Wednesday, April 29, 2015


Last week I discovered that it was easy to make homemade mascarpone.  What a discovery it was! 

I never attempted tiramisu before because mascarpone was almost impossible to find and if I ever saw one, it costs an arm, a leg and everything else!  So upon discovering how easy it was to make at home, I jumped at the chance and went right on to make tiramisu.

First of all, I had to make homemade mascarpone...  here is one of many recipes on the internet.

Then, I whipped my homemade mascarpone with cream and sugar.

Of course I used ladyfingers!  (It really is too hot to bake!)

The ladyfingers were dipped in a mixture of (unsweetened) espresso and Bailey's Irish Cream.  Then they were stacked in my mom's old Pyrex loaf pan.

And smothered in the whipped mascarpone and cream mixture...

Cocoa powder was sifted on top... but I forgot to take a picture of the finished cake... by the time I remembered, only a fourth remained...

It was a good thing that I managed to take a picture of the tiramisu cups.  I had a couple of lady fingers left, as well as whipped mascarpone and cream, which I didn't want to waste.  Tiramisu in baking cups (both small and "big") was a great idea!

It really is quite easy to make delicious tiramisu... as long as there's mascarpone!

How to make it...

First, eat the following together until softly whipped (mixture should be thick, with very soft peaks)

1 cup masarpone (store bought or homemade)
2 cups whipping cream
6 tablespoons vanilla sugar, or to taste
2 tablespoons Kahlua, optional

Then, mix the coffee mixture:  Mix 2/3 cup strong coffee or espresso (unsweetened) with 1 tablespoon Irish Cream liqueur. 

Prepare16 to 20 pieces of lady fingers (I used broas from Quezon province) and cocoa powder (I used Callebaut brand).

To assemble:

Spread mascarpone and cream mixture on the bottom of a shallow Pyrex loaf pan.  Dip a piece of lady finger (one at a time) and arrange on top of the mascarpone and cream mixture.  Add another layer of mascarpone and cream, and dipped lady fingers.  Finish with a top layer of mascarpone and cream.  Chill until firm.  (keep in the refrigerator.)

Just before serving, sift cocoa powder on top.


Saturday, April 25, 2015

Strawberries and Bananas over Homemade Greek-style Yogurt

I bought a "yogurt maker kit/system" a couple of years ago.  Truth be told, making yogurt had never been easier!  But it was definitely not cheaper.  If I had the extra budget, I would buy the yogurt-maker's powdered yogurt mixes, otherwise, I tended to buy the cheaper, ready-made yogurt in the supermarket.  But hubby really prefers homemade yogurt, simply because the supermarket yogurt has sugar in it.

Recently however, someone told me that I could actually use the yogurt maker kit to make my own yogurt and not using their mix!  I didn't really have to use the kit with its branded yogurt mix.  I actually felt rather stupid for not thinking of it on my own.  Maybe it was because I believed the small print in its brochure, which said that the kit was best suited with their yogurt mixes; that it was not recommended to use the kit for other purposes.

Anyway, I went back to the "original" recipe I started with years ago - add old yogurt (a small tub) to (almost 1 liter of) milk to make new yogurt.  So I tried it.  I got old yogurt, mixed it with heated then cooled milk.  Then I placed it in the yogurt maker kit's inner jar and incubated it in the yogurt maker thermos.

Viola!  I got the best of both worlds!  And I've been continuously making yogurt with the previous batch's "old" yogurt!  I'm on my 4th generation already!  The farthest I got before was 6th generation... but the same someone also gave me a hint to "surpass" the weakening strain...  but for that I need to experiment again...

Anyway, since hubby prefers a thicker yogurt, I strain my 1 liter overnight.  I use the whey for hubby's smoothies, and the resulting Greek-style yogurt is perfect with fruits... healthy breakfast, right?

The only downside?  Straining the yogurt to make Greek-style yogurt results in less than 2 cups of Greek-style yogurt!

For each serving, toss 100 to 200 grams strawberries with 1 teaspoon sugar; let stand several minutes (the berries will exude some liquid).  Slice a banana into rounds.  Arrange the fruit in a small bowl of Greek-style yogurt.  Sweeten, to taste.

Fast, easy, and delicious!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream...

The little girl has a new toy.  It's a toy ice cream maker that makes REAL ice cream.

Of course, it cannot make a lot.  Just enough for one serving, in fact.

And the darn thing kept leaking!  What a waste of ice cream mix!

So what did I do with the rest of the ice cream mix?  I churned it, of course!  With what, you may wonder... (after all, I don't have an ice cream maker!)  Well, with 2 bowls, my favorite spatula, plenty of ice and salt!

In the beginning it was like stirring soup.

After 15 minutes...

It was like stirring thick soup... still nowhere near soft serve ice cream though.

More stirring and another 5 minutes (20 minutes from the beginning)...

Getting thicker and thicker... and the mixture had a couple of solid globs of ice cream!

Another 5 minutes (at 25 minutes)...

Getting there... getting there... (my arm and hand are getting really sore, though!)

After 30 minutes (and really sore arm and hand!  although to be truthful, hubby was the one who "churned" the ice cream the last 5 minutes!)...

Soft-serve ice cream... ready to eat!

I poured a pint into a carton ice cream container (to freeze firm in the freezer).  As for the rest (half a pint's worth) we ate it with gusto!  It was certainly perfect for the hot day... imagine that last Sunday at 3pm, the temperature recorded was the highest this year (Tuguegarao station) at 37.4*C!  Yesterday, it was 37*C!  Yikes!

What recipe did we use?  Technically I used David Lebovitz' Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe, with some changes:  first, I added about 1/2 cup dutch cocoa; then I substituted egg yolks with 1/3 cup greek style yogurt.  The ice cream mix essentially became no-cook, except for the dissolving of the cocoa in the milk.  I mixed the yogurt with the cream before adding the cooled cocoa-milk and other ingredients.  I stuck it in the ref for about an hour before "hand-churning" it.  

Anyway... hubby claimed that it was way, way better than any of the commercial ice creams!  As for the little girl?  She gave me a lot of kisses, which (she says) reflects how good the ice cream was!

And there were a lot of kisses!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Homemade Cream Cheese

I'm back with making homemade cheese...  why?  Because I now have a steady and reliable source of fresh milk!  (this means I'm making my own yogurt again too!)

Of course my homemade cream cheese is nothing like the famous Philadelphia brand (or even the local Magnolia!); for one thing it is less salty and a tad more tangy, but what I love about my homemade cream cheese is that I know exactly what went in it!

I (generally) followed the recipe for Real Cream Cheese in "Artisan Cheese Making at Home" by Mary Karl.  I varied in that I used cultured buttermilk (instead of mesophilic starter, as suggested by a friend) and I used powdered vegetable rennet instead of the specified liquid rennet.  Reason for the variation?  I could not find mesophilic starter or liquid rennet! 

As usual, I used the "bird's eye" cloth diaper to drain my cheese instead of butter muslin or "real" cheese cloth, for the same reason of the latter's unavailability!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Homemade Langkasuy Yogurt Ice Cream

We went on a short getaway to the nearby south and I came back with a really big langka (jackfruit).  I had been skeptical of its sweetness, but a quick taste test and I was sold!

I had really been on the lookout for langka because I wanted to make my own langkasuy (langka and kasuy/jackfruit and cashew) ice cream.  Most of the recipes I found online used preserved langka, for convenience, I suppose.  But I wanted mine with fresh langka!  And I didn't want to cook, which meant no eggs!  Then I did not have an ice cream maker!

This meant that I had to make my own preserve.  Using the instructions for mango jam in the book "Introduction to Food Preservation" by Matilde P. Guzman (1977), I made my langka "jam", reducing the sugar in half (because the langka was really, really sweet already on its own).  The resulting "jam" measured just a little less than a cup.

I based my recipe on this, modifying it to suit my taste -

First I halved the recipe, but still used almost a cup of (homemade) langka preserve.  Instead of egg yolks and soy milk, I used Greek-style yogurt.  Everything (all ingredients very cold) got blitzed in the food processor.  I transferred the mixture to a stainless steel bowl, covered it with plastic cling film and froze it for 1 to 2 hours (depending on the freezer), until the sides were frozen but the middle was still liquid.

I then re-beat the mixture (still in the bowl) with a hand mixer for 30 seconds (it actually looked like soft serve ice cream at that point).  Then it was time for the mix-ins...  fold in 1/4 cup chopped fresh langka and 1/4 cup chopped kasuy.  Transfer to a container, cover well, and freeze until solid.

To serve, let the ice cream stand at room temp for 10 minutes, or in the fridge for 30 to 45 minutes, to soften slightly (more scoopable this way).

I love, love, love it!  The texture is very creamy.  It is definitely less sweet than the commercial variety.  In fact, there was a slight tang to it, perhaps due to the yogurt, but the langka flavor was perfect (not subtle but not overpowering) and the cashew bits were plentiful, just the way I like it!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

I've been making yogurt at home again!  And I purposely made a lot so that I could have an excuse to make frozen yogurt.  With strawberries still available in the market (although dwindling of late), strawberry frozen yogurt was the natural choice!

I decided to follow David Lebovitz' recipe, the one in his book "The Perfect Scoop" (page 91) except that I did not have an ice cream maker so I just made do with Mr. Lebovitz' suggestion for when you have no ice cream maker.

This particular experiment utilized regular, whole milk yogurt, and it produced a rather icy froyo (I also forgot to macerate the berries).  I will make another batch, and for that next experiment, I will use Greek-style yogurt (and remember to let the berries stand with sugar) and see if it makes for a less icy (hence, creamy) froyo...

In any case, it was really yummy!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter Bunny Bread

Of all the holy days of obligation, I love Easter the most.  I might skip going to mass (every so) often but I (we) never miss Easter mass!  This year, we went to hear mass at the church where we got married.

Anyway, I initially planned on making Paashaasjes (Dutch Easter Bunny Bread), but with everything going on these days I was running behind schedule so at the last minute, I decided to make an Easter bunny (face) bread... using my favorite pan de leche recipe.

Take a peek at the inside of the bread...

And my favorite assistant...

I got the idea from this site.  Of course, I made slight modifications, mainly because I didn't have icing on hand.  I added a dough nose (instead of using frosting) and since I only had peanut butter chips, I used that for the eyes.

In any case, the bunny buns were a big hit!  Especially with the little girl!

Happy Easter everyone!