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!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sansrival - a Filipino classic for the March SABH

Hello there!  Let me introduce you to one of the most indulgent classic Filipino dessert there is - layers of French buttercream and nutty wafers, covered with slivers of nuts and more buttercream.  Ah. Butter.  Is there anything more indulgent than butter in desserts?  Well, besides the dark chocolate of course.  

Sansrival (translated would mean "no rival") is a Filipino classic dessert which is traditionally made with ground cashews mixed with egg whites to make a meringue wafer.  This is then layered with cream mousseline which is French buttercream mixed with a cup of chopped cashews.     In an effort to introduce this Filipino dessert to a wider audience,  I've looked at recipes with similar ingredients and method of cooking and found that the French dacquoise closely resembles the elements that goes into making the classic Sansrival

But as with all classics, we try to make twists and turns to make it more adaptable in terms of ingredient substitution and preparation.  And with that, I give you my version of the Filipino classic, with a French twist. 

This post is part of the Sweet Adventures Blog Hop for March with the theme Layer upon Layer, hosted by The Capers of the Kitchen Crusader. 

To make this layered dessert takes some planning and time management. Like the chocolate marquise which was my post for the January blog hop.  Each element was tackled a day before the other.  The meringue wafer of dacquoise was made on a Tuesday, the decorator's almond slices on a Wednesday, the French buttercream on a Thursday and the assembly on a Friday.  But don't fret as it doesn't take a whole day to make.  It was just my intention to tackle this as slowly and as peacefully as possible.  I find that when the environment is quiet (everyone asleep or out and about) and relaxed, the results are almost always close to perfect.  

To make the meringue wafer, I adapted the Classic Dacquoise recipe 

1 pack 110g ground almonds
caster sugar in 3 measurements: 50g, 2 tbsp, 130g
5 egg whites, room temperature

Preheat oven to 108*C.

Prepare two baking sheets.  Line with parchment paper and draw three 8inch circles.  (Use the opposite side of the paper to pipe the meringue so you don't pipe on the pencil markings).

Combine the ground almonds with the 50g sugar in a bowl.  Set aside.

Pour the egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer, and with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on low speed until bubbles appear and it looks frothy.

Increase the speed and add the 2tbsp sugar in a steady stream.  Continue whipping until soft peaks form.

Still on medium speed, gradually add the remaining sugar in a steady stream. Continue whipping until the mixture is smooth.

Sprinkle the almond mixture over the meringue and gently fold with a rubber spatula.

Using a pastry bag with a round tip, pipe three 8in rounds onto the prepared parchment paper, starting from the centre.  (Pipe as many small rounds from the left over meringue to serve as samples when testing for doneness).

Bake in the preheated oven and bake for 65-75minutes or until dry but not coloured.  
(Use the small discs/samples to test for doneness. The meringue is ready when the samples are easily released and do not stick from the parchment paper.)

When the meringue is dry, remove from the oven and cool on wire rack by lifting the discs with the parchment paper.  

To store, cut around the parchment paper and place in airtight containers and store at room temperature.

the meringue discs with small test samples on the sides

The next step is to make the Decorator's Sliced Almonds,  also adapted from the 

1 large egg white
1 pack 110g sliced almonds
2 tbsp caster sugar

Preheat oven to 165*C.  Prepare baking sheet lined with parchment/baking paper.

Place the egg white in a bowl and pour in the almonds.  Sprinkle the sugar over the almonds and toss with a spatula to coat the nuts.

Spread the coated nuts evenly onto the baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes or until lightly toasted and dry. Toss every 5-7 minutes for even toasting.

Remove from rack and cool completely.  Store in an airtight container until ready to use. (This tasted really good, not too sweet - its also great as snacks).

And the last but not the least, the making of the French Buttercream.  This one is a classic icing recipe, which was simply flavoured with vanilla beans.  It is similar to the Italian buttercream icing, but this one uses the egg yolks, instead of the egg whites (as with the Italian buttercream).

5 egg yolks, room temperature
225g caster sugar
60ml water
250g unsalted butter, room temperature
1 vanilla bean, scraped

Place the egg yolks in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Using the whisk attachment, whip the yolks on medium speed until fluffy and light in colour. 

While whipping the yolks, pour the water and the sugar in a small saucepan and place over low heat until sugar completely dissolves.  

When sugar has dissolved, increase heat to high and bring to a boil until the sugar reaches 114*C (soft ball stage) on the candy thermometer.  (Soft ball stage simply means when you drop a bit of the sugar into water, it forms a soft ball. The link clearly explains all these)  

Once sugar reaches this stage, quickly pour into the centre of the whipped yolks and using a hand whisk, whip vigorously to combine.  

Return bowl to the stand mixer and continue whipping until the mixture thickens, increases in volume and lightens in colour and texture.  Continue whipping until the mixture has cooled down to body temperature.   

Add the butter slowly (a tablespoon at a time) and continue whipping to incorporate.  Continue until all butter has been added, then add the vanilla beans and whip until mixture is smooth.

Use immediately, or store in a container and refrigerate.  When ready to use, thaw the buttercream for at least an hour and whip with smooth.

buttercream heavenly mess

And now for the assembly.  As with all layered desserts, preparing this takes some careful handling, especially the meringue wafer/dacquoise is crisp and likely to break.

On a large round cake tray, place a tbsp of the buttercream on the base to hold the cake and prevent it from slipping.

Place the first layer of dacqouise/meringue wafer, then spread a thin layer of buttercream, sprinkle some of the prepared sliced almonds, then top with the other dacquoise disc.  Continue on layering - buttercream, almonds, dacquoise.

To finish off, spread an even layer of buttercream on the last discs and on the sides.   Sprinkle and decorate with the sliced almonds.  You can also opt to pipe the buttercream on the sides for a bit of fancy look.

Serve in small slices and indulge in this rich Filipino classic!   This Sansrival cum Dacquoise was served last weekend at a friend's BBQ party!  It was a welcome treat and everyone loved the French twist.  Almonds and butter.  Magic!

This is a blog hop.  Feel free to click on the thumbnails for more indulgent Layer upon Layer sweet adventures!  A big thanks goes to KC from the Capers of the Kitchen Crusader!  

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Beef and burgundy pies, calzone / empanada

Half way through to Term1 and the girls have settled in calmly at school. B who is now in Year 9 has taken electives in school that somehow (as a mum, I hope) would imbibe a new kind of interest, away from social networking and other non mind stimulating endeavours. Let’s see how and where Commerce and Visual Arts will take her this year. And for the first time, the NOW big girls will sit in separate Year 3 classes. Well somewhat. As two (A and S) are together in one class and (J) is the one separated. And half way thru, we can already see slight changes in their confidence and maturity.

And on the home front, we’ve done the most exciting step! We moved house! Not at all that grand in terms of distance (a few short blocks away), but still as crazy and overwhelming. Clearly not your ordinary kind of start to the year. But we’re just as glad and feel blessed that we found the perfect place. So we have been busy for what seemed like forever – from searching for the rental house, to inspections, to packing, cleaning, packing, cleaning, packing, cleaning, and now, cleaning, unpacking, cleaning unpacking, cleaning, unpacking. No complaints here. Just feelings of relief. Exhausting and crazy, but relieved. And so, for weeks now, with the start of the school year and the moving thing going on, writing/blogging has taken a back seat. Not that anyone actually notices, I know! Cooking never stops though. It’s a daily routine and taking photos of what we eat at home takes centre stage online – getting addicted with instagram much. Photos to upload and drafts to edit are patiently waiting for attention.

But before all these excitement was a meat pie attempt at home. For the new school year, we made some home made meat pies to pack in those lunch boxes. This recipe is inspired by the doyenne of the Australian culinary scene, Margaret Fulton - beef and burgundy pie recipe from the Margaret Fulton’s Encyclopaedia of Food and Cookery. We’ve managed to ruin our pastry from scratch and used store bought puff pastry, so this version became one easy recipe to follow.

1k beef chuck steak, cut into cubes
60g or 1/2 cup flour
Cayenne pepper
1 onion, diced
3-4 pieces of bacon with rind, diced
250g mushrooms
Half a bunch of thyme
125ml merlot
125ml vegetable or beef stock
2 tbsp olive oil
25g butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 150*C.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour and cayenne pepper.  Dip the beef cubes into the flour mixture and turn to coat.  (This eliminates the process of patting dry the meat pieces in order to brown them properly.  The flour coating also acts as a thickener in the dish during the finishing stages).

Using a large heavy-based saucepan or cast iron pot on medium heat, add oil and butter.  

Stir in the diced bacon and cook until golden and crisp.  Remove from pan and set aside.

In the same pan, brown the coated beef cubes a few pieces at a time, making sure all sides are browned, then aside.

Add the onions into the pan/pot and cook until soft, then add the mushroom.

Add back the browned beef cubes and bacon and continue cooking.  

Add the thyme, wine and stock to deglaze the pot/pan. 

Cover and place in the preheated oven and cook for 1-2hours or until meat is tender.

Cool completely. 

We prepared the filling a day early to let it cool down. Using a fork, the meat was coarsely shredded and set aside while the pastry thaws from the freezer section of the supermarket. Half cup muffin tins were used to prepare the meat pie versions, but we opted the easier route after one tray and wrapped the fillings in ala calzone-empanada versions. The pies are finished off with some egg wash, baked in a 160°degrees pre-heated oven until crisp and golden. About 30-40minutes.

These pies were wrapped with love and into the girls lunch boxes on their first day of school. Even hubby enjoyed and endorsed these at work. These are an absolute delight to eat! Seriously good melt in the mouth flavours wrapped in flaky savoury pastry. The little empanada varieties looked so great and bite sized, we’re making them for the next call-out for school morning tea!

Yield? Not quite sure.. but let me see. We made 12 pieces using the half-cup muffin tins, about 5 large calzone types, and about 24 cocktail sized empanadas. The filling plus 20 sheets of store-bought puff pastry could yield an approximate 36 using standard ½-cup muffin tins. Approximately.

PS – as I haven’t written for like weeks now, there was a kind of anxiety logging in to blogger. You know that kind when you know you have to face something, but you’re dreading it because of the enormity of the task? Well, it felt was like that. And to think this is just a personal. Ay-ay-ay!


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