Pastry and alcohol, a combination from heaven?

Have you ever heard of pastry chefs? I dare to say they are some of the greatest masters of cuisine, and even if I don’t think I will become one of them someday, pastry is one of my interests and I love trying a new pie every once in a while.

pastry by fantasiaescribaAnother idea of mine that I apply every time I cook something is that good food goes very well with high quality alcohol. And in Singapore, you have lots of choices at hand. Alcohol delivery services, like Asher BWS, provide you with almost any spirit you can think of in a short time. It’s great that you don’t have to go to a liquor store in order to buy any of these: beer, wine, brandy, gin cognac, whisky, tequila, vodka, rum and the list can go on for pages. Wines come from several New and Old World countries which are famous for their vineyards, and you can find both occidental and Asian varieties of well-known drinks like whisky.

As I was checking the new products on my favorite spirits online store, I overheard on TV a pastry chef speaking about dough containing alcohol and a sparkle ignited in my mind almost instantly. The next thing I know is I started to research the subject and look for the perfect dough recipe having alcohol on its list of ingredients. Here is what I found out:

  • The usual ingredients of a dough are flour, butter, water and shortening, but you can replace half of the water with alcohol, for instance vodka;
  • By adding alcohol to it, the dough becomes more flexible and it stays together well instead of disintegrating when rolled out; after baking, the pie or the pastry is crisp;
  • Most of the alcohol content evaporates while baking, and this technique allows you to use smaller amounts of water without obtaining dry pastry. You avoid that unpleasant hard crust and you make your pie crisp at the same time;
  • Dough containing alcohol supports more flour than usually without compromising on the flakiness of the pastry’s crust. Alcohol prevents gluten formation, which creates a flakier and more tender crust;
  • There already are various alcohols specially designed for pastry purposes, and they are often available as liquid gels containing 50% alcohol. You can choose between cognac, curacao, amaretto, whiskey, rum and many other assortments;
  • Dough containing alcohol is stickier than usual, so let it chill before rolling or you won’t be able to handle it no matter how much flower you add;
  • Pastries containing alcohol are traditional in Crete, the largest Greek Island. The kalitsounia cheese pie contains raki, a spirit made from distilled wine, which also adds flavor to the pie;
  • There is no alcohol taste in the final product. If you use a flavored alcohol, only the flavor will be transferred to the pastry, and not the alcohol taste.

I will finish this post now, as I am hurrying to order some spirits online. I have already found an alcohol pastry recipe that I want to try soon. I am looking forward to sharing the results with you!

Had a great time at project Bake-off!

Mommy can I have one more…please please mommy one last one… These are the pleas that fill up my house now and then when I decide to bake. From pastries, cakes, cookies, muffins, the list is endless. I thoroughly enjoy myself on these adventures. I call it an adventure since each cake is different from the other, and when I have mixed up everything to its required portion and put it in the oven, you are always amazed at the result. Every cake is like a miracle. You just can’t believe that you are the one who has prepared that beautiful sumptuous mouth watering cake.

music chef by fantasia escriba

When I was growing up, I was not such a popular kid. I however learnt that I loved being around my mother in the kitchen. Soon I was being trained on how to be a professional chef and I think that was the best thing that happened to me. Of course after my husband and my children and my family okay am sure you catch my drift. I love my job such that its no longer a job. When you wake up every day to do something that you have a passion for, then that is not a job, that is just living your life. In this day and age, where people are depressed about their jobs and the pressures of making both ends meet doing several jobs, having my own business has given so much gratification that I cannot imagine what else I would be doing if not baking.

Every once in a while I organize a baking contest. In this contest, I invite my friends and family, and we spend the day making different stuff and trying out new recipes. What results is that we have great fun, and we learn a lot from one another. People create funny cookies and creative cakes. Best of all, I get an opportunity to interact with my clients and friends and in the process get to know what their tastes and preferences are and this fosters a long lasting friendship.

Dessert and Cake have been a delicacy from long ago. A couple of years back chocolate and sugar were a reserve of just a few people in the community thus they would get treasured as it would be a very rare dish. Even with changes in time, cakes are still as popular as ever. Either for occasions or just for pleasure, or for a celebration or even in mourning. We have prepared cakes for all occasions. We are proud to have lit up little children’s faces with birthday cakes or school cupcakes, for graduates on their individual milestones, for wedding events, corporate events among many. Our popularity has risen all over the internet such that clients call from all over the country to place orders for their special occasions.

Whether it’s a grey day or having a sombre moment, cakes and cookies have always lifted our spirits. Scientists have come up with an explanation for this. They argue that this gets caused by some feel good hormone that gets released into our bodies upon ingestion of sugars, chocolates, cakes and their ingredients. However, moderation is necessary as we have diabetes, obesity among other lifestyle diseases staring at us in the face.

Great Strawberry Recipes!

Awesome Strawberry Bread

This is an excellent way to enjoy homemade bread with your favorite strawberries.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • Two pieces eggs (with egg whites and yolks separated)
  • ½ cup of softened butter
  • 1 cup of white sugar
  • One tsp. of baking powder
  • One tsp. of baking soda
  • One tsp. of almond extract
  • ¼ cup of orange juice
  • One pack of 10-oz. Frozen strawberries, defrosted, drained and extracted with juice

strawberry by FantasiaProcedure:

Set the oven to 350 degrees heat.

Slightly brush a 9”x5” glass loaf pan with grease and line it with wax paper. Cream butter, white sugar, and almond extract in a bowl. Beat the egg yolks one at a time until fluffy. Mix sifted flour, baking powder and soda into the creamed mixture and stir thoroughly. Combine ¼ cup of orange juice and ¼ cup of strawberry juice to fold in strawberries. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until it foamy and stiff and form a strawberry batter. Place the dough into the greased pan and make sure to pop any air bubbles in it.

Place pan in the preheated oven and bake it for about 50 to 60 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let it cool for 15 minutes before slicing the bread, and it’s ready to get served.

Creamy Strawberry Cheesecake

This is an exciting homemade cheesecake to light up your day with your version and style.

Ingredients:

  • One ¼ cup of graham cracker crumbs
  • Thawed strawberries
  • 1/3 cup of softened butter or margarine
  • Two packs of 10-oz. Sweetened Strawberries (defrosted)
  • One tablespoon of cornstarch
  • One can of 14-oz. Condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. of water
  • Three packs of 8-oz. Softened cream cheese
  • Three pieces of eggs

Procedure:

Set oven to 300 degrees.

Combine sugar, butter and graham cracker crumbs in a bowl. Form the mixture flatly into an ungreased spring form pan to create the base and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Mix cornstarch and strawberries into a blender or food processor until smooth. Bring the mixture to saucepan and boil while constantly stirring for 2 min. Let it cool and set aside 1/3 cup of the strawberry sauce. Keep the remaining sauce in the refrigerator for serving.

In a separate bowl, cream cheese and beat in milk gradually until fluffy and light. Mix well by adding lemon juice. Slightly beat eggs and add to the mixture to pour into the crust. Form a layer of the cream cheese topped with a drop of ½ tsp. Cooled strawberry sauce over it. Repeat the same procedure to form another layer until done and use a fine knife to spread the strawberry sauce evenly on the top coat.

Bake in the preheat oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until set and let it cool for 10 min. Loosen around the edge of the pan by using a knife and let it chill for about 1 hour. Refrigerate overnight. Top cheesecake, with the chilled strawberry sauce before serving.

Give yourself a break – try these incredible recipes for ease your busy days!

Happiness is … a perfect chocolate cake

Cakes are the only delicacy that people of all cultures indulge in throughout the year. Be it for a birthday party, wedding ceremony, graduation party, valentines and even just as a sign of affection. Whenever people come together to commemorate something, a cake must be prepared otherwise that ceremony is not complete. Ladies have especially been guilty of indulging a little bit more than the men. Chocolate cake is one of the simplest cakes to make and its discovery traces back to 1764 where the grounding of cocoa beans using two circular millstones saw the discovery of chocolate. The 19th century witnessed the discovery of other techniques to improve on the cake. This technique was known as the conching was discovered by Swiss Rodolphe, and this made chocolate smooth and silky. In 1930 Duff Company in Pittsburgh had begun selling chocolate cake mixes.

cupcake by Fantasia

Source: http://pixabay.com/p-309034/

The popularity of chocolate cake rose in the 1980s and 1990s. It resulted in more ingredients being added to the cake such as tea, champagne, red pepper among others. Cake variants also came into place, and this included layer cakes, black forest cake, soufflé cake, fudge cake, snowman cake among others.

Black Forest cake has become the most popular of these variants. Many people have been looking for recipes on how to make a delicious black forest cake and so this is what you will require. You will need ½ cup softened butter, 1¼ cups of sugar, 2 eggs, 1 ¼ cups of multipurpose flour, ½ cup of natural unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 teaspoonful of baking soda and vanilla extract, ½ teaspoon of baking powder, and ¾ cup of buttermilk. For the filling, you will need two cans of cherry pie filling, 3 cups of heavily whipped cream, and ¼ cup of confectioner’s sugar. Milk chocolate curls or sweet cherries may be used for garnish among other garnishes.

Preparation starts with preheating of the oven to 3500 F and the lining of a cake pan with grease proof paper. Next you beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until it is fluffy and white. Then you add the eggs one at a time while stirring well. The cocoa powder is added next, followed by the baking powder, baking soda, the buttermilk and the vanilla extract all the while mixing well until smooth. The mixture is then placed in the cake pan and put in the oven for 45 minutes. When ready the cake is removed from the oven and allowed to cool. It is then cut horizontally into three layers.

The cherry pie is drained first to remove the juices then put in a bowl. The whipped cream is added, and the confectioner’s sugar and the mixture are beaten till it becomes thick. Next you shave the chocolate using a vegetable peeler and then refrigerate while waiting for the cake to be ready. The cake layers are separated on a plate, and the filling is put on the first layer by spreading some whipped cream on top and then adding the cherry pie. It is repeated for each layer separately. For the last layer, the whipped cream is spread on the sides as well. Then add the garnish.

The black forest cake is now ready to be served.