Welcome to adobo-down-under!

Musings. Family. Food. Stories. Cooking. Recipes. Eating. A recipe journal. From simple Filipino dishes to challenging recipes and exciting gastronomical failures. This is for my girls to look back on for comfort, memories, laughs, love and lots of food!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Ensaymada - sweet Filipino pastry

Last week was the busiest our kitchen has ever been.  Testing and testing cake and cupcake recipes and shoppiing and preparing for that weekend party.  You know, all those little things you plan and do for a milestone birthday?  Yeah.  That.  I had it all in my head a couple of weeks back.  Just a simple birthday party with some popcorn and a few DVDs.  But then someone whispered in my ear something that made absolute sense - it is a 10th year birthday  sothere needs to be a little bit more than DVD and popcorn.  And so, hours and hours of Pinterest browsing happened.  There were pom poms to be made, lootbags and decorations to be bought, and a two-weeks-before idea of a Minute-to-Win-It game was thought of.  There were cupcakes and cupcakes and cakes baked and eaten even before the weekened kicked in.

And all those days of planning and preparation went off in 4 hours.  I'd say with lots of happy cheers, fun and laughs.  It was all worth it. Check out my IG gallery for some of the photos.

Here's a photo of the cakes on the day - Chiffon Cake wtih creme chantilly frosting and honeycomb bits, Chocolate Biscuit Cake with strawberries, Chocolate Cake with pink Italian Meringue Buttercream with raspberries.

Now back to blogging and this. A long over due post which was promised weeks ago to some IG friends.  A Goldilocks Bakebook recipe for the most-loved Filipino sweet pastry called Ensaymada. 

To make this Filipino sweet bread:

1 packet Tandaco instant dry yeast

160 ml warm water

450g plain flour, sifted

65g caster sugar

2 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs
60 ml evaporated milk

80g unsalted butter, melted


50g unsalted butter, melted (extra for brushing)

Half to 1 cup grated cheese

Half cup raw sugar

Method (a few in photos)

Dissolve the yeast in 60ml of the water and add half a teaspoon of the sugar.  Let this sit for about 10 minutes until the mixture develops bubbles.

In a mixing bowl with the dough hook, place the sifted flour, sugar and salt and mix until incorporated.

Add the dissolved yeast, remaining water, eggs and evaporated milk.

Mix on medium speed for 2 minutes until the gluten develops - approximately 4-5 minutes.  

Add the melted butter and continue mixing until the gluten develops. The dough will be a little bit sticky. (see below photo)

Keep the dough in the bowl, cover with cling wrap and and let it sit for 15-30 minutes at room temperature.

Punch down the dough in the bowl to release air pockets.

Place dough on your kitchen bench sprinkled with a little flour.

Divide the dough into 4 parts.  Then divide into pieces - approximately 50-60g each.  Cover with a plastic sheet or tea towel and leave for another 15 minutes.

To make the individual rolls, get one piece of the 60g dough and using a rolling pin, roll the dough piece into a rectangle, ideally 8" x 5".  Otherwise, as long as you roll them thinly, I don't think the size will matter.

Brush the surface with butter. 

Roll the thin dough into a rod

Then twirl into shape, locking the ends to seal.

Place each roll into individual greased mini pans (or ensaymada moulds), or simply use a lined round or square pan like I did.

Cover with a tea towel and let the dough rise until double in size.  Approximately 30 mintues to 1 hour, at room temperature.

Bake in a preheated 180*C oven for 15-20 minutes, until golden in colour.

Let the bread cool for 10-15 minutes.  Brush with butter and sprinkle with raw sugar and  grated cheese.


* A batch of this makes 15-18 rolls
* Rolling the dough thinly creates the soft layers in the roll
* When rolling the dough, make sure your bench top is generously sprinkled with flour to avoid the dough from sticking on the table/bench top.

*  You can fill the dough with anything. Instead of butter, we tried Nutella and it worked perfectly well.  You can use purple yam jam (ube jam) or coconut jam for another Filipino variety. 

Foreground - the rolls with Nutella filling

Background - the ensaymade rolls with butter filling

I think I need to be more generous with the Nutella next time.

Grated cheese on top!  Yummy!

To make these Filipino ensaymada rolls is similar to making cinnamon rolls we've made here, sans the cinnamon but different in a way that it's rolled thinly and the bread is soft.  What makes it Filipino is the combination of sweet and savoury in the rolls - butter, sugar and cheese for toppings!  Where else can you find that combination?!  Hope you enjoy yourselves making these.

Now, I'm still reeling from that weekend party.  We have outdone ourselves with the mess and cleaning up we've made, which only means one thing.  The party was a success!  All the kids enjoyed playing the challenges, filled themselves with party food and cake!  Ooh, and they loved the cakes!  Well, I guess the chocolate cakes had the bigger fan base.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Flourless pear and chocolate cake

When was the last time you did something for the first time? I love this TV ad from Emirates a few years back.  The message is inspiring and it also ignites a certain sense of drive - to put some goals and dreams into action.  On another note, it can also push one to try something new - whether it be by choice or when one is pushed against a corner.  

At home we have our schedule and timing all synchronised.  The day doesn’t have to start in a flurry but usually on weekdays, it does.  The few minutes before we need to be out the door consists of dressing up, prepping lunch boxes, breakfast, packing up, brush teeth etc. Etc.  We have this under control until something, or someone slips a few seconds behind and this will rock our world entirely.  Well not to that extent, but can pump adrenalin into me like The Road Runner

So let me tell you about this day – when my teen misses the bus by a few seconds.  Usually, I take her to the nearest bus stop with the other girls, still in my pajamas  (usually PJs and a shirt with just a hoodie a wallet and a mobile phone).  And so this day when she missed the bus, I had to follow the bus route with the hope of reaching the next stop just in time, but was unlucky.  And so we had to take her to school – pajamas and all.  And the unlikely scenario happened of course – we were running out of petrol on our way back home.  And so the Emirates ad “when was the last time you did something for the first time” came to mind.  Pajamas and all – I was there pumping petrol surrounded by what then seemed to be overly-dressed-suit-and-tie-folks with the morning rush hour traffic passing me by, and I am whistling a happy tune.  La-di-da-di-da.... NOT!

Well, its not a big deal really, but when you still have to make/eat breakfast, shower and dress, remind the girls brush their teeth, brush and tie the girls' hair, take them other to school then drive yourself to work and you've just cut back your schedule for a good half an hour, then adrenalin does kick in.  Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh.  Don't forget the lunch boxes, the cello, the backpacks! Wait!  My bag! Quick! Quick! Quick!  

I tell you, my heart starts beating normally as soon as everyone is in the car. 

It's a weekly cycle really.  The routine pretty much works except that is, when something or someone slips.    So you can imagine how much the two-week school holiday means to us.  IT'S A BIG DEAL!  Two weeks of extra hours of sleep, no lunch box to prepare, no after school activities to go to. Just slow and calm mornings.  Because of work commitments, we don't usually go out of town during this 2-week break but the short break is enough to recharge everyone's energies to welcome the next term with great enthusiasm and joy.


Now back to autumn and the season for apples, pears, figs, and plums!  All great fruits we love eating at home fresh.  But for this month's theme at Sweet Adventures Blog Hop hosted by 84th and 3rd (check out her fresh apple cake - made with coconut oil!), I'm adding some pears to our go-to flourless chocolate cake!  I love blog hops because its a great way to tweak old recipes and try new ones!

This Flourless and Pear Chocolate Cake is inspired from BBC Australian Good Food magazine which has ceased publication last year.  The good thing is, I kept most of my old issues.  

To make this flourless pear and chocolate cake:


3 ripe Corella pears - peeled, cored, halved and quartered

85g dark chocolate (roughly chopped)

85g unsalted butter, melted plus 1 tbsp for brushing in the pan

75g caster sugar, plus 2 tbsp extra for coating the pan

3 eggs, separated

75g almond meal

icing sugar to dust

Meet Marco and Gordon.  They're my kitchen helpers.  Marco whips the egg whites on the left, Gordon beats the egg yolks and sugar until pale on the right


Line the base of a 20cm loose-based pan with baking paper.  Brush the bottom and sides with the extra butter.  Sprinkle the extra sugar on the base and sides of the pan.  Tip out excess.

Preheat oven to 160*C.

Melt the butter and chocolate in a bowl over a pot of simmering water.  Set aside to cool.

Using electric mixer, beat egg yolks and sugar together until pale and thick.  

Fold into the melted chocolate and add the almond meal.

Using an electric mixer, whip the egg whites until you get soft peaks.

Fold into the chocolate mixture in two batches.

Pour into the prepare pan.  Top with the pears, cut side down.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 until pears are soft and cake is cooked through.

Cool in the pan for 5 minutes.

Place in a cooling rack and dust with icing sugar.


* I used Corella pears because they're small and it will fit the pan size that I used.  I cut two pears in half, and the third one was quartered. 

* The pears were not as soft as expected but they were soft enough to slice with the cake.  You can poach the pear separately before making the cake if you prefer a softer fruit.  Check out this Upside-Down Pear Cake I made before.

* I've made another batch of this cake but poached the pears with Maggie Beer Sangiovese Verjuice which is sweet juice of unfermented grapes, no sugar just the verjuice.  I chose this because I didn't want to do a white-wine-cinnamon-anise-sugar-poached pear, as I wanted the pear to retain their natural sweetness to complement the chocolate cake.

* You can spray the pan with canola oil instead of brushing it with butter.

This was gone in a flash!  Literally!  While the cake was cooling, my taste testers kept coming down to check in the kitchen.  They could not wait!  One of the few cakes with fruits which they actually loved!  The girls said they love how it tastes a lot like brownies!  Now that its the school holidays, we might be making more of these.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...