Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Strawberry Pie

Strawberry Pie
I am truly surprised !!!!  Baking after all is not all that difficult. I completely enjoyed every step that went to baking this Pie. The secret of good cooking or baking lies in the "prepartion", get the Prep right, if you have all the ingredietns assembled before the process of actually cooking, it gets easy, after that it is all about putting the ingredients together.

Here's the receipe :

Ingredients :

(For the Crust)
180 gms Plain Flour
100 gms Cooking Butter ( cold or frozen)
2 tbsp Icing Sugar
1 egg yolk
Cold Water

(For the Custard)
350 ml Milk
60gms Castor Sugar
1 Vanilla Pod
2 Egg yolks
1 tbsp Flour
2 tbsp Cornflour
( Best substitute for Flour and cornflour will be 2 tbsp of Vanilla Flavoured Custard, thats what I did for this receipe, it tastes much better )
150 ml Fresh whipped Cream

(For the Garnish)
Sliced or halfed Strawberries
1 tbsp Strawberry Jam ( melted )

Method :

Mix together the butter and flour, start working these two together with the help of your finger tips so that the butter and flour are well blended, this process takes a good 10 minutes. Once you see the whole mixture is grainy and coarse in texture, add the egg yolk and work the dough by adding just a little bit of cold water to make a dough. Make sure the dough isn't too patchy and dont work too agressively with it either. Once done, wrap in a cling film and set in the refridegerator to cool for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile you can make the custard. Pour the milk in a heavy bottom pan, slit the vanilla pod and scrap the vanilla pulp carefully ( this is my most favorite part....ahhhh pure vanilla !!!! ) add the vanilla to the milk. Beat 2 egg yolks and add it to the boiling milk while whisking it continuosly. Dilute the flour and cornflour in 2 tbsp of milk or water and add to the boiling milk ( in this case I added Vanilla custard powder ). Keep stirring until thick and done.

Now strain this mixture and let it cool. Once cool, add the whipped cream and the filling is ready.

Grease the pie mould and keep ready. I have used a Silicon/Rubber Baking mould which I greased with butter. Silicon moulds are really good, but you may use a normal quiche or pie tray to do the same. On a flat surface roll out the dough (round)  to 8.5 diameter . Make sure you place a cling film underneath before you start to roll out so that it is easy to lift the pastry. Once you have evenly rolled out the pastry lift the cling flim and flap the pastry on the mould, cut off the extra sides and press softly to make sure the pastry is touching the base of the tray. Prick the bottom of the pastry with fork randomly. Place a butter paper and fill the mould with any gram or pulse to add weight to the pastry while blind baking the pastry.

Pre-heat oven at 180 degrees. Place the mould in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the pulses and now bake open for another 5 minutes. Remove the pastry and let it cool on wire rack.

Fill the crust with the vanilla custard and place in refrigerator to set and cool. After an hour garnish it it with strawberries and lastly glace the dish with melted strawberry jam.


Sunday, December 26, 2010

My First Tea Cake Baked Perfectly!

Vanilla & Chocolate Chip Tea-Cake

This is a perfect cake to bake accompanied with Tea or Coffee. I 'was' a good cook, stress is on "WAS"...mind it.....because the hectic work style barely gave me time to what I used to like the most. I am good at several other forms of cooking minus BAKING, I always thought, that it is not my cup of tea.

But honestly, I think it was more to do with the high calorie ingredients that go into baking that kept me at bay. Margarine, Butter, Oil, Sugar, Super refined Flour all the things that are big NO NO....

I don't know what made me change my mind, but I went ahead and bought a new Oven yesterday, and I must admit that I am very happy with this decision. My first love towards baking started during 1996, when I joined a 3 day class with the city's best French 'La pâtissière'.

The way she worked her way into her bakery kitchen with so much ease really surprised me. Not only did I learn the basics of Baking, Icing, Filling, but also what she was best known for 'fondant sugar decoration'. But that was it, I did not persue my passion after that, for the simple reason, my mind kept saying NO NO NO....its fatty :)

But now, when the mind and heart as well as body has control on what you eat moderately, I decided I will get back to 'Big B' '......'Baking'.

So here I am after making my first sucessful Vanilla - Chocolate Chip Tea Cake, and here is the receipe :

Ingredients :

150 gms Butter or Margarine
150 gms Castor Sugar
3 tsp Baking Powder
3 nos. Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla Essence
1 tbsp Chocolate Chips

Method :

Prepare the baking tin. Grease the tin and line with butter paper.

Sift together flour and baking powder.

Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs beating in one at a time. Now pre-heat the oven.

Lightly fold in the sifted flour into the butter mixture if required, add a little water to obtain a mixture which drops slowly from the spoon. I used milk though. Now add the chocolate chips, and vanilla essence, blend well. Pour into baking tray garnish with chcochips. ( You may add a mix of white and milk chocolate chips )

Bake in moderate oven for 20-30 mins at 180 degrees. Turn and cool

Vanilla and choco-chip Tea Cake is ready !!!