Apr 27, 2010

English pudding-Daring Baker

A few years ago, Mr. G and I went shopping in the gourmet section of Foodland. We saw a can of spotted dick and like the unsophisticated people that we are, we had a giggle fit! Guess what this month's Daring Baker challenger is? It's spotted dick!!

The April 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Esther of The Lilac Kitchen. She challenged everyone to make a traditional British pudding using, if possible, a very traditional British ingredient: suet.

We were able to choose between a boiled pudding or a steamed pudding. I decided to make the steamed pudding and make the spotted dick variation. I've never had spotted dick before and not sure what it's supposed to taste like, but I wasn't thrilled about this dessert. The sponge by itself is very dry. It's a better with the custard sauce, but overall, not really my cup of tea. I have to say though, it was really easy to make. The time consuming part is the steaming. I let my sponge steamed for about 2 hours.

Here's the recipe.

Spotted dick

(100 grams/4 ounces) All-purpose flour
(1/4 teaspoon) salt
(1.5 teaspoons) Baking powder
(100 grams/4 ounces) breadcrumbs
(75 grams/3 ounces) Caster sugar
(75 grams/ 3 ounces) Shredded suet or suet substitute (i.e., Vegetable Suet, Crisco, Lard)
(1) large egg
(6 to 8 tablespoons) Cold milk

1. Sift flour, salt and baking powder into bowl.

2. Add breadcrumbs, sugar and suet.

3. Mix to a soft batter with beaten egg and milk

4. Turn into a buttered 1 litre/ 2pint pudding basin and cover securely with buttered greaseproof paper or aluminum foil.

5. Steam steadily for 2.5 to 3 hours

6. Turn out onto warm plate, Serve with sweet sauce to taste such as custard, caramel or a sweetened fruit sauce.

Apr 22, 2010

Chocolate turtle cookies

I made these cookies for the administrative assistants at my work for AA day. They're beauties, aren't they? For how beautiful they look, they were actually really easy to make. The thing that takes the longest is probably waiting for your butter to come to room temperature. Speaking of which, I read a trick to speed up the process. Measure out your butter and put it between two pieces of wax paper, pound it with a rolling pin until it's soft. No more waiting for butter to softened. I'm not sure where I got this from, but I'm thinking such cleverness must come from Cook's Illustrated.

The AAs loved them, but I thought they weren't chocolaty enough. I think that has to do with the fact that I ran out of my good cocoa powder and had to resort to Nestle cocoa powder. (note to self and you, of course: do not buy Nestle cocoa powder!!) I love the caramel in the middle...yum!! I would suggest using a really good cocoa powder and maybe add a little extra.

Here's the recipe.

Chocolate Turtle Cookies
adapted from My Kitchen Cafe

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg, separated, plus 1 egg white
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped walnuts, chopped fine (see note)
14 soft caramel candies
3 tablespoons heavy cream

1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat liners. Combine flour, cocoa, and salt in bowl. With electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg yolk, milk, and vanilla and mix until incorporated. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture until just combined. Refrigerate dough until firm, at least 1 hour.

2. Whisk egg white(s) in another bowl until frothy. Place walnuts in another bowl. One at a time, roll dough into 1-inch balls, dip in egg whites, then roll in walnuts. Place balls 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Using teaspoon measure, make indentation in center of each ball. Bake until set, 10 to 12 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking.

3. Meanwhile, microwave caramels and cream in bowl, stirring occasionally, until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Once cookies are removed from oven, gently press existing indentations with teaspoon measure. Fill each with 1/2 to 1 teaspoon caramel mixture. Cool 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool completely.

  • *The original recipe calls for pecans, I only had walnuts so that's what I used.

Apr 21, 2010

Gorilla bread

I made this gorilla bread for Mr. G's potluck party last week. It was kinda last minute, so I needed something quick. I bookmarked this recipe awhile ago from Paula Deen and I thought I would give it a try. This recipe got rave reviews, but I have to say it was way too rich for me. I guess I should have known, it is a Paula Deen recipe.

I think I would prefer the normal monkey bread. This gorilla bread with the cream cheese filling is a bit of an overkill. It already has the biscuit dough which is incredibly rich. The topping with the sugar, cinnamon and walnut is yummy, but I think I would prefer to omit the cream cheese next time.

Here's the recipe if you want to give it a go.

Gorilla Bread
from Paula Deen

1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
2 (12-ounce) cans refrigerated biscuits (10 count)
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Spray a bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray. Mix the granulated sugar and cinnamon. In a saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar over low heat, stirring well; set aside.

3. Cut the cream cheese into 20 equal cubes. Press the biscuits out with your fingers and sprinkle each with 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon sugar. Place a cube of cream cheese in the center of each biscuit, wrapping and sealing the dough around the cream cheese.

4. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the nuts into the bottom of the bundt pan. Place half of the prepared biscuits in the pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, pour half of the melted butter mixture over the biscuits, and sprinkle on 1/2 cup of nuts. Layer the remaining biscuits on top, sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon sugar, pour the remaining butter mixture over the biscuits, and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of nuts. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes. Place a plate on top and invert.

Apr 18, 2010

Guava chiffon cake

In Hawaii, guava chiffon cake is pretty popular and you can find it in a lot of local bakeries. I have been looking for a good recipe for guava chiffon cake for a long time and found one from Betty Shimabukuro of Star Bulletin.

I made some adjustments to her recipe. Instead of making a sheet pan, I put the cake batter in two 8" round cake pan. Instead of using the guava mousse as a frosting, I used it as a filling in between the two cakes. I made some extra whipped cream to frost the cake and used the guava curd as the topping.

Mr. G loved the cake, but I thought the guava cake's texture was not fine enough. I used the Hawaiian Sun guava concentrate, and thought the guava flavor was not strong enough. I think next time I will try to use fresh guavas or use a better concentrate. Here's the recipe.

Guava Chiffon Cake
from Betty Shimabukuro's By Request

2 3/4 cups cake flour
2/3 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup salad oil
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup guava juice concentrate, thawed, undiluted
5 egg yolks, slightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla
2-3 drops red food coloring

7 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and lightly grease the bottom of two 8" round cake pans (see note).

2. To make batter, sift together cake flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center; add oil, water, guava juice, egg yolks and vanilla. Beat with a spoon until mixture is smooth. Add food coloring. Set aside.

3. To make meringue, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in 1/2 cup sugar until stiff.

4. Gently fold batter into meringue until barely mixed. Pour into pan. Bake 35-40 minutes, until a pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and invert on a rack to cool completely.

5. Remove from pan gently. Cake may be cut in half lengthwise and frosted as two layers, using the filling and frosting below.

Guava mousse filling
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup guava juice concentrate, thawed, undiluted
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

1. Beat egg yolks and sugar until lemon-colored; add guava juice, place in saucepan and cook over low-to-medium heat until thick, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and chill.

2. Whip cream and vanilla, then fold into guava mixture.

Guava Topping
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup water
Pinch salt
12-ounce can guava juice
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 slightly beaten egg yolk
1 tablespoon butter

1. Mix cornstarch with water to dissolve all lumps. Add salt, guava and lemon juices and egg yolk. Cook over low heat until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add butter. Spread when slightly cooled but still warm.

Whipped cream
1 1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla

1. Beat the whipping cream, sugar and vanilla until it reaches soft peaks.


1. Cut each cake in half.

2. Fill each cake layer with the guava mousse.

3. Use the whipping cream to frost the entire cake. Top with the guava curd.

  • *The original recipe calls for the cake to be baked in a 11x13 cake pan. The original recipe also uses the guava mousse to frost the cake.

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