Raspberry Swirl Pound Cake

The name ‘pound cake‘ comes from the fact that the original pound cake contained one pound each butter, sugar, eggs and flour. Originally, no leaveners were used in the cake except for the air whipped into the batter. It was only in the 1900’s that artificial leaveners like baking soda and baking powder were added to reduce the density of the cake. Other variations include the addition of flavoring extracts like vanilla and almond or dried fruits such as cranberries or currants. At times, some or all of the butter was substituted by a cooking or vegetable oil to obtain a moist cake.

One of the most popular variations is the sour cream pound cake. The butter is substituted by sour cream to moisten the cake and also get a tinge of a tangy flavor. Despite all these variations which alter the characteristics and the flavor of the cake drastically, the name pound cake is still used today.

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Raspberry Swirl Pound Cake
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Servings
Ingredients
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Instructions
Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly butter or line pan of choice with parchment paper. (loaf pan or a Bundt pan)).
  2. In a bowl, cream butter & sugar with an electric mixer until pale & fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add salt, vanilla & sour cream.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together flour & baking powder. Combine wet & dry ingredients, then beat on low for about a minute.
  4. Transfer about 1/3 of batter to another bowl. Add raspberry preserves & beat until combined. Add 2-3 drops red gel food color if desired. To remaining batter, add lemon juice & beat until combined.
Assembly/Baking
  1. To preferred baking pan, add a layer of white batter then alternate between pink & white batter. Use a knife to swirl the batters together but don't overdo it or you will end up without a marble effect.
  2. Bake for 60-65 minutes or until a skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean. If top browns too quickly, lightly cover with a piece of foil paper.
  3. Allow cake to cool in pan for 15 minutes, then remove pan & finishing cooling on a wire rack.
Frosting
  1. In a small bowl, beat cream cheese for about 20 seconds on medium speed. Add powdered sugar & mix to combine well. Drizzle frosting over cooled cake, slice & serve.
Recipe Notes
  • My choice of baking pans were some mini Bundt pans. I thought they made a nice individual presentation.

Baked Churro Cups w/ Strawberry Cream Cheese

Although there are many myths about the origins of the ‘churro’, most people believe there are three realistic stories and in each of them, the original country of churros is different: Spain, China & Ancient Egypt.

First of all, if you are not familiar with churros, they are a sweet snack consisting of a strip of fried dough dusted with sugar or cinnamon and usually served with a small bowl of hot, thick chocolate. Brion & I tasted them for the first time when we were travelling in Spain in the winter of 2014.

The inventor of churros has often been researched, but the truth is that this dessert was created so many years ago, that only a whole country can be named when talking about its beginnings.

Although, today you can find numerous shapes for churros, the traditional one is from Spain, being a large, semi-circle of fried dough. This shape is actually very similar to horns of the ‘churra sheep’ that are native to the Iberian Peninsula.

The relationship between Churros and chocolate is almost inseparable, either in a cup or as a filling. However, this combination is not exclusive because Mexico, Philippines, Argentina & Chile all eat a different kind of churro. In Cuba they created the guava filled churros or eat them with ice cream in different flavors.

As per usual, I’m always looking for a way to have deep fried foods baked. I guess it stems from my many years of being in the commercial food service industry when it seemed everything was deep fried. I resist having to smell or eat anything that has to be fried in hot oil. That being said, here’s my take on a churro dessert that is baked and filling it with some strawberry cream cheese.

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Baked Churro Bowls
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Course dessert
Servings
MINI CUPS
Ingredients
Churro Bowls
Strawberry Cream Cheese Filling
Course dessert
Servings
MINI CUPS
Ingredients
Churro Bowls
Strawberry Cream Cheese Filling
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Instructions
Churro Cups
  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add water, butter, and salt. Bring to a boil and stir until butter is completed melted. Turn off heat and add in flour. Stir until all flour is incorporated and becomes a smooth dough ball. Add in eggs and stir into dough, mixing until dough becomes smooth and uniform again. Scoop dough into a pastry bag.
  2. Preheat oven to 425ºF.
  3. Invert your MINI muffin tin or cake pop pan, so that the bottoms are facing up, and lightly grease the exterior of 21 of the molds. I recommend you space them out, skipping every other mold, so that the bowls aren't too close together. Using a star tip, pipe around the greased molds until you cover the entire mold. Make sure when you are piping that each new circle layer is touching the previous layer, so that there are no gaps. Bake for 25-30 minutes until churros turn golden brown and are crispy. A pool of oil will be puddled at the bottom of the baking pan, but you can ignore that.
  4. Gently remove the churro bowls from the molds and let cool for a few minutes. In a small bowl, mix together sugar and cinnamon. Pour into a Ziploc bag. Place one churro into the bag at a time, moving the churro bowl around in the bag until the exterior of the bowl is completely covered in cinnamon sugar. Repeat with remaining churro bowls. Do not skip the sugar step as your churros will have little flavor without the sugar. I also found that the Ziploc bag method works much better than just simply trying to roll the churro bowls in a bowl filled with the cinnamon sugar. Set aside until your filling is ready.
Strawberry Filling
  1. Pulse softened cream cheese, strawberries & sugar in a food processor until smooth. If berries aren't juicy enough & mixture is too thick, adjust consistency with a few drops of milk. If it is too thin, adjust with a little more cream cheese.
  2. I left my filling fairly runny but make it as stiff as you wish, it will taste great no matter what! Fill churro cups with filling & top with more strawberries - whole or sliced. Serve immediately.
Recipe Notes
  • Another filling alternative would be some Kahlua & Fresh Fruit:
  • 6 cups fresh fruit
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup Kahlua
  • Cut fruit into 3/4-inch pieces & place in a bowl, sprinkle with brown sugar.
  • Add Kahlua; stir gently. Cover & refrigerate 30 minutes to blend flavors.

Plantain Ginger Cake Fingers

Plantains aren’t meant for eating right out of the peel, but they are transformed into a gently sweet dessert when caramelized.

It’s easy to confuse a plantain with a banana because they look so much alike. Both fruits come from the same family of plants. Though they look alike, the biggest differences between bananas and plantains is in their flavor profile, size, skin thickness and how they’re used in the kitchen.

Like bananas, they start green and progress to yellow and then a dark brown-black as they ripen. The darker they are, the sweeter they’ll be. Plantains can be eaten at any stage of ripening, but you’ll need a knife to peel them.

Plantains are starchier and usually larger and tougher than bananas, with a much thicker skin. Very versatile in that they can be boiled, baked or fried.

We grew to like plantains after our extended stay in Ecuador some years ago. Every so often they are a nice treat to have again.

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Plantain Ginger Cakes
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Course dessert
Cuisine American, Cuban
Servings
Ingredients
Caramelized Plantains
Cake
Course dessert
Cuisine American, Cuban
Servings
Ingredients
Caramelized Plantains
Cake
Votes: 2
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Instructions
Caramelized Plantains
  1. Slice plantains into slices of equal thickness. In a small saucepan, combine butter & sugar; cook until butter has melted & sugar has dissolved. Cook until syrup has thickened; add sliced plantains. Gently stir to coat plantain well. In the bottom of 8 ramekin baking dishes, arrange overlapping slices. Divide any remaining syrup between them. Set aside.
Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices & salt.
  3. In another bowl, beat the butter with sugar until light & fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time then the vanilla. Slowly add one third of the flour mixture & half a cup of the coconut milk. Mix until incorporated.
  4. Add the second third of the flour mixture & the other half of the coconut milk. Finish with the final third of the flour mixture. Mix until all the ingredients are well combined. The batter is smooth & fluffy. Pour the batter over the caramelized plantains, dividing it evenly between the ramekins.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown & a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. Transfer ramekins to a cooling rack & allow to cool for 10 minutes. Loosen the edges of the cake with a spatula & carefully turn each ramekin upside down onto serving plates.
Recipe Notes
  • For something different, I decided to make my plantain cake in an oblong tart pan so I could cut it in 'fingers'. Use whatever baking dish you chose, the cake is very adaptable.

Turkey Thighs w/ Persimmon Sage Stuffing

Cooking turkey parts instead of the entire bird serves a few purposes. It not only cuts way back on the cooking time but it allows you to cook more of your favorite pieces. For dark meat lovers, roasted turkey thighs are the perfect option as the meat is succulent and flavorful without losing its moistness during the roasting time.

As soon as I spot persimmons in the grocery store I can’t resist them. Persimmons are in season between November and February. They are mildly sweet and juicy with a slight crunch reminiscent of a cross between a peach and a pear. Since there is only a short window in which you can enjoy this exotic fruit, persimmons make up for it by working well in both sweet and savory recipes.

In acknowledgement to the USA Thanksgiving today (November 25th), I’m stuffing some turkey thighs with an interesting dressing containing persimmons & fresh sage. I know most people have their own traditional, go-to‘ stuffing recipes, but I’m hoping at least a few will venture from the norm and try a little persimmon in your stuffing. I can assure you, its worth it.

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Turkey Thighs w/ Persimmon Sage Stuffing
Instructions
Stuffing
  1. Preheat oven to 200 F. On a parchment or foil lined baking sheet, spread out the cubes of bread. Bake for about 10 minutes, until lightly toasted yet still pale in color. Set aside. Turn oven off until ready to bake ready to roast thighs if you wish.
  2. In a large saucepan or pot over medium heat, add 1 Tbsp olive oil & 1 Tbsp butter. When butter has melted, add the shallot, celery & leek. Cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, sage, thyme & pepper; cook until mixture is fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  3. Pour in the broth and toss lightly until everything is completely mixed. Give the stuffing a taste & add salt to your personal taste. Fold in the beaten egg & cubed persimmons; toss lightly till combined.
Herb Butter
  1. In a small dish, combine all herb butter ingredients & set aside.
Assembly & Baking
  1. Arrange turkey thighs, skin side down on a work surface so they lay open & flat. Cover with plastic wrap, then pound lightly with a meat mallet to flatten to an even thickness.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  3. Discard plastic wrap; spread stuffing over 2 turkey thighs, leaving a 1/4-inch border around edge. Top each with a remaining turkey thigh. Butter a casserole dish with remaining butter & transfer any leftover stuffing to casserole dish, spreading it out evenly.
  4. Line a roasting pan with heavy duty foil paper. Grease foil on the bottom of pan & place the stuffed turkey thighs in roasting pan. Carefully spread HERB BUTTER over tops of stuffed thighs.
  5. Roast uncovered, basting occasionally, until thighs reach an internal temperature of 180 F. about 2 hours. Cover with foil if top browns too quickly. Bake the extra stuffing for about 30-40 minutes, until the top of the stuffing is golden brown.
  6. Remove turkey thighs from oven, tent with foil & allow to rest for about 5-10 minutes. Slice & serve.

Dutch Apple Pumpkin Cheesecakes

For Canadians, Thanksgiving is just a couple of days away. Even if the basics are the same across the country …. turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes …. every family has their own special twist they put on it somewhere. That could easily come in the form of dessert.

There are few flavors that say autumn better than pumpkin and ginger but why not switch up the traditional pumpkin pie for something extra special. I’m thinking, what’s wrong with combining a number of our favorites in one dessert!

Starting with a gingersnap crust for the base, then a pumpkin cream cheese layer topped with cinnamon apples. The thing with ‘Dutch apple’ (pie) that sets it apart is the crumb/streusel topping. So in keeping with the name of this recipe, I’m making a streusel topping as the final layer of our Thanksgiving dessert. Of course, you can always add a scoop of ice cream.

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Dutch Apple Pumpkin Cheesecakes
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Servings
Ingredients
Gingersnap Base
Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling
Apple Filling
Streusel
Servings
Ingredients
Gingersnap Base
Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling
Apple Filling
Streusel
Votes: 1
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Instructions
Gingersnap Base
  1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Line mini cheesecake pans with paper liners.
  2. In a food processor, add gingersnap cookies & process until you have fine crumbs. Place in a bowl; add butter & mix until fully combined. Evenly distribute the mixture between the mini cheesecake pans. Press each one down firmly & bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven & set aside to cool.
Cheesecake Filling
  1. In a bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, vanilla & spice for 1-2 minutes until smooth & creamy. Add in the pumpkin puree & mix until fully combined. Turn mixer to low speed & add egg; beating ONLY till just combined.
Apple Filling
  1. Prepare apples & combine with cinnamon, sugar & flour.
Streusel
  1. In a small bowl, combine oatmeal, flour, brown sugar & cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly.
Assemble & Bake
  1. Evenly distribute the cheesecake filling over the gingersnap crusts. Top with apple filling then spoon an even layer of streusel over each cheesecake cup.
  2. Bake at 325 F. for 10-12 minutes or JUST until cheesecakes are set. Remove from oven & allow to cool at room temperature for at least an hour.
  3. Serve topped with a bit of whipped cream or ice cream if desired.
Recipe Notes
  • I have always loved Dutch 'Speculaas' spice so I used it in all 3 parts of the filling instead of what I listed in the recipe. It has a unique combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cardamom, aniseed, mace & black pepper.
  • This recipe can be easily halved if 36 is too many for you.

Purple Yam (Ube) Tarts

If you follow our blog, you have probably noticed my love for ube (pronounced ‘ooh-bae’), the starchy vegetable also known as purple yam. This veggie isn’t just any old root vegetable. Although it is similar to taro & sweet potatoes, it is neither. Yams, for one, grow on vines, while sweet potatoes grow underground. Though ube is originally native to the Philippines, its become an international sensation for its unique color and sweet, starchy flavor.

There are endless things you can make with these purple yams. I’m keeping it simple today with some tarts, but I’m going to make a special ‘Breton Shortbread’ pastry for them. It’s hard to describe its texture – kind of a cross between cake & shortbread. When you first take a bite, there is a crispiness to the exterior, but then you reach a dense, almost cake-like interior full of buttery goodness.

Brittany is a region in the North of France, very close to the UK, with which it shares some traditions and cultural aspects. The region is famous for two of its local products: butter & sea salt. Breton is a Celtic language spoken, along with French, in Brittany, which is where this recipe originates.

There are many variations on the classic buttery, sandy-textured French version of shortbread cookies. The beauty of the Breton dough is its ease of mixing and shaping. In addition to using this dough for cookies, it can be used for dessert bases or tart shells as I’m doing today. It seemed like the perfect choice combined with ube jam topped with salty cheese.

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Purple Yam (Ube) Tarts
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Servings
TARTLETS
Ingredients
Ube Tart Filling (BEST MADE A DAY AHEAD OF USING)
Breton Shortbread Tart Shells
Topping
Servings
TARTLETS
Ingredients
Ube Tart Filling (BEST MADE A DAY AHEAD OF USING)
Breton Shortbread Tart Shells
Topping
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Instructions
Tart Filling
  1. In a medium, heavy saucepan, melt butter. Add cocoanut & condensed milks; stir until heated. Add thawed, grated purple yam & combine well. Cook over a low heat.
  2. It is important to stir the mixture often during cooking to prevent it from forming a 'crust'. This process takes about 40-50 minutes until yams are cooked. The mixture should be thick & sticky. Transfer to a glass bowl, cover with plastic wrap (touching the pudding surface) & set aside to cool. Refrigerate until used.
Tart Shells
  1. In a medium bowl, cream butter with sugar, salt & vanilla; add the egg yolk.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour & baking powder; add to creamed mixture. Blend well.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  4. Divide dough into 48 small portions & place them in silicone muffin pans (it should not be too thick. No need to press the dough down as that will be done after baking).
  5. Bake shells for 12 minutes. IMMEDIATELY after removing the shells from the oven, press the middle of each shortbread with a small pestle. The dough then rises up the sides & a hollow forms in the center for the filling.
Assembly
  1. Fill cooled tart shells with chilled yam filling. Sprinkle with grated Edam cheese. Serve.
Recipe Notes
  • These are best eaten after filling the shells as they will soften overnight.

French Mussels w/ Bacon & Leek Risotto

Thanks for the memories! This phrase says it all when I think back to the wonderful time we spent in France. Although this holiday is now 20 years past, the memories remain very vivid and special.

My sister, Loretta had joined Brion & I on this French vacation which had made it even more special. Our journey began in Paris where we had rented a car, then travelled south (about 613 km/380 miles) to the sleepy little village of St Thibery. For this segment of our trip we had rented an apartment to use as ‘home base’ during our time in this part of France. Many of these houses are from the 14th,15th & 17th century. The apartment was quaint but adequate even having a roof top patio.

St Thibery is situated between the larger towns of Agde & Pezenas and is just a short distance from the Mediterranean Sea. On one of our day trips we visited the town of Agde. It is one of the oldest towns in France and is captivating by its maze of narrow streets. Agde was built of black basalt from a volcanic eruption thus the black color of its buildings.

It was here we discovered a nice restaurant where we enjoyed some classic French steamed mussels. It would be an understatement to say how much the three of us enjoyed this feast of fresh seafood.

During the time we spent in the area, we made the 20 minute drive from St Thibery to Agde just to have some more mussels on numerous evenings.

Brion & I decided to revisit the taste of those ‘French’ mussels today with our supper meal. Of course, nothing compares to the ‘taste of a memory’!

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French Mussels w/ Bacon & Leek Risotto
Instructions
Risotto
  1. Bring vegetable broth to a boil in a saucepan, then turn heat to low & keep at a simmer.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat; add bacon & sauté until crisp. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain & set aside.
  3. Remove all but 2 Tbsp bacon drippings from skillet (add extra olive oil if necessary to equal 2 Tbsp) then add leeks, mushrooms & shallot. Turn heat up to medium-high; season with salt & pepper. Sauté until vegetables are tender & starting to turn golden brown, about 7-8 minutes. Add garlic & sauté for 1 minute. Add rice; stir to coat & cook for 1 more minute.
  4. Turn heat back to medium; add wine & stir until absorbed by rice. Add hot vegetable broth; stir near constantly until rice is tender & all the broth is absorbed, about 25 minutes. If broth gets to a hard boil, turn heat down. Remove skillet from heat; stir in thyme, parmesan cheese & cooked bacon. Keep warm until mussels are ready.
Mussels
  1. Heat olive oil & butter in a large pot over medium high heat. Sauté the onion & garlic until softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the mussels, wine, cream, butter & parsley. Season well with salt & pepper to taste.
  3. Mix well, cover pot with a lid & cook until mussels are cooked through & opened, about 12-15 minutes.
  4. Serve mussels along with the juices in the pan with risotto & crusty or garlic bread.

Shrimp Dutch Baby Pancake

A Dutch baby pancake is a cross between a fluffy style pancake and a soufflé. Its less work than standard pancakes and less complicated than a soufflé.

If you follow our blog, you probably have seen other versions, both sweet & savory featured on it. Dutch baby’s are such an easy meal to make, they are a regular in our meal rotation, not to mention how delicious they are.

Dutch baby recipes work best in cast iron pans because they retain heat and cook evenly. If you don’t have cast iron cook-ware, I find pyrex bowls will work as a substitute.

Because of the delicate nature of the batter, you can only add your toppings once the batter has baked. For some toppings, this will require cooking these ingredients on the stove top while the eggy batter bakes.

Be careful with recipes that instruct you to mix chopped veggies and meat directly into the batter. The combination of weight and moisture will prevent the batter from cooking and puffing up as it should. One exception to this would be finely grated Parmesan cheese. To help create height, bring the eggs to room temperature before mixing into the batter.

Being seafood lovers, this meal really works for us.

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Shrimp Dutch Baby Pancake
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SERVINGS
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Instructions
Dutch Baby Pancakes
  1. In a bowl, whisk together eggs & milk. Add flour & whisk until incorporated then whisk in parmesan cheese, scallions, parsley, thyme, salt & pepper. Set aside in refrigerator until sauce & filling are made.
Gouda Sauce
  1. In a small saucepan, melt butter; sprinkle with flour & seasonings. Mix well; add milk & broth, stirring until sauce becomes thickened. Blend in cheese; set aside
Shrimp Filling / Baking
  1. Peel & devein shrimp (you can chop into pieces if you prefer). Prepare filling veggies for cooking.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  3. Place 2 Tbsp butter in each of TWO 7-inch pyrex baking bowls (alternately you can use one 10-inch cast iron skillet). Place bowls in hot oven to melt butter (and heat the bowls for baking pancakes in). Once the butter is melted & the bowls are hot, divide the batter between them. Bake for 25 minutes.
  4. The Dutch Baby will puff up during cooking, but once its removed from the oven & starts to cool it will deflate slightly. At this point its nice to do the final sautéing of your filling so that when the pancakes come out of the oven you are ready to fill & serve.
  5. In a large skillet, sauté zucchini, onion, mushrooms & garlic in oil until tender-crisp. Combine soy sauce with water in a cup; add to vegetable mixture along with shrimp. Gently stir fry ONLY until shrimp is cooked, then fold in Gouda sauce.
  6. When Dutch Baby pancakes are finished baking, remove from oven & transfer to 2 serving dishes. Divide filling between the 2 pancakes & serve hot.

Swiss Roll w/ Ube Halaya

Ube (pronounced ooo-bae) originated in the Philippines and refers to a bright purple yam. Ube is a very versatile ingredient. It is not a purple sweet potato or taro, it is a purple yam. Its unique taste reminds one of vanilla, pistachios or chestnuts. The vibrant purple color inside and out is uniquely photogenic.

Fresh ube seems to be fairly difficult to find in North America but with a little persistence it is possible. There are a few different forms it is sold in. Dehydrated powder, extract, ube halaya (or paste) or as a grated frozen product. Ube is not an exotic ingredient in the Philippines but a common everyday staple.

This brings us to today’s recipe. Rolled cakes have been around for years but still have such a unique and modern look to them. In North America the terminology evolved from Jelly Cake (1852), Roll Jelly Cake (1860), Swiss Roll (1872), Jelly Roll (1873) and Rolled Jelly Cake (1876).The name ‘Jelly Roll’ was eventually adopted. I recall my mother’s version as a yellow sponge cake with a red jam rolled inside.

In the Philippines a rolled variant has a very simple filling of sugar and butter. Modern versions, however, are commonly frosted and can include a variety of fillings flavored with ube.

My love for ube continues as this is now my fourth blog centered around it. It seems that unique flavor and gorgeous lavender color is finding its way into an endless variety of desserts these days.

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Swiss Roll w/ Ube Halaya
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Course dessert
Cuisine Filipino
Servings
Ingredients
Ube Halaya (Jam) Filling
Course dessert
Cuisine Filipino
Servings
Ingredients
Ube Halaya (Jam) Filling
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Instructions
Ube Halaya (Jam)
  1. In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Add coconut & condensed milks; stir until heated. Add thawed, grated ube & stir everything together. This process takes about 40-50 minutes until the ube is cooked. The mixture will be thick & sticky. It is important to stir the mixture often during cooking process to prevent it from forming a crust. When cooked, transfer the ube halaya to a container. Cover it with plastic wrap, making sure it is touching the ube paste to prevent a skin from forming & set aside. I find, making this filling a day ahead makes everything come together a lot easier.
Roll Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 10x15x1-inch jelly roll pan with parchment paper (bottom & sides). Lightly grease the parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the yolks with a hand whisk until lighter in color. Add 1/4 cup sugar & continue to whisk the mixture until it has slightly thickened. Add the milk, oil & vanilla to the bowl. Whisk until incorporated.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour & baking powder. Gradually add this mixture to the yolk mixture & beat with the hand whisk until smooth & lump free.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat egg whites until frothy. Add the cream of tartar & beat until soft peaks form. Add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar gradually while the mixer is running & continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Fold the beaten egg whites (meringue) into the yolk batter in three additions using a rubber spatula until the color of the batter is uniform.
  5. Pour half of the batter into another mixing bowl. Gently fold in some violet food color. Spread the plain batter on the pan, using a rubber spatula to help spread it evenly. Gently pour the colored batter on top of the plain batter. Spread this batter out very gently so the two batters don't get mixed together.
  6. Use a chopstick & start drawing a pattern horizontally first in a continuous motion & then vertically in a continuous motion as well. Gently tap the baking sheet on your work surface once or twice to release air bubbles. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. While the cake bakes, grate the cheese; set aside.
  7. Remove the cake from the oven & lift it out of the pan immediately to a cooling rack & peel off parchment paper from the 4 SIDES. Let it cool for about 5-6 minutes then place a new piece of parchment paper, larger than the cake, on top of the cake & flip over to the other side. Peel off the parchment paper from bottom.
  8. Use a serrated knife to trim about 1/4-inch of the 4 edges. This makes rolling the cake easier. You should roll parallel to the direction of the last hurricane line you drew earlier or the pattern won't show when you cut it. If you trim the side that will be on the bottom at an angle, you cake will sit better when its rolled up. On the side you are going to start rolling, make 4 shallow slices about an inch apart. This helps the cake to roll easier without cracking.
  9. Spread the ube halaya on the surface of the cake. You want to spread most of it near the side you are going to roll up from. There should be less filling towards the other end because as you roll up, the filling will get pushed forward & by the time you roll to the other end, it should be just the right amount of filling.
  10. Very gently use one hand to lift the parchment paper up to help you roll the cake up until you reach the other side. Remove the parchment paper & place the cake on a serving plate. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Loosely tent cake with parchment paper being careful to not have it touching the surface of the cake. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Decorate & Serve
  1. When cake is cool & 'set', decorate with additional ube paste & slice. Serve.
Recipe Notes
  • I used about 2 cups of the ube filling for inside the roll. Don't worry if you have extra when your finished decorating, it is so good you will probably enjoy eating any leftovers by the spoonful!

Fig Bread

Today, March 28th, marks the date of my mothers birth. Although she left this earth 43 years ago, her memory remains crystal clear. She was a wonderful mother who made our lives so much better in ways we never realized. She set a good example just by the way she lived the ‘best version of herself’.

When this date rolls around each year, I like to post something on the blog that I think she would have enjoyed to make. Baking was a ‘job’ she really seemed to enjoy and our family certainly reaped the benefits of that.

Since Easter is only a week away, I thought a fig bread would be nice. Fruit appears in myths from around the world with figs being regarded as a sacred symbol by many.

Velvety soft on the outside with sweet crimson flesh within, the fig is a captivating food. Widespread and abundant throughout the Mediterranean region, figs have been eaten fresh and dried for storage for thousands of years. The fig found its way to America with Spanish missionaries who brought the fruit to Southern California (USA), in the 1700’s. The variety became known as ‘Mission’ figs.

Easter and Good Friday inspire a particularly rich array of decorative breads and buns that make some of the nicest edible centerpieces.

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Fig Bread Wreath
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Course Brunch, dessert
Cuisine American, European
Keyword Fig bread
Servings
Ingredients
Course Brunch, dessert
Cuisine American, European
Keyword Fig bread
Servings
Ingredients
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Instructions
Bread Dough
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together yeast, 1 tsp sugar & warm milk. Set aside for about 5 minutes until frothy
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, remaining sugar & salt. Add yeast mixture, melted butter & egg. Knead until dough comes together in a ball & no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl. Transfer dough to a greased bowl & cover with a tea towel. Allow to rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
Fig Filling
  1. Coarsely chop figs. In a bowl, cream together butter, sugar, cinnamon & cardamom; add figs. Stir to combine & set aside.
Assemble & Bake
  1. Fit a piece of parchment paper to cover bottom & sides of a 10-inch round springform baking pan. Deflate dough & divide into 6 parts. One small part of the dough will be used to for the middle. Roll out in a round circle & place a scoop of filling in the center. Pull sides up around filling & pinch together. Place the 'bun' in the middle of the pan, seam down. Roll out another small piece of the dough into a circle. Cut it into parallel strips then place strips over bun in a weave pattern.
  2. Next roll each of the remaining 4 strips into long rectangles (about 6" x 16" each). Divide filling between 2 of the strips, placing a row down the center of each one. Bring sides together over filling & pinch to seal.
  3. Lay one filled strip over each of the 2 remaining rectangles of pastry (seam side down). Cut angled strips on either side of filled pastry. Using these strips, form a braid over top.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 F. Transfer braids to baking pan forming 2 circles around the center ball. Beat egg wash together & brush over surface of bread wreath. Allow to rise for about 15 minutes in a draft-free place.
  5. Bake until golden brown about 30 minutes. Remove from oven & place on a wire rack to cool.
Cream Cheese Glaze
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together cream cheese, butter, vanilla & powdered sugar until smooth. Drizzle or pipe over fig bread. Decorate with fresh figs if desired.