Hi everybody! I just wanted to take a look back at some of my old posts and see if anything needed to be addressed. It’s hard to believe that it’s been over 2 1/2 years since I started this blog! As an aside, I wanted to thank all my readers for allowing me into your culinary lives. Y’all are the best!
Anyhoo, this Coconut Pie was the first recipe I had posted ever. And weirdly, I did not include any pictures of any kind. So this post hopefully fixes that. Of course I made some changes, just to switch things up a little bit. It has been a while since I’ve made this, but from what I remember, the pie still didn’t quite set up correctly. I made some tweaks and I like the final product. And this time I made it Gluten Free, so yay! Now these changes, in addition to some boozy cranberries, seems to work. The original recipe that I found from Penzey’s did not have a picture so I just kinda had to guess what it was supposed to look like. Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1/2 c. bourbon
- 1/4 c. dried cranberries
- 1 stick of butter, melted
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/2 c. sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1/2 c. coconut flour
- 1/4 c. cornstarch
- 2 c. milk
- 14 oz. shredded coconut
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small saucepan, bring the bourbon up to a boil over medium heat. Add the cranberries and turn off the heat. Set aside to cool.
2. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients (including the cooled cranberries and bourbon) and mix well. Pour into an ungreased 10-in. pie plate. Bake for about 45 minutes until browned and the middle is set. Let cool. Run a thin knife around the rim of the pie plate to help release before cutting.
Notes — I think this would be good with some pistachios. . . This probably could have stayed in the over for another 5 or 10 minutes. . . Might try baking this in the lower half of the oven and see if that can help develop the crust. . . I have tried grating the nutmeg on top of the pie instead of putting it in the batter. I actually liked the results, especially if the pie is still warm!. . .
So this is another one of those clean-out-the-pantry kind of recipes. I had some fresh rhubarb to use up so I thought to myself, “Waterlily, how should we handle this?” So looking around, I found some shredded coconut left over from some German Chocolate Cakes and I had some Tapioca pearls that I had no idea that I had. Let’s throw this all together and make some empanadas! But somewhere along the line, I lost track of how big things should be and ended up making a half-pie or a calzone kind of thing. Just think of it as a “family sized” empanada!
And I was surprised with how they turned out and how the flavors worked together. You get some tartness from the rhubarb, some sweetness from the coconut, some chewiness from the tapioca, and the crispy, flaky crust.
Again, since the recipe falls under the category of clean-out-the-pantry, it’s a rough approximation, at least for the filling. The crust does have exact measurements, but like with any pie crust, it will vary depending on the humidity in your kitchen. Here’s what you need.
For the crust:
- 3 c. all-purpose flour
- 2 sticks cold butter, cubed
- 8 oz. cream cheese, cubed
- 1/4 t. salt
- 1/4 c. cold water, at most
1. In a food processor, pulse the flour and salt together to combine.
2. Add the cubed butter and cream cheese. Pulse until the mixture becomes coarse, maybe 15 seconds or so. With the processor on, gradually stream the water through the feed tube until the crust starts to form a ball.
3. Turn the crust out onto a work surface and form into a ball. Divide the ball in half and form both halves into discs. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
4. Roll out the dough into a rough circle about 1/16″ thick. Return to the refrigerator to chill whilst you make the filling.
For the filling:
- 2 c. chopped rhubarb
- 1 c. shredded coconut
- 1 c. unprepared tapioca pearls.
- 1/2 c. sugar
- 1/4 c. flour
1. Prepare the tapioca according to package directions (although I think I made up my own directions). Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, place the rhubarb, coconut, and tapioca. Sprinkle flour and sugar on top and toss to combine.
Make your empanadas:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In your prepared crust, spread about half the filling onto on half of the dough. Lightly brush some water onto the edge of the crust. Gently fold over the other half of the dough onto filling and crimp the edges or roll them over.
2. Brush the empanada with milk or cream and sprinkle with sugar. Cut some vents in the top to release some steam. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 35 minutes, until golden. Allow to cool slightly before serving.
Notes — I didn’t add a lot of flour because, in theory, the tapioca should help absorb the liquid released by the rhubarb. . . I thought that this would be good with just the coconut and the tapioca. . . Still working on taking nice pictures, but I was excited to include my peonies. They didn’t bloom last year. . .
Remember when I posted about Michigan’s birthday and having a German Chocolate Cake? Turns out I never posted a recipe. So here it is! What I came up with is a conglomeration of several different recipes that I’ve collected over the years and I honestly am not sure from whom I’ve adapted this. A chocolate frosting is included here, which is optional (some folks don’t like a frosting on their German Chocolate Cakes). This recipe makes 2 9-in. cakes or 3 6-in. cakes. All the pics that I show here are for a 6-in. cake. Here’s what you need:
For the cake:
- 3/4 c., plus 2 T. Dutch process cocoa powder
- 1/2 c. boiling water
- 1/2 c. canola oil
- 4 eggs, separated, plus 2 egg whites
- 1 t. vanilla extract
- 1 c. all-purpose flour
- 1/3 c. cornstarch
- 1 1/2 c. sugar
- 1 t. baking soda
- 2 t. baking powder
- 1/4 t. salt
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and coat the sides and bottom of the pans with cocoa, tapping out the excess. Then line with parchment rounds.
2. In the bowl of a mixer, whisk together the cocoa and boiling water by hand. Cover with plastic and bring to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Then add the oil and egg yolks. Start on low speed and gradually increase to medium, where you would mix for about one minute, scraping the bowl as needed. Chocolate mixture should be smooth and shiny. Beat in vanilla.
3. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cornstarch, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add half of the dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture and mix on low until just combined. Scrape down the sides and add the rest of the flour. Beat on medium-high speed for about 1 minute, again scraping the sides as needed.
4. On low speed, add the egg whites. Gradually raise the speed to medium-high and beat for 2 minutes. Divide the batter evenly among the pans. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Unmold the cakes immediately, remove the parchment, and cool on racks.
- 1 c. heavy cream
- 1 1/4 c. sugar
- 4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
- 1 stick butter, cubed
- 1 t. vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 c. sweetened flaked coconut
- 1 1/4 c. chopped toasted pecans
1. In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, sugar, yolks, and butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the butter melts and the mixture thickens and bubbles. Reduce to low and cook for 2 more minutes.
2. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla (the mixture will bubble), coconut, and pecans. Cool for about an hour, or until mixture becomes spreadable. If the mixture is still loose, add some coconut and pecans to thicken the filling. This can be stored in the fridge for about 2 weeks.
For the frosting:
- 8 oz. bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
- 2 T. light corn syrup
- 3 T. unsalted butter
- 1 c. heavy cream
1. To make the icing, place the chopped chocolate in a bowl with the corn syrup and butter.
2. In a medium saucepan, heat the cream to scalding. Remove it from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Let stand for 1 minute, then stir until smooth. I always have a double boiler waiting just in case it needs some help with melting.
3. Chill until it’s a spreadable consistency.
1. Using a serrated knife, cut the cakes in half to make two rounds from each cake. You may need to level off the tops. In the center of a cake round or serving plate, place a spoonful of the filling to help hold the cake steady. Place the bottom half of a cake cut-side up. Spread some of the coconut filling on top, using a palette knife to push it out to the edges (I use about 1/2 c. for a 6-in. cake. If making a 9-in. cake, use 1/4 of the filling).
2. Cover with the top of the cake and alternate layers of filling and cake. If you’re using the frosting, I like to wait to just mound the final layer of filling on top after I frost the cake and top it with some pecan halves. Otherwise, just spread the top of the cake with some of the coconut mixture.
3. Again, this is optional, but you can use an off-set spatula or palette knife to frost the sides and top of the cake. I like a textured finish, but if you want a smooth & shiny look to the cake, heat your palette knife or spatula in some hot water and run it along the sides of the cake. You can also put a decorative border around the bottom and top edges of the cake.
Notes — I have seen versions where you can lightly brush the cake layers with some flavored syrup, with rum being the most common. I don’t use that in this recipe, but I am all for boozing up!. . . If you make a 6-in cake, you will have one left over. You can just freeze that and have it ready for some other time. Right now, I have two in my freezer so all I need to do is make a quick filling, and I got a cake all ready to go!. . . hope the directions were clear because, I am a little fuzzy since it is almost 3:00 am as I write this. Just let me know if there are any questions and I will get to them after I take a long nap.
Happy 175th Birthday to the State of Michigan! So in honor of Michigan’s birthday today and tomorrow’s National Chocolate Cake Day, I present this German Chocolate Cake. Of course, from what I can discern, the (un)official state cake of Michigan is a German Chocolate Sauerkraut Cake. It’s listed in Warren Brown’s book, United Cakes of America. Now these two cakes are very close — one uses pickled cabbage, the other uses some sweetened coconut. Those two ingredients are readily interchanged in any number of recipes, like kielbasa for example :) See? Virtually the same!
Did you know that German Chocolate Cake isn’t actually German? It was named after Sam German, who developed a type of sweet, dark chocolate for Baker’s Chocolate. This recipe was developed in his honor, using the chocolate that he created. Originally, it was called German’s Chocolate Cake, but that was changed along the way, as things are wont to do. Now this cake wasn’t in my normal rotation, but after a couple of special requests for it, I’ve decided to add it. I couldn’t be happier with the results.
I used a chiffon cake for the base. Chiffon is an oil-based cake that was really popular in the ’40s and people loved it because it stayed so moist. The actual recipe was closely guarded secret until it was sold in the mid or late ’40s and later popularized in those box cake mixes you can find in the grocery store today. So if you ever make one of those cakes from a box mix (ugh!), you will be making a chiffon cake.
So since National Chocolate Cake Day is on the 27th, I’ll be posting on my Orange Devil Cake and my Chocolate Ice cake in the next few days. Stay tuned!
By the way, I got that Michigan birthday cake pic from the State of Michigan website. I’m not sure if they found the image or developed it themselves, but I just wanted to give them a shout out. Happy Birthday Michigan!
As y’all may already know, I had some family visiting for several days and I remember my brother saying that he’s never had rhubarb. So I thought why not let him try it in a pie! It is the “pie plant” after all. And I do have all that frozen rhubarb, if you remember from a while back. Now he’s very concerned with nutrition and fitness so I will use the whole wheat pâte brisée for this one. Although this doesn’t quite qualify as healthy, but at least it is healthier. And rhubarb is a vegetable. Plus I use some coconut flour in the topping which is high in fiber and protein (just eat around the butter and sugar). As an aside, using flours like this in baking is what you need to do if you need to make something gluten-free. To top it all off, it smells like coconut! According to the directions, you can substitute up to half the flour in a recipe with this. But you could combine it with other flours, like bean, rice, or tapioca. Bob’s Red Mill is a nice resource for different kinds of flours.
For this recipe you’re supposed to cut the rhubarb into smaller more manageable pieces, but it was already frozen and I didn’t want to have to try to chop all that up. I can admit I was being lazy, but I was busy trying to get the house ready for my family visit. Priorities priorities!. But be aware, if you don’t chop it into smaller pieces, things can get a little fibrous. Here’s what you need:
- 1/2 c. coconut flour
- 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
- 1/3 c. light brown sugar
- 1/3 c. granulated sugar
- 1/4 t. salt
- 1 stick of butter, cut into pieces
1. Stir together the dry ingredients in a small bowl with a whisk to combine and break up any lumps.
2. Add the butter. Cut into the flour with a pastry knife or your hands until crumbles form. Set aside.
For the pie:
- 1/2 whole wheat pâte brisée recipe (or prepared pie crust)
- 6 c. rhubarb, cut into about 1-in pieces
- 1/3 c. light brown sugar
- 2/3 c. granulated sugar
- 1/2 t. salt
- 2 T. cornstarch
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the oven rack on the lowest wrung in the oven.
2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pie dough enough to cover a 9-in. pie pan with a 1-in overhang. Cut to fit and tuck the ends of the crust underneath to from a nice rim. Refrigerate for about an hour to let the dough rest.
3. Place rhubarb in a large mixing bowl. In a small bowl combine the sugars, salt, and cornstarch. Pour the sugar mixture over the rhubarb and toss. Pour the entire contents into the rested pie dough. Top with the prepared crumbles.
4. Put the pie in the oven and reduce the temperature to 375. Bake on a lined sheet pan for about 1 1/2 hours, until bubbly. Cool on a wire rack completely before serving.
Here’s a recipe that is always a staple at pretty much all of my big family get-togethers. I was trying to track down a recipe so that I could list it on the blog, but there was just a problem of getting everyone on the same page. So luckily I was able to finally find one that was relatively simple (some recipes involved lots of different tropical fruits and cheese, which was a little weird to me — in my experience, SE Asia isn’t big on the whole cheese thing). You will need a food processor though, but I guess you could grate the cassava by hand.
This recipe I found on the Saveur Magazine website. From the picture in the article, this looks pretty close to what is done in my family, but I think the family recipe has some macapuno in it (here’s a link to a blog that nicely describes what macapuno is). The topping is different, too. The one my aunt makes is a lot more caramelized on top, almost like the topping on creme brulee, but softer. Now, I did make one change to the recipe, mainly for time constraints. I was making this for a party and I wanted to do most of the prep ahead of time so I mixed the batter together the night before and put it in the oven just before dinner was served. Worked out great for me!
Here’s what you need:
- 1 1/2 c. sugar
- 2 T. unsalted butter, melted
- 2 t. salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 14-oz. can coconut milk
- 1 1/2 lbs. peeled cassava, cut into chunks
- 1/3 c. heavy cream
1. Preheat the oven to 350.
2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the sugar, salt, butter, eggs, and coconut milk. Whisk until smooth. Set aside.
3. In a food processor, chop the cassava pieces until it is finely shredded. Stir into the egg mixture, and pour the combined mixture into a 9″ x 13″ baking dish.
4. Bake for 40 minutes until set. Baste with the heavy cream, and then bake for another 40 minutes until browned. Let cool for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
Notes — I think I might put in a little citrus zest in the next batch. I’m still trying to get closer to what my family version of the delicacy is, so maybe I’ll add some macapuno. You should be able to find some macapuno preserves in any good Asian grocery.