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Archive for September, 2013

Tres Leches

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Since I had baked this earlier in the month, I have no excuse for not posting this on the 27th, other than I just forgot! What a dingbat I can be. The host for the September bakers challenge  is Inma from la Galletika, and she chose Pastel de Tres Leches, a cake that is very popular in Central and South America ( and here!) . My friend Heidi and her husband love this cake, with her version being only a single layer which I think makes it much easier for all of the liquid to get soaked up since you can leave it in the pan. Her husband enjoyed this two layer version as well. I hope you do too… Bake On!

Pastel de Tres Leches

vanilla sponge cake
5 large eggs (separated)
½ cup (120 ml) (4 oz) (125 gm) sugar
2 teaspoons (10 ml) of vanilla extract
1 cup (240 ml) (5 oz) (140gm) all-purpose  flour (sifted)

For three milks syrup
1 can (14 oz) (400 gm) sweetened condensed milk
1 can (12 oz) (340 gm) evaporated milk ( I used coconut milk)
1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream (about 35% fat) or 1 cup of half & half or 1 cup milk
1 cinnamon stick (I deleted this)
2 teaspoons (10 ml) rum (or other flavoring) (I used Amaretto)

Topping and filling
2 cups (500 ml) of whipping cream (about 30% fat)
½ cup (120 ml) (4 oz) (125 gm) sugar
Canned or fresh fruit (to fill and decorate the cake) (I used fresh nectarines)

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Directions For the Sponge Cake:
Preheat oven to moderate 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Prepare a square 9”x9” (23cmx23 cm) pan or 9” (23 cm) round cake pan
Separate the egg whites from the yolks. Beat the egg whites on medium speed, 3 – 5 minutes.When soft peaks form slowly add the sugar in small batches. and whip until stiff peaks form about 5 minutes. Set aside.DSC_3403

In a medium bowl beat egg yolks at medium-high speed for about 5 to 6 minutes, or until the egg yolks become pale colored, creamy and puffy. Stir in vanilla.
Pour the egg yolks over the egg whites, gently fold until just combined trying not to lose any volume from the mixture.
Fold in the flour little by little in the form of rain (OMG, isn’t that lovely!). Mix until just combined (over-beating will result in a denser, flatter cake).
Pour the batter into the prepared 9”x9” (23cmx23 cm) square cake pan or 9” (23 cm) round cake pan.Bake in the preheated moderate oven for 25 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean
Let it cool completely.
Split the cake in half, flip the top of the cake and place it on a base. Poke using a fork holes all over the cake to better absorb the three milk soaking liquid.

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Three milks syrup
1.In a saucepan add the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, heavy cream and cinnamon stick, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and continue boiling for 5 minutes. Remove it and let it cool.
2.Once it is cool, add the rum or any other flavoring you are using
3.Gradually brush all the milk soaking liquid into all sides of the cake (including the cut surfaces) until all absorbed. Best to rest the cake in the fridge overnight to complete the soaking process.
Topping
1.Whip the cream, when soft peaks form add the sugar little by little, continue whipping until stiff peaks form about 2 mins.

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Decoration
1.Layer some whipped cream on the bottom layer and cover with canned or fresh fruit and decorate the top layer with whipped cream and the fresh or canned fruit.

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Been so long…

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How has everyone been? Did you think I fell off the face of the earth? Well, I didn’t, just off the bloggershpere. I took the summer off and enjoyed every day with my family and friends. And I baked. A lot. I just didn’t write about it. My daughter and I went to New York for 7 weeks to see my mom, aunt/uncle, cousins… It was great.  My better half came for 3 weeks to join in on the fun. Great food, great times, great weather (only one 2 week heat wave!).

I forgot to put away my sourdough starter so unfortunately it died, but I did start another,with great success, in New York and was able to dry some, bring it back home, and revive it. In fact, we had pizza last night that was made with it.  I seem to be having better luck with it now, making sourdough pancakes, breads, crumb cakes, and pie crust! The “secret” seems to be the fact that I am only using spring water now, instead of tap water. The chlorine in tap water seems to kill off the bacteria that is needed to make the starter. Lessen learned.

To my delight, we came home to an abundance of vegetables and herbs. A deep thank you to our friends who watered our garden every day while my husband was with me in NY. He gets the rest of the credit. I only plant it and harvest it! I now have 4 quarts (!!) of pesto in my freezer, as well as oven dried cherry tomatoes, gorgeous Russian red garlic, around 3 pounds of broccoli and lots of red potatoes (with many still in the ground), The majority of the carrots are still waiting to be picked as well as the Brussel sprouts. Isn’t summer fun?

Here are some pictures…

New York 2013 Slideshow

New York 2013 Slideshow1

New York summer 20136

New York summer 20137

 

****P.S.****

A note on oven dried cherry tomatoes:

To make them I simply place them on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake them at 250 F for about 3 hours, until they are dried up but still have a little  moisture left in them.

There are a few things I do with my oven dried tomatoes. I like them in salads (mixed with fresh tomatoes for contrast), on pizza, or simply tossed with hot pasta and parmesan. It also makes an excellent spread when whirled up in a processor with cream cheese and a touch of sour cream. For a longer shelf life, I pack a mason jar with the dried tomatoes and then fill it up with olive oil. This will last in the fridge for quite a while. The oil that is left over in the jar gets flavored with the tomatoes and is fantastic for dipping bread into or used in salad dressing.

 

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