe it was a weekday during the winter holidays) brunch with some of the people/friends I lived with. We went to a place known as Rustic Pearl in Surry Hills. When we were ordering our drinks to start off with, I was super curious about their Chocomolé Smoothie – Chocolate and Guacamole I presumed from its name after reading “with avocado and cocoa.” As usual, I was being my adventurous self and decided to try this foreign-to-me flavour pairing of Avocado and Chocolate. Did it change my life? Why yes. Yes it did. I still can’t quite describe the sensation nor taste of the pairing, but I absolutely love it.

Fudgy Avocado-Chilli Brownies

Therefore, Avocado, Dark Chocolate, and Chilli? Explosive. Every time I want to be adventurous and try something new when it came to gelato flavours, I always say to myself, “no, you need Avocado and Dark Chocolate-Chilli Gelato.” I had been craving brownies for the longest time ever, and this was the perfect opportunity to whip them up and feature them on the blog since it fit with the theme I made it fit with the theme by incorporating avocados into them. These brownies are dense, thick, fudgy, and rich. The frosting though compliments the richness perfectly since it is light in flavour. Yes the frosting tastes like avocado, and no, the brownies do not even if they have avocado mixed into them.

Anyway, apologies for the super long introduction – hope it made up for not posting last week *cheeky grin* but before we pop on over to the recipe below, please do check out the original recipe by Jessica over on How Sweet Eats.

Fudgy Avocado-Chilli Brownies Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | MAKES 12 BROWNIES

INGREDIENTS

For the brownie batter

  • 2 large ripe avocados, peeled, pitted, and mashed
  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • 1-2 red bird’s eye chillies, minced
  • 200g high-quality dark chocolate, melted
  • 50g high-quality dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose/plain flour
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For to avocado frosting

  • 1 large ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and mashed
  • 2 & 1/2 cups confectioiner’s sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F or gas mark 4), and generously grease a 9in x 13in baking dish with unsalted butter or non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Fudgy Brownies: Whisk the mashed avocados, melted chocolate, and minced chillies in a large mixing bowl before adding in the white granulated sugar. Whisk again until well combined. Add in the eggs, together with the vanilla extract and mix well.
  3. Sift in the plain flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt into the avocado-chocolate mixture. Mix with a large spoon until JUST combined – be careful as to not overmix the batter.
  4. Stir in the extra virgin olive oil until it is well distributed into the batter and is somewhat smooth in consistency. Gently fold in the chopped chocolate, and then spread onto the prepared baking dish.
  5. Bake for 28-32 minutes, or until the middle has set. You can check this by inserting a toothpick into the centre. If it comes out clean, then the brownies are done. Remove from the oven and set aside for it to completely cool down.
  6. Avocado Frosting: Add the mashed avocado and vanilla extract into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Whisk until combined. Slowly incorporate the confectioner’s sugar into the avocado mixture and whisk until a smooth frosting forms.
  7. Frost the brownies once they have cooled down and top with extra chopped chocolate bits and chilli slices for an added extra kick of heat. Serve and enjoy immediately!

Fudgy Avocado-Chilli Brownies

Tip: If you’re going to pop them in the fridge to eat the next day, and the succeeding days to come, I recommend letting them come back up to room temperature before eating them. They can be even denser and slightly dry after coming out of the fridge.

Fudgy Avocado-Chilli Brownies

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Mini Baked Dragon Fruit Cheesecake

Mini Baked Dragon Fruit Cheesecake

Hello Everyone and Happy Independence Day Philippines! So to begin with a ‘long story short’ scenario, I initially made this cake for my Mom’s birthday last month and let’s just say things did not go according to plan. It was a total kitchen disaster. I beat myself up quite harshly for it, because it meant that my Mom never got cake made by me for her birthday. I compensated though and got her a limited time only Ube Custard Cake from Conti’s Restaurant and Bakeshop when we celebrated Mother’s Day last month. That cake by the way – the bomb dot com. Anyway, I’ve saved the disaster details for last, so feel free to read the short summary of what went down at the end of the recipe.

Mini Baked Dragon Fruit Cheesecake

Please bear with me for I’m currently having a bit of a writer’s block at the moment, and I’ve been sitting on this for more than an hour now thinking of what I can write. I don’t really have much, or anything for that matter, to say about the dish/recipe other than it tastes AMAZING – so I’ll just feed your knowledge on some (fun) facts on dragon fruits!

Fact #1: Dragon fruit is also known as a Strawberry Pear.

Fact #2: Eating too much red-fleshed dragon fruit can give rise to a harmless condition called pseudohematuria, which can turn urine reddish in colour.

(Fun) Fact #3: A concoction made of dragon fruit, honey, and cucumber juice can moisturize and soothe sunburned skin.

Mini Baked Dragon Fruit Cheesecake

Fact #4: The cactus flower that produces dragon fruits only survives a single night. It blooms in the evening, ready for pollination, and then wilts the very next day. However, the very brief pollination period is sufficient for the plant to bear fruits.

Fact #5: The best time to pick dragon fruits are when they are mature as they are at their height of their sweetness. Mature fruits that are not harvested will continue to grow larger, but not sweeter.

And there you have it. There are plenty more (fun) facts about dragon fruits, especially where health benefits are concerned, but these are the ones that I didn’t know about and found most interesting!

Mini Baked Dragon Fruit Cheesecake Ingredients

PREP TIME 15-20 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR | MAKES 2 MINI CAKES

INGREDIENTS

For the cheesecake mixture

  • 1 small red dragon fruit, mashed*
  • 250g cream cheese
  • 100ml cream
  • 1 large free-range egg
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar

For the crumb base

  • 150g Digestive Biscuits, crushed
  • 50g unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp salt

*As I mentioned in last week’s post, the grocer that I bought them from only had gigantic dragon fruits, where the one I bought and pictured for this recipe was about 800g! In this case, I only used half of the fruit for the recipe.

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 130C (250F or gas mark 1).
  2. Crumb Base: Add the crushed digestive biscuits, salt, and melted butter together in a small mixing bowl. Mix together until well combined.
  3. Grease two mini spring-form pans (about 4” in diameter) and line it with parchment paper. Cover the outside of the pan with tin foil. Press the crumb into the base of the cake pan. Set aside in the fridge for about 15 minutes to set.
  4. Cheesecake Mixture: Using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, 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 egg and cream, mixing for a further 2 minutes.
  6. Pour the mixture into the prepared spring-form cake pan, evenly covering the biscuit base, and then add about a tablespoon of the mashed dragon fruit atop. Use a skewer to gently swirl the mashed dragon fruit through the cheesecake mixture.
  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. Serve and enjoy!

You may top the cheesecake with extra mashed dragon fruit if you still have some lying around.

Mini Baked Dragon Fruit Cheesecake

So in all honesty, I initially made a cake-sized (8.5” round) version of this dragon fruit cheesecake. It was a no-bake cheesecake and all the things that could go wrong with it, went absolutely wrong *facepalm*.

Firstly, I bought unflavoured gelatin to incorporate into the cheesecake mixture to help it set in the fridge since it is a no-bake cheesecake. The supposedly ‘unflavoured’ gelatin advertised on the package had a certain flavour to it that I could not put my finger on. In addition, it was diabetically sweet. Not only did it ruin the taste of the cheesecake, it also caused the cheesecake mixture to split when added, causing little white specks to appear. So instead of having a smooth pink colour to the dragon fruit cheesecake, it looked like it had little white lice eggs in it – *barfs* Okay that description definitely went too far, but that’s what it looked like to me!

I didn’t know how I could salvage this cake, so I ended up chucking it in the bin. I don’t like chucking food into the bin because not only is it such a waste of beautiful ingredients, they’re also expensive ingredients. There was no point trying to salvage it though, because it honestly tasted gross because of the gelatin that I used.

After the mishap, I went back and tried the recipe again, but this time followed the recipe I tackled for a baked cheesecake from April – Spice-roasted Pineapple Cheesecake. As you can see, the end result was so much better! I was over the moon with the turn out and from now on, I’m never EVER going back to no-bake cheesecakes.

Mini Baked Dragon Fruit Cheesecake

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com</p

Spice-roasted Pineapple Cheesecake

Spice-roasted Pineapple Cheesecake

Hello Everyone! Firstly, I would like to apologise if this ends up all over the place in terms of the written content, and if there will be a lot of typos and grammatical errors. I was up at 3:45am this morning to get ready to be out of the house at 5:30am for an early Visita Iglesia Pilgrimage with the ladies from our neighbourhood association. Visita Iglesia, or known as the Seven Churches Visitation is a pious Roman Catholic Lenten tradition to visit seven churches on the evening of Maundy Thursday or Good Friday and recite the Stations of the Cross. Until the 1970s, pilgrims recited all fourteen stations in every church, but the more recent form is to pay two stations per church visited. We visited seven churches in the province of Batangas and Tagaytay. This was the very first time I’ve ever been on a Visita Iglesia Pilgrimage and the beautiful churches that we have in the Philippines astounded me.

Moving forwards, yes I am well aware that it is only a Tuesday but today is a very special day for Amcarmen’s Kitchen! I asked my followers over on Instagram to guess why it is a special day, and shared some throwback pictures that were posted on this day from the past as clues. Unfortunately, no one took part in guessing what day it is today *sad face*

Spice-roasted Pineapple Cheesecake

AMCARMEN’S KITCHEN TURNS 5 TODAY!

I say this every year, but I will forever be thankful for all the support from my family and friends. Thank you to the friends who have encouraged and praised my dishes ever since before Amcarmen’s Kitchen was born. Thank you to that one specific person who gave me that push I needed to actually start up my own blog. We don’t talk anymore just because we saw too many things differently, and thus unfortunately are not friends anymore. Thank you to my family and friends who have been there to gobble up the results of my cooking adventures. Of course, a very big thank you to my Mom as well for many things. The main being for teaching me how to cook the basics; it was from here that I developed my skills and techniques in cooking, and expanding my knowledge of various cuisines across the globe. And of course, for (sometimes) being the one that actually preps and cooks the food!

One day, can’t remember when anymore, I was scrolling through Instagram and came across this recipe for a Pineapple & Passionfruit Cheesecake by Ben Milgate and Elvis Abrahanowicz on SBS Food. I immediately knew that this was the cake that I was going to whip up for the 5th anniversary of Amcarmen’s Kitchen. I changed the recipe up a bit, firstly by incorporating the spice-roasted pineapples that I experimented with at the beginning of the month for my nice cream. I really loved the flavour profile of it and so I decided to use that into the cheesecake. I’ve left the passionfruit out only because I could not find any at the markets or supermarkets around my area. If you have passionfruit on hand then by all means add it to the recipe. For the base, I’ve swapped out the Anzac mix and just crushed up some ginger nut biscuits. The fiery, gingery flavour works super well with the spice-roasted pineapple.

Spice-roasted Pineapple Cheesecake Ingredients

PREP TIME 25 MINS | COOKING TIME 1 HOUR 20 MINS | SERVES 8-12

INGREDIENTS

For the spice-roasted pineapple

  • 1 large pineapple, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 5 pcs whole cloves
  • 3 pcs star anise
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp Tequila or Vodka (optional)

For the crumb base

  • 300g Ginger Nut Biscuits, crushed
  • 100g unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tsp salt

For the cheesecake mixture

  • Spice-roasted pineapple purée
  • 500g cream cheese, softened
  • 200ml cream
  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • Juice of half a lemon

METHOD

  1. Spice-roasted Pineapple: Preheat oven to 220C (425F or gas mark 7).
  2. Toss the pineapple, sugar, spices, and everything nice (liquor) in an oven-safe baking dish. Sorry, I could not resist not say that!
  3. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes. Once done, set aside to completely cool down before puréeing the pineapple. Set some pineapple chunks aside for decoration later.
  4. Crumb Base: Meanwhile, add the crushed ginger nut biscuits, salt, and melted butter together in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Mix together until well combined.
  5. Grease an 8-inch spring-form cake pan and line it with parchment paper. Cover the outside of the pan with tin foil. Press the crumb into the base of the cake pan. Set aside in the fridge for about 15 minutes to set.
  6. Turn the oven temperature down to 130C (250F or gas mark 1).
  7. Cheesecake Mixture: Using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat, on medium speed, the cream cheese and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until smooth.
  8. With the mixer running, add in the eggs and cream, mixing for a further 2 minutes.
  9. Pour the mixture into the prepared spring-form cake pan, evenly covering the biscuit base, then drizzle over the spice-roasted pineapple purée. Use a skewer to gently swirl the purée through the cheesecake mixture.
  10. Place the cake pan in a water bath and bake for 1 hour, or until just set. Allow to cool down to room temperature and then chill in the fridge for about an hour before serving.
  11. Decorate: Just before serving, top the cheesecake with the crown of a pineapple, and with the remaining spice-roasted pineapple chunks.
  12. Serve and enjoy!

Spice-roasted Pineapple Cheesecake

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Chunky Apple Cake

Chunky Apple Cake

Hello Everyone! So I probably didn’t think this through when I was planning for my recipes for the month of March. As I’ve said many times before, yes we are definitely in the middle of summer right now here in the Philippines, and having a warm Apple Cake just doesn’t seem to fit with the temperatures that we’re currently experiencing this summer.

Not to worry though, when I caught on with the dishes that I’ve been cooking for this month, I went back and had to change some of my recipes for next month. I won’t reveal it to you guys yet so you’ll just have to wait for next Wednesday for it!

Chunky Apple Cake

Nonetheless, you can have this Chunky Apple Cake with some ice cream for a cooling element. I would’ve much preferred a simple vanilla ice cream but I had come cookies and cream flavoured ice cream sitting in the freezer that I could use to go with my cake.

I skipped the butterscotch sauce for this recipe as I still had some leftover apple pie filling sitting in the fridge from when I made my Apple Danish recipe. I used that instead to drizzle over the cakes. In addition, I also used the leftover crumb topping from that recipe to top my cake for another layer of texture.

Before we jump onto the recipe, do check out the original over on Taste of Home. Also, please read some very important comments below after the recipe before the end of tonight’s post!

Chunky Apple Cake Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 40 MINS | SERVES 6-8

INGREDIENTS

For the chunky apple cake

  • 110g unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 2 cups white granulated sugar
  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • 2 medium-sized (or 1 large) Red Delicious Apples, peeled and chopped
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the butterscotch sauce

  • 57g unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream

METHOD

  1. Chunky Apple Cake: Preheat oven to 180C (350F or gas mark 4). Grease a 13in x 9in baking dish with a bit of butter and set aside.
  2. Combine the plain flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and baking soda in a small bowl. Mix well and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, white sugar, and vanilla extract. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Gradually add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and mix well. The batter will be stiff. Stir in the apples until well combined. Spread the mixture onto the prepared baking dish and (optional) top the batter with the crumb topping.
  5. Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and springs back when lightly touched. Once done, cool for 30 minutes before serving.
  6. Butterscotch Sauce: Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar and butter. Cook over medium heat until the butter has melted. Gradually add the cream and bring to a slow boil, stirring constantly, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  7. Serving: Once the cake has cooled down, cut them into slices and serve in individual serving plates. Top with the butterscotch sauce and ice cream flavour of your choice. Enjoy!

Chunky Apple Cake

Now, I’ll be honest, the cake turned out to be quite dry, and you can probably tell from the photographs. Here are several reasons on why your cakes turn out dry and crumbly:

  1. Using too much flour. When measuring dry ingredients, gently spoon the flour mixture into a measuring cup for dry ingredients and level off with a flat spatula.
  2. Adding too little shortening/liquid. Measure liquids in a liquid-measuring cup placed on a level surface. Read the liquid measurement at eye level.
  3. Improperly mixed or undermixed. Careful mixing to evenly distribute the ingredients throughout the cake batter will give it a uniform consistency. Be careful not to overmix once the flour is added as this can cause the cake to be tough.
  4. Overbeating or using too many egg whites. Egg whites act as a drying agent. Try using less egg whites if you want to avoid a dry cake.
  5. Too much or too little sugar. Too much sugar can cause a cake to crumble when cut, while too little sugar can make a cake tough. The best cake recipes have a good balance of ingredients.
  6. Pan too big for the amount of batter. Using a pan that is too big for the amount of batter you have can cause it to overbake and become dry. The pan should be filled from half to three-fourths full.
  7. Oven temperature too high. If the temperature is to high, your cake could turn out dry. Overbaking could also be a culprit so check your cake for doneness at the lower end of the baking range.

– from Taste of Home.

I’m most definitely guilty of numbers 3, 5 and 6. I probably undermixed my batter as I creamed the butter and sugar by hand instead of using an electrical mixer (because I still have not bought one)! I also most definitely used too little sugar. I halved the portion of sugar because 2 cups scared me a lot. My Mom’s a diabetic, and because of that we’ve grown up in a household where our intolerance to sugar is quite low due to the fact that we don’t have a lot of sweet things lying around the house. When I read 2 cups of sugar from the original recipe, I felt my non-existent (yet) diabetes rise up. In addition, I definitely used a cake pan too big for the amount of batter I had, and thus lead to overbaking since I did not adjust the time it needed to bake in the oven. Silly rookie mistakes.

Chunky Apple Cake

I did end up with some leftovers, and what my Mom did was steam the cakes the next day for our mid-afternoon snack. The cakes turned out soft and moist, kind of like the texture of a sponge cake.

Anyway, I’ve kept the recipe as is, without adjusting the quantities of sugar just so that I hope for anyone who does try out this recipe, that it won’t be a flop like mine. I’m still posting this recipe anyway for me to learn from it. But to be honest, even one cup of sugar that I used for this recipe was on the verge of being too sweet for me.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Auguest 2018: Wendy Chok

Rustic Bread: PMS Toast

It’s me Wendy, back for another recipe to share! The last time I was on here I shared a recipe for homemade Rustic Bread and a savoury Pizza Toast brekkie with everyone. This time I will be sharing what I like to call ‘PMS Toast’ which I will explain further in a while. I also shared a little bit about myself, and my love for food, so now I will share about how I know Ally on a personal level.

I met and got to know Ally about 3 years ago through work. She was one of my team members in our Marketing team for an Advertising and Event Management firm that we both worked at. We became very close friends and still even so after having left the company because we have the same level of random craziness, vibe, and of course our love for all things food.

Amcarmen's Kitchen & Peek A Pastry
Peek A Pastry & Amcarmen’s Kitchen

We share a special kind of bond at work and it might be because we spend a lot of time together, at work of course, for a lot of event events, working late at night on occasions, have food together in the office whether breakfast, lunch, snack time or dinner time, and enjoy great food together in celebration for when we’ve successfully finished every event that we’ve worked on. I love our team because we always had each other’s backs and we just simply complement each other well.

I know that Ally wants to pursue her dream to participate in MasterChef Australia and I am using all my power on law of attraction to make it happen. I will see Ally in MasterChef Australia one day and tell my kids or grandkids that “that is my friend!”

Moving on – I am not a sweet tooth but when the time (PMS) comes, nothing is sweet, what is sweet? How do you spell sweet? C-A-L-M is how you spell sweet. When you are cranky and tired, you just crave for something sweet, something sugar loaded and warm. So here I present you two fast and sweet breakfast ideas to hit my spot, and hopefully yours too.

PMS Toast: Cinnamon Everything Toast

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME 10 MINS | SERVES 1

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 slices of homemade Rustic Bread
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon (2 teaspoons for me, the cinnamon lover)

METHOD

  1. Place the butter in a small heatproof bowl and melt in the microwave for about 20 seconds. Make sure that it is not too liquidy as you want those buttery chunks on your toast. I like it rustic on this rustic bread.
  2. Mix all the ingredients together and smother it all over the toast.
  3. You can either bake it or toast it on a pan. Bake it at 240C (475F or gas mark 9) for 10 minutes, just enough time for everything to crunch up. If you like it toasted in a pan, face the side, which is smothered by the cinnamon paste down on the pan, and sear it for 2 minutes over medium heat.
  4. Serve and enjoy with a hot cup of coffee for breakfast or even as a nice afternoon snack!

Rustic Bread: PMS Toast

PMS Toast: Butter & Sugar Toast

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME 10 MINS | SERVES 1

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 slices of homemade Rustic Bread
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp granulated white sugar

METHOD

  1. Smear the butter over the toast and sprinkle the top with white sugar.
  2. Bake it at 240C (475F or gas mark 9) for 10 minutes.
  3. Serve and enjoy with a hot cup of coffee for sweet start to your morning!

Short and sweet, just nice for a woman who is PMS-ing. Men take note!

Rustic Bread: PMS Toast

Before I say goodbye to everyone on Amcarmen’s Kitchen, I would like to thank Ally for giving me this opportunity to write on her well-established blog. I hope that my recipes are not too shabby and please dive in to my rustic way of cooking!

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2018 | peekapastry

– Wendy (Peek A Pastry)

myTaste.com