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Posts Tagged ‘the joys of baking’


I dreamed of baking apple pie since I got interested in simple recipes like bars, cookies and the like but I never tried making pie crust from scratch. Last month, Grace, a friend who now lives in Canada forwarded two recipes  for making really flaky pie crust that one could use for apple pie. I tried the butter pie crust recipe without shortening and made two single crusts  that I used yesterday for my first ever Apple Pie. The fillings of course would depend on how you want your pie either with a bit of tartness or a little sweet. I always prefer Granny Smith apples for baking. They don’t easily spoil and stays fresh longer inside the ref. Besides, I learned from a famous pastry chef ( from TV) that Granny Smith are baking apples. I used to bake Apple Crumble  and Apple Crisp in different variations but yesterday, I finally tried making a pie crust from scratch.  It’s an achievement to be able to come up with something really flaky and crunchy to the bite. Here’s the recipe.

Butter Pie Crust Recipe

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

1 cup (2 sticks) plus 2 tbsp. cold unsalted butter (I used Magnolia Unsalted) cut into pieces

1/2 cup ice water

Combine flour and salt in medium bowl, cut in butter with a pastry blender until mixture is crumbly.

Sprinkle water, 1 tbsp at a time over flour mixture, tossing lightly with a fork until mixture forms an even dough.

Divide dough in half, flatten and shape into disks  and wrap each in plastic, refrigerate  for an hour.

Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface into circle, about 12 to 14 inches round. Carefully fold in quarters, lift gently and unfold into a 9-inch pie pan.

Gently press pastry against bottom and sides of pan, trim overhang to 1/2 inch, then fold the edge under. Pinch edges to flute.

You might think this is a daunting task, and I thought so too but when you get the hang of it, it is quite easy.  I took some pictures of course. I am that excited 🙂

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I didn’t put the recipe for fillings since it would really depend on your taste. Green apples are of the tart variety so you can add sugar if you want. Look how flaky the pie crust turned out to be.

Happy New year by the way, we had this on our table last night for media noche.

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Waking up at an unusual hour of 3am or 4am has its advantage. You get to finish housework early and plan the rest of the day ahead. You get to have time to relax and unwind. One of the perks of being at home  is searching and experimenting on a new recipe that teases the palate and makes you try more.  A few days ago, my son and I went back to Pasig market to buy fruits and vegetables. It is always a delight to find something  new  and cheap at that. Rambutan and lanzones fruits are in season now at it’s quite a thrill to find them at a lower price than in neighborhood fruit stands.  I bought some Granny Smith apples, apple guavas  and seedless dalandan  (Philippine orange).  I  thought of baking apple pie but then I found this simple recipe that does not need too much time to prepare. Another kitchen experiment? You bet!

Grandma’s Apple Crisp

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup butter, melted

3 cups apples – peeled, cored and chopped

1/2 cup white sugar

2 tsp. cinnamon powder

Preheat oven to 175  °C. Lightly grease an 8-inch square pan. In a large bowl, combine brown sugar, oats, flour and butter. Mix until crumbly. Spread the apples evenly over crumb mixture. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon and top with the remaining crumb mixture.  Bake in preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown.

Here’s how it turned out. I rather like the rolled oats incorporated in the recipe, it’s healthy. I baked it though for at least an hour. The mixture of cinnamon and apple is really, really yummy. And as usual I reduced the white sugar to 1/3 cup.

IMG_5126 IMG_5129 By the way, this is my 1,300th post. Whew, 1,300th post? What have I been writing about the past four years? Snippets of my life of course – my dreams and escapes sometimes.

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It’s a lovely, sunny morning and mom urged me to go out and buy ingredients for Ginatan, that sweet Filipino dessert complete with sticky rice balls, sweet potato, taro and Saba bananas. She was craving for it but I was so lazy to go out this late because of the traffic. I baked her a simple banana bread instead, using four medium Lakatan bananas left over from yesterday. You don’t need a mixer to do this.

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Here’s the recipe if you want to try it with just the basic ingredients:

3-4 ripe medium-sized bananas
1/3 cup melted butter
2/3 cup sugar
1 beaten egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. banana extract
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F) or 175 degree (C). With a large spoon, mix butter into the mashed bananas. Then add the sugar, egg, vanilla and banana extract into the mixture. Sprinkle with baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix together. Add the flour last.

Bake for an hour. Let cool and serve.

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Here’s another kitchen experiment. I was looking for the easiest way to bake banana cake and I found this on the net. Yes, it was easy enough and the smooth texture of the cake and the yummy taste makes me want to do more…with nuts if possible.  Here’s a list of what you will need:

125 grams butter

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp. vanilla essence

1 egg

3 ripe medium-size bananas, mashed

1 1/2 cups self-rising flour ( you can use all-purpose flour for this and the ratio is: 1 tsp baking powder + 1/4 ts. salt to 1 cup of all-purpose flour)

1/4 cup milk

1 tsp. cinnamon powder (this is optional but I love cinnamon)

Melt the butter, sugar and vanilla in a medium-sized saucepan. Remove from heat. Add mashed bananas and stir through until just blended. Add egg and mix in well. Stir in flour, cinnamon powder then add milk and mix lightly. Bake at 170 C for about 40 to 50 minutes depending on the baking pan you’re going to use.  Let cool and slice.

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I’ve been engrossed lately with trying some baking recipes and making some adjustments in the amount of sugar and butter (they’re not really that healthy) without compromising the taste and texture of the recipe. Years ago, I enrolled in Sylvia Reynoso Gala’s cooking class for a few sessions and Ernest (her son)  taught us so many baking recipes including bars, siopao, brownies and different kinds of cookies. I learned how to make donuts from Marella (her daughter) and Chinese cooking from Sylvia herself. They are a supportive trio of chefs who share a lot to their students .I lost some of my handouts so I have to source the net for easy baking procedures.

Here’s the morning baking recipe. I made three batches of these yummy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies  right after attending the 6:30am mass. I have some friends coming over tomorrow and I am thinking of supplementing this with Baked Macaroni and homemade Puto.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

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Of course, there are so many ways of  making yummy, chewy (on the inside) oatmeal raisin cookies but I love this one.  By the way, here’s how it’s done if you want to bake some. You can reduce the measurement if you are only baking for a few. I made this in three batches, 25 large cookies.

You will need:

2 sticks softened butter (200 grams)

1 1/2 cup light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. table salt

3 cups rolled oats

1 cup walnut (optional)

1 1/2 cups raisins

In a large bowl, cream together butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla until smooth. (You can use a hand-mixer at low-speed). In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together. Stir this into the butter and sugar mixture. Add in the oats, raisins and walnuts and beat at low-speed for a minute or two.

You can chill the dough for a few minutes before baking to have that thick texture or you can line a baking pan with parchment paper and bake it at 170 C  for 10 to 15 minutes depending on the size of your cookies. I used an ice cream scoop for uniform size.  Let it cool inside the oven before finally transferring it to a rack.

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