Thursday, February 23, 2012

tres leches cake

I am still thinking about our trip last month to Mexico.  Apparently Q is too, since every couple days, he asks to go back.  One of our earlier nights there, I tried the most amazing cakes - tres leches cake. It was so moist and delicious.  My friend S encouraged me to get the recipe.  On our last nights, Chef Fernando and Chef Ivan, with the aid of a translator, shared the recipe.

This is a picture of us with the chefs.  They were super helpful and happily obliged with this foodie's request.

I wish that I had come home and made this cake right away.  Instead I waited, and in the waiting, some of the translation was lost.  The measurements were also for 100 pieces so I didn't think it was a good idea to even attempt it.

It was definitely a cake that I wanted to make though, for my mother-in-laws birthday.  There were so many variations on google but I finally settled on one that I had seen on the Food Network show, Mexican Made Easy by Marcela Valladolid.

After I pulled it out of the oven, it fell in the middle but I covered it up with whipping cream.  No one was the wiser.  This cake was quite different from the firm cake we had in Mexico but the taste was delicious.  The sweetness of the milk that was absorbed into the cake and then oozed out when it was cut into was amazing.  This cake was light and rich all at the same time.  The best part - my father-in-law requested the same for his birthday next month!

Tres Leches Cake
Adapted From Marcela Valedolid, Mexican Made Easy

Nonstick cooking spray, for the cake pan
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the cake pan
1 tablespoon baking powder
4 large eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup whole milk
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
2 cups heavy cream, divided
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cocoa

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray and flour a 10-inch cake pan with 2-inch high sides and then line with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper.

Mix the flour and baking powder in a medium bowl. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites until frothy. With the mixer running, gradually add the sugar and beat to stiff peaks. Beat in the yolks, 1 at a time, blending well after each addition. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the whole milk in 2 additions.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool the cake slightly, about 10 minutes, then invert onto a platter with 1-inch high sides.

Pierce the top of the cake all over with a thick skewer. Mix the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and 1 cup heavy cream in a medium bowl. Pour the mixture over the cake while warm. Cover and refrigerate until cold, about 3 hours or overnight.

Combine the remaining 1 cup heavy cream and powdered sugar in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream until soft peaks form. Spread the whipped cream onto top of the cake and sprinkle with the ground cinnamon and cocoa.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

celebrating apple month at home tasting room

Hubby and I had date night earlier this month celebrating apple month.  BC Tree Fruits hosted an event at Home Tasting Room where, along with other bloggers and media, we sampled apple inspired food prepared by Chef Rogers.

I'm not a huge fan of beets but the organic beet and apple salad with fresh Calgarian mozza and house grown lemon basil was amazing.

The swiss gougere with Ambrosia apple mousse and candied pecans was a favourite among the crowd.  So light and tasty!
The Noble Farms duck and apple pastilla with ambrosia apple gastrique was hubby's favorite.  The combination of the apple and the duck in the flaky pastry was definitely a winner.
Another tasty bite with the Braeburn apple and fig tart with organic cold smoked cheddar and sailor jerry cream.

We were also able to view a cooking demo where Chef Rogers prepared a Sous vide Broek Acres pork belly.  He was also kind enough to prepare a non-pork version for us, AAA Alberta beef hanger with apple foam and puree.  Delicious!
It was a great evening tasting the delicious bites and learning about the apple picking and production process.  One of my favourite tips provided by Darcel, a nutritionist with BC Tree Fruits and a grower herself, was putting grated apple in various dishes.  Any way to sneak in fruits and veggies is always a good thing.  From the delicious food that we sampled, it was evident that apples can be incorporated into any kind of dish, both sweet and savoury.  Check out the BC Tree Fruits website for lots of apple recipes.

You have until the end of the month to participate in BC Tree Fruits "Artful Apple" contest and win prizes like an Okanagan vacation.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

homemade ferrero chocolates

Happy Valentine's Day! To celebrate the day of love, I made hubby one of his favorite chocolates - Ferrero Rocher. 

It was ridiculously easy to make and so good! The recipe for this is all over the web.  You don't need a lot of ingredients to make the chocolates.  Just hazelnut wafers, crushed hazelnuts, nutella and chocolate.
Hubby loved these and thought they tasted even better than the real thing!  A little dangerous to be able to make these so easily at home.

Since it's Valentine's Day, I thought I'd share a line from one of my favourite poems, Sonnet 17 by Pablo Neruda. I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride; so I love you because I know no other way.

Homemade Ferrero Chocolates
10 hazelnut wafer sticks
1 cup roasted hazelnuts, chopped
2/3 cup Nutella
1 cup chocolate chips
2 tb whipping cream

Crush the wafers and mix it together with the hazelnuts.  Once combined, fold in the Nutella.  Chill the mixture until firm, about 1 hour.  Form small balls and chill again for another hour.

Melt the chocolate and whipping cream in a double boiler.  Dip the hazelnut balls into the chocolate until covered.  Garnish with more hazelnuts if you wish.  Enjoy!

Friday, February 10, 2012

caramel popcorn twists

Every good road trip has to have a big bag of something salty.  Last year, when we drove to Kelowna, we took along a bag of popcorn twists.  These twists, which just melt in your mouth, take me back to my childhood.  I noticed a recipe on the bag for caramel popcorn twists and put it in the back of my mind to make one day.  Well, one day was today.  I made up a batch of these and they were so  good! I didn't want them fully covered with caramel, so I halved the recipe.  This way, each popcorn twist was only half covered and allowed you to get some sweet and some salty in every bite.

Want to try some?  These will be at the Calgary Food Blogger Bake Sale being held this weekend at Casel Marche.  I will also be baking up some whipped shortbread with almonds and chocolate as well as some almond roca shortbread.  Hope to see you all there!
Caramel Popcorn Twists
Taken from the back of a bag of Old Dutch Popcorn Twists
Place one 175 g bag of Old Dutch Popcorn Twists™ into a large roasting pan and pre-heat the oven to 250°F.

In your largest pot, combine 3/4 cup butter, 1 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup corn syrup.

Bring the above ingredients to a rolling boil for about 2 minutes. Then stir in 1 tsp of baking soda. This will cause your caramel to foam. Allow the foam to cook slightly then remove from heat.

Pour the caramel over the popcorn twists and stir until completely mixed.Place in pre-heated oven and bake for 45 minutes, stirring your mixture every 10-15 minutes.

Remove from oven, pour on wax paper. Allow to cool slightly, break apart & enjoy!

Monday, February 6, 2012

calgary food blogger bake sale

Please come join us on February 11 and 12 from 10 AM - 5:30 PM at Casel Marché for the Calgary Food Blogger Bake Sale.  This year, funds raised will go to Brown Bagging for Calgary's Kids Society.

For more details, including a list of all the bloggers involved, check out the Facebook event or follow the Twitter hashtag #yycFBBS. Hope to see you all there!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

moon palace shortbread

It is quite obvious to anyone that knows me how much of a sweet tooth I have.  To find that the resort had little shortbread cookies everywhere for us to enjoy was quite the treat!  Some of these were chocolate, some had nuts, others had coconut.  They were so yummy.
One of the chefs, Manuel, was kind enough to share how to make these delectable cookies.  He was very sweet and worked with the hostess to translate the recipe for me.  I haven't made these yet myself at home.  I'm afraid they won't last long if I do!

Moon Palace Shortbread

2.5 cups sugar
1 pound butter
5 eggs
5 cups flour
1 TB baking powder
splash of vanilla

Cream together the sugar and butter and until fluffy.  Add in the eggs, one at a time followed by the vanilla.  Add the flour and baking powder and mix until the dough comes together.  Bake at 350 degrees until the cookie sets but doesn't brown.  Makes lots!
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