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

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

Strawberry & Mascarpone Dessert Pizza

Strawberry & Mascarpone Dessert Pizza

Hello Everyone! For the month of February, I’ll be sharing some sweet dishes to celebrate the month of love! Though in my opinion, I believe love should be celebrated every day. No, I don’t mean that you should buy gifts and whip up something special in the kitchen every single day, but you should always make your significant other feel loved, whether big or small the gesture.

Strawberry & Mascarpone Dessert Pizza

For tonight’s recipe, forget chocolate dipped strawberries. Here’s a dish that takes the classic combination of Strawberries and Chocolates to the next level and is sure to impress your significant other for Valentine’s Day. I originally had a different recipe planned for tonight, but I was inspired by someone special to make this dessert pizza and share it with you guys.

Also, check out this recipe that I made a couple of years back if you wish to try out a different take on a berry dessert pizza: Nutella & Mixed Berries Pizza.

PREP TIME 10 MINS* | COOKING TIME 10 MINS | SERVES 3-4

* When you plan to tackle this recipe, make your dough ahead of time as needs to be refrigerated overnight before using.

INGREDIENTS

  • Classic New York Style Pizza Dough Recipe
  • 2 punnets (600g) fresh strawberries, washed, hulled, and sliced
  • 250g Mascarpone Cheese
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup nuts, roughly chopped
  • 5 tsp Nutella
  • Handful of fresh basil leaves

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 220C (245F or gas mark 7). Place your pizza stone in the oven as well to heat it up.
  2. Roll out your dough to a circle about the same size as your pizza stone on a lightly floured surface as thick or thin as you want. Transfer the rolled-out dough onto a sheet of parchment paper. This will easily help you transfer your pizza onto the preheated stone.
  3. Brush around the edges with a little bit of water, then spread a thick wall of Nutella all the way around the edges. Fold, or roll the edges over the wall of Nutella and seal it in by pressing down on the damp dough to form a stuffed crust.
  4. Carefully remove the pizza stone from the oven. Transfer the dough onto the hot stone and bake in the oven for about 3-4 minutes.
  5. While the pizza is baking, heat the balsamic vinegar in a small non-stick saucepan over medium-high heat. Simmer, continuously stirring to check on the consistency of the glaze, until the vinegar is reduced to a thick sauce, about 5 minutes, Remove from the heat and leave to cool down for a bit.
  6. Remove the pizza from the oven. Spread a thin (or if you are that type, a generous) layer of mascarpone cheese onto the dough and, top with the sliced strawberries and the nuts. Place it back into the oven with the grill setting on and grill for a further 3-4 minutes or until cooked all the way through. It should not take more than 10 minutes in total.
  7. Remove from the oven and top with fresh basil leaves and drizzle with the balsamic reduction. Serve and enjoy immediately!

Strawberry & Mascarpone Dessert Pizza

Strawberry & Mascarpone Dessert Pizza

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Auguest 2019: Shazrinah Shazali

Dark Chocolate Açaí Tahini Tart with Mixed Fruit Mountain

Indulgences can be sinful and healthy. A mixture of sweet, bitter and salty goodness combined into what may seem to be regular dark chocolate tart, is sure to give your guests a delicious and tantalising surprise.

PREP TIME 25 MINS | COOKING TIME 10 MINS | SERVES 6-8

INGREDIENTS

For the crust

  • 2 packets of Oreos
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter OR 4 tbsp coconut oil
  • Pinch of Himalayan salt

For the filling

  • 340g dark chocolate (70%)
  • 1/2 cup whipped cream OR coconut cream
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen açaí berries*, blended
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (optional)
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter OR 4 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp vanilla essence
  • Pinch of Himalayan salt

* If using frozen açaí berries, thaw first before blending.

Dark Chocolate Açaí Tahini Tart with Mixed Fruit Mountain

Tip: Switch out the butter for coconut oil and whipped cream for coconut cream to easily make this tart vegan and dairy-free friendly. Use vegan-friendly maple syrup or other substitute sweeteners, and of course a vegan biscuit/cookie base. Also, while most dark chocolate brands are vegan-friendly, it’s best to check for those that do/do not contain any whey or dairy in them.

METHOD

  1. Crust: Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Blend the Oreos, unsalted butter, Himalayan salt, and tahini together in a food processor.
  3. Transfer the blended mixture to a 10” tart tray and bake for 10 minutes. Once done, set aside to cool before filling the tart.
  4. Filling: Heat dark chocolate, unsalted butter, whipped cream, and maple syrup in a saucepan at a low to medium flame until melted and well combined.
  5. Once melted, mix in the vanilla essence, blended açaí berries, and salt.
  6. Take off the heat and then pour into the crust.
  7. Even out filling and chill in the fridge overnight to set.
  8. Finishing: Top with fruits of your choice to add freshness and volume to your tart. In this case, I used a medley of mangoes, kiwis, blueberries, and cherries. Serve and enjoy!

Dark Chocolate Açaí Tahini Tart with Mixed Fruit Mountain

PS: Ally here! Before we end tonights post, please read this article on the Goddess behind Fuel’d, who is none other than Shaza!

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2019 | Shazrinah Shazali

BON APPÉTIT

– Shazrinah Shazali

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

Apple Danish

Apple Danish

Hello Everyone! My sincere apologies for last week’s post being very bland and uninformative like my recent posts from the beginning of this year. Those who have read my post last week will know the reason for the lack of depth. But moving on, I am hopfully back on track and will not disappoint for tonight’s post. I do have a little bit to say at the end of this post so make sure you read all the way to the end, for those interested/curious that is.

So I did mention in last week’s post that I’d be specifically working with Red Delicious Apples for the month because they were on sale at Rustan’s Supermarket. After doing some research, I realised that these apples are not at all recommended for the way I’m working with them, whoops!

Red Delicious Apples are crunchy in texture and mildly sweet in taste. It is apparently the world’s favourite snacking apple and shines through in cool, crisp salads. They are in season basically all year round and no suggested for pies, sauces, baking, and freezing – oops. I totally used them for baking in last week’s recipe and technically tonight’s recipe. I will use them for a sauce and for baking again for the coming recipes as well *face palm* Oh well, but to be honest, I haven’t come across any dire problems with baking or saucing Red Delicious Apples. After doing some research, Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, and Golden Delicious Apples are the best for pies, baking, and making a sauce out of them. I’ll remember this for next time!

Apple Danish Process

I probably made too much filling and crumb topping for this recipe, even though I had initially halved the recipe that I followed by Melanie Dueck over on The Recipe Critic. If you do end up with leftovers, use another pastry sheet to make more Danishes, which was what I should have done but was too impatient to thaw another sheet, or make mini Apple Crumbles out of them! I would have done the latter, but then I still have another sweet apple recipe to do to complete my month of apple for recipes and I can totally use the leftovers for it!

The only reason why I have opted for the glaze to be optional in this recipe is because I don’t have any confectioners’ sugar lying around in my pantry. If you have read my previous post (can’t remember which specific one it was), I mentioned that I have this habit of buying ingredients that I rarely use. Eventually those ingredients end up sitting on the pantry shelf until its expiration date. The same applies to confectioners’ sugar. I rarely bake nowadays, or when I do bake, I never really need to use confectioners’ sugar regularly, and so if I am just going to use it for this recipe, I have decided to leave it out for mine, but if you do happen to have it lying around, go for it! It tastes good with or without anyway! What I did instead was drizzled a bit of the juices from the apple filling on top of the baked Danishes.

Apple Danish Ingredients

PREP TIME 20 MINS | COOKING TIME 25 MINS | SERVES 8 DANISHES

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 puff pastry sheets, thawed

For the apple filling

  • 1 large Red Delicious apples, peeled and diced
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 3 tbsp white granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt

For the crumb topping

  • 1/4 cup plain flour
  • 25g unsalted butter (cold), cut into little cubes
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Handful of roughly chopped walnuts

For the egg wash

  • 1 large free-range egg
  • 1 tbsp water

Optional: for the glaze

  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tbsp heavy whipping cream or milk
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla extract

METHOD

  1. Apple Filling: Combine all the apple filling ingredients together, except for the apples, in a medium-sized saucepan. Melt altogether over medium heat and bring to a boil. Boil for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Add the peeled and diced apples into the saucepan and bring back to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often, until the apples have softened, but still holds it shape.
  3. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
    Crumb Topping: Meanwhile, mix all the crumb topping ingredients in a small mixing bowl that has been chilled in the freezer for about 10 minutes.
  4. With your fingertips, quickly mix the ingredients together until it looks like rough breadcrumbs. Set aside.

Tip: Pre-chilling your mixing bowl in the freezer helps keep the butter chilled when making the crumb topping. Likewise, if your mixture is too warm, put the bowl into the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes and start again when it has chilled.

  1. Apple Danish: Preheat oven to 200C (400F or gas mark 6). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (I used foil for mine because I only realised just as I was about to prepare my sheet that I had none left!).
  2. Unfold one thawed puff pastry sheet at a time and roll it out to about 10”x10” sheet. Use a pizza cutter to cut 16 even strips. Connect four strips together by overlapping about a half-inch and pressing it down together. Twist the strip into a ribbon and snail it around itself to create a rose-shaped pastry. Press the end down to the rest of the dough. Repeat for the remaining dough, should make at least 8 pastries.

Apple Danish Process

  1. Place the prepared pastry dough on the parchment-lined baking sheet and press the middle down. Place a spoonful of apple filling in the wells of the pastry.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the egg and water together and brush it over the pastry dough. Sprinkle the crumb topping over the tops of each Danish and then bake for about 16 to 18 minutes or until the edges are golden.
  3. Remove from the oven and leave aside to cool before glazing.
  4. Glaze (Optional): Mix all the glaze ingredients together in a small bowl then drizzle over the warm apple Danishes. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Apple Danish

This is probably not the best time to have a warm dessert in the Philippines as it’s getting hotter by the minute as the Summer season rolls in. But hey! It’s getting cooler in some parts of the world right? So this would be the perfect snack/dessert for it!

I could have probably plated these delicious Danishes a little better – but I promise that they taste absolutely amazing! Better than they actually look! The flaky and crisp pastry crust, apple pie filling, and crumb topping make them irresistible. In seconds upon placing them on the dining table for our mid-afternoon snack, they were all gone! The three of us (my Mom, my sister, and myself) even fought over who wouldn’t get a third piece since there were only 8 Danishes.

Apple Danish

Before I end tonight’s post I would also just like to say a few things. I didn’t want to say this at the beginning of this post because I didn’t want to start off negatively. I have recovered from my irritable bowel syndrome, but despite that, I haven’t been feeling in the mood to work on my blog since my recovery.

I mean it’s practically normal to have off days – we’re all human after all – but I just can’t shake off the feeling of letting my followers down and letting myself down when it comes to Amcarmen’s Kitchen. I don’t get paid for running this blog, so everything that I do for Amcarmen’s Kitchen is purely for my passion and love for food, and to be able to share it with the few followers I have is just enough for me to continue doing what I love to do.

This is a very reason why I try so hard to stay on top of everything and make sure that I have dishes and recipes lined up in advance so that I can just hit the publish button every Wednesday night without having to stress about editing photographs and writing everything up all on the upload day itself. I probably put too much pressure on myself for this, hence why the sudden lack of determination for the past week.

I know deep down that no one really cares about all this – but I just needed to get this off my chest, even if it just means that I am talking to my blog.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com