Archive for June, 2009

Bakewell Tart uhm Pudding

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

taste-o-meter: 8/10
makes: 1 pie

People says that books is your window to the world. You don’t have to be on Mars to know about Mars. I honestly can say the same about Daring Bakers. Daring Bakers is my window to the world. I don’t have to be in Italy to try lasagna nor I have to be in UK to try Bakewell tarts. Before reading this month’s challenge, I don’t even know what Bakewell tarts are. As you may have noticed, I have a limited exposure to English cuisine and culture. All English cuisines that I can come up with is “fish and chips” :D . Learning is a process, right? :)

This month’s recipe is quite a challenge for me. First, I do not own any blender nor I spot any ground-almond in nearby stores. I don’t feel like buying a blender since I’m about to move abroad in a few months. Let’s not add more things to my already-overloaded luggages. I had to grind my own almond people! Well, I did not start from whole almonds. I managed to find sliced almonds. I didn’t do it in one day either. It was more of like two days of 15-minutes incremental works. I started out using a mortar and pestle. But, the progress was slow. Finally, I dumped the almond on a big bowl, took one of my biggest coffee mug, and proceeded to crunch the heck out of these sliced almonds. The result was not perfect, But it was close enough. I used apricot jams. I like it as it complements the sweetness of frangipane.

I’ve never worked with a pie crust that has eggs in it. I found it a bit hard to work with. It crumbled a lot and was not as cohesive as the sans egg pie crust. Maybe I did something wrong? I only used one egg yolk instead of two, because it was an extra large egg instead of medium sized ones. The top of my bakewell tart is also a bit overdone *haha*. 200 degree Celsius is way too high for my oven. At the end of the first 30 minutes, the top is already brown. It was too late to scatter the sliced almonds. Next time, I’ll bake it at 175 degrees or even at 150 and scatter the sliced almonds after the first 10 minutes elapses.

Here’s the recipe and a little of history on Bakewell tarts as Annemarie and Jasmine wrote them. Thank you hosts!

Is it a tart or is it a pudding?

Someone once said something like “The Bakewell pudding is a dessert. The Bakewell tart is that girl over there.”

It’s a debate that rages on and we aren’t taking sides on this one. But we will say that many people call this pudding a tart.

While we’re at it…
The etymology of pudding is a rather interesting and slightly convoluted one.* The naming confusion may come from the British manner of referring to the dessert course as ‘pudding’ (as well as referring to fat babies by the same name, though we don’t think that is what was the inspiration in this case). And so any dessert is a pudding until another name comes along and adds clarity to what it really is.

* nb: Annemarie had to electronically restrain Jasmine from delving into another treatise, threatening to remove her digital scale, personally autographed copies of How To Eat by Nigella Lawson and A.S. Byatt’s Possession and toss her kitchen footstool into the squidgy marsh up the road (really…Jasmine’s kitchen appears to be designed by a 6’4” fast food-eating engineer named Martin, Chuck or perhaps Buford) Anyone interested in hearing or reading her wax lyrical about puddings should just email her directly.
The Challenge

Rough Durations: Please see individual recipe elements to see how much time you’ll need. You may pull it together in more time or less—it all depends upon your kitchen’s pace. You can complete the tart in an afternoon, or break it up into a couple of days by making the pastry one day in advance.
• Measurements: These recipes were developed using weight and not volume metrics, so for better results, pull out your scales. We’ve done our best with the Metric to Imperial conversions.
• A giant tart, medium tarts or little tartlettes: We’ll leave that to you.
• Mandatory and Optional Elements
Mandatory element 1: Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
Yes, it’s a pie pastry. Don’t look at us like that. It’s sweet and tender and it’s not scary…and we’re encouraging you to do it by hand and put the food processor away (but if you really want to pull out the gadget, go ahead).

Mandatory element 2: Frangipane
We love onomatopoeia of frangipane: it’s rich, sweet and feels slightly luxurious, and can be used in several confections.

Optional element: Home made jam or curd
We know several amongst us are rather jammy with making their own jams and preserves. Go ahead get wild and creative or simply showcase whatever’s local and in season. If you haven’t jammed before and want some hints or recipes, take a look at Bernardin’s If you want to just make some jam for this challenge and not go through sterilising jars and snap lids, you can try a pan jam, similar to Jasmine’s Blackberry Pan Jam. If you do use homemade jam, please include your recipe or the link to the one you used in your post.
Bakewell Tart…er…pudding

Makes one 23cm (9” tart)
Prep time: less than 10 minutes (plus time for the individual elements)
Resting time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 30 minutes
Equipment needed: 23cm (9”) tart pan or pie tin (preferably with ridged edges), rolling pin

One quantity sweet shortcrust pastry (recipe follows)
Bench flour
250ml (1cup (8 US fl. oz)) jam or curd, warmed for spreadability
One quantity frangipane (recipe follows)
One handful blanched, flaked almonds

Assembling the tart
Place the chilled dough disc on a lightly floured surface. If it’s overly cold, you will need to let it become acclimatised for about 15 minutes before you roll it out. Flour the rolling pin and roll the pastry to 5mm (1/4”) thickness, by rolling in one direction only (start from the centre and roll away from you), and turning the disc a quarter turn after each roll. When the pastry is to the desired size and thickness, transfer it to the tart pan, press in and trim the excess dough. Patch any holes, fissures or tears with trimmed bits. Chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 200C/400F.

Remove shell from freezer, spread as even a layer as you can of jam onto the pastry base. Top with frangipane, spreading to cover the entire surface of the tart. Smooth the top and pop into the oven for 30 minutes. Five minutes before the tart is done, the top will be poofy and brownish. Remove from oven and strew flaked almonds on top and return to the heat for the last five minutes of baking.

The finished tart will have a golden crust and the frangipane will be tanned, poofy and a bit spongy-looking. Remove from the oven and cool on the counter. Serve warm, with crème fraîche, whipped cream or custard sauce if you wish.

When you slice into the tart, the almond paste will be firm, but slightly squidgy and the crust should be crisp but not tough.

Jasmine’s notes:
• If you cannot have nuts, you can try substituting Victoria sponge for the frangipane. It’s a pretty popular popular cake, so you shouldn’t have any troubles finding one in one of your cookbooks or through a Google search. That said, our dear Natalie at Gluten a Go Go has sourced some recipes and linked to them in the related alt.db thread.
• You can use whichever jam you wish, but if you choose something with a lot of seeds, such as raspberry or blackberry, you should sieve them out.
• The jam quantity can be anywhere from 60ml (1/4 cup) to 250ml (1cup), depending upon how “damp” and strongly flavoured your preserves are. I made it with the lesser quantity of home made strawberry jam, while Annemarie made it with the greater quantity of cherry jam; we both had fabulous results. If in doubt, just split the difference and spread 150ml (2/3cup) on the crust.
Annemarie’s notes:
• The excess shortcrust can be rolled out and cut into cookie-shapes (heck, it’s pretty darned close to a shortbread dough).
Sweet shortcrust pastry

Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Resting time: 30 minutes (minimum)
Equipment needed: bowls, box grater, cling film

225g (8oz) all purpose flour
30g (1oz) sugar
2.5ml (½ tsp) salt
110g (4oz) unsalted butter, cold (frozen is better)
2 (2) egg yolks
2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract (optional, I used vanilla extract)
15-30ml (1-2 Tbsp) cold water

Sift together flour, sugar and salt. Grate butter into the flour mixture, using the large hole-side of a box grater. Using your finger tips only, and working very quickly, rub the fat into the flour until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Set aside.

Lightly beat the egg yolks with the almond extract (if using) and quickly mix into the flour mixture. Keep mixing while dribbling in the water, only adding enough to form a cohesive and slightly sticky dough.

Form the dough into a disc, wrap in cling and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes

Jasmine’s notes:
• I make this using vanilla salt and vanilla sugar.
• If you wish, you can substitute the seeds of one vanilla bean, one teaspoon of vanilla paste or one teaspoon of vanilla extract for the almond extract

Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Equipment needed: bowls, hand mixer, rubber spatula

125g (4.5oz) unsalted butter, softened
125g (4.5oz) icing sugar
3 (3) eggs
2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract ( I used vanilla extract)
125g (4.5oz) ground almonds
30g (1oz) all purpose flour

Cream butter and sugar together for about a minute or until the mixture is primrose in colour and very fluffy. Scrape down the side of the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. The batter may appear to curdle. In the words of Douglas Adams: Don’t panic. Really. It’ll be fine. After all three are in, pour in the almond extract and mix for about another 30 seconds and scrape down the sides again. With the beaters on, spoon in the ground nuts and the flour. Mix well. The mixture will be soft, keep its slightly curdled look (mostly from the almonds) and retain its pallid yellow colour.

Annemarie’s notes:
• Add another five minutes or more if you’re grinding your own almonds or if you’re mixing by hand (Heaven help you).

Selada Padang

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

: 8.5/10

If you are born to a Minangese couple, (almost) all of your extended family are Minangese, and your dad cringes at the sight of any non-minang food on the table, chances are your world of vegetable is restricted to young jack fruits in coconut milk, cassava leaves in coconut milk, green beans in coconut milk, or –any kind of vegetable you can come up with– drenched in coconut milk. I did not know that there exists such things called sayur asem, buntil, karedok until I ventured out across the pond. Yes,  we are not big on veggies. But, momzie is different. She used to give us, her kids, a huge dollop of greens on our plate and made us eat them. It works. None of momzie kids hates veggies. I particularly love her selada padang. This is my tribute to momzie. Without her persistence, I would have never liked greens.

I followed momzie‘s basic recipe and made some changes. I basically used the wrong kind of lettuce. It should be the Lactuca Sativa (common name?) kind. But, I didn’t have it in my fridge. I also don’t have any blender, so I hand-ground my own fried peanuts (heaven help me). But it all worked out nicely :) . Here’s the recipe from my beloved momzie.

I am also submitting this recipe for June’s Masak Bareng Yuuk!

Selada Padang
source: my mother in Padang
serves: 1 plate of selada padang.

4 garlic, quartered, fried, and mashed (you dont need to be excessive with your frying. Fry them for about 30 seconds-1 minute)
1 handful of fried and ground nuts.
vinegar, freshly ground-pepper , salt, and sugar (amount to your liking)
4 boiled egg yolks (use the boiled egg whites for the salad)

1 cucumber, halved and thinly sliced
4-6 potatoes, boiled and cut in bite-size chunks
lettuce, sliced.
one or two handful(s) of fried shallots
melinjo crackers (I dont have it)

direction to make the sauce:
Combine all spices and add in boiled egg yolks.
Set aside.

how to assemble:
Combine veggies, fried shallots, and sauce.
Mix well
Serve with melinjo


Chinese dumplings/potstickers (Daring cooks challenge – June)

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

taste-o-meter : 9/10
serves : 22 potstickers (I halved the filling recipe)

I apologize for my late post. I had a meeting and needed to prepare some documents. Onto the challenge! I was thrilled when I found out that this month’s challenge is potstickers. Yay, pan-sticking, bite-size, and (almost) healthy dish from china! There are two kinds of exotic foods that always mesmerize me: middle-eastern and chinese cuisine. Everytime I think of chinese cuisine, I always think of ginger, garlic, and soy sauce. Are those ingredients the must-haves in the chinese cuisine? Any chinese cuisine expert care to shed some light on this subject?

I followed the pork-filling recipe. I substituted pork with beef (of course, doh! XD). Nearby supermarkets do not carry shitake mushrooms, but they do have a steady supply of champignons. Fine, they are still mushrooms right? Champignon it is. I sticked to the exact measure for every ingredients that the recipe calls for. The amount of ginger is a bit too much for me. It dominated the whole flavor. Next time, I’ll reduce the amount and mash it (instead of cutting it up in small pieces). The amount of chopping involved in making this dish is daunting. But, will worth the effort when they are done.

I panfried my dumplings. They got a bit sticky (e.g., stick to each other), as the pan was a bit crowded. How did I get them out of the pan? Fear not!, I did not have to pick them up individually from the pan. Take a large plate and position it on top of your wok/pan. In one quick motion. flip the whole potstickers onto it. There! You have your nicely arranged potstickers, showing their golden-brown bottoms. you must try this trick!

I am planning to try to create a vegetarian version. I was thinking of tofu, green onions, kecap manis, soy sauce. salt, pepper, and some chillies. I’ll give an update later :)

Here is the recipe, as jen of real butter wrote it.

The Challenge: Chinese dumplings/potstickers (aka gyoza in Japanese)

It’s a basic concept: a filling inside a dough wrapper, sealed, and cooked. This delicious theme runs through many cultures and is among the more popular bites at Chinese restaurants – especially dim sum. The recipe I provide is based on my family recipe. There is a lot of wiggle room and I encourage you to explore. If you’ve made them before – great! Now try something different!

The process goes a little like this:

You can (and should) reference instructional photos and discussion on my blog post here.

Wrappers: Well yes, you could purchase pre-made dumpling wrappers at the store (NO WONTON WRAPPERS – they have egg), but they are inferior compared to homemade. The whole point of this challenge is to make the dumpling wrappers by hand. So here is the one requirement: the dumpling wrappers must be made by hand. It isn’t all that hard, it just takes a little time and practice. People usually get the hang of it after making about a dozen. **NOTE: I have a special recipe for gluten-free dumpling wrappers at the bottom of the post. They are another type of traditional dumpling and they are pretty awesome (although more finicky). Really delicious too, so you may want to have a looksee even if you aren’t gluten-free. [EDIT 5/18/09:] I see that some have chosen to make the wrappers by hand. I don’t recommend this method because the wrappers will be too thick and probably yield far fewer dumplings for the dough recipe. The point of rolling the dough is for uniformity of wrapper and to achieve a thickness that is otherwise difficult to attain by hand. Also, rolling is much faster than hand shaping. We’re aiming for a delicate skin that does not dominate the dumpling.

Fillings: the beauty of the Chinese dumpling/potsticker is that the filling is very versatile. That’s why there are so many different kinds of dumplings when you go to dim sum. The two most common are pork and shrimp. You can make them with other ground meats (beef, chicken…) or vegetarian (tofu, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, glass noodles, Chinese chives – oh yum!). The important thing to keep in mind is that the filling needs to “stick” to itself or else you will make your life incredibly miserable wrapping up filling that keeps falling apart. I think if I were to make vegetarian dumplings, I would sauté the cabbage and mash up the tofu for a better cohesiveness. It’s up to you how you want to fill your dumplings and I say – run with it! Just keep it cohesive and no big chunks of hard ingredients (they poke through the wrapper dough = disaster). I realize it may be tempting to dump all of the vegetables into a food processor and give it a whir, but I caution against it. You don’t want a slurry, you want a mince. Practice your knife skills and be careful.

Special Equipment: A rolling pin – preferably not tapered. (see blog pictures for the type I use).

Time: Prep for the filling takes me 30 minutes – longer if peeling and de-veining shrimp. It will depend on your proficiency with a good sharp knife. Rolling and wrapping several dozen dumplings takes me 1 hour by myself. My parents can crank through it in 30 minutes when one person is rolling wrappers and the other is wrapping dumplings. Might be fun to get a second person to help! Cooking: I have to cook mine in batches. When steaming, I can cook a dozen at a time in about 10 minutes. Potstickers: 15 minutes per 2 dozen determined by the size of your pan. Boiling – 6 minutes per dozen or so depending on size of pot. My own personal preference is for potstickers – mmmmm! But they are ALL good. Here is the recipe:

Chinese Dumplings/Potstickers

pork filling:
1 lb (450g) ground pork
4 large napa cabbage leaves, minced
3 stalks green onions, minced
7 shitake mushrooms, minced (if dried – rehydrated and rinsed carefully)
1/2 cup (75g) bamboo shoots, minced
1/4 (55g) cup ginger root, minced
3 tbsp (40g) soy sauce
2 tbsp (28g) sesame oil
2 tbsp (16g) corn starch


shrimp filling:
1/2 lb (225g) raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, and coarsely chopped
1/2 lb (225g) ground pork
3 stalks green onions, minced
1/4 cup (55g) ginger root, minced
1 cup (142g) water chestnuts, minced
1 tsp (5g) salt
3 tbsp (40g) sesame oil
2 tbsp (16g) corn starch

dough: (double this for the amount of filling, but easier to make it in 2 batches – or just halve the filling recipe)
2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (113g) warm water
flour for worksurface

dipping sauce:
2 parts soy sauce
1 part vinegar (red wine or black)
a few drops of sesame oil
chili garlic paste (optional)
minced ginger (optional)
minced garlic (optional)
minced green onion (optional)
sugar (optional)

Combine all filling ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly (I mix by clean hand). Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (up to a day, but preferably within an hour or two).

Make the dough, Method 1: Place the flour in the work bowl of a food processor with the dough blade. Run the processor and pour the warm water in until incorporated. Pour the contents into a sturdy bowl or onto a work surface and knead until uniform and smooth. The dough should be firm and silky to the touch and not sticky.[Note: it’s better to have a moist dough and have to incorporate more flour than to have a dry and pilling dough and have to incorporate more water).

Make the dough, Method 2 (my mom’s instructions): In a large bowl mix flour with 1/4 cup of water and stir until water is absorbed. Continue adding water one teaspoon at a time and mixing thoroughly until dough pulls away from sides of bowl. We want a firm dough that is barely sticky to the touch. (I used this method, as I do not own any food processor *sobs*)

[EDIT: 5/26/09] There have been two complaints posted about a dry dough and I realize that this rests in the problem of measuring flour which has a different density and hence weight for 2 cups depending on how you scoop it. That is why I also list the weight: 250g. Flour tends to settle over time, so when I scoop it out, I shake several cups’ worth back into the container before taking a final scoop of soft, fluffy, flour and I get 250g for 2 cups. When you knead the dough, if it feels hard and dry, then you can add more water. [Warning: it will NOT be a soft bread dough, so don't expect it to be, but it shouldn't be a brick either.] It is perfectly fine to use more than the 1/2 cup listed in the recipe as everyone’s climate and flours vary. Use your judgment – this is what being a Daring Cook is about. We are trying to cultivate a sense of intuition so that recipes are general guidelines from which you can expand your own style.

Both dough methods: Knead the dough about twenty strokes then cover with a damp towel for 15 minutes. Take the dough and form a flattened dome. Cut into strips about 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide. Shape the strips into rounded long cylinders. On a floured surface, cut the strips into 3/4 inch pieces. Press palm down on each piece to form a flat circle (you can shape the corners in with your fingers). With a rolling pin, roll out a circular wrapper from each flat disc. Take care not to roll out too thin or the dumplings will break during cooking – about 1/16th inch. Leave the centers slightly thicker than the edges. Place a tablespoon of filling in the center of each wrapper and fold the dough in half, pleating the edges along one side (see images in post for how to fold pleats). Keep all unused dough under damp cloth.

To boil: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add dumplings to pot. Boil the dumplings until they float.

To steam: Place dumplings on a single layer of napa cabbage leaves or on a well-greased surface in a steamer basket with lid. Steam covered for about 6 minutes.

To pan fry (potstickers): Place dumplings in a frying pan with 2-3 tbsp of vegetable oil. Heat on high and fry for a few minutes until bottoms are golden. Add 1/2 cup water and cover. Cook until the water has boiled away and then uncover and reduce heat to medium or medium low. Let the dumplings cook for another 2 minutes then remove from heat and serve.

To freeze: Assemble dumplings on a baking sheet so they are not touching. It helps to rub the base of the dumpling in a little flour before setting on the baking sheet for ease of release. Freeze for 20-30 minutes until dumplings are no longer soft. Place in ziploc bag and freeze for up to a couple of months. Prepare per the above instructions, but allow extra time to ensure the filling is thoroughly cooked.

To serve: Serve dumplings or potstickers hot with your choice of dipping sauce combinations ( I served them with kecap manis and indonesian sambal ABC)


Dont let the size of this knife fool you. The little bugger can cut up anything i want :D


Rolling and pleating individual potstickers may seem a bit tedious. But, it actually was fun :)