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Friday, March 4, 2011

Deliciously Simple

It’s been months! How time flies when one procrastinates. Which is not a really good habit by the way, but there you have it. However, considering that things are slowing down a bit for the business as the school year is ending, it is also the time that I can also sit still for an hour or so and finally share something here.

From November last year until February this year, everything just came whizzing by me that all I could do was just pick up and run after whatever it is. I keep telling myself, ˝Tomorrow I’ll write˝ or ˝Hey, this is a good dish. Will share this later.˝ But never got around to doing it. But it was a very fulfilling Christmas season, and start of the New Year.



For my friends out there who know more than most people about what’s going on with me, they knew that Heaven’s Country Kitchen was invited to become a full time concessionaire at this school where we are operating. Hence, aside from my usual brunch offerings (pancakes, waffles, french toasts), we are offering lunch, sandwiches and pasta dishes. I’m very thankful that the students welcomed our entry by patronizing us often, and it’s been quite thrilling for me to plan the weekly menu that is not the usual thing you get from your school canteen. So far, the students’ favorites have been my standby as with other clients and friends: the Korean Beef Stew, the Beef Salpicado, the Pasta Carbonara, the Crispy Pork Chops or Chicken Fillets with Cranberry or Cheese Sauce. And, there are a few discoveries too like the Spinach and Cheese Ravioli with Pomodoro made from molo wrappers, the sticky barbeque chicken wings served with baked mushroom rice, and the Pizzas Margherita or 2 Cheese & Garlic made from 10 inch flour tortillas that come out of the oven flavorful and crispy, much like the Roman pizzas we enjoy in the Eternal City.

Not that I am not advocating love and enjoyment of Filipino food, I just noticed that the food offerings there lacked variety. And so what I offered was really just alternatives, and healthier alternatives at that. When budget allows, I would use corn or olive oil, or insert vegetable ingredients here and there without hiding them. And surprisingly, when we offered green salads, students would prefer it for their snacks or as sides to their lunch plates, whether they brought their own or bought it from either concessionaire.

Nothing beats the feeling I get when I make people happy with the food I prepare or cook for them, because I enjoy making or conceptualizing those dishes too.

In the spirit of simplicity, I recently introduced home made cream puffs into the mix of products I offer the students. I had to sell them at P20/piece which is 50% more expensive than what the other concessionaire was selling, but this is justified because my batch is home made and authentic due to the cream patissiere. The P10–cream puffs do not have a filling (which would probably shock the French – cream puffs with no cream?!)

One good thing about this divine pastry is that you dont need any special equipment to be able to make them, just a cookie sheet and an oven. The choux pastry is also versatile as this is the same recipe you use for making Spanish churros and dip in thick, hot chocolate or profiteroles.



Choux Pastry

1 cup water
1/2 cup butter, softened and cut into cubes
1 cup all purpose flour
4 eggs

Creme Patissiere (Cream Filling)

1 can evaporated milk or fresh milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla

Sugar Syrup

1 cup boiling water
1 cup sugar

Procedure:
1. Make Choux Pastry: Heat water and sugar in a casserole until you reach a rolling boil. Add flour and mix it in immediately with a wooden spoon until it forms into a ball.
2. Take the pot out of the heat and beat in eggs one at a time until each egg is fully incorporated into the batter.
3. Spoon the batter into balls and place in ungreased cookie sheet. Place the choux pastry in the oven which has been preheated to 350 degrees or gas mark 6. Bake for 40 minutes or until pastry is cooked and golden on top. Remove from oven and let cool. Once cooled, slice into the pastry half way through the middle and set aside.
4. Make the Cream Filling: Boil milk and sugar in a pot over low heat while stirring constantly.
5. Once sugar is mixed well, add the flour and continue to stir allowing the mixture to boil, and thickened slightly into a cream consistency. Remove from heat.
6. Add half the cream mixture into the beaten egg yolks until mixed together, then pour the egg mixture back into the remaining cream mixture in the pot and put back into a low fire, stirring constantly, until it reaches to a boil once more.
7. Remove from heat and add vanilla flavoring. Set aside to cool.
8. Make the sugar syrup: Melt sugar in a separate pot over low fire until it turns brown.
9. Slowly pour the hot water while stirring constantly and continue to cook in low fire until thickened. Set aside.
10. Assembly: Fill the cream filling into the middle part of the choux pastry, as in a sandwich, and repeat with remaining pastry. Line them up on top of wax paper sheets. Pour the sugar syrup over each cream puffs and serve.

This recipe makes 1 dozen cream puffs.

2 comments:

  1. Simply appetizing that it makes my head swirl.... :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Violet. Always glad to please you..

    ReplyDelete