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Pumpkin Tres Leches or is it Cuatro Leches???

17 Nov

This recipe is the first one I made for the Spanish Recipe portal Qué Rica Vida to celebrate Fall and Thanksgiving season.

I have been meaning to develop a recipe for a Pumpkin Tres Leches for several years now.  After few failed attempts, I knew I needed to come up with a new recipe.  A cake that would soak up all the milks like a sponge…  a SPONGE!!!!  That was the key!!!  I needed to develop a sponge cake recipe without using eggs.

Chia Seeds were the key… they worked even better than my usual and trusted egg-replacer.  Chia seeds, as I have shared previously, are full of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, anti-oxidants and even calcium.  And they work perfectly to substitute eggs in recipes because they gelatinize when they come in contact with liquids so they rise the batter they’re added to.

And why call it a Pumpkin Cuatro Leches, or 4 milks, instead of the usual Tres Leches?  Because traditional Tres Leches cakes are soaked in a mixture of fresh milk, evaporated milk and condensed milk but have a meringue topping.  Our version still is filled with the sweet flavors of the traditional 3 milks, but used a whipped cream topping, making the heavy cream the 4th milk in the recipe.

I tested and tested this recipe and it now has a following among the taste testers… hope you also join the group.

Pumpkin Cuatro Leches Cake

PUMPKIN CUATRO LECHES CAKE

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
½ cup brown sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
2 tsp chia seeds
2 tbs butter, melted
2/3 cups milk, I use 2%
1/3 cup fresh pumpkin, steamed and mashed
½ tsp vanilla powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground nutmeg

In addition:

6 oz fresh 2% milk
6 oz evaporated milk
6oz sweetened condensed milk

For the topping:

1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tbs condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla powder
½ tsp grown cinnamon, to decorate

It seems like a lot of ingredients… but it’s a really easy recipe to make.  I use a rectangular baking dish 8” x 6” x 2” or a round 8” cake pan.  And I also make this recipe in my toaster oven.  I believe this recipe is co chuck full of flavor and sweetness that a little bit goes a long way.  Although I do know a few that could easily eat a whole Pumpkin Cuatro Leches cake in one sitting… no problem, you all shall remain nameless.

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F.
  2. Butter the baking pan in which you’ll make this.  This will be the same pan in which you’ll serve it.  After greasing pan, set it aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients – flour, sugar, baking powder and the chia seeds.  Whisk them well to make sure there are no lumps of flour or brown sugar in the mix.
  4. In a measuring cup measure and add the milk, melted butter and mashed pumpkin.  Mix it well to create a homogeneous mixture.
  5. Add it to the dry ingredients and whisk together until all ingredients are well incorporated.
  6. Season mixture with salt, vanilla powder and spices.
  7. Pour the mixture in the prepared greased pan.  It may seem like little batter for the size of the pan, but remember we’ll be adding later on 18 ounces of milks and they need a place to go.
  8. Bake in oven for 20 minutes until the cake has risen and it’s golden on top.  After 20 minutes have elapsed, turn the oven off but do not take the cake out.  Not even open the oven door!! Wait about 40 additional minutes for the cake to complete cooking with the residual heat already in the oven.  There’s nothing to see… but your patience will be rewarded.
  9. After those additional 40 minutes have elapsed, take the cake out of the oven and rest it on a cooling rack so it cools completely.
  10. When it’s completely cooled, pierce it using a toothpick, a skewer or even a fork.  The idea is to make perforations so the milks can seep and soak the cake all from the inside.  It will not matter if the cake looks kinda ugly, because later on we’ll cover all that with whipped cream.  No one will see this but you…
  11. Mix the 3 milks in equal parts in a large measuring cup or a small pitcher.  It helps that the vessel you use has a spout so it’ll be easier to pour over the cooled cake.
  12. Pour half of the milks’ mixture over the pierced cooled cake.  You’ll probably not be able to pour more because the milks might overflow the cake pan.  That’s not a problem… just wait out a few hours for that first half to be absorbed and then you’ll be able to pour in the remaining milks.
  13. If the temperature where you live is cool, you can leave the cake soaking over your kitchen counter at room temperature.  If it’s too warm, you can cover the cake and place in the fridge over night while the milks are absorbed by the cake.
  14. The next day, pour 1 cup of heavy whipping cream in a large bowl and whip using an electric hand mixer.  Make sure the heavy cream is cold and start at a low speed and increase speeds slowly.  When bubbles start to form, add the condensed milk and the vanilla.  Continue whipping until soft peaks form.
  15. With an offset spatula, spread the whipped cream over the cake, which should have absorbed all the milks by now.  Decorate with a light sprinkle of grown cinnamon using a very fine sieve.

3 Leches for Tres Leches Cake

If you want to double this recipe, you certainly can… and you can use a 9” x 13” baking dish.  By going larger on the pan, you’ll probably need a larger oven and to increase the cooking time to 30 minutes and allow the cake to rest inside the hot oven for an additional 30 minutes, for a total 1 hour in the oven.  For the 3 milk mixture you can just mix a can of evaporated milk a can of condensed milk and the same amount of one of those cans of fresh milk.  With that, you’ll have the perfect amount of milk to soak your cake.

I prefer to use evaporated and condensed milks that come in UHT packaging instead of cans, but I understand they’re difficult to come by.  So if you can find them near you, by all means use them.  Just make sure you have equal amounts of milks and the total amount should be between 18 and 20 ounces of liquid to soak the cake well.

Pumpkin Cuatro Leches Cake

Carob Syrup

2 May

For all you former chocolate lovers who had to put your love aside because of what caffeine does to you… let me introduce you to your new best friend – Carob Syrup.  It does not contain caffeine and it’s as delicious as that good ‘ol Hershey’s syrup of the hey days.

If you loved to decorate  your vanilla ice cream with some syrup … this carob syrup is for you.

If you loved to drizzle your sweet crepes with a little something dark and delicious syrup… this carob syrup is you.

If you had to leave those dark chocolaty milks and shakes in your past… then this carob syrup is definitely for you.

The possibilities are endless… give it a try!!!

 

Carob Syrup 4

 

CAROB SYRUP

1 cup carob powder
2/3 cup almond milk
½ cup maple syrup
6 tbs brown sugar
1 tbs vanilla powder

 

  1. Add all the ingredients into your blender and blend until smooth.

 

CArob Syrup 1

 

You can store in your fridge for longer shelf-life.  I store it in a squeeze out bottle so I can pour it over whatever in small drizzles.

Carob Syrup - Spout

Macerated Strawberries

30 Apr

I used these strawberries inside my vegan gluten-free crepes for the latest International Vegetarian Festival we held at the Yoga Center recently.

These are super easy to make… I like to use frozen strawberries or berries of any kind because they tend to be consistently sweet whereas sometimes fresh strawberries can sometimes be very tart.

You can use this as a method to sweeten any frozen or fresh fruits to use in any dessert form. It can also be used as a way to preserve very ripe fruit for future use.

macerated strawberries inside vegan gluten-free crepes

 

MACERATED STRAWBERRIES

4 cups frozen strawberries, chopped
1 cup turbinado sugar

 

  1. Place chopped strawberries in a large bowl and add sugar. Mix together so the sugar covers most of the strawberry pieces.
  2. Mix them once in a while to ensure sugar is well dissolved in the juices created by the thawing, fruit juices and sugar. Let the fruits macerate for about 2 hours at room temperature to allow the fruit to thaw completely and for the sugar to infuse into the fruit.

Use immediately after the fruit is macerated or store in an airtight container in the fridge. Use inside crepes, to top ice cream, to top a slice of pound cake or to flavor your favorite morning smoothie.

 

Vegan Gluten-Free Crepes

28 Apr

A few weeks ago, the Yoga Center celebrated an International Festival of Vegetarian Dishes.  I wanted to contribute by making something that is traditionally considered a “forbidden” food for vegetarians out there, but at the same time that it would be easy for me to make.

I have made crepes time and time again, but out of spelt flour, which is a cousin of wheat.  Most people with wheat-intolerance deal well with spelt, but many people at the Center are avoiding wheat and gluten altogether so if I wanted to make a dish everyone would enjoy, including our Master, I needed to make something gluten-free.

This was my contribution to the Festival…  vegan gluten-free crepes filled with macerated strawberries and decorated with a drizzle of carob syrup.  This was my homage to Didier and the delicious sweet and very popular crepes he would make for me at the Alliance Française a few years ago.

 

Egg-free crepes

VEGAN GLUTEN-FREE CREPES

1 ½ cups gluten-free flour
4 tbs coconut oil
2 cups almond milk + 6 tbs
½ tsp salt
4 ½ tsp egg-replacer
More coconut oil to cook the crepes to oil the pans

 

  1. First, prepare the egg-replacer mixture in a small bowl mixing the egg-replacer and 6tbs of almond milk.  Whisk well together and set aside.
  2. In a blender, add the flour, 2 cups almond milk, salt and egg-replacer mix you prepared earlier. Blend well until all ingredients form a smooth batter mixture.
  3. Refrigerate the crepe batter for at least 2 hours.  DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP.  I cannot stress this enough…  if the batter is not rested for at least 2 hours your crepes will be full of bubbles and they will cook uneven.
  4. When you’re ready to use the batter…  move it around and see if it has the consistency of a light pancake batter.  If it’s too thick, add ¼ cup of water or more almond milk to make it thinner.
  5. Heat a small non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Add 1 tbs coconut oil and spread out using a paper towel.
  6. Pour one ladleful of batter into skillet into skillet, turning and tilting skillet as you’re pouring the batter.  The idea is to coat the bottom of the skillet with a thin layer of batter.  Don’t be discouraged if the first few ones are not as you expect.  It took me a few tried to get the right rhythm of ladle and skillet.
  7. Loose the edges of the crepe using an off-set spatula.  You’ll see the crepe bubble a little, very similar to pancakes.  Loosen the crepe delicately from the pan using a silicone spatula.  When you can move the crepe loosely by just shaking the skillet, after about 1 minute of cooking, flip the crepe using the silicone spatula.
  8. Cook on the other side for about 30 more seconds.  Just slide the crepe out of the skillet onto a plate lined with wax paper.
  9. Repeat the process all over until you finish the crepe batter.  Pass the oiled paper towel once in awhile in between crepes, as needed.

In my belief, these crepes were a COMPLETE SUCCESS!!!!  But I will let the people who actually tasted them give their comments and tell you all about them in their own words.  People… I am counting on you!!!!

Vegan Gluten Free Crepes

Romantic Mains to Impress

10 Feb

Even though I am not currently dating someone special… I still like to cook something nice, even if it’s just for myself.

After all, Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate LOVE and there are many ways to express and celebrate love – love towards your parents, love towards your kids, love towards your siblings, love towards your pets, love towards your partner, love towards your neighbors, your family in general, your co-workers, your friends and most of all, LOVE TOWARDS YOURSELF.  Because, if you don’t love yourself, how do you expect others to love you too???

Here are a few ideas I have cooked in the past to impress a few loved ones…  hope you choose to make one to impress YOURSELF!!!

Cheese, Spinach and Mushroom Manicotti

My Plate

Roasted Stuffed Tomatoes over Pasta

Roasted Stuffed Tomatoes - 3 tom

Spinach-Stuffed Mushrooms

My Maggiano's Mushrooms

Eggplant and Goat Cheese Bake

??????????

Asparagus Tart

ASparagus Tart - Before 2 KFC

Korean Seasoned Tofu

Sesame Sauce

Chame’s Spinach Salad with Figs and Blue Cheese

Chame's Salad

Poached Pears with Blue Cheese and Almond Praline

pear-w-blue-cheese-2-comp

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