Honey roasted fig & almond tart

Honey roasted fig & almond tart

Delicious, sweet and fruity pud, great served with cream or ice cream – make the case with bought pastry

ready in 1½ -1¾ hours, plus chilling time

MORE EFFORT

SERVES 8

Ingredients

 

500g pack shortcrust pastry at room temperature, thawed if frozen

8 ripe figs, stalks trimmed

finely grated zest and juice of one large juicy orange

 

 

1 tbsp clear honey

200g softened butter

200g golden caster sugar

200g packet ground almonds

2 medium egg yolks

Method

1. Preheat the oven to fan 180C/ conventional 200C/gas 6. Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface and use to line a shallow loose-bottomed 25cm flan tin. Make sure the pastry comes above the rim – it may shrink in baking and the filling could spill. Chill for 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, cut the figs in half lengthways and sit them cut side up on a roasting tray. Mix the orange juice and honey in a bowl, pour over the figs and roast for 10-12 minutes until just soft. Drain off any juice into a saucepan and reserve.

3. Prick the base of the chilled pastry case all over with a fork, then line with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans. Bake blind for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and bake for a further 5-10 minutes until the pastry is golden. Remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to fan 130C/conventional 150C/ gas 2. Leave the pastry case to cool slightly before filling.

4. Cream butter and sugar in a food processor or with an electric beater until smooth and pale. Tip in the ground almonds and zest and whizz briefly to combine. Add egg yolks and 1 tbsp of the reserved fig juice and whizz again until smooth. Spread evenly over the pastry case.

5. Gently press the figs cut side up into the almond mixture. Bake for 11⁄4 hours or until it’s golden all over (don’t worry if the centre still seems soft – a little gooeyness is good). Leave in the tin for 15 minutes, then remove sides and transfer on its base to a wire rack to cool.

6. Before serving, take the tart off its base and transfer to a flat platter or board. If you have juice left from roasting the figs, bring it to the boil and simmer for 1-2 minutes until sticky and syrupy. Brush this over the figs and serve as soon as possible, while the syrup is still glossy on the figs (it will start to seep through into the filling if you leave it too long).


Honey roasted fig & almond tart
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Cheesy Ensaymada – Filipino Brioche

Cheesy Ensaymada – Filipino Brioche

Ensaymada is one of my favorite Filipino treats.  It has been a popular Filipino roll for over 4 centuries ever since it was adapted from the Spanish pastry called Ensaimada which originated is Mallorca, Spain.

There or many versions of this Filipino roll which like a brioche is sweet and fluffy.  Many bakeries specialize in this yummy pastry, a couple of my favorites are Goldilocks and Red Ribbon.  Unlike the brioche which has no topping Ensaymadas are slathered in butter, dipped in sugar and sprinkled with cheese, in many cases “queso de bola” the Filipino name for Edam.

Since it’s a family favorite it’s no wonder that the aunties have their own favorite recipe.  In fact there are one or two aunties who are known for making Ensaymada, a treat which they bring to most family gatherings.

But one can’t rely on the aunties to make this favorite roll, specially since we all live so far apart.  That’s why I’ve started making Ensaymada at home, using auntie’s recipe of course!

The ensaymada dough is rolled and placed into tart pans, it’s the best way to ensure uniform size and shape.  I use these 5″ aluminum tart pans I buy from Amazon.  I’ve found it was the least expensive way to buy them.  And of course being Asian I wash and reuse them!

If I can’t find Edam cheese I use grated cheddar cheese instead.  The other ingredients are things you probably already have in the pantry and fridge.  It also calls for a dozen egg yolks, I know you’re left trying to figure out what to do with the egg whites!  How about making Pavlovas?  Here’s my Pavlova recipe, it’s definitely worth a try!

The Ensaymada recipe is pretty easy, but it does take several hours because the dough has to rise.  I usually start early in the morning and am done sometime in the afternoon, depending on how fast the dough rises.  I use the dough hook on my stand mixer to knead the dough, but you can also knead it by hand.

Homemade Ensaymada may take time and patience, but it is definitely worth the effort!

Cheesy Ensaymada

Ingredients:

1 Cup Warm Water

2 Tbs. Sugar

2 Tbs. Yeast

8 Cups Flour

1 1/2 Cup Whole Milk

1 Cup Sugar

12 Egg Yolks

1 Cup Butter softened

24 Tsp. Grated Edam

Topping:

1 Stick Butter softened

1/2 Cup Sugar

Grated Edam

Directions:

Mix Warm Water, 2 Tbs. sugar, and yeast in the bowl of your stand mixer or a large bowl.

Let stand in a warm place for 20 minutes, it should be foamy.

Add 1 Cup of flour to yeast mixture and mix well.

Let stand in a warm place for 30 minutes, set your timer so it doesn’t over rise.

Add milk, 1 cup sugar, egg yolks, and butter to the yeast mixture, mix well.

Add remaining 7 cups of flour 1/2 cup at a time.  Mix well between additions.

Knead dough until flour is all combined, do not over knead.

Divide dough into 24 balls working 1 tsp. cheese into each ball.

Flatten each ball with a rolling pin to about 1/2″ thick then roll into a cigar shape that’s about 10″ long rope.

Coil rope into each tart pan.

Place in a warm place and let rise for 3-4 hour.  Top of roll will be above tart pan rim.

Pre-heat over to 325 degrees. Once it reaches temperature wait 10 minutes then put ensaymada in the over.  (I place tart pans on a large baking sheet and slide the whole sheet in the oven.

Bake 7 Minutes then rotate pan 180 degrees and bake for another 7 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool.

Remove from pans and brush tops with softened butter.

Dip each roll in sugar then sprinkle with shredded cheese.

Wrap each roll in plastic wrap.

Rolls may be frozen by placing wrapped rolls in a freezer bag.  Warm frozen rolls in microwave for about 1 minute.

They are delicious for breakfast!


Cheesy Ensaymada - Filipino Brioche
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Cheesy Ensaymada
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Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Chocolate Chips are probably the most popular cookies in the world.  I know they’re my favorite.  I also know that there are many recipes out there and we all have our favorites.

The original creator of the chocolate chip cookie is said to be Ruth Graves Wakefield.  She first made it in the late 1930’s when she and her husband owned the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts.  The Inn was a popular restaurant known for its home cooking and desserts.  She created the cookie to serve to her guests, the recipe was published in the Boston Herald-Traveler and she was featured on a radio program hosted by Marjorie Husted aka Betty Crocker.  She later gave her recipe to Nestle and was paid with a lifetime supply of chocolate.  The recipe was also published in the 1938 edition of her cookbook “Ruth Wakefield’s Tried and True Recipes”.  It rapidly became a favorite cookie in American homes.  As they say the rest is history.

As much as I love homemade chocolate chip cookies (I have several favorite recipes), I’m not too fond of making them.  Actually I’m not a great fan of making any type of cookie, not because it’s difficult, more so because I find it tedious.

I find that dropping, cutting, or pressing cookies on to sheet and baking for less than 10 minutes is tiresome.  The only time I really enjoy making cookies is when I do my Christmas baking when I devote a couple of days in the activity with my grandchildren.  That’s why I absolutely love bar cookies!

Cookie bars are so easy to make.  You mix the dough, spread into a pan, bake, cool, and cut into bars.  It’s a wonderful way to get your homemade cookie fix without spending the day in the kitchen.  And chocolate cookies are no exception.  Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars are just as yummy as any Chocolate Chip Cookie you can make.  So here’s a recipe so you can make some today.  You probably already have all the ingredients in you kitchen!

One thing I’ve found when baking chocolate chip cookies, or actually when baking anything, that’s to use the best and freshest ingredients available.  I never use generic brands so for this cookie stick with Nestle’s Toll House Semi-Sweet chips, Guittard, or Gharadelli brands.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Ingredients:

2 1/4 Cup All Purpose Flour

1 Tsp. Baking Soda

1 Tsp. Salt

1 Cup Butter, softened

3/4  Cup Sugar

3/4 Cup Packed Brown Sugar

1 Tsp. Vanilla

2 Eggs

1 12-0z Package Semi Sweet Chocolate chips

Nuts are optional, but if you want to add them use 1 cup of the nut you prefer, chopped up of course.

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees

Lightly oil a 9 x 13 baking pan

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.

Cream together butter and both  sugars using the paddle attachment of your stand mixer.  If you don’t have a stand mixer you can use a hand mixer.

Add vanilla and mix  until creamy.

Add in eggs one at a time while continuing to mix.

Gradually add in dry ingredients making sure to mix it well.

Stir in chocolate chips and nuts if you’re using nuts.

Spread evenly in the pan.

Bake for about 25 – 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cool for about 10 minutes then cut into bars.

I use flip the pan over onto a large sheet and use a pizza cutter to cut it into bars.  I find it easier to cut into even pieces.

 

 

 

Chocolate Chip Bar Cookies
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Key Lime Pie Recipe

Key Lime Pie Recipe

Key Lime Pie is my favorite.  It’s sweet tartness is very refreshing, specially in the summer.

The first time I had Key Lime Pie was at a small local restaurant in Key West, Florida.  It was love at first bite!   Of course there it’s a very popular dessert; Key West has long claimed the pie originated on their tiny island using the small thin skin limes associated with the island.

You might be wondering what makes the Key Lime so special.  It’s a citrus hybrid that is smaller, rounder, and seedier than the usual larger more oval limes.  Key Lime, also known as Mexican Lime, Omani Lime, and West Indian Lime, also have a stronger aroma, more acidic, and thinner rind than its larger counterpart.

Whatever the case may be as the famed ingredient in Key Lime Pie it’s delicious!  Of course you can substitute other limes to make Key Lime Pie, but seriously it isn’t quite the same.  But in many places finding fresh Key Limes is not always easy. However you can buy Key Lime Juice in some stores and definitely on Amazon.  Living in Hawaii I rarely find fresh Key Limes and must resort to using the bottled juice.  I do garnish my pie with a slice of fresh lime, whatever type I manage to find.

There are many Key Lime Pie recipes out there, and believe me I’ve tried more than a few.  But for me easy is best.  This mean I do not like to make pie crust, it’s one chore I avoid whenever possible.  Now Key Lime Pie is usually made with a Graham Cracker crust, of course you can make your own, there are many recipes for this, or be like me and use store bought Graham Cracker Crusts.

You also need Whipped Cream, which of course you can buy spray cans of in your grocer’s dairy section.  That would be the easiest.  But although I’m always looking for the easy way, I make my own whipped cream.  I prefer homemade whipped cream simply because I love the taste of freshly whipped cream.  I like to pipe the whipped cream on top of the pie using a large star tip, or sometimes just around the outer edge and a large dollop in the middle.  But if you don’t what to make your own whipped cream the spay cans will do just fine, you won’t even need a star tip and piping bag to decorate the top of your pie.

So having said all that here’s my recipe, it includes instructions on homemade whipped cream.

Key Lime Pie

Ingredients:

1  9″ Graham Cracker Pie Crust (homemade or store bought)

1 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk

1/2 Cup Sour Cream

3/4 Cup Key Lime Juice

1 Cup Fresh Heavy Whipping Cream – cold

1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar

1 Tsp. Vanilla

Fresh Lime Slice

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Whisk condensed milk, sour cream, and lime juice together in a medium bowl.

Whisk until smooth.

Pour into prepared crust.

Bake for 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and cool on counter for about 30 minutes.

Chill pie in refrigerator at least 3 hours.

Before serving make whipped cream:

Using the whipping attachment to your standup mixer or the beaters of a hand held mixer beat cream and sugar until stiff peaks form.

Beat in vanilla.

Pipe on top of chilled pie.

Garnish with a slice of lime if desired.

 


Key Lime Pie Recipe
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Key Lime Pie Recipe
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Easy Caramel Bar Cookies

Easy Caramel Bar Cookies

Looking for a quick and easy cookie recipe?  Try these Caramel Bar Cookies.  They’re so easy to make, require basic ingredients you probably have in your kitchen, and are really good.

I love cookies but am not really thrilled about baking them.  Baking cookies in my opinion are tedious when you have to scoop, drop, press, or place cookie dough on a sheet one at a time.  It’s also pretty time consuming when your oven will fit just 2 sheets at a time.  You end up baking cookies all day if you’re making a lot of cookies.  That’s why I love bar cookies!  You spread the cookie dough in a 9″ x 13″ pan, bake, and cut into squares or rectangles.  You can bake dozens of cookies in just an hour or so.

Here’s a hint about cutting bar cookies, I use a pizza wheel cutter.  The pizza cutter lets you cut quick straight lines smoothly.  First I cool the sheet then gently flip it over so the whole thing comes out.  To do this I place a cutting board on top of the pan then flip it over slowly, you don’t what the cookie to crack or split.  Then I usually start cutting at the midpoint length wise (the 9″ section of the pan) then from the midpoint on the 13″ section of the pan.  Then I cut the 2 sections on the 9″ side of the pan in half so I have 4 sections each is 2 1/4″.  Then I cut the 2 sections on the 13″ side into 3rds. so I have 6 sections each is just a bit over 2″.  This gives me a total of 24 cookies that are almost square shaped, each cookie measures about 2 1/4″ x 2″.

There are many different bar cookies out there but if you’re looking for an easy one then you’ll love these Caramel Bar Cookies!  Try them out I’m sure they’re destined to become a family favorite!

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Caramel Bar Cookies

Ingredients:

1/2 Cup Butter – melted

2 Cups Brown Sugar – packed

2 Eggs

2 Cups Flour – sifted

2 Tsp. Vanilla

1 Tbl. Baking Powder

1/2 Tsp. Salt

Directions:

Mix Butter and brown sugar with a mixer.

Add Eggs and mix well.

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl then add to butter mixture.

Mix until well combined.

Add vanilla and mix in.

Oil a 9″ x 13″ pan very well, be sure you oil the sides as well.

Spread cookie dough evenly in pan.

Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for about 25 – 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Remove from oven and cool about 15 minutes the cut into squares.

 

Easy Caramel Bar Cookies
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Savvy Nana’s Ono Mango Bread

Savvy Nana’s Ono Mango Bread

Mango

Mango season in Hawaii is from May to July.  When we’re lucky we get a bumper crop of mangoes.  During the summers when mangoes are abundant we eat mangoes every which way we can think of, those we can’t eat fresh we freeze and turn into different mango desserts, our favorite is mango bread.

Here is my favorite recipe for mango bread.  I’ve been baking them for over 20 years!  Bake some for the family and bake extra for friends.  They make great gifts!

You can make this bread ahead of time and freeze.  Wrap each loaf in foil and place in freezer safe ziplock bags.  They will keep in the freezer for 6 months.  Just remove from freezer and thaw out before serving.

By the way “Ono” means tastes good in Hawaii!

Ingredients:

2 cups flour

1 tsp. cinnamon

2 tsp. baking soda

1 ½ cups sugar

½ tsp. salt

¾ cup oil

3 eggs, slightly beaten

2 cups diced ripe mango

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Sift dry ingredients together, making sure baking soda is distributed evenly, no clumping.
Add remaining ingredients, stir well.  Batter will be thick.

Lightly oil 5 – 2 ½ “ x 5” loaf pans OR 2 large ones.

Pour batter into pans til 2/3 full.
Bake for 55-65 mins or until tester comes out clean.

To freeze wrap each loaf in foil, then place in freezer zip lock bags.
I don’t recommend doubling the recipe, the batter gets too difficult to mix.  When I’ve doubled the recipe somehow the the baking soda doesn’t get distributed well and some parts of the loaves will be bitter.


The Best Mango Bread Ever
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This is a tried and true recipe for mango bread. I've been baking it for friends and family for over 20 years.
Servings Prep Time
5 Mini Loaves 20 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
65 Minutes 65 Minutes
Servings Prep Time
5 Mini Loaves 20 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
65 Minutes 65 Minutes
The Best Mango Bread Ever
Print Recipe
This is a tried and true recipe for mango bread. I've been baking it for friends and family for over 20 years.
Servings Prep Time
5 Mini Loaves 20 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
65 Minutes 65 Minutes
Servings Prep Time
5 Mini Loaves 20 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
65 Minutes 65 Minutes
Ingredients
Servings: Mini Loaves
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Sift dry ingredients together, making sure baking soda is distributed evenly, no clumping.
  3. Add remaining ingredients, stir well. Batter will be thick.
  4. Lightly oil 5 – 2 ½ “ x 5” loaf pans OR 2 large ones.
  5. Pour batter into pans til 2/3 full.
  6. Bake for 55-65 mins or until tester comes out clean.
Recipe Notes

Mango Bread CollageTo freeze wrap each loaf in foil, then place in freezer zip lock bags.

I don't recommend doubling the recipe, the batter gets too difficult to mix. When I've doubled the recipe somehow the the baking soda doesn't get distributed well and some parts of the loaves will be bitter.

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