Lemon Meringue Pie/Tart

I love Lemon Meringue Pie. I truly do. Maybe it’s because it’s different from the typical chocolate/cream pie. Maybe it’s because it looks so dang pretty. Whatever the reason may be, bottomline is, I love it.

lmp

Here’s a simple recipe for Lemon Meringue Pie (picture not mine but Edward’s) || Pre-Heat Oven to 350:

- Crust Ingredients: 14 Graham Crackers and 1 Stick of Butter (simple, noh?)

- Crust Procedure: Pulse the graham crackers in your food processor until it’s broken down into bite sized pieces. Add the butter in small chunks. Pulse again until the mixture begins to climb the wall of your work bowl. Press the mixture into a 9″ Pie Pan. Bake for 5-10 minutes.

- Filling Ingredients: 4 Yolks, 12 Ounces of Condensed Milk, 1 Tsp. of Lemon Extract and 4 Ounces of Lemon Juices [Optional: Zest of 1 Lemon]

- Filling Procecure: Mix everything together (tricky noh?). Pour into baked crust and bake for 15 minutes or until set.

- Meringue Ingredients: 4 Egg Whites, A Pinch of Cream of Tartar and 100 Grams of Sugar

- Meringue Procedure: Whisk together the egg whites and the cream of tartar. When bubbles start to appear, gradually add the sugar. Whisk until stiff peaks form. Immediately put atop the still hot filling. Bake at 450 for 5 minutes or until golden brown.

There you have it. My simplest Lemon Meringue Pie recipe. No resting doughs, no rolling doughs, no stove-tops, no nothing. Just chill the pie when it has cooled down and serve after at least 2 hours in the refrigerator.

By the way, my apologies for not posting my own picture(s).  My camera broke down soon after our challenge, and it’s under repair for the meantime.

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Delay & Tidbits

DELAY:

Yes, Food Bytes is delayed.  This is what happens when real life gets in the way of one’s culinary pursuits.  Who would’ve thought it’d be so hard to squeeze writing a script, shooting a show, cooking/baking a few dishes in between taking care of my 5.75 month-old daughter, helping my wife prepare for school, working a full-time job and taking care of a sick cat (who died… I miss you Mew) anyway?!  Well, it sure as heck wasn’t me.  Hehehe…

Now my show’s delayed and I’m not blogging as much as I would want.  Whew… funny how by starting out to do one simple thing, I manage to tangle everything up into one heck of a knot.  Hehehe…

Don’t worry, Food Bytes will still air.  I won’t give up on my dream… it’s just that I won’t set a timetable for it anymore.  It just frustrates me and doesn’t help my confidence.

TIDBITS:

I’m suddenly feeling chatty, so I decided to write a few notes on our recently completed Daring Bakers challenge.  My apologies for writing these on a separate post.

First, the caramel issue.   I noticed that some people found the dry method of making it rather difficult.  A trick I use is I get a pastry brush, and gently brush the sides with water every so often, to prevent crystallization on the sides, and to help get a more even browning.  It also helps to have the sugar level… after all, if a big clump is amassed in one section of the pan, it’s liable to take longer to cook, burning other parts in the process.  Also, don’t stir or move the pan until the sugar starts to brown.  Moving it too early results in crystallization.  The wet method is easier, but takes longer.

I also find that it helps to think of making caramel as playing chicken (at least it helps me).  You’re basically daring the caramel to go as far as it can go, before halting the process with the cream.  Since I prefer caramel to taste bittersweet, I tend to push it to the very edge (right before burning).

Second, the crust issue.  I too had a difficult time with it, until I smacked myself for forgetting that it is Pate Sable after all.  Meaning it IS crumbly… BUT you can piece it together as you see fit.  Heck, you can form it into a rocket ship and it’d still bake into an edible (if slightly odd) crust.

Last, the mousse.  Yes, I know, I posted some of my thoughts about the mousse already… but here’s something I forgot.  I may have misread the recipe, but I think it’d be better if the cream was only whipped to soft peaks.  It’s easier to integrate, and provides a more even finish.

Well that’s it for delays and tidbits.  My apologies for rambling.  It’s 2:20am, and I’m gonna try and get some sleep.

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Daring Baker Challenge: Milk Chocolate & Caramel Tart

Yes, I am now officially a member of the Daring Bakers (at least I think I am). My first challenge, to create an exquisite Milk Chocolate & Caramel Tart (pictured below). I hope any of you who visit my site, will take up the challenge yourselves as well and try making this delectable tart.

whole pie

Here’s the recipe:

Chocolate Shortbread Pastry (re-scaled for single recipe)

Ingredients:

  • 84 grams unsalted butter
  • 51 grams confectioners’ sugar
  • 18 grams ground hazelnuts
  • 2 grams ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 135 grams cake flour
  • 3 grams baking powder
  • 3 grams cocoa powder

1. In a mixing bowl of a food processor, cream the butter.

2. Add the confectioners’ sugar, the ground hazelnuts, and the cinnamon, and mix together

3. Add the eggs, one by one, mixing constantly

4. Sift in the flour, the baking powder, and the cocoa powder, and mix well.

5. Form a ball with the dough, cover in plastic wrap, and chill overnight (pictured below).

ball

Milk Chocolate and Caramel Tart

Ingredients:

  • ½ lb (250 g) chocolate shortbread pastry (see recipe above)
  • 1 ½ cups (300 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (250 g) heavy cream or crème fraiche
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 ½ tablespoons (15 g) flour
  • 1 ¼ cups (300 g) whipping cream
  • ½ lb (250 g) milk chocolate

1. Preheat oven to 325 °F.

2. Line the baking pan with the chocolate shortbread pastry and bake blind for 15 minutes. The instructions don’t call for docking, but I docked mine just to be on the safe side.

3. In a saucepan, caramelize 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar using the dry method until it turns a golden caramel color. I tend to want to push the caramel to the limit, since I want a bittersweet flavor, hence the darker color. Incorporate the heavy cream or crème fraiche and then add butter. Mix thoroughly. Set aside to cool.

4. In a mixing bowl, beat the whole eggs with the extra egg yolk, then incorporate the flour.

5. Pour this into the cream-caramel mixture and mix thoroughly.

6. Spread it out in the tart shell and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

7. Prepare the milk chocolate mousse: beat the whipping cream until stiff. Melt the milk chocolate in the microwave or in a bain-marie, and fold it gently into the whipped cream.

8. Pour the chocolate mousse over the cooled caramel mixture, smoothing it with a spatula. Chill for one hour in the refrigerator.

So that’s it for this month’s challenge. I must admit, the resulting product was quite good, and I had a fun time baking. The pictures posted above are the ones I took on my first attempt. I figured it wouldn’t be right to post pictures from my third attempt. Also, I opted not to do toppings on my first attempt, as I wanted to taste it sans toppings. Here’s a last picture of a slice of the tart…

slice

Sorry for the sub par pictures… hehehe… I’m still waiting for my digital camera, and I’m currently using my video cam to take pictures. I’m not really sure what else to write, so see you again for next month’s challenge.

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Useful Pantry Whachamacallits

Okay, the countdown to Food Bytes’ pilot episode has begun. We’re finalizing our script, finishing our boards, working out the kinks and checking our inventory. Then it hit me.

“Wouldn’t it be nice to make sure our viewers could have SOME ingredients at hand BEFORE the show starts? That way, no one need rush to their closest baking/cooking supply store in case they want to make something they see on the show.”

With that in mind, here are some extra things that we like to keep in our pantry (these are not written in any particular order):

  • Vanilla Sugar [To make vanilla sugar, simply place vanilla bean husks (the more the merrier) into a sealed tub of sugar. After a week or so, the vanilla flavor should permeate with the sugar, hence creating vanilla sugar. Or you could just buzz everything together.]
  • Gelatin [Either powdered or in sheets.]
  • Dulce De Leche [The fastest way we do this is by simply pouring a 12 oz. can of condensed milk into a cake pan, put in in a bain marie, cover it with aluminum foil, then bake it for 1.5 hours in a 425 degree oven.]
  • Cumin [If you're able to buy them whole and grind them yourself, it'd be nice. But the pre-packaged stuff does quite well too.]
  • Bittersweet Chocolate [While I normally buy them in big chunks, buying them in chips could actually save you alot of time and alot of manual labor. If you don't use alot of it, consider buying chips instead of blocks. But please, don't be like other home bakers who HOARD tons of branded chocolate chips at home. Buy only what you need, and give other cooks a chance.]
  • Shortening [I use this on the counter and on my hands when I knead bread. Yes, you could use flour, but it tends to throw off the recipe.]
  • Homemade Tomato Sauce [SPOILER: We'll be doing a show on this... hehehehe...]
  • Vanilla Beans [Are they worth it? Yes. As long as you only buy one or two, you need not worry... odds are, you'll use them up before they get the chance to spoil.]
  • Instant Yeast [Kept in the freezer, this will last a year or two after the written expiry date. Just buy a small pack.]
  • Heavy Cream [Yes, I realize they're not stored in the pantry... but they're essential in MY kitchen anyway.]
  • Homemade Vanilla Extract [Just take some vanilla bean husks and put them with some rhum or bourbon. Steep for two weeks, 'BAM', homemade vanilla extract. I use this for my cheesecake. Yes, we will do a show on that as well.]

Of course this is by no means a complete list. But rest assured that 99% of the ingredients we will use on the show will NOT be hard to find… or at the very least, we’ll tell you where you can buy them. We hope you are as excited as we are as the countdown for Food Bytes continues.

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Food Bytes

Chefs, are one of the MOST arrogant creatures ever to walk God’s green earth.  It’s true.  Any chef worth his/her salt NEEDS to be cocky to some degree… if he/she doesn’t believe in his/her food, then who will?  Talk with any chef and I’m sure they’ll say that their dish “x” is better than Chef Juan’s or Chef Juana’s.  Heck, even I think my cheesecake is better than most!  Hehehe…  Chefs will expound for hours on end about the merits of their dish and why it’s superior compared to what others make.  In the end, the normal cook would walk away, firmly convinced that he/she has found the light, henceforth mimicking said chef’s style/methods.

Food Bytes (like the title?) seeks to change all that.  What I’m aiming for is to make you a better cook… not give you a better recipe.  What I’m aiming for is to arm you with some good (albeit not set-in-stone) techniques that’ll ultimately make you enjoy the cooking experience.  What I’m aiming for is to take away some of the mystery of cooking to hopefully give you courage to try out new dishes and new flavors.  My wish is that I can impart on you the “how’s” and “why’s” of food.  In the end, I hope that what we do will inspire you to simply cook more.

The pilot episode of Food Bytes is set to air in the second week of August, for FREE as previously stated.  I’m still not sure what day.  I’ll be using either http://www.veoh.com or http://www.dailymotion.com as our medium.

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So You Want To…

… roast beef? … make ice cream from scratch? … fry excellent shrimp tempura? … know what ‘creaming’ is? … make bittersweet caramel? … know how to make the perfect steak?

All this and more, coming soon.

Lately, it saddens me to see the sad state of local cooking shows. It’s become a never-ending commercial of brand after brand after brand… neglecting the “why’s” and “how’s” of cooking. Heck, sometimes I even doubt that the “chefs” know why they do what they do.

All this is going to change. This August, we’ll be releasing the first of what we hope to be many episodes of a brand-new cooking show that you’ll be able to watch online (granted you have a good internet connection), for free. We’ll strive to make it an enjoyable yet educational experience for you, our viewers.

We have a few titles in mind, but we wanted to hear from you. Mayhaps you have a suggestion as to what would make a good title. IF you do, post it in the comments section. IF we choose your title, you get to guest star in one of our episodes.

The countdown begins my friends. Please continue to visit this site for further details.

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