Monday, November 28, 2016

Strawberry Potpies

I cheated when making this potpies! I have a can of strawberry pie filling bought ages ago and wanted to use it up. So I've used it to make this potpies. Originally, the recipe is called Cherry Potpies, and it uses sour cherries in jars, which is very expensive. And since I have a can of strawberry pie filling, I've replaced with that instead. 

Very easy pie to make, the dough is flaky, tender and buttery. But I was very dissappointed with the canned strawberry pie filling. It is starchy and not what I've expected. Though it is not very sweet, and even with chunks of strawberry pieces in the filling, it really lack the natural taste of strawberries. This would be the last time I'll buy strawberry pie filling in cans! And I have a can of blueberry pie filling, though of another brand, bought at the same time. Hopefully that would be much better than this strawberry pie filling.

Maybe one of these days, I would make this potpies again using fresh plums, fresh strawberries or even tropical fruits like mangos.

Cheesy Herb Popovers

A repost :

Do you like eating Popovers? Have you tried baking "Popovers" before? We like eating Popovers and they are really easy to make. Popovers are made with just eggs, flour and milk, and the flavours can varies between sweet and savoury or just plain, eaten with jam. Our favourite in my house are the savoury ones. Popovers are baked using popover pans, but muffins pans works out great. I baked mine using muffins pans, just be sure to grease them really well, so that they pop out easily. There are no leavening or yeast used for making popovers, as they bake, the steam causes the hollow in the centre, making the thin batter rises really high, and they will collapse, not long after baking. Though this recipe I've tried, remained quite puffy, deflating only a little, even after almost an hour after baking.

These are really super easy to make. All the ingredients are mixed in a blender and poured into greased muffin pans and bake! The only thing I added is more chives. Recipe states to add about a scant teaspoon of any fresh herbs, I've used chives, since I have some chives in my garden pot. And have used about 1-1/2 tablespoons for the batter, plus additional for sprinkling over the top. The blended batter has a light tinge of green because of the chives, and smells really nice.

Make sure the muffin pans are well greased. Pour the batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups, and sprinkle the top with some chopped chives and some shredded cheddar cheese. From the photo above, the green colour of the batter cannot be seen, as the green is very light.

Bake in a preheated oven at 220C for 20 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 180C, and bake for a further 15 minutes until they are golden brown and puffy. I like to watch the process of the popovers puffing up! The second photo, about 10 minutes after the placing the tray in the oven, the popovers are already puffing up.

Reduce the temperature as directed in the recipe and bake for a further 15 minutes or until they are golden brown and yummy looking!

Nice and golden. Delicious and fun to eat! Eat it while it is still hot and fresh from the oven.
The kitchen smells of cheese and chives while these are baking. I like the smell of melting cheese as they bake. So good.

This is really, really yummy! Look at the hollow centre. The crust is so crispy, especially the top, really delicious with the "melted-turned-crispy cheese", while the insides are soft and taste "chive-y" good!  Can you see the lightly tinge of green on the inside, that's from the blended chives. All the 12 popovers are gone within an hour.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Whoopie Pies with Salted Dulce de Leche

I've made some Dulce De Leche for a tart recipe, and still have more than a jar left. So I'll be using it for various recipes using dulce de leche, which I have bookmarked to try for ages. One of it is, Whoopie Pies with Salted Dulce de Leche.

Even though Whoopie Pies are listed as under Cookies, they are really cake-like, and to me, are really little mini cakes. Sandwiched with some filling, they make nice little snacks. The dough for these cookies are really very thick batter, which needs to be refrigerated for 2 hours to firm up before shaping into small balls.

You will need to wet your hands when shaping tablespoons of the thick batter into little rounds and place on a parchment lined baking sheet, spacing them slightly apart, and pressing them down a little. These cookies are baked for just 8-10 minutes until puffed and slightly firm. Leave to cool on pans for 5 minutes, then tranfer to the wire racks to cool completely.

The filling is made of ; butter, confectioners' sugar, a little heavy cream, salt and dulce de leche. I have reduced the amount of the confectioners' sugar to half. I like this filling, as it is not too sweet, even with the dulce de leche, very nice actually.

Spread some filling on the flat side of one cookie and top with another cookie, with flat side on filling. The recipe indicate to refrigerate the whoopie pies for at least 1 hour until the filling is set. But there's really no need for that, the filling is firm enough that it holds very well. Plus we could not wait to taste it right away!

I was expecting these cookies to be on the sweet side, but surprisingly the sweetness is just right. Maybe because I reduced the brown sugar for the batter slightly, by using about 3 tablespoons less than the amount stated in the recipe. The cookies are a little chocolaty bitter and goes perfectly well with the not-so-sweet filling. Very nice! For those who love a sweeter cookie, use the full amount of brown sugar as per the recipe.

I keep the leftovers in the refrigerator and they are as good on the next day.

The Whoopie Pies cookie is soft, chocolaty, moist and perfect with the salted Dulce de Leche filling.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Peach Butter Shortbread

This recipe for Peach-Brown Butter Shortbread is a Smitten Kitchen's recipe, and it is one of the recipes featured in "Home Baked Comfort" by Kim Laidlaw.

One of the ingredient used in Peach-Brown Butter Shortbread squares is brown butter. Butter is melted over medium-low heat and is heated and boiled until it turns brown and starts to smell nutty, stir frequently to avoid burnt. Then it is transfered to a heatproof bowl and freeze for 30 minutes just until solid but not completely frozen. Well, I made the brown butter but did not use it! Simply because at the end of 30 minutes, the butter is still in liquid state, and did not seem to harden at all. Since I was in a rush, I did not want to wait, so I've used a new block of cold butter instead, cut to cubes before adding to the rest of the ingredients for the shortbread. 

The handy food processor is great in mixing the shortbread dough, and it was done in just seconds. Two thirds of it (recipes says 3/4) is used as the base, pressing them firmly on the bottom of a greased baking tray, which I lined with parchment paper. I've used canned peaches, drain, sliced them thinly, about 1/4-inch thick. Arrange the sliced peaches over the shortbread dough in the pan. Scatter the remaining shortbread dough over the top of the peaches.

Bake until golden brown. Leave to cool and cut into squares to serve.

I brought the whole tray to my sister's house that evening, and we've enjoyed it with scoops of ice cream.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Apple-Cinnamon Hand Pies

I bought some Fuji apples a few weeks ago, and maybe I bought too many! Got to use them up and what better and delicious way than an apple pie? In this case, it's hand pies! Recipe is from Home Baked Comfort by Kim Laidlaw, and so far I have had success with all the recipes I've tried.

I started by making the flaky pie dough in the morning, and by late afternoon, we have warm fragrant apple pie for tea time treat. Fuji apples, it's one of my favourite apples to use for baking. The apples are peeled, cored and cut into small cubes, then mixed with some brown sugar, ground cinnamon, lemon juice and a tablespoon of flour. Once the dough is done, it is rolled out and cut out into 6 or 7 inches rounds, using a bowl as a guide. Brush some egg mixture along the border of half of each rounds. Scoop some filling and place in the centre of the round, bring the sides of the dough together and press to seal. Use a fork to press the borders. Brush the top of the dough with more egg mixture. The recipe did not say anything about slashing the top, but I made a couple of slashes, to allow steam to escape during baking. I've used a 5-1/2 inch bowl as a guide to cut out the rounds and the dough yields 9 rounds for 9 pies.

Bake until golden brown, and the juices are bubbling and oozing from the slashes.

Freshly baked, still warm, about to be served!

Yum! The pie crust is flaky, buttery and crisp tender. Juicy soft apple filling and fragrant from the cinnamon. There's a vanilla glaze which is drizzled over the baked pies, (given in the recipe), but I have omitted the glaze. I let the baked pie rest for 10 to 15 minutes before eating. So good when eating the still warm pie, but be careful when biting into the filling, it's hot! We did not miss the glaze at all, the pie is very good even without it. With a mug of warm tea, this is the perfect afternoon snack.