Purple Yam Fudge (Halayang Ube)
Purple yam fudge or more natively known as Halayang Ube (in the Philippines) is one of the decadent confections that is always made during the holiday season. And is always served during Christmas (Pasko), New Year’s Eve (Bagong Taon) and even Fiestas.
Halayang Ube is made by finely grating boiled purple yams, adding to it condensed milk, evaporated milk (other provinces even use fresh water buffalo’s (carabao) milk), sugar, butter and a bit of vanilla flavour. The mixture is then slowly cooked and constantly stirred for hours over medium heat until it gets thick and chewy. It is then moulded into serving platters or whatever serving vessel and is served in slices.
I stood for 3 1/2 hours in front of the stove cooking this until the sweet and milky purple puree turned into a chewy deep dark purple mass.
This confection is indeed a labour of love, and really, a test of one’s virtue of patience. But the end product is absolutely delicious!
Maple and Almond Nut Tarts
Although this is my most requested pastry product by my customers, and that I always struggle with a virtue called patience, I sometimes loathe making this tart… actually it’s the pressing and moulding the sweet dough (tart shell) into mini muffin pans that always tests my patience and makes me go nutty with impatience.
But to those who are more blessed with this particular virtue, here is the recipe.
Sweet Dough (tart shell)
2 1/3 cups unsifted all-purpose flour (*spooned gently into measuring cup, do not tap or shake cup when measuring)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cold and cut into cubes
1 whole egg
- In a food processor, pulse all sweet dough ingredients together until the dough comes together.
- Wrap dough in cling film, and chill for 30 minutes inside the fridge.
Maple and Almond Filling
2 large eggs
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons melted butter
4 cups coarsely chopped almonds (or you can also use slivered almonds)
- Mix all filling ingredients together and set the mixture aside.
- Preheat oven at 350’F
- You will need 4 mini (12-mould) muffin pans.
- Take the dough out of the fridge and scoop 1 tablespoon of dough into each mini muffin mould. Press dough and create a cylindrical indentation to hold the filling.
- Spoon filling in each prepared unbaked shells.
- Bake tarts for 20-25 minutes or until light golden brown.
- Lift tarts from moulds 5 minutes after taking the pans out of the oven. Cool tarts on wire racks.
Makes 48 mini tarts
CHEWY CHERRY MACAROONS
This sweet cheery cherry chewy treat (Hah! now, isn’t this a mouthful to say?!) reminds me of Rudolf’s Red Nose! It’s one of the treats I made last Christmas. And although everything about these macaroons scream Christmasy, this drop cookie recipe can certainly always be baked all year round. -jeannie :)
6 cups sweetened flaked coconut
2 large eggs
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cherry extract
1 cup chopped Maraschino cherries
Preheat oven at 350’F
In a large mixing bowl, put the sweetened flaked coconut.
In another bowl, whisk the sweetened condensed milk, eggs, vanilla extract and cherry extract. Once all ingredients are mixed well. Add the milk mixture into the flaked coconut. Then mix-in the chopped maraschino cherries.
Using a teaspoon, form small mounds/balls of the macaroon mixture and place each onto parchment lined cookie sheets.
Bake in a 350’F preheated oven for 15 minutes or until top and bottom turned slightly golden brown.
Store macaroons flat separating each layer with parchment paper. Keep in an airtight container.
Makes 3 1/2 dozen.
PURPLE SWEET POTATO PUFF PASTRY (OTAP)
This flaky, crunchy and sugared pastry is very much like a Palmier (A small pastry made of sugared and double-rolled sheet of puff pastry cut into slices, the distinctive shape of which resembles a foliage of a palm tree.) except that it is not shaped like a palm but simply rolled and cut into oblongs.
This type of pastry pairs well with an afternoon tea (or coffee)… an afternoon “Pick me up because I am in a sugar rush!”… yeah, I throw corny remarks like this once in a while just for kicks! :)
THIS MEAT-FILLED PASTRY IS QUITE TRICKY!
Depending on what country and what you end up filling these pastry pockets (and even what kind of pastry or sometimes dough you use to make it) with, I guess no one can really call it one specific name.
If you live in Jamaica, Britain, Canada, New York City or South Florida where this pastry baby is filled with cooked ground beef (or chicken or seafood), flavored and seasoned with pungent spices and mixed with vegetables or cheese, then there is no doubt you call this a Patty.
Now, if you fill this pastry with uncooked beef, diced potatoes, yellow turnips and onions, only season the filling with salt and pepper, and you are well advised and obliged to fold the pastry over the filling and shape it like a “D” then daintily crimp only one side of it, and finally baked it (with strict rules to make the pastry keep its “D” shape when baked and cooled) and you often munch on this while you happily live in the Southwest of England, United Kingdom then by all means call it a Pasty.
If for some reason, you tasted some Latin or South European flare in the filling… say you suddenly munched on some bits of chopped salty olives, a few beads of sweet raisins and some tomato or any by-product of tomato as part of the filling along with a flaky pastry that is either fried or baked, then you are absolutely feasting on an Empanada (Ay, yay, yay… Muy Delicioso!!!… translation: SAVE SOME FOR ME… NO I DON’T WANT THAT EMPANADA YOU JUST BITTEN!). Empanada is a stuffed pastry that is baked or fried in almost all Latin American countries, some countries in Southeast Asia like the Philippines (introduced by the Spanish colonialists) and Indonesia (introduced by the Portugese), and South European countries like Spain and Portugal, where the Empanada trace its origins.
As some of you might remember, I made this exact “savory stuffed pastry” a week ago with a filling of chicken, bechamel sauce, mixed vegetables and cheese. And I called it Chicken Pastel Empanada. Pastel is a casserole dish (made usually with chicken meat) and baked in a pie crust. Obviously, I did not made my pastry sleep on a pie plate. So to justify my kitchen science project, I just called the darn thing Empanada! :D
LEMON CURD BARS
When I decided that I wanted to bake today and make something with lemons, a thought bubble with a picture of Lemon Bars popped over my head. But then my cheesecake loving alter ego suddenly pinched the side of my gut. So to end the conflict that was slowly brewing within me, I refereed between my thought (who draws thought bubbles) and alter ego (who is an occasional diva)- both opposing forces and came up with Lemon Curd Bars- lemon curd topping and graham cracker crust (the basic crust for cheesecake).
… Peace reigned and conquered. And the tummy lived happily ever after.