Tuesday, 23 June 2009

BakeWell Tarts

Well ive been wanting to live in London...the UK ... since i was a kid, and still dream to be settled there . :) But guess ive not done my research well enough, well i did it now :) The Bakewell tart is a traditional English baked cake native to the town of Bakwell. The tart consists of a shortcrust pastry shell, covered in jam and covered with a sponge style filling enriched with ground almonds. This is known as Frangipane. Traditionally the cakes are also covered with nuts such as almonds and peanuts. Normally eggs are a must have in this recipe but chucking them out from recipe's is my mission :) So here is another month of challenge from the Daring Bakers for me! BAKE WELL TARTS :)
The June Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict and Annemarie of Ambrosia and Nectar. They chose a Traditional (UK) Bakewell Tart... er... pudding that was inspired by a rich baking history dating back to the 1800's in England

3 Major elements of a Bake well tart are- Tart, Jam & Frangipane.

Tart Crust(short crust pastry):
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
3 tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into small chunks
2 tablespoons ice water, plus more if needed
To make the pastry: combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter and mix with hands until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the middle of the pastry. Pour ice water into the well and work it in to bind the dough until it holds together without being too wet or sticky. Form the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface. .Press the dough into the pan so it fits tightly; press the edges into the sides of the pan. Shave off the excess hanging dough with a knife. Put the tart in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to relax. Preheat the oven to 180 C .Line the tart with aluminum foil and add pie weights or dried beans to keep the sides of the tart from buckling. Bake for 30 minutes, and then remove the foil and weights.Remember the tart will be cooked again with the filling.,so it should be baked until lightly golden. the second bake. Set aside to cool

For the Jam i used a store bought Strawberry Jam.

Frangipane: This vegetarian recipe is inspired from here.
1/2 cup Butter
1/2 cup Sugar (you could add more if u like it more sweet)
1 cup strawberry puree (just crush fresh strawberries in ur blender)
2 tbs Cornflour
1/2cup all purpose flour
1/4th cup almond flakes
Few drops of lemon juice
Few drops vanilla essence
Mix butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Mix in the strawberry puree and mix well, add rest of the ingredients except flour and almonds, and mix till smooth. Add the flour and blend till mixed well, lastly add the almond flakes and mix it gradually. Pour in the filling in your jam spread ed tart base and bake for about and hour in a pre-heated oven at 180deg.
This might feel like a little shaky even after baking for an hour. But will set after its cool. The best way to know is inserting a knife/toothpick and check if it comes out clean or not.

My Verdict to this months challenge is... shown in the pics below... my 2 yr old daughter 'Kaira' could not wait until the pics were being clicked... she literally had her mouth open as i was clicking... so if the pics dint turn out well.. its cuz she could not resist eating it :)

My next variation for Bakewell Tart is going to be with Nutella filling :0 Flaky pastry crust + Cream Nutellla chocolate +Crumbly soft cake like Fragipane . YUMMMMM!!

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Cream Crackers

I love this low fat snack. Well surely its not low fat if you eat a whole pack of it, which i normally tend to. We get a good variety of black pepper, sesame, plain, veggie ..etc Cream crackers here. So i thought to give it a shot at home once and ya they are super duper easy and the best about baking them at home is keeping them as low in fat as you want.
I made a small batch this time as i was experimenting with my own recipe, next time its sure going to be a big ... big batch with all kinds of sprinklings on it :)
Also Madhuram has announced her Low fat Eggless baking Event. So this recipe goes to her. I am eagerly waiting for the round up, to try some awesome low cal, vegetarian recipes :)

I made basic sea salt-pepper (red and black) seasonings this time.
You can make them rich by adding a good scoop of butter or olive oil in it. I have skipped all the fat content in it. They were a little dry but well that made it taste more crisp. :)
So here;s the recipe for
Cream Crackers:
1cup All purpose flour
Salt to taste
1/2 cup milk
Few drops of oil (just to grease it while rolling)
Mix all the above ingredients to make a smooth dough. Cover with a damp cloth and let it rest for about 15 min.
In the mean time pre-heat your oven at 170 C
After your dough has rested roll them into sheets and using a pizza cutter cut them into squares or your desired shape. Sprinkle some sea salt/black pepper/red pepper or any seasoning of your choice.
I made small roses out of it. which looked adorable. Bake them on a parchment paper until they get a light golden glow on them, that would take about 15-20 min max.
Cool them on a wire rack and store in a air tight jar :)

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Gyoza/Chinese dumplings/potstickers

Seeing this month;s got a big smile on my face. Living in Japan Ive seen abundance of these but to my bad luck never got a chance to eat enough of these. You hardly find vegetarian stuff here, Japanese don't find a reason to NOT eat Egg, Meat, Fish, Beef... etc... So unlike me who has millions reasons not to eat the above i loose onto a lot of things available here to eat. Gyoza, Is my new found love for Asian cuisine, We recently found a Chinese ramen restaurant who serves vege gyoza'a and they taste amazingly YUM!!
Gyoza is an Asian dumpling, originating in China before becoming a staple in Japanese cuisine. In the United States, gyoza is commonly sold as a "potsticker," or “potstickers.” Gyoza is made from a very thin dumpling skin, and is filled with meat and vegetables. A soy based dipping sauce typically accompanies gyoza.
I have made these before at home but always used the store bough wrappers. No doubt they easy to easy but there is a whole new sense of accomplishment when you roll the sheets at home. The recipe given of the dough is amazing to work with. So ya this was a easy challenge for me and had great fun making them, and my hubby had more fun relishing them! :) He says this is like a awesome Saturday night munch to go along with drinks!! :)

2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (113g) warm water flour for work surface
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 : 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.

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

For the filling:
2cups Chinese cabbage shredded
bunch Nira roughly chopped
1 large green onions chopped
1/2 cup Shitake mushrooms chopped
2 cloves garlic
l piece ginger grated
2 tsp salt
1 tsp white pepper
2 Tbs soy sauce
Green Chilli (optuional)

Mix all the above ingredients in a pan n fry over medium heat until cooked. Cool the mix and grind it to a paste.

Your filling is ready to be crimped in between your gyoza sheets.
I luckily found this very inexpensive gyoza crimper in one of our local stores here... i must say this made my job sooooo easy. I did make a few with my hand but crimping them with the machine gave it a Pro look :) The pics will explain it better.

Cooking the Gyoza:

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

AWESOME!! is the verdict for it! All i can say is.. i already have another batch of filling ready in my fridge to be crimped up pretty soon!!! :)

Monday, 8 June 2009

Happy Birthday!!

OK this post is due since months and months... i have been very lazy recently when it comes to sitting down to write.But well Better late than never :)
This post is for my 2 most imp ppl in my life, One is my Friend Rutuja whose birthday was on 17th may, and also goes a big Congratulations to you dear ...for your engagement :) Hope life brings you all the love and luck. Shes been waiting to see her Birthday cake since long.. M sorry for the delay. It was just a simple Choco-Banana cake... but well what made it special was It was For your Birthday :)

The other most imp and the sweetest Devil of my life... My Daughter :) she turned 2 on 26th April. Made a princess cake for her. Well this was the first time i made such a huge cake and a fancy one!! :) I was sooo nervous that would not get sleep for nights together but.... at the end... was all worth it. She loved it!! she kept saying OH WOW MAAA ....PRETTTYYY :)
No party celebration but just went out with our friends on her Birthday. It was a beautiful day out for Strawberry Picking, and then to a small Amusement park.
It was awesome picking awesome red Strawberries straight from the plants :) They had many variates of the, well i don't remember the names of them. But ya they tasted Sweet and tangy :)
Felt like the day was dedicated to Strawberries as her cake was a Strawberry mousse cake !!