I had not shared this recipe with you guys because at some point… this recipe was helping me make a living. When I was still figuring out this thing of working by myself, on the side, I was baking some things under the KarmaFree Cooking banner. I baked lots and lots of carrot cakes, made tons of hummus, veggie dips and red bell pepper dips. I also baked a lot of these budíns… especially for my friend Vanessa, may she rest in peace! She would order one from me almost every week…
This whole wheat bread budín is the Puerto Rican version of a bread pudding. The cool thing is it needs no egg custard to cook or any pre-soaking, like many recipes I have seen made at the Food Network. Just whiz the bread on the food processor, mix the rest of the ingredients and BAKE!!!
See why this was so cool to make for sale?? I hope you enjoy it as much as my friends enjoyed it when I was cooking for them…
Whole Wheat Bread Budín
1 lb package of 100% whole wheat bread
1 quart of milk, I usually use a box of Parmalatt milk
2 cups brown sugar
6 tbs melted butter or you can use 5tbs of coconut oil too
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla powder or extract
Cinnamon to taste
1 cup of raisins
8oz guava paste
- Process the bread in a food processor until you get crumbs.
2. Transfer the bread crumbs to a large bowl and mix the rest of the ingredients, except the guava paste.
3. Transfer to a 9 x 13 pan. I used to make this whole recipe to make 3 smaller size pans for sale. A lasagna pans is what the supply shop used to call this size. If I had one here I would measure it.
4. Bake in a 350F oven for 45 minutes. I turn off the oven at 45 mins, but leave the pans in for an extra 10 minutes with the residual heat. That will ensure the budín is cooked, yet not too dry on the outside.
5. After the budín has cooled off a bit, in a small sauce pan, add the guava paste with a little bit of water to make it into a pourable spreadable sauce. Pour on top of the budín as a glaze.
You just serve it directly from the pan… cut it into squares and serve your guests or bake sale customers.
I planned the whole menu for my sister’s baby shower… and appetizers is my thing. So I had a few ideas already in my mind. I would work with puff pastry to make something savory and something sweet. I would make a version of Rosemary Almonds but using cashews, which are easier on more adult teeth. Gotta think of the grandmas…
I brought with me an exquisite Pigeon Peas Antipasto too, but I was missing something else. Like a dip. But I was running out of ideas. I can’t make Veggie Dip one more time!!!
Then… I remembered a recipe I had seen from Giada DiLaurentiis – a savory cheesecake recipe designed to use a small cheesecake pan, just like the only one I have!! I had to adapt the recipe to make it egg-free and integrated some ideas I have learned while making Pumpkin Cheesecake over Thanksgiving.
Hope you enjoy it as much as we all did… this recipe is a keeper. Great for making in advance… great to bring to a party too!!!
SAVORY BASIL CHEESECAKE
Butter, for greasing the pan
1/2 cup part skim ricotta cheese, at room temperature
4 ounces 1/3 less fat cream cheese, at room temperature
3 ounces goat cheese, at room temperature
2 tbs sour cream
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 tsp egg replacer + 4 tbs water
Pinch of salt and freshly cracker pepper
1/2 packed cup chopped fresh basil
Extra-virgin olive oil, for serving
- Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a small bowl mix together the egg replacer and the water. Whisk well to combine and set aside. The mixture will foam and grow a bit.
- Butter the bottom and sides of a 4 1/2-inch diameter spring-form pan. Wrap the outside of the pan with a piece of heavy-duty foil. If you don’t have heavy-duty foil, just double on the foil.
- Place the ricotta cheese, cream cheese, goat cheese and sour cream in a food processor. Pulse until mixed.
- Add the brown sugar, the egg replacer mixture, salt and pepper and blend until smooth. Add the basil and pulse until incorporated.
- Pour the cheese mixture into the prepared spring-form pan. Place the pan in a glass baking dish that’s slightly larger. Pour enough hot water in the baking dish to come halfway up the sides of the spring-form pan. Make sure the foil top edge is above the water line.
- Bake until the cheesecake is golden at the edges and the center of the cake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken (the cheesecake will become firm when chilled), about 45 minutes. Turn off the oven and allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven for 1 hour.
- Remove the spring-form pan from the baking dish and remove the foil. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 3-4 hours. Remove the cheesecake from the spring-form pan. Allow the cheesecake to come to room temperature before serving, about 30 minutes.
- Drizzle the top of the cheesecake with extra-virgin olive oil and serve with assorted crackers.
This is a great recipe to make the day before you need it. Just chill in the fridge and get out before your guests arrive. The cheesecake will hold very well at room temperature.
Someone over on Facebook was discussing which desserts everyone was making for Thanksgiving… and someone mentioned pumpkin cheesecake. I immediately knew that would be my dessert of choice this year.
Plus… I had pumpkin my Titi Carmín gave me and I wanted to use it all in my Thanksgiving cooking. I used part in my Pumpkin and Spinach Phyllo Pie and the rest of the mashed pumpkin in my Puerto Rican Pumpkin Fritters.
This recipe is an adaptation of 2 recipes I saw on the internet… I mostly followed Martha Stewart’s recipe for Pumpkin Cheesecake, but I adapted the recipe to make it vegetarian without using eggs and used fresh pumpkin puree instead of canned pumpkin.
My springform pan is super small – I use a 4 ½” pan – and I use my toaster oven to bake it, I also had to adapt the times given in the original recipes. Because most of you guys probably have regular springform pans and will need to bake this in your regular large ovens, I will give you the original recipe proportions, temperatures and times. If you would like my adapted size, temps and times for using a toaster oven, let me know and I will gladly include too. OK???
EGGLESS PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE
10 graham crackers
¼ cup brown sugar
4 tbs butter, melted
4 packs of cream cheese
1 ¼ cups brown sugar
1 tbs cornstarch
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup sour cream
1 tbs cinnamon
A few grates of fresh nutmeg
1 tbs vanilla powder
½ tsp salt
6 tsp egg replacer + 8 tbs water
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees, with rack in center.
- In a food processor, grind the 10 crackers into a meal. Add sugar and melted butter and process until well combined and resembles wet sand.
- Press the cracker mixture firmly into bottom of 9” non-stick spring-form pan. Bake until golden around edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool a bit before adding the filling.
- Reduce oven temp to 300F.
- For the filling, add all the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and pulse and process until the ingredients form an homogeneous mix, but stop once it’s all combined. Avoid over-processing.
- Place spring-form pan on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour filling into spring-form, and gently smooth top. Tap pan onto the counter a few times to avoid having bubbles and for the batter to settle well. Transfer to oven. Bake for 45 minutes. Turn off oven; let cheesecake stay in oven 2 hours more (without opening the door at all).
- Remove from oven and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours to cool completely. Unmold before serving.
I actually ¼ the ingredients in this recipe and It gave me enough batter and crust to make 2 cheesecakes in my 4 1/2” pan. Because I made in the toaster oven, as I saw no need to turn on a large oven for such a small pan, I had to adjust the cooking times because it does not need as much time in the oven as for a larger pan.
The end result is a delicious, delicious cheesecake. This is certainly a winner in my book… a recipe that will stay in my Thanksgiving and Fall repertoire for years to come.
My nephew likes pears… but these pears at my sister’s house were DRY!!!! Dry, dry, dry… and tasteless. So I decided to make a dessert out of it. I can’t stand to waste food… and organic at that.
I forgot to take a picture of the final product… but the results were pretty different from the original raw fruit. The filling for this crumble came out juicy and sweet and a bit tangy with the addition of the lime juice. That tang balances the sweetness in the fruit and the sugar.
If the pears would’ve been juicy to begin with, maybe you can delete the extra juice. But I just wanted to show you how you can transform a not so delicious fruit into a delectable dessert.
PEAR AND BLACKBERRY CRUMBLE
2 pears, peeled and cut into small pieces
The juice of 1 lime, you can add some zest if you want too
2 tbs orange or apple juice, especially if the pears are a bit dry… like mine were
2 tbs of organic or brown sugar for the fruits, plus 3 additional heaping tbs for the topping
Pinch of salt
1 heaping tbs cornstarch
2 heaping tbs of spelt flour
2 heaping tbs of butter ( I used softened butter)
1 packet of organic instant maple oatmeal
A handful of walnuts
Does it show that when I was making the recipe I only had a soup spoon available??? So it’s all measured by the spoonful…
- Pre-heat oven at 350F.
- Just place the fruit in a medium pyrex glass baking dish. Add the apple or orange juice. Sprinkle on top the sugar, cornstarch, lime zest, lime juice and the pinch of salt. Mix well together.
- On a separate bowl, mix together the flour, oatmeal, sugar, walnuts and butter. Using a fork, mash the butter into the flour/oatmeal mixture. It’ll become like the texture of wet sand. When it feels like that, add it on top of the cut fruits.
- Bake for about 30 minutes, until you see the juices of the fruit bubbling and the top is golden brown.
I always leave in the oven until we’re about to eat. I like it warm… with a scoop of ice cream on the side.
Dulce de Lechoza, Dulce de Papaya or Candied Papaya Syrup, however you prefer to call it, is a very typical Puerto Rican dessert.
When I used to belong to Mili’s cooking team at the Yoga Center, I needed to come up with different desserts for our menus all the times, because if not, Mili would resort to her trusted papaya dessert each and every time.
It got to a point that I kinda shunned dulce de papaya because I was so fed up with it… but now that Mili doesn’t make it so often, I miss it. I asked her for the recipe… because I wanted to learn how to make it.
I want to thank Jesiel, my long-time friend and author of Sweet Journey of Inspiration, for so graciously lending me the use of her photo of her dulce de papaya. Jesiel is a former advertising professional and currently is a pastry chef working as a food stylist in Paris, France. We met working together, and even though our professional paths have somewhat diverted, we always stay in touch and connected in more ways than you’ll ever think.
Jesiel’s recipe and Mili’s recipe were very similar indeed. The biggest difference is that Mili’s recipe she stopped using baking soda because we were informed it is not that good for you to cook with it. I will get more info on the WHY for you guys soon… promise.
In the meantime, enjoy the flavors of Puerto Rico…
Photo courtesy of Sweet Journey of Inspiration
CANDIED PAPAYA IN SYRUP
1 large green papaya, but that’s showing signs that it’ll start ripening soon
2 cinnamon sticks
½ tbs whole cloves
2 cups brown sugar
1 tbs vanilla powder
- Cut papaya in half and clean the inside from all membranes and seeds.
- Slice it thinly, in about ¼ inch think and about 2 inches wide. Place in a large bowl. Cover the papaya slices with filtered water and let it rest for about 2 hours.
- After the 2 hours have passed, drain the papayas and place in a large pot. Add the cinnamon sticks, cloves, sugar, vanilla and about ¼ cup of water. Cook over medium heat for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the syrup is boiling too aggressively, turn down the heat. You sure do not want that hot sugar to boil over. Experience is speaking to you here…
- Remove from the heat and let it rest until room temperature. Chill in the refrigerator in a sealed container.
This candied papaya in syrup is best eaten cold and with a nice slice of cheddar cheese or queso del país.