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Recipe: Honey & Walnut Pie with Homemade Maple Cream

17 Feb

I recently read online that the sugar concentration in honey is so high that no bacteria can live in it which is why it is often used as a natural antiseptic  for wounds & cuts. Who knew? My paternal grandfather had always been a proponent of honey and the health benefits it had and told us to make sure we had a spoon of honey daily!

So when I found a tub of honey in my fridge last week I decided I must come up with a recipe to use it. Since I was too lazy to go to the grocery store and buy ingredients I decided to make something from ingredients already present in my pantry so I came up with Honey & Walnut Pie drizzled with Home-made Maple Cream sauce!

NOTE: You can substitute by buying a pre-made pie crust and maple syrup however in this part of the world such things are not readily available in the grocery store hence I improvise and make them at home!

Ingredients

SWEET PIE CRUST:

  • 1 ¾ cups of flour
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 2 slightly beaten eggs
  • ¾ stick of cold butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of baking powder

HONEY & WALNUT FILLING:

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup of white sugar
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 2 whisked eggs
  • 4 tablespoons of butter


MAPLE CREAM SAUCE:

  • ½ cup fat-free whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup white sugar1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 tbp butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

METHOD:

SWEET PIE CRUST

  • Mix all the dry ingredients together (flour, sugar, baking powder & salt)
  • Cut the cold butter into small cubes and add it to the dry mixture until it is fully incorporated and the mixture resembles crumbs.

  • Add the slightly beaten egg to the mixture and knead until it forms a dough
  • Cover the dough and place in the fridge for at least 30 – 45 minutes before using it
  • When you are ready to make the pie take out the dough and sprinkle some flour on a flat surface and work the dough until it becomes smooth and roll it into a flat disk
  • Spread the dough out into a pie tin pressing it along the sides to make sure its firm

HONEY & WALNUT FILLING:

  • Combine the honey, white and brown sugar in a heavy bottom saucepan
  • Heat mixture on low heat without stirring until it comes to a boil
  • Remove from heat once it starts to boil and add the butter
  • Stir mixture until it has a smooth consistency and add the whisked eggs
  • Whisk the mixture until eggs & and the syrup have combined – don’t overmix it!
  • Let the filling cool a bit and then add in chopped walnuts and oats to the mixture
  • Pour the mixture into the pie crust and pop into the pre-heated oven and bake for 45-1 hours at 350F/175C
  • Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or some home-made maple cream

MAPLE CREAM SAUCE:

  • Place white sugar in a heavy base saucepan on low heat until the sugar melts and turns brown – make sure it doesn’t burn
  • Simultaneously place brown sugar into a separate heavy base saucepan. Pour boiling water over brown sugar and bring to a boil without stirring
  • Add caramelized white sugar to the melted brown sugar in the saucepan. Simmer, stirring often, until the maple syrup thickened (around 5-10 mins)
  • Remove from heat and add the butter and vanilla essence (This yields 1 cup maple syrup which can be stored for later use with pancakes etc)
  • Pour whipping cream into a saucepan and add ¼ cup of the prepared maple syrup and stir over moderate heat until thickened and reduced by half then remove from heat
  • Refrigerate maple cream until it is cold and pour over the warm Honey & Walnut Pie when you are ready to serve!

~ F

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Recipe: Brown Sugar Biscuits

29 Nov

One of my earliest childhood memories is baking “brown sugar biscuits” with my maternal grandmother – Ammi.

Ammi rarely ventured into the kitchen so after much convincing, having her bake us brown sugar biscuits was quite a feat.  My sister and I would be her helpers in mixing and eating the left over dough while she measured the ingredients and rolled the dough into small balls, dipping each biscuit carefully into egg white rolling it on a bed of walnuts & sugar before placing it onto a greased pan.

This recipe has become quite a tradition as it has been passed down across generations….The best part is that it uses simple ingredients that can be found in any pantry!


Biscuits before baking

Ingredients:

* 1/2 cup brown sugar

* 1 stick unsalted butter

* 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

* 1 egg, separated

* 1 and 1/4 cup flour

* 1/4 tsp salt

* 1/2 cup finely chopped, or crushed walnuts

* jam or jelly

== yields around 10-15 biscuits ==

Method:

– Pre-heat oven to 350F/150C

– Separate the egg – beat the egg white slightly

– Mix brown sugar, butter, vanilla essence and egg yolk in a bowl

– Stir in flour and salt, knead the mixture manually till the dough holds together

– Shape dough into 1 inch balls – press your thumb gently into center of each ball

– Dip each ball into egg white, roll a bed of walnuts & sugar

– Place on a baking sheet about 1 inch apart

– Bake for about 15 mins, or until brown

– Remove from oven, cool it, and fill the thumprint with your favorite jam or jelly!

TIP: If your brown sugar has hardened, place a damp paper towel on top of the brown sugar overnight – the brown sugar will soften by the morning!

Recipe: Garlic Potato Gratin

31 Oct

Looking for an easy yet delicious side dish to serve? Then this dish is definitely a must-try. I love potatoes and garlic and the combination of both is delicious. The best part of this recipe is that it uses basic ingredients that can be found in almost every pantry!

Garlic Potato Gratin

Ingredients:

3 – 4 potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 stick salted butter, cut into small pieces
3 to 5 garlic cloves, chopped
garlic paste * optional
Salt and Pepper (to taste)
1/2 cup cream (I use low-fat)
chopped fresh parsley, or chives, for garnishing

Method:

– Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C

– Peel the potatoes and cut them into thin slices

– Butter the bottom and sides of a baking casserole ( I use a 1 Quart dish)

– Sprinkle some garlic along the edges of the buttered sides of the casserole – drizzle some garlic paste for extra garlicy flavor!

– Line the bottom of the casserole with a layer of the potatoes, dot with butter pieces, sprinkle with salt and pepper

– Drizzle a few spoonfuls of cream and sprinkle some chopped garlic cloves

(Optional to sprinkle in some onions in or cheese depending on what you like)

– Repeat layering of potatoes + butter + salt & pepper + cream until all the potatoes have been used

– End the top with a dabbing of butter, the last slosh of cream, and a sprinkling of salt & pepper

– Bake for 60-80 mins – until the potatoes are tender and the top of the potatoes should be start to turn golden brown with darker brown splotches here and there

(you can raise temperature of oven to around 400F/200C towards the end 10 mins)

– Sprinkle with parsley and serve!

~ F

Recipe: Homemade Roasted Garlic Hummus & Tahini Sauce

27 Oct

This past weekend there was a house-warming party at our place in Colombo and I decided to serve some hummus and pita as a starter! Sounds simple enough? Not really! There are no ready-made hummus tubs available in supermarkets in Colombo nor in any restaurant so I decided to make some myself inspired by my friend Priyanka’s Homemade Roasted Garlic and Roasted Chili Hummus recipe with some variations of my own (For Priyanka’s recipe check out: http://t.co/iWadTGN). Since tahini sauce, which is an essential ingredient in preparing Hummus, is unavailable in markets my main task was to devise a way to make the sauce from scratch.
I tend to cook mostly by approximation and keep tasting the food to see what needs to be added. Feel free to add/increase spices according to your taste.

Ingredients:
1 200 grams packet of uncooked chickpeas/garbanzo beans (you can use canned ones if available)
2 lemons (approx. 3-4 tbs lemon juice)
1 head of garlic
4 long red chilies
Paprika (to taste)
Salt  & Pepper (to taste)
Sesame seeds or tahini paste
Olive oil
Garlic paste
Water (add depending on thickness)

Method:
– If using uncooked chickpeas/ garbanzo beans soak them in water overnight (Please Note: Don’t leave them outside or they will get spoilt)

– The next morning using the same water you soaked them in, boil the chickpeas for about 2 hours until light and fluffy (Please note: The chickpeas expand in size after being soaked in water so use an appropriately sized container, you may need to add more water to it as well before boiling).

– Preheat the oven to 400F/ 200C. Place the garlic head (I took off the skin) onto a sheet of foil.

– Open the red chilies and sprinkles the seeds over the garlic and drizzle some olive oil. Fold over the foil to create a packet and place in the oven top rack for 15 mins.

– While the garlic is roasting, prepare the Tahini paste/sauce (if it is unavailable readily).**

– Once the garlic has roasted take it out from the oven and let it cool for 10 mins.Unfold the foil and place the roasted garlic and seeds into a small food processor and grind.

– In a bigger blender or food processor add the chickpeas and water. Squeeze fresh juice from the 2 lemons, add tahini paste, 1 tbp paprika and the crushed garlic mixture.

– Adjust water to get the right consistency and add around ¼ cup olive oil. Don’t over grind the hummus mixture  – make sure you have a coarse texture vs. a smooth texture.

– Adjust the taste accordingly, I added 1 tbsp garlic paste as well to enhance the garlicy flavor. Place in the fridge for at least 30 mins before serving so all the flavors are absorbed well. Garnish by drizzling some olive oil and sprinkling red chilli powder.

 


**Tahini paste:
4 tbs sesame seeds, 1 tsp olive oil – Preheat oven to 350F/150C – Toast sesame seeds for 5 mins, shaking the seeds frequently with a wooden spatula to ensure they don’t turn brown. Cool for about 20 minutes. Pour sesame seeds into food processor and add oil. Blend for 2 minutes. Check for consistency. The goal is to get a thick, yet pourable texture. Add a bit of water for better consistency.

Enjoy!

– F

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