Category Archives: pastries and things

How to: toast coconut

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Coconut. What a lovely fruit. So many uses- coconut milk, coconut water (basically natural gatorade I strongly recommend it), coconut oil, coconut flakes, etc. It’s wonderful, it’s diverse, and my favorite use for it is to make toasted coconut. Toasted coconut is something that I use as an accessory in many of my baked goods, as you’ve probably seen. So. If you don’t know how to toast coconut, here’s a short little blurb on how to do so. All you need is a bag of unsweetened or sweetened coconut flakes, a baking sheet, and an oven.

So first you preheat the oven to 375 F. Once it’s all read, spread the coconut on a baking sheet and put in oven. Set your timer for 5 minutes. At the end of the 5 minutes, oven up the oven and mix the coconut around a little bit.

***IMPORTANT*** like, super important. When coconut toasts, it releases the coconut oil. That release dries the coconut out. But coconut oil is still in the oven as a vapor. So when you open up the oven, it WILL come spilling out. DO NOT LEAN DOWN IN FRONT OF OVEN WHEN YOU OPEN IT WITH WIDE EYES TO SEE IF YOUR COCONUT IS GETTING BROWN. IT WILL BURN YOUR EYES OUT. It really hurts. I’ve learned the hard way by doing it a couple times. It is a thousand times more painful than crying because of onions. So when you open the oven for the first and second and third time, do not stare into the oven. Let it air out a bit, for like 10 seconds, then you can bend down and mix it around. Set the timer for 3 more minutes. 

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Keep checking the coconut at 3 minute intervals. Don’t worry, it may take a while. But the key is that once you start to notice the coconut is browning, keep mixing it around, and keep a close eye on it. Because once it starts, it dries out completely very quickly. The last time I toasted the coconut, it took me 11 minutes, But I think my oven was also on 350 F. Just remember: KEEP YOUR EYES SAFE, check constantly, rotate flakes. Then you’ll end up with…

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taadaaaa

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Fried Ice Cream

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So. Yeah I like healthy food. By no means does that mean I don’t LOVE making unhealthy stuff, as seen in some of my previous posts. I was sifting through various food magazines (namely Bon Appetite and Food Network) searching for  a dessert to make for a dinner partyish thing. And I saw this. “MOOOOOOOOOOM LOOK WHAT I FOUNDDDD!” Behold, in Food Network Magazine of July 2013, it was Fried Ice Cream! This was a wonderful discovery, as it brought back happy memories. My mom is from Colorado, and my grandparents still live there. It is quite possibly the best state ever. So anyways every summer I go back there to visit. I think two summers ago, my grandma took me to this restaurant called Casa Bonita. It’s this hilarious restaurant with an indoor cliff/ pool thing and the servers are nuts and so on and so forth. You go there for the experience…not the food. Except. They do have pretty awesome fried ice cream. So that’s where I became familiar with this treat, AND fried ice cream was an old favourite of my mom and grandma. So. Needless to say we both love it. So long story…long…we were happy to find a recipe for it!

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This whole recipe is about being Speedy Gonzales. You need to scoop/coat the ice cream balls quickly so it doesn’t melt, you need fry it quickly so that it doesn’t melt in the process, and you need to serve it quickly so that your guests and/or yourself can still experience that wonderful hot/cold combo. You may be wondering “Fried ice cream? How does that work? Doesn’t it melt?” NO it doesn’t! The center actually stays ice cold. When you cut into it, the cold ice cream hits the super hot outside and starts to ooze out into a puddle of chocolate. You take a bite. And in that bite, you get the cold ice cream, the crusty outside, and smooth chocolate sauce. Have I convinced you to try it yet? Yes? Good! Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients-makes 6 servings:

For the ice cream:

  • 2 pints of ice cream, any flavor (I used chocolate peanut butter and chocolate chocolate chip but literally any flavor works)
  • 3 cups panko breadcrumbs.***
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tbs vanilla extract
  • Vegetable oil, for frying. About 8 cups

For the sauce:

  • 8 oz bittersweet chocolate, either in chip form or chopped.
  • 6 tbs whole milk
  • 2 tbs heavy cream
  • 1 tbs unsalted butter
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • Optional: honey and cinnamon

***Note: Food Network makes this with panko breadcrumbs. But. Panko is usually used for more…dinner type meals. Not dessert. And I noticed that with panko, it kinda tasted a little too bready. I think that crushing up corn flakes would work just as well, if not better because it adds the crustiness without being too savory and not too sweet.

Assembly:

To prepare the ice cream, scoop 6 balls onto a pie dish, or whatever type of dish that will fit into your freezer. Freeze until hard, about 1 hour.

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Put half of the crumbs in a shallow bowl. In another bowl, whisk the eggs and vanilla until combined. Coat the ice cream balls in the egg mixture and allow the excess to drip off. Then, roll the ice cream balls around in the crumbs. Return to the freezer until firm, at least another hour.

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Then, an hour later, you’re going to do the same thing again. Refill on the crumbs by adding the other half to the shallow bowl. Roll the balls in the egg mixture, then the crumbs. Return to the freezer for at least another hour. Food Network notes that at this point, you can wrap the breaded ice cream in plastic and freeze it for up the three days.

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To make the sauce: combine 4 oz of the chocolate, milk, heavy cream, butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a microwave safe bowl. Heat in 30 second intervals until you can stir it around and it’s smooth. Now this is where I ran into a problem. See, I had chopped up the 4 oz of chocolate. But when I heated it, it just was not coming together in saucy chocolate smoothness. So what did I do? I added chocolate to the hot mixture until it became thick and smooth. Because the mix was hot, the added chips just melted in it naturally. They acted as a thickening agent and a sweetener. You can make this sauce as thin or as thick as you like; I personally wanted it thick which is why I added more chocolate. But if you like soupier, just don’t add as much chocolate after the heating; I’d say about 2 oz in addition to the original 4. Drizzle the chocolate in bowls.

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This is the fun part: the frying. Heat about 2 1/2 inches of veggie oil in a heavy bottom pot over medium high heat until a candy thermometer registers 400 F. Fry the frozen ice cream balls, two at a time, until the coating is golden brown (about 30 seconds.) Remove with a slotted spoon to allow the excess oil to drip off, drizzle with chocolate and optional ingredients and serve immediately.

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Vanilla Custard Profiteroles (Custard filled pastries)

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So these are like the melt in your mouth oh my gosh amazingness types of things. You get the light pastry. Then you stuff it to the brim with vanilla custard. It’s light but rich. Airy but heavy.

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So I got the recipe for the pastry from Best Ever Chocolate, and the custard from The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook.

Ingredients:

For Pastry:

-5 tbs  unsalted butter, and extra for greasing

-2/3 cup water

-1/2 cup all purpose flour, sifted

-2 eggs

For Custard:

-1 cup white sugar

-6 Tbs all purpose flour

-1/4 tsp salt

-2 cups milk

-4 egg yokes, beaten

-1 tbs plus 1 tsp vanilla extract

How to:

First off, the pastry. Preheat the oven to 425 F. Grease a baking sheet and sprinkle with some water (not drench. Sprinkle). To make the pastry, place the water in a heavy bottom metal pan. Add the butter, and heat gently until the butter melts, bringing the mix to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and add the flour. All of it. Bam. All goes in. Beat well until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan and forms a ball. Let it cool slightly, then gradually beat in the eggs to form a smooth mixture. Remember: don’t add the eggs when the mixture is super hot, because then you will indeed have scrambled eggs. Pipe 18 small balls of the mixture onto the baking sheet, allowing enough room for the puff part of puff pastry during the baking. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until crisp and golden. Remove from the oven and make a small slit in each one for the steam to escape. Let cool. They will deflate, don’t worry. This is okay. They will puff right back up when you stuff it with custard. Speaking of which…

…To make the custard: in a small bowl, combine the sugar, flour, and salt. Set aside. In a heavy bottom medium pan, heat the milk until very hot but not quite boiling. Remove from the heat and pour into the dry ingredients. Beat until well blended. Pour BACK into the pot and stir continuously over low heat for 5 minutes or until very thick and smooth. Add the egg yolks and cook for 3 more minutes (make sure that when you add the egg yokes, you do it gradually so they don’t curdle and stir very fast.). Remove from heat and cool for 10 minutes, stirring a tad. Then add vanilla. Let cool for a bit.

Now, transfer the custard to a ziplock bag or an icing bag. But a bag that’ll hold it. Cut a small triangle in a corner of the bag, so it is pipeable. This is where you stuff the pastries! So you know how you cut a small hole in the pastries to let the air come out? Find that hole and make it a tiny bit bigger so you can stuff the pastries with the cream without ripping them completely to shreds. In the end they should be big enough to be heavy but not bursting.

Here’s a step by step in picture form:

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