I am having a break from my routine starting today. I would be completely dishonest to say that I really need this break, because I would rather work doing what I am passionate about and having second income for my household than have a long break. Yet, God is good. He provides me a tiny little hole to peek at a new excitement everytime I find a dead wall.
It is not always easy to be happy if things do not go as I desire. Hubby always reminds me that it is a choice, and that's what I am trying to choose. When I look back on this past year, how God has guided me through my post-graduation period, my heart is filled with joy and thankfulness.
So, yes, I am enjoying my break...and this is a sweet treat we had last night to celebrate the beginning of it.
For my family, pudding is an all-occasion snack. I call it snack instead of dessert because we usually have it at any time, not just after a meal. What makes our pudding different than pudding I usually found in the States is it is agar-agar based. Wikipedia defines agar-agar or agar as "a gelatinous substance derived by boiling from a polysaccharide in red algae". So, it is plant based, while gelatin is animal by-products. Since agar isn't common in this country, I had to explain what it was whenever I brought it to a gathering so my vegetarian friends could also have it.
Pudding was almost always present in our family's special occasions. For those occasions, the professional pudding makers in our family, my sister and my aunt made it more complex in design. They would make some layers, mix it with fruits, the make sweet sauce to go with it. For regular occasion, we usually just had one flavor and ate it without the sauce. When I was little, mom liked to use animal or flower mold. I remember we had a big gold fish mold and some small turtle molds stored in my grandma's antique kitchen cupboard.
I like to bring pudding to a potluck, and that's what I did not too long ago when we were invited to our friends' house. The main reason is it is a very light dessert, so it can fill a little gap in stomach even after a heavy meal. Other than that, it is super easy to make. The basic is just boiling agar-agar powder, sugar, and milk.
Ingredients for caramel: 150gr sugar
100 ml water
I am still working on learning caramelizing, so read this and this tips for the direction.
1 package (7 grams) agar-agar powder
700 ml milk (I used 2%)
25 gr sugar
1 can halved peach
Dissolve agar-agar powder in 200 ml milk to avoid clumping. Bring all of the ingredients except run extract to a boil over medium heat. Stir constantly to prevent agar agar powder from sticking to bottom of pan.
Arrange the peaches on a fluted pan. Using a ladle, gently pour half of the agar-agar mixture into the pan. Wait for 10 minutes until the mixture is half set to secure the peaches. Pour the rest of the mixture.
Cool, then refrigerate.
Berry tart has become my choice for 4th July baking this part few years. I specially bought a 10.5-inch tart pan for this tart. I had a long list to bake that day, so using individual tart pans -ones I usually used, would not be feasible. For the crust, I am still faithful with Dorie Greenspan's recipe.
I brought to dinner on our church' dinner on the ground and was happy for not bringing leftover
Berry entremet had been on my baking list and I just waited for the right time to make it. The recipe is pretty intimidating, so I needed a valid strong drive to make it. Entremet requires a lot of layers and involve ingredients that are unusual for me. It can also be costly because it requires fruit liqueur, a lot of berries, and vanilla bean. Making it is also time consuming, but satisfying at the end.
Finally, I made this dessert for our Thanksgiving dessert. One person we invited over for dinner hated cinnamon -an ingredients that is commonly required for Thanksgiving desserts. So I skipped the pumpkin pies and it friends and came up with a totally different idea.
The hurdles of making this dessert started from finding the ingredients. One of it was berry liqueur. It took hubby and I some time to find out what I needed. Pheeww...liqueur store was like a wilderness to us. Luckily, our friends who came with us were very much familiar with alcohol world. The next part was finding blueberry puree. I read some websites mentioning about buying blueberry puree from a grocery store, but no grocery store in my city carried blueberry puree. So, I was excited when I finally found packs of fruit puree. The sachet said "açaí berry puree", I thought it's still in berries family, so the taste wouldn't be too far from what I looked for. I was surprised and frustrated when I found out later that acai berry taste nowhere close to blueberry and other berries I was familiar with. Since it was too late to get fresh berries and make puree from scratch, I just prayed that it turned out ok. It really did turn out great. Thanks God! I can't wait for another opportunity to make an entremet again.
The entremet is composed of the following layers: chocolate sponge cake, Chambord syrup, vanilla bavarian cream, blueberry caramel, açaí berry mousse and strawberry glaze.
Summer is on the corner and the weather is getting warmer. Time to change hot oatmeal to cereal with cold milk for breakfast; and hot drink to something cold and refreshing for dessert. I wanted to buy ice cream, but I found this recipe from a cookbook, The Best Ever Low Fat, that's been sitting in my bedroom for years but I barely used. It's a yogurt ice, not an ice cream, but I like it better because it's light, and cooling without the richness or fat of ice cream. Strawberry Grape Yogurt Ice
Put in a blender of food processor: Generous 1.5 cup Grape
Generous 1.5 cup Strawberry
Process until a smooth puree forms
Break: 1 large egg; and separate the yolk and the white into separate bowls.
Whisk together in a mixing bowl until pale yellow: the egg yolk
1 Tbs sugar
Put a mixing bowl that will fit over the top of the pan, but not sink all the way in.
Now cook over the simmering water, scraping the sides and bottom occasionally.
Take from the stove, add to the mixing bowl: 1/4 low fat plain yogurt
Pour: 1/2 cup red wine (I didn't have use)
sprinkle: 2 1/4 tsp powder gelatin
Let stand for 5 minutes to soften, then set the bowl over a pan of simmering water until the gelatin has dissolved.
Pour the mixture into the fruit puree, whisking constantly.
Freeze for 2 hours, or until slushy.
Whisk the egg white until very stiff. Remove the fruit mixture from the freezer, and fold in the egg white.