Tag Archives: bake

The road to Macaron

Necessity is the mother of invention.

True. Contrary to most people believe, majority of things was invented accidentally. No it wasn’t.

It was discovered, not invented.

In the case of meringue, who the hell thought about whisking egg whites until it foams up? I just don’t know how our ancestors comes up with this shit. Maybe he’s the same guy who first saw crab and instantly knew it was delish.

Hmmm. Extended eyeballs, very hard and spiky exterior, claws that can cut my finger... YUMMY!!

What was he trying to do or prove? Whatever that was, I wont dig it up anymore. What’s important is he made one of the most elegant and versatile (and tiring) confections in the kitchen.

Meringue is basically whipped egg whites with sugar. It tastes like… Well… If clouds have a taste, it would be this. Soft, airy and dense at the same time. I can’t explain it.

I first made meringue when I made my Baked Alaska. It was pretty easy, just very tiring.

Thinking of a new thing to bake, I searched the internet. I found my self looking at Parisian Macarons.

FUCKING CUTE

I’ve always wanted to make them but found them very intimidating. Well, maybe this is the right time to do it. I did some more research on these cute little bastards before making them.

If you’re hear or read Macarons and immediately thought about coconuts, that’s not it. Those are Pinoy Macaroons (notice the spelling). These are more, you know, up scale a little bit.

I have to admit, I have never really tried real Macaron before so I really have no reference taste wise, but as long as it looks good, it’ll taste good! You can’t really go wrong with sweets right?

There are literally thousands of Macaron recipes. Most of the things I read states that Macaron is a pretty hard dish to make. Most people wont get it the first time the make it and if they do, they probably wont be able to make it the second time around.

Surprisingly enough, I found may uh, how can I say this… Intricate or odd (for the lack of better term) steps on this. Like the one that I read said that the egg whites to be used needs to be ‘aged’ in the ref for a few days before using. The kind of powdered sugar to be used, the process used in the nuts, ‘resting/drying’ before baking and environmental temperature.

Personally, I tend to skip ‘unecessary’ steps. It’s basically meringue with nuts and sugar. How hard can it be?

I browsed a bit more and stumbled to this site, Bravetart which specifically tackles about ‘Macaron Myths.’ I read the whole thing and she’s basically saying that IT’S JUST A FUCKING PASTRY. IT’S NOT ROCKET SCIENCE. So yeah, Thank you Bravetart for that confirmation.

Sooner or later... (thanks Nano for the image!)

So… lets start cooking? Ok!

Basically, Macaron is made up of stiff meringue, almond flour and powdered sugar sifted together, flavorings and colors, and that’s it! But as you know, I’m a cheap and lazy guy so I had to tweak somewhere there.

Almond powder. Yeah. Never heard of it. Like the word Lupozaituim, I’m sure you’ve never heard of that before. Many sites say that they grind their own almonds. So I’ll just have to do it myself. But yeah, almonds are not easily accessible in this side of the crater so I’ll have to improvise!

PEANUTS!

Yes, peanuts! Very cheap and very accessible. I’ll just ground them up into a fine powder right?

I was actually VERY hesitant. Mainly because, well, I know I can’t ground peanuts into a fine powder necause they’ll become peanut butter. But what the hell.

I roasted then and ground them using my a simple household blender.

Then mixed it with my SIFTED powdered sugar.

And I didn’t bother sifting them together because the nuts are just too fucking big to go through, get it? Nuts are too big… ehehe…

After which, I started to whip my meringue. And instead of showing you pics, I decided to film it. You know I love you guys!

Then I folded them together. And according to some sites, this is called… the Macaronage…

Macaronage. 90's dance craze.

A quote from bravetart: “Instead of coming to recognize the qualities of a good meringue and the consistency of proper macaronage, you fret over how many days the egg whites aged. This prevents learning from mistakes and subsequently improving technique, causing you to begin each macaron venture from square one.”

So from what I understand here, having a good macaromage means you have a high chance of getting a good result. What is a good macaronage you ask? Well, the internet says that the consistency is like of a molten lava. Here is a video of my macaronage…

and here is a Molten Lava video.

Ehh… Not exactly lava-like… That’s because i’m scared of over beating the mixture…

fuck off

I separated the batter into two and made one chocolate by adding cocoa powder and the other one strawbrry by adding flavorings and colors.

Polka dots

Lined my pan with wax paper (I’m out of parchment) and piped them in. Does not look too uniform as it should but that can be easily corrected… in the next batch.

Baked them and watched every moment of it.

18 minutes in front of the hot oven gave me…

FAIL

Yes. I failed. It cracked. The Macaron Feet did not show. What feet?

Macaron feet

Those curly, crunchy looking stuff under the shiny dome is called the feet.

So yeah, my first try failed. Mainly because I fucked with the recipe. What did I expect? Nevertheless the result was still delicious!

Crunchy on the outside and perfectly chewy on the inside!

And yes, this is actually my yummiest failure to date. First attempt down, many more to go. The focus of my next attempt will be getting the peanut to be sifted with the powdered sugar and having a good sense of macaronage.

And fuck almonds for being too expensive!

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Bananas, banana muffins and a kid named Edison

Banana is probably the most exploited fruit in the planet. After all, banana is one of the worlds most consumed foods, next to peanut butter.

As stated by The King himself.

Since bananas are that popular, wouldn’t it be fair to say that banana bread, or muffins for that matter has the same popularity? I wouldn’t even consider you a modern human if you have not tasted any baked products infused with bananas. They are generally adored by the public as a staple and it would be difficult to find a person that doesn’t eat bananas. He’s bananas.

Except for this kid named Edison. He was my classmate when I was in the first grade. He was like one of the stupid kids back then. We always make fun of his quiz scored because he almost always flunked them. Yeah, kids can be too cruel sometimes.

So my science teacher asked us to bring fruits. Any kind of fruit. I don’t know, maybe to shove it up our ass or something. I brought apples, Edison brought bananas.

Our teacher told us to bring out our fruits… and eat it. Maybe she had a fetish on kids eating fruits or something. I don’t know, we just ate it. This is when I saw the first fucked up thing in my life.

 

I was literally like this. Minus the spaghetti.

He was eating the banana like a corn in a cob! He was like munching it like a typewriter, from left to right. I forgot to ask him what tribe he was from because maybe if he’s a native Dumfuk, maybe I’ll reconsider.

I asked him, “Hey, why do you eat it like that?” He responded with a straight dumbfounded face: “Because I don’t like the tip. It tastes bitter.”

 

The only acceptable reaction at that time.

 

I was feeling like a smartass back then so I answered him back, “Why don’t you just cut off the tip, you’re wasting much of of the banana.” At a certain point, I believed that I managed to change his life. But nooooooo. He just looked at me and made this reaction:

Your argument is invalid.

 

And I just went on with my life. I wonder what ever happened to that guy. I don’t really recall his last name so I can’t find him in facebook. Meh, he probably still eats bananas the same fucking way.

Moving along to the real point of this post, Banana muffins.

Oh wait. Before anything else… I must say this first. Banana isn’t just ‘banana’ here in our country. If you happen to ask your local banana vendor for a ‘banana’ you’ll get a strange look and/or a very irritated response asking what KIND of banana you need. You need to be as specific as choosing your deodorant.

 

Oh don't you fuck with me, boy!

 

So here, I present you the 4 banana staples. Thank me later.

 

The Lakatan

 

The Asian cousin of the Cavendish

Lakatan or Lacatan os probably the most popular type of banana here. They are almost always present in the dining table along side with another favorite, the Mango. I can’t really say if the bruises and cuts are actually from mishandling since this is they’re like an extra feature, like a birthmark. Compared to Cavendish Bananas that are so smooth, you’ll even have a hard time telling it apart from a crayon.

Nice looking banana you got there, mate!

The second one is the Latundan.

Dundundundun!!

For plain eating, I actually prefer this kind of banana. They have thinner skin compared to the previous banana and the taste is lighter. If I didn’t have any health conditions, I can probably ate a whole bunch of this in one sitting! Oh, they’re really paler than Lakatan, it’s not just because of the quality of the picture.

The third on is Saba.

Sabanana!!

This banana right here is the most versatile of them all. Most bananas are just for eating (and a little baking) but this… I don’t even know where to start? How about some pictures?

YAY PICTURES!

Here are 6 images of different forms of Saba. I’ll try to discuss them one at a time.

1. Banana Cue. Here, when a word is suffixed by “cue”, most probably, it’s in a stick. Theoretically taken  from the word ‘barbecue’. Banana cue is just Saba cooked with caramelized brown sugar and put on a stick. Great afternoon snack with soda in a plastic bag.

 

You heard me. Don't pretend you didn't.

 

2. Maruya. It’s basically banana fritters sprinkled with (optional) sugar. I could really just stop here rather tha…

3. Turon. It’s like banana cue, but it’s first wrapped with like big wonton (shanghai) wrappers, filled with jackfruit and fried. It’s very crispy and very sweet.

I noticed that the bananas used in Turon is somewhat softer, or more ripe than the banana used in Banana cue. My theory is that, the banana’s that were bought today will be used for banana cue since they still have firmness in them. The next day, the leftovers will ripen up a bit. It will be too soft to be fried and we would not dare throw them away! It needs a casing to be fried… BAM! Turon was born.

 

Moral lesson? Shanghai Wrappers are not good condom substitute.

 

Dude, it's for your... other head.

4. Minatamis na Saba. The bananas are boiled in water and a lot of sugar. So much that it can kill a diabetic within 50 miles. This is a very versatile dessert. Can be eaten hot or cold. Added with ice and milk and you got Saging con Hielo (Bananas in Ice). Can be kept in the ref as a present for your future grandson.

 

Literally translates as 'Diabetic Poison'

5. Boiled. I can go on and on and on… you wouldn’t even care.

6. Let it ripen end eat it.

The forth is the very cute Senorita.

Senorita~ As small as your pinky!

This littlest little banana here is called the Senorita, because, you know, it’s small. This little banana is also the sweetest of them all. The flesh is very soft and very smooth.

As small as a bee. As sweet as honey!

See guys! Not bigger is not always better! I feel sorry for you though…

And as a bonus banana, the freakishly amazing Red Banana.

NO FREAKING PUN INTENDED

I have seen this many times but have not gotten the chance to taste it. It’s kinda scary actually….

I better stop here since this is turning into an Filipino Foodie Lecture most of us got when out teachers get bored during elementary.

And now, as promised… FREAKING BANANA MUFFINS.

 

Mashed Lakatan

First of all, I used Lakatan since it’s much more fragrant that any other bananas. Next time though, I’m gonna use Senorita~

The recipe calls for at least 400-500 grams of peeled and mashed bananas but I wanted mine to be more moist and soft so I added more. No one’s gonna shoot you if you do.

 

Sticky, gooey and yummy. I think it's better... unbaked.

The recipe instructs that I first mix and sift all the dry ingredients first and fold them to the wet. I say Neigh. Add them together and mix them! With respect to the original recipe, there’s a clear reason why she instructs it that way. No one’s gonna shoot me if I do. Let’s just put it at that.

 

 

Naked Nuts!

The original recipe suggested that walnuts are best for this dish. I wouldn’t disagree on that, however, walnuts are not readily available here. The only available type of nut available within the vicinity are peanuts, so I used them. Heck, no ones gonna shoot me if I did.

Just a side note though, my mom’s comment was: whenever peanuts was used in any of my baked goods, they all tasted cheap and industrial. I don’t know. She’s probably right. She’s my mom after all! 🙂

 

Spooned them in muffin pans~

 

Spooned them equally… and equally messy on a muffin pan. So I messed it up! No one’s gonna shoot me if I did!

After 25 mins… You know what’s next?

 

CAN YOU SMEELLALALALALA! -The Rock

You know what’s great about muffins? Aside from it’s really easy and really tasty?

 

Very very moist!

You don’t need to rest them! Unlike banana loaves or banana cakes that need at least 30 mins to cool before consuming to take it out of the pan as clean as possible. This, as long as your pain tolerance can handle it, pop them out of the mold! Eat them while it’s hot! Crack one open, stick your nose in and get hypnotized by the subtle smell of bananas and a hint of cinnamon.

I actually had 2 of them. No one’s gonna shoot me, right?

 

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Allium Pie (WTH?)

My smartest friend, Google, told me that ‘Allium’ is like the surname of any onion related plant. Hence the name of this pie.

Mom, dad and distant cousins.

What you’ve looking at there are white onions, red onions leeks, chopped chives (sorry, I was excited lol) and garlic. The idea here was to keep the flavor of the onions at the same time extracting the sweetness from the white part of the leeks and the garlic. The chives actually went in the pie crust to give it a more appealing look and since it will be subjected directly to the heat of the pan with the dough,I theorized  it will give a lot more aroma than just including it in the filling. Pif, smartass.

Another interesting thing about this dish is the addition of Himalayan Pink Salt.

Pink salt is pink.

We bought this a few weeks ago in Legazpi Sunday Market and it came with a flier that states its health benefits. I just don’t know how it affects my cooking aside from the feeling I get for using something pink in place of something white… Like undies.

Anyway, I made the dough fast. I hate resting stuff like my dough, it needs to be rested for 30 mins before usage. I cut the fat in first before I added the chives.

Note the plants: I'm cooking outside.

I rested the dough in the ref while I slice the onions. This is probably the most dramatic part of the process since the main problems with dealing with onions is how it can make even the toughest man cry. Fear no more because I have 2 tips to reduce the drama in your kitchen!

Wet the knife and onions itself

When you slice an onion, certain gases sprays out and activates itself when comes into contact with water (your tears). Activating it immediately with tap water reduces the chance of it reaching your eyes. Wetting the knife after a few slices also helps since the onions release those sad gases every slice.

Chew gum for goodluck!

Another tip is to chew gum as you slice it. I don’t really know the science behind this but it’s has to do something with your breathing. I’ve heard someone say that breathing in your mouth while slicing also gives the same effect. I personally haven’t tried that though…

Probably the best guy for the job. Mouth breathing and lazer slicing your onions to perfection!

After summoning the force, I sliced the onion clan with ease.

Look mommy! No more tears!

Some of you might say “Hey, where are the shallots?” I know they’re red onion’s annoying (to peel) little brother and I really planned to add them in a form I bet you’re never seen before.

Annoying baby onions in a jar!

Those are actually fermented whole shallots. They are brined with an addition of sugar and kept in the ref indefinitely. They’re sweet, salty and they still pack up a zing even after fermenting for 2 months. I was going to add them but I decided not to on the last minute. I took a bite and I realized that these little suckers are too strong for the dish. And people tend to dislike the onion zing since it stays on your mouth until probably 4 meals after, just like garlic.

Need I say more?

I cooked the onions for a while just to wilt them a bit. These are gonna be mini pies and I want to pit in as much filling as I can. Wilting them is a good idea, don’t you think?

Flame on!

While cooling the onions, I made the dough. Honestly, this was my first time making mini pies so I struggled a bit. I did not follow any recipe since I thought that they’re just like pies, only smaller. Booooooooooooy was I wrong…

Flattening the dough.

Are those moon craters?

See how irregular those holes are? I’m pretty much blind-shooting here.

Frustration

You can probably see how frustrated I was when doing this.

But nevertheless, I managed to do it. Not very pretty, but yeah, it can still hold the filling right?

Spooned the filling in the crust

What? You don't know quickmelt?

I added quickmelt cheese for another level of flavor. Quickmelt is just another one of those processed cheese type of food. I know it doesn’t sound classy like Gruyere or Romano or the ever so popular Parmaseano Regiano but we like it! The flavor is like a cross between mozarella and (real) cheddar… I think.

 

When mama cheese and papa cheese love each other so much! 😀

I don’t know how to seal the hatch for these babies. I could have just leave ’em open and bake them but I’d rather…

 

Fail lattice is fail. AGAIN.

Egg washed them and baked them for 15 mins. Now is probably the best time to think on how I can take them out of the pan since the crust is not over-reaching the top and I can’t flip them over.

Not bad, eh?

Centerfold of the Foodboy Magazine Mar 2011

The lattice didn’t do so much for the appearance, I’ll try to do better next time.

The taste? You can taste the sweetness of the white onion on the first bite and the bit of zing of the red onion before swallowing. My friends said that the first onion pie was better. I don’t know, maybe because of the cheese. More cheese was added to the first pie.

I declare this first mini pie attempt to be a success. I might do more of these pies in the near future. Filled with… chicken maybe? Or left overs? Good thing pies are forgiving and they give a great room for experimentation.  So much for pies! Let’s move on to muffins!

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Redeemed Apple Pie

Brought by the sadness of my previous failure (I had to throw the pie 😦 ), I was hyped to get started on the new apple pie.

I sliced the apples and mixed it with brown sugar and just let it sit in the pan. After 10 mins, look at what happened.

Just 10 minutes! Look how much liquid it gave off

I let it sit in the pan for another 10 mins and cooked it with some more brown sugar and a little cornstarch.

Ooey and gooey, just the way we like it! 🙂

I purposely cooked the apples a little longer since they don’t want crunchy apples in their pie. Preference, preference.

Very very thick and sticky...

By just looking at that pic, you can tell how gooey that is.

I cooled it off and placed it in my crust. Baked it and just when I was about to take it out of the oven, a friend called to tell me that they’re coming over. I was happy since there will be someone who can judge the pie for me.

We ate the pie and forgot everything… I even forgot to take pictures since I was very excited to cut in the pie. The pectin, the sugar and the starch didn’t have enough time to set the pie. I didn’t care. It was another of my ‘I DON’T CARE, SLICE THE PIE/CAKE/BREAD/CHICKEN/PORK/<insertfooditemhere> moments.

The house was filled with apply-cinnamony scent. This is the only picture I took of the pie.

I meant the pie plate...

So what’s the verdict? Am I never gonna make apple pie any other way? Well, just for Fuji apples. If I get my hands on some granny smiths, then I’ll definitely try the other method.

PS:

This is like turning into a pie blog of some sort… And tomorrow, I’m gonna do another pie. A friend and I talked a while ago about the onion pie and he said that I should do something like ‘Onion Family’ pie made of white onion, red onion, garlic, leeks and chives. I thought it was a great idea! Though for a change I would like to try to bake them into a mini pie version since there are new muffin pans in the house. Gah, I should  have kept that as a surprise!

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A long post about a simple Apple Pie

I got some left over pie crust dough from last night’s Onion Pie experiment. I could say that I had some ready made buerre manie but it would be considered injustice to the dough. He was made to hold heavy and thick fillings, and heavy and thick fillings he shall hold!

left over pate brisee

Still hung over about that Onion Pie last night, I decided to do something similar… And that would be Apple Pie.

Yes, apple pie. Probably the most baked pie in the US and the most popular pie here in the Philippines (blame it on Jolibee and Mcdo). Apples are quite cheap too. They sell for the minimum of php10 each. I got mine at 12 each.

A little history. The first time I baked Apple pie for my friends and family, they did not really went gaga over it. I heard comments like “It’s not very… creamy.” Or “Needs more of that sticky stuff.” Then it hit me. I must imitate the pie served at those fast food joints to satisfy my target market. After all, food is all about preference.

I googled Jolibee apple pie and Mcdonalds came up.

That’s the Mc Donald’s apple pie looks like.

A little side note though, it’s rumored that there are very little actual apples in that apple pie. The general public believes that Chayote is used as an extender.

No, they're not ugly granny smith apples.

Chayote is a very common vegetable here. It has a very neutral flavor so it is often eaten with shrimp and pork (this was actually our lunch this afternoon). It tends to absorb any liquid it’s simmered and take it’s taste too. That’s why they’re perfect as an ‘apple pie extender’ and when I think about it… it does have the same texture of a cooked apple… I have not tried cooking apple pies with this veggie yet (maybe I’ll try soon) and I have nothing against it. I think it’s a sneaky way to make your child eat veggies!

With that said, people still buy the fast food pies mainly because they taste good. It wouldn’t bee a good apple pie it it didn’t have sticky and gooey stuff in it. It kinda brainwashed a whole nation thinking that that’s the ‘real’ apple pie.

Or is it?

Fail lattice is fail. Not to mention the color...

I did the ‘sweet and gooey’ apple pie before and they were epic. Until now, my friend keeps telling me that he loved that pie more than any other pie I baked.

I did not have a chance to take a pic just after slicing it simply because it got devoured as soon as the filling oozed out. The pie plate was licked clean so I guess this recipe’s a keeper.  You’d think I’ll never make apple pie any other way again. I guess so but the thing is… I get too cocky sometimes and try to do too much. I wanted to do those apple pies you see when you search ‘apple pie’ on google images. That’s actually what I did on the first time but I wanted to do a version that my friends and family would love.

Now back to the present!

I made extra pate brisee cause my left over was not enough.

After cutting the fat in the dough. I used Pork Lard by way.

If you didn't know by now, adding vodka works great on pie crusts.

Vodka is used in Pie Crust as 50% of the total liquid. Since vodka is alcohol and alcohol evaporates in high temp it will result to a more flaky crust.

The less the water, the better.

Add ice cold water, little by little just to get the dough to hold together. It’s still gonna be pretty loose so you have to knead it in a lightly floured surface. Not too much though, just until the dough binds together.

The apples I used are Fuji apples. They are less tart than granny smith and less sweeter than Washington. They’re somewhere in the middle of the two. The flesh however is spongier compared to the two and obviously has more moisture content.

HARVESTED FROM THE PEAK OF MOUNT FUJI. loljk

As I said I wanted to make the granny smith method of the apple pie so I just mixed them with brown sugar and cinnamon and placed it on the crust.

Too much?

I’m aware that adding sugar will macerate the apples. I didn’t care since I proceeded on baking them immediately.

Baked the pie until the apples were fork tender.

Feels like warm apple pie...

Venting holes

This slice looks like it was made from pure win!

Not really 😦

I thought I got was I was looking for but as soon as I tasted it, I did not dare take another bite. The apples were like flavorless and very dry… Yeah, it macerated in the pan while cooking and here’s the proof.

Take note of the leaking juices and the hollow dome.

You can see how much moisture the apples lost. All the juices that leaked out resulted to the great shrinkage of the apples. Look how much space was left on the top 😦

And the apples…

As dry as a dandruff...

The apple pie is still half untouched. No one wants to eat it. I feel pity for the apples and to me also.

Granny smith apples are hard to come by here so I guess I’ll stick to these.

The sugar, water and cornstarch mixture kinda seals in the moisture of these darned apples. Well after this long and sad blog, I still have a few apples here and I’m gonna make them tomorrow. I’ll turn them into locally appreciated apple pies… gooey and sweet 🙂

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What the hell is an ‘Onion Pie’?

Ok, so me and my buds are just hanging in my house when we all got hungry. There’s usually food here whether be it raw or cooked. The thing is, all the raw foods there were frozen and will probably take a few hours to thaw. The thing to be consumed at that point was some large onions a SINGLE potato and some left over nacho cheese. My friend immediately suggested Baked Potatoes a la Wendy’s but there’s only one potato. Onion rings wouldn’t be that filling for a group of guys and it’s gonna create a mess so that’s why I came up with… Yeah, Onion Pie. ‘What the hell is an onion pie?’ asked my friend. I wittingly said, “Pie Crust with Onions” with a grin on my face. We did a quick search on google images to see if onion pies really existed. We saw some and immediately got started. We did not look for any recipes since we know we have limited ingredients. We just made do of what we had. And look what we got…

Pretty good looking pie, right?

There’s really no secret to this pie. Just sliced the potatoes and made them as a base. Sliced the onions and just dumped in. Salt, pepper, rosemary and some left over nacho cheese. And I almost forgot nutmeg. The pie crust? I did not do any measurements just scooped out estimated amounts of equal parts bread flour and cake flour (since I don’t have AP), shaved a good amount of pork lard, and water little by little. And if you didn’t know by now, vodka is best for your pie crust. Use like half water and half vodka. Since Vodka is mostly alcohol and will evaporate in high temp, it’s gonna make the crust crispier. Also, vodka is a neutral type of alcohol so it wont affect the taste of your crust. A friend told me that he did not really like the taste of onions but ironically, he got 2 slices. That made me happy since I made him realize that food is beyond meat and eggs, there’s more. he just had one comment: More cheese. Typical comment from a non vegetable eater, looking for more ingredients to mask out the veggie taste.

That’s it for now. Oh, one last thing. I wanna share this image of the fresh rosemary I picked outside for our pie. I like how it’s kinda wet. It made it look greener and vibrant. Fresh herbs love the rain 😀

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