Tag Archives: guyanese desserts

Salara… Red (coconut) Cake

Salara (Guyanese Red Cake)

Most people call salara, red cake, because the coconut filling is dyed a bright red color. But this is far from a cake. If anything it is a coconut bread or coconut roll. None the less, it is really moist and the delicious red coconut filling is simply that, delicious. If you love coconut this is a recipe you must try. If you’re Guyanese and haven’t had red cake in a while, here’s your opportunity to make your own.

Before we get started I must say that it took me some time to perfect this recipe. This is not my original recipe, but a recipe taken from Caribbean Cuisine by Dr. Betty “K.” I’ve tried this recipe several times, the dough is always perfect but I couldn’t get the filling just right. First, it was not red enough, then it was too sweet, then, it was runny and too red. Finally, I nailed it and the hubby was pleased! Mainly because he wasn’t stuck with a roll of not so perfect salara that he was forced to eat. Ha ha.

So here you go, try it and let me know how it comes out!

For this recipe we will need to set 1 tbsp dry yeast with 1 tbsp brown sugar and 1/4 cup warm water.  Mix together and let sit for about 10 minutes until yeast ferments.

For this recipe we will need to set 1 tbsp dry yeast with 1 tbsp brown sugar and 1/4 cup warm water.
Mix together and let sit for about 10 minutes until yeast ferments.

While the yeast sets, combine 1 cup of warm milk, 1/4 cup of butter, 1/4 cup brown sugar and 2 eggs. Whisk together until the sugar melts.

While the yeast sets, prepare your wet ingredients by combining 1 cup of warm milk, 1/4 cup of butter, 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1 egg. Whisk together until the sugar melts.

Now for the dry ingredients: Mix together 3 cups of sieved flour with 1 tsp salt. I use a whisk to quickly mix everything together.

Now for the dry ingredients: Mix together 3 cups of sieved flour with 1 tsp salt. I use a whisk to quickly mix everything together.

Once the yeast ferments, combine the milk/butter/eggs mixture and yeast mixture in a mixing bowl with a dough hook attached. Then, mix in flour and salt mixture until a soft dough is formed.  Knead dough into a semi stiff ball.

Once the yeast ferments, combine the milk/butter/eggs mixture and yeast mixture in a mixing bowl with a dough hook attached.
Then, mix in flour and salt mixture until a soft dough is formed.
Turn onto a floured surface and knead dough into a semi stiff ball.

Place dough ball in a greased bowl, cover and let sit in a warm place until it doubles in size (about an hour).

Place dough ball in a greased bowl, cover and let sit in a warm place until it doubles in size (about an hour).

While you wait for the dough to prove (rise to double its size), prepare the coconut filling.  Add 3 cups of shredded coconut to a small mixing bowl.  Then, add 1 tsp ground cinnamon and 1 tsp vanilla essence.. Mix together.

While you wait for the dough to prove (rise to double its size), prepare the coconut filling.
Add 3 cups of shredded coconut to a small mixing bowl.
Then, add 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon and 1/2 tsp vanilla essence..
Mix together.

Next at 1 tbsp red food coloring to the coconut mixture. Mix together until all the coconut pieces are covered with the coloring.

Next add1 tbsp red food coloring to the coconut mixture.
Mix together until all the coconut pieces are covered with the coloring.

Once the dough is ready, place on a floured surface. Punch down and roll into a large rectangular shape.

Once the dough is ready, place on a floured surface. Punch down and roll into a large rectangular shape.

Then, brush the edges of the dough with egg white. This helps to seal the roll and prevents it from unfolding while baking.

Brush the edges of the dough with egg white. This helps to seal the roll and prevents it from unfolding while baking. Then add the coconut filling to the dough, spreading as evenly as possible.

What your dough should look like once covered with coconut filling. You should try to get dough as close to the edge as possible.

This is what your dough should look like once covered with coconut filling. You should try to get the filling as close to the edge as possible.

Let's roll this bad boy into a log! Roll the edge closest to you, up and away from you about 2 inches in, then brush with some egg white.

Let’s roll this bad boy into a log! Roll the edge closest to you, up and away from you about 2 inches in, then brush with some egg white.

Continue to roll until all the dough is rolled up into a log.

Continue to roll until all the dough is rolled up into a log.

Place in a greased baking pan or on a greased baking sheet and coat the top of the roll with whisked egg yolk.

Place in a greased baking pan or on a greased baking sheet and coat the top of the roll with whisked egg yolk. Let sit until it doubles in size (for about 30 to 40 minutes).

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Make a very simple syrup/glaze by combining 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup water in a small sauce pan.  Bring to a boil on medium heat. Continue to boil for 5 to 10 minutes.  Remove from heat. Brush roll with the syrup. This gives salara the stickiness it is known to have.

Make a very simple syrup/glaze by combining 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup water in a small sauce pan.
Bring to a boil on medium heat. Continue to boil for 5 to 10 minutes.
Remove from heat.
Brush roll with the syrup. This gives salara the stickiness it is known to have.

When somewhat cooled, slice it up and enjoy. Preferably with a glass of cream soda with milk!

When somewhat cooled, slice it up and enjoy. Preferably with a glass of cream soda with milk!

Salara (Red Coconut Cake) Makes 1 large roll.

Ingredients
1 tbsp dry yeast
¼ cup warm water
1 tbsp plus ¼ cup brown sugar
1 cup milk
¼ cup butter
1 tsp salt
3 cups flour
1 egg, beaten
1 egg, separated

Filling
3 cup shredded coconut (store bought, sweetened)
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp vanilla essence
1 tbsp red food coloring

Glaze
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water

Directions:
Combine yeast and 1 tbsp sugar and dissolve the yeast in warm water. Let stand for about 10 minutes until yeast ferments. Warm the milk, then dissolve the sugar into the milk. Add the butter and 1 whole egg. Whisk together. Set aside. Sieve flour, add salt and mix together. Add fermented yeast and milk mixture a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment. Add flour and salt mixture. Mix together to form a soft dough. Turn dough unto a floured work surface and knead into a moderately stiff ball. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover, let rise to double in size for about 1 hour.

Combine all the filling ingredients and set aside.

Once dough ball has risen to twice its original size, turn unto a floured surface and punch down. Roll dough into a large rectangle and brush edges with egg white. Cover dough with coconut filling, spreading filling evenly and as close to the edges as possible. Roll dough lengthwise into a log. Seal edges. Place roll in a greased baking pan or sheet. Brush roll with whisked egg yolk, cover and let sit until it doubles in size. Bake at 350°F (190°C) for 20 – 30 minutes.

To make the glaze, combine the sugar and water in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Let boil for 5 to 10 minutes then remove from the heat.

Once the salara is golden brown, remove from the oven and brush the top with the sugar glaze. Let cool, cut into slices and enjoy.

Tips and Ramblings:
1. The original recipe by Dr Betty “K” can be found on Guyana Outpost. I’ve modified it quite a bit but didn’t want to claim it as my own.
2. I’m using store bought, shredded coconut because I like the flavor of that one over fresh shredded coconut. If you are using fresh shredded coconut you will need to add about 1/4 cup of sugar to your filling.
3. The glaze is a simple syrup.
4. This makes a pretty huge roll, because the best salara’s I’ve had back home, are usually a large slice that can serve as a meal.

Happy Baking!

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Cheesecake… New York Style Strawberry Cheesecake

New York Cheesecake

I’ve made this cheesecake too many times to count. It’s an Emril Legassie recipe from FoodNetwork.com. It’s quick and easy (the mixing part that is, the baking and cooling takes time). The topping however, I created after several tries. Now I think it is just right. My husband loves cheesecake, it’s one of the first desserts I made after we got married and he’s been hooked on it ever since. I hope you like it as much as we do.

Add 1 1/2 lbs cream cheese to a stand mixer. Beat with a paddle attachment until cream cheese is light and fluffy.

Add 1 1/2 lbs cream cheese to a stand mixer. Beat with a paddle attachment until cream cheese is light and fluffy.

Add a cup of sugar to the cream cheese (1 tbsp at a time) and continue to beat on a low speed.

Add 1 cup of sugar to the cream cheese (1 tbsp at a time) and continue to beat on a low speed.

Add about 1 tbsp of orange zest and continue to mix on a low speed.

Add about 1 tbsp of orange zest and 1 tbsp lemon zest (not shown) and continue to mix on a low speed.

Add 1 tsp vanilla essence, 1 tbsp heavy cream, 2 tbsp flour (not shown) Then add four large eggs one at a time until incorporated into the mixture.

Add 1 tsp vanilla essence, 1 tbsp heavy cream, 2 tbsp flour (not shown)
Then add four large eggs one at a time until incorporated into the mixture.

At this point the filling is pretty much ready. Now for the crust. I tried the crust from Emril’s recipe but it always comes out crunchy, so I improvised and this one seems to work perfectly.

Add 1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs to a mixing bowl.  Then combine 1/4 cup of granulated sugar, 1 tsp ground cinnamon and 1/2 cup of melted butter with the graham cracker crumbs.  Mix together to form of crumbly, some what wet consistency.

Add 1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs to a mixing bowl.
Then combine 1/4 cup of granulated sugar, 1 tsp ground cinnamon and 1/2 cup of melted butter with the graham cracker crumbs.
Mix together to form a crumbly and some what wet consistency.

Grease the sides of a small spring form pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Add graham cracker mixture to the pan.

Grease the sides of a small spring form pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
Add graham cracker mixture to the pan.

Using the back of a spoon, press graham cracker mixture firmly into bottom of pan and about 1/2 way up the sides.

Using the back of a spoon, press graham cracker mixture firmly into bottom of pan and about 1/2 way up the sides.

Pour batter into the graham cracker lined pan and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.

Pour batter into the graham cracker lined pan and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees, or until cheesecake is firm but still jiggly in the center.

Remove from oven and let cool until cheesecake sets. This can take up to 6 hours.  Disclaimer: My husband likes his cheesecake dense so I like it bake until its a bit brown and the center is firm.

Remove from oven and let cool until cheesecake sets. This can take up to 6 hours.
Disclaimer: My husband likes his cheesecake dense so I let it bake until its a bit brown and the center is firm. This also reduces the setting time.

 

Now for the strawberry topping…

You will need about 1 1/2 lbs of fresh strawberries. Wash, remove stem and cut strawberries in halves.  Add 1 cup of water and 1/2 cup of granulated sugar to a small sauce pot and bring to a boil. Boil until all the sugar has evaporated.  Add the juice of 1 orange and continue to boil for about 5 minutes.  Add strawberries and cook for about 3 minutes. You want the strawberries to be cooked but not too soft.  Remove 1/2 the strawberries (enough to cover the top of the cheesecake) and let cool. Continue to boil the remaining strawberries until they are completely mushy. Remove from the heat, and using a hand blended or potato masher, crush the strawberries until a somewhat jam consistency is formed.  Return to the heat and cook down until sauce it thick and jam like.  Strain to remove the tiny strawberry pieces, leaving a lovely thick syrup.

You will need about 1 1/2 lbs of fresh strawberries. Wash, remove stem and cut strawberries in halves.
Add 1 cup of water and 1/2 cup of granulated sugar to a small sauce pot and bring to a boil. Boil until all the sugar has dissolved.
Add the juice of 1 orange and continue to boil for about 5 minutes.
Add strawberries and cook for about 3 minutes. You want the strawberries to be cooked but not too soft.
Remove 1/2 the strawberries (enough to cover the top of the cheesecake) and let cool.
Continue to boil the remaining strawberries until they are completely mushy.
Remove from the heat, and using a hand blender or potato masher, crush the strawberries until a somewhat jam consistency is formed.
Return to the heat and cook down until sauce it thick and jam like.
Strain to remove the tiny strawberry pieces, leaving a lovely thick syrup.

This is the strained syrup.

This is the strained syrup.

Using the strawberries you had set aside to cool, cover the top of the cheesecake.

Using the strawberries you had set aside to cool, cover the top of the cheesecake.

Then pour the strawberry syrup over the the top of the cheesecake.  And there you have it. Strawberry cheesecake. Yummy!!!!

Then pour the strawberry syrup over the the top of the cheesecake.
And there you have it. Strawberry cheesecake. Yummy!!!!

New York Cheesecake

New York Style Strawberry Cheesecake with a graham cracker crust.

New York Style Strawberry Cheesecake with a graham cracker crust.

This recipe is taken from foodnetwork.com. Follow the recipe for the cheesecake only. My strawberry topping recipe will follow below.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/new-york-cheesecake-with-caramelized-big-apple-topping-recipe/index.html

Ingredients
Graham Cracker Crust:1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons melted butterCheesecake Filling:

1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Apple Topping:

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1 stick unsalted butter
2 cups peeled, cored, and thinly sliced Granny Smith apples (about 4 apples)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a bowl, mix together the crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon. Add the butter and mix well. Using the back of a spoon, press evenly into the bottom and slightly up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake until golden, about 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool before filling.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese with the paddle attachment of an electric mixer, or with a large, heavy wooden spoon until creamy and smooth. Add the sugar a few tablespoons at a time, and when well incorporated, add the flour, lemon peel, orange peel, and vanilla extract. Add the eggs and heavy cream, beating on low speed just until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl to incorporate all the ingredients.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the middle of the oven until set, but the center is still slightly soft (but not wobbly), about 55 minutes to 1 hour and 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, loosen the outer ring, and let cool in the pan on a wire rack. Refrigerate the cake, loosely covered, for 6 hours or overnight.

Remove the cake from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature.

To make the topping, in a heavy, medium saucepan, combine the 1/2 cup sugar and water, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved. Continue cooking until amber in color, 7 to 10 minutes, swirling the pan occasionally. Add the butter, stir, and cook over low heat until the butter is melted and evenly incorporated. Add the apples and stir to coat with the caramel. Cook, stirring, over medium heat until the apples are tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool before topping the cheesecake.

Top the cheesecake with the caramelized apple topping and serve.

Strawberry Topping:

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs fresh strawberries
1 large orange (juiced)
1 cup water
1/2 cup granulated sugar

Directions:
Wash strawberries. Then remove stems and cut into halves. Set aside. Combine water and sugar in a small stock pot on high heat. Stir until sugar dissolves completely. Then bring to a boil. Add orange juice and continue to boil for about 5 minutes. Add strawberries, and continue to boil for about 3 minutes, or until strawberries are cooked but not too soft. Remove 1/2 the strawberries, set aside and let cool. Continue to cook the other half, until really soft and mushy. Remove from heat. With a hand blender or potato masher, crush strawberries until a jam like consistency forms. Return to the heat and cook down until a thick sauce forms, for about 10 more minutes. You may need to stir constantly to prevent sticking. Strain strawberry sauce to remove chucks of strawberries, leaving a nice thick sauce. The strawberries you set aside before will be used to top the cheesecake followed by the sauce.

Tips and Ramblings:
1. You can make this recipe without the crust. Just remember to grease the pan and line all the way around with parchment to prevent the cheesecake from dripping out the sides of the spring form pan.
2. For a lighter, fluffier cheesecake, bake at 325 for about 110 minutes. This should also prevent it from getting as brown as mine did.
3. You can top your cheesecake with any kind of fruit. In fact I wish I lived in Guyana and had access to gooseberry cause gooseberry jam would probably make a great cheesecake topping, or even pineapple jam.
4. Sometimes my cheesecake cracks after or during cooling, I’m not quite sure why this happens or how to prevent. But it gets covered up with the topping. If any of you bakers out there know how to prevent this, do share.

Happy Baking!

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Sunday Brunch… Salt fish Cakes

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I love cakes, so when a good friend and subscriber asked if I had a recipe, I was too happy to pull this together. You can use any variety of salt fish for this recipe or even fresh fish. Just be sure to cook (bake or steam) before you make it into cakes. This dish is perfect for Sunday Brunch with biscuits or bakes or just by itself, as an appetizer for dinner parties.

First you will need some salt fish. I am using salted boneless and skinless Alaskan Pollock…

Soak the salt fish in boiling water and leave  overnight to remove some of the salt.

Soak the salt fish in boiling water and leave overnight to remove some of the salt.

Wash two red potatoes and dice into quarters and boil with skin on.

Wash two small red potatoes and dice into quarters and boil with skin on until tender. Then, remove skin and crush. Set aside and let cool.

Cook salt fish, by boiling in about 4 cups of water for 20 to 30 minutes. Drain water, let cool and flake salt fish flesh, using a fork.

Cook salt fish, by boiling in about 4 cups of water for 20 to 30 minutes.
Drain water, let cool and flake salt fish flesh, using a fork. You may also use clean hands to flake the flesh.

Add flaky salt fish to a small mixing bowl and add: 1. Crushed potatoes 2. 1 tbsp granulated garlic (garlic powder) 3. 1 tsp crushed dried thyme 4. 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper 5. 3 heads of green onions finely chopped. 6. The juice of 1/2 a lime.

Add flaky salt fish to a small mixing bowl and add:
1. Crushed potatoes
2. 1 tbsp granulated garlic (garlic powder)
3. 1 tsp crushed dried thyme
4. 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
5. 2 heads of green onions finely chopped.
6. The juice of 1/2 a lime.

Then add: 1. 1 large garlic clove (grated) 2. 1/4 large onion (grated) 4. 1 tsp spicy brown mustard and 1 tsp tomato paste 5. You may choose to add an egg for extra binding. Finally, mix it all together.

Then add:
1. 1 large garlic clove (grated)
2. 1/4 large onion (grated)
4. 1 tsp spicy brown mustard and 1 tsp tomato paste
5. You may choose to add an egg for extra binding.
Finally, mix it all together.

Using a 1/4 cup measure, scoop out 1/4 cup of the seasoned salt fish mixture.  Then, shape into a flat cake.  Make all of the cakes before you start cooking.

Using a 1/4 cup measure, scoop out 1/4 cup of the seasoned salt fish mixture.
Then, shape into a flat cake.
Make all of the cakes before you start cooking.

Add 1/4 cup of all purpose flour to 1 cup seasoned Italian bread crumbs.  Mix together then completely coat fish cake with bread crumbs and flour mixture.

Add 1/4 cup of all purpose flour to 1 cup seasoned Italian bread crumbs.
Mix together then completely coat fish cake with bread crumbs and flour mixture.

Add about 3 cups of oil to a frying pan on medium heat. When the oil is hot, add salt fish cakes.  Cook on one side until golden brown (about 4 minutes), then flip and cook on the other side until golden brown.

Add about 3 cups of oil to a frying pan on medium heat. When the oil is hot, add salt fish cakes.
Cook on one side until golden brown (about 4 minutes), then flip and cook on the other side until golden brown.

Place on a sheet of paper towel to allow some of the excess oil to drain. Then serve and enjoy!

Place on a sheet of paper towel to allow some of the excess oil to drain. Then serve and enjoy!

I served mine with a sauce made with Guyanese wiri wiri pepper sauce, a bit of mustard, vinegar and honey. It was AMAZING!

I served mine with a sauce made with Guyanese wiri wiri pepper sauce, a bit of mustard, vinegar and honey. It was AMAZING!


Salt Fish Cakes (Makes 5 to 6)


Ingredients:

1/2 lb salt fish
1/4 lb red potatoes
1 tbsp granulated garlic
1 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp cayenne powder
2 heads of green onions
Juice of 1/2 a lime
1 large garlic (grated)
1/4 large onion (grated)
1 tsp spicy brown mustard
1 tsp tomato paste
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup seasoned Italian Bread Crumbs
3 cups of oil for frying

Directions:
Soak salt fish in boiling water and leave overnight. Cook salt fish by boiling in about 3 cups of water for 30 minutes, in a medium pot on medium heat. Once cooked, let cool, then flake using a fork. Wash and dice potatoes (with skin on) into quarters. Boil potatoes until tender, then remove from heat and let cool. When cool, remove skin and crush. Add potatoes and salt fish to a small mixing bowl. Then add granulated garlic, thyme, cayenne powder, green onions, lime juice, grated garlic, grated onion, mustard and tomato paste. Mix together. Using a 1/4 cup measure, scoop 1/4 cup of fish mixture and form into flat a cake. Continue until all the cakes are made (about 5 or 6).

Then, mix together flour and bread crumbs. Coat cakes completely with bread crumbs mixture. Add oil to a frying pan on medium heat. When oil is hot but not smoking, add fish cakes and cook on one side until golden brown. Then flip and cook on the other side until it is golder brown. Remove from oil and place on a paper towel to allow some of the excess oil to drain. Serve them however you chose and enjoy!

Tips and Ramblings:
1. I use clean hands to flask the salt fish flesh because it makes it into really tiny flakes.
2. You can add an egg to the mixture for additional binding. I find that the potatoes are enough to pull it together without making it too stiff.
3. I served mine with a simple sauce I made by combining 1/8 cup white vinegar, 1 tbsp Guyanese pepper sauce, 1 tsp mustard and 1 tbsp honey. I added a pinch of salt and mixed it together. It gave it a nice kick.

Happy Cooking.

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Vermicelli… Sweet Vermicelli Cake

Vermicelli cake

I went to my pantry on Sunday, looking for some noodles and came across a packet of champion vermicelli noodles. First I checked the expiration date… doesn’t expire until September. Jackpot!!! So I made vermicelli noodle cake. This is not a savory dish for those non Guyanese familiar with Vietnamese Vermicelli noodles or Pho. This is a sweet delicious noodle cake.  I didn’t have any raisins or maraschino cherries (traditionally what is added to this dish) but I didn’t let that stop me. I had a can of cherry pie filling, so I topped my vermicelli cake with that and it was so, good. Creativity is always welcome in my kitchen.

What the packaging for the noodles looks like.

What the packaging for the noodles looks like.

Now for the recipe…

First, combine 2 cans of evaporated milk and 1 can of condense milk into a medium sauce pan. Mix together until condense milk combines with evaporated milk. Place on medium heat and bring to a boil.

First, combine 2 cans of evaporated milk and 1 can of condense milk into a large sauce pan.
Mix together until condense milk combines with evaporated milk. Add 1 tsp ground cinnamon and 1 tsp vanilla essence.  Place on high heat and bring to a boil. If you are adding raisins, currants or maraschino cherries you would add them to the milk just after it starts boiling.

Melt 2 tbsp butter in another sauce pan.  Break the noodles into 3 inch pieces. Add noodles to the melted butter. Parch noodles until brown (stirring as much as possible to ensure even parching).

Melt 2 tbsp of butter in another large saucepan.
Break the noodles into 3 inch pieces.
Add noodles to the melted butter.
Parch/toast noodles until brown (stirring as much as possible to ensure even parching/toasting).

Once the noodles parch, add to the pot with the milk mixture, or alternatively you can add the milk to the noodles.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium heat and cook until noodles are soft.  You may need to add up to 2 cups of water to the noodles to prevent sticking.

Once the noodles parch, add to the pot with the milk mixture, or alternatively you can add the milk to the noodles.
Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium heat and cook until noodles are soft.
You may need to add up to 2 cups of water to the noodles to prevent sticking.

When noodles have cooked and the liquids have thicken, but not completely evaporated, pour into a greased baking dish and let cool.

When noodles have cooked and the liquids have thickened, but not completely evaporated, pour into a greased baking dish and let cool.

As the noodles cool, they will form a thick cake. Once completely cool, cut into slices and enjoy. I topped mine with some cherries I had hoping to make cherry pie. Oh well. It was delicious.

As the noodles cool, they will form a thick cake. Once completely cool, cut into slices and enjoy. I topped mine with some cherries I had hoping to make cherry pie. It was delicious.

Vermicelli Cake (Serves 12)

Ingredients:

1 lb Guyanese style vermicelli noodles
1 can condensed milk
2 cans evaporated milk
(2 cups water)
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 can cherry pie filling (optional topping)

Directions:
Combine condense milk and evaporated milk in a large saucepan. Add ground cinnamon and essence. Stir until condense milk completely mixes with evaporated milk. Add to high heat and bring to a boil. Melt butter in another saucepan, on medium heat. Break noodles into 3 inch pieces. Add noodles to melted butter and parch/toast. Stir constantly to ensure noodles parch/toast evenly. Add parched/toasted noodles to pot with boiling milk. Reduce heat and let noodles simmer until fully cook. If necessary add up to 2 cups of water to prevent noodles from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Once noodles are completely soft and the milk mixture has thickened but not completely evaporated, add to a greased baking pan and let cool. When completely cooled, cut into squares. I topped mine with some cherry pie filling. It was so deliciously refreshing.

Tips and Ramblings:

1. I know someone reading this will say, where are the cherries and the raisins, but hey I promise it didn’t need it.
2. Be careful when you are cooking the noodles, the milk mixtures evaporates really quickly if the heat is too high and you will have al dente (slightly hard noodles). For this cake you need the noodles to be fully cooked almost to the point of being over cooked.

Happy Cooking!

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Pone… Cassava and Coconut Pone

Cassava Pone

Last weekend, I picked up about 2 lbs of cassava (yuca) from H-Mart (Asian supermarket). My intentions were to make cassava ball and maybe try making some metemgee (I know, I know… the metemgee recipe is long overdue). I started peeling the cassava and started thinking about cassava pone. Once I mentioned it to my hubby and mother-in-law, I knew I would be making pone.

If I had to describe pone, I would say that it is like a crustless pie or a soft, flourless sweet bread. When I googled pone, I found out that it originally referred to a Native American dish of flat cornmeal cakes baked in ashes. I started to wonder if pone is an Amerindian (Indigenous Guyanese) dish and whether it originated from similar beginnings! Perhaps they substituted cornmeal for cassava because cassava grows in abundance in Guyana. I’ll keep digging. Someone, somewhere has to have a story to tell about how we started making pone (smile).

Now for this quick and easy pone recipe. I promise it’s really simple, but it takes about 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours to bake so allow yourself time for that.

For this recipe I'm using 1lb cassava (peeled and cubed) and 2 cups of shredded coconut.

For this recipe I’m using 1lb cassava (peeled and cubed) and 2 cups of shredded coconut.

I ground/processed the cassava in a food processor until it was a fine paste-like consistency.

I ground/processed the cassava in a food processor until it was a fine paste-like consistency. Traditionally you would grate the cassava with the fine side of a grater. Thank God for modern technology!

I am using store bought coconut flakes so I processed that in the food processor until it was really fine.

I am using store bought coconut flakes so I processed that in the food processor until it was really fine.

Combine the processed cassava and coconut in a mixing bow. Then add, 1 cup of brown sugar, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, about 1 tbsp grated nutmeg, 2tbsp butter and 1 tsp vanilla essence. Mix together well.  Then add 1/4 cup of water until it form a soft batter.

Combine the processed cassava and coconut in a mixing bow.
Then add, 1 cup of brown sugar, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tbsp grated nutmeg, 2tbsp butter and 1 tsp vanilla essence.
Mix together well, then add 1/4 cup of water until it form a soft batter.

Place mixture into a greased baking pan. Make sure mixture is no more than 1 inch thick.

Place mixture into a greased baking pan. Make sure mixture is no more than 1 inch thick.

When pone is golden brown, remove from oven and let cool.

When pone is golden brown, remove from oven and let cool.

When cool cut into squares and enjoy.

Once cooled, cut into squares and enjoy.

Stacked squares of Cassava Pone

Stacked squares of Cassava Pone

Cassava and Coconut Pone* (Makes 9 servings)

Ingredients:
1 lb cassava (peeled and diced)
2 cups of shredded coconut
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp grated nutmeg
1 tsp all spice
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/4 cup water

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Add cassava to a food processor and process until it forms a fine paste-like consistency. Then, process coconut flakes in the food processor until fine. In a medium mixing bowl, combine cassava, coconut, brown sugar, butter, nutmeg, all spice and vanilla essence. Mix together, then add water. Continue to mix until a soft batter is formed. Place batter into a greased baking dish (batter should be no more that 1 inch thick) and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 20 minutes, or until pone is golden brown in color. Remove from oven and let cool. Once pone cools, cut into 9 squares. Enjoy with some mauby, sorrel or ginger beer.

*Recipe a modified version of the Cassava pone recipe found in Caribbean Cuisine by Dr. Betty “K.”

Tips and Ramblings:
1. If you don’t have a food processor feel free to grate your cassava. Just don’t cut it into cubes first.
2. I rarely get fresh coconuts where I live so I have to improvise.
3. Originally I thought the pan was too big for the pone I was making but the pone was about 1/2 inch in thickness and had the right about of crunch to it. Next time I will try putting it into a loaf pan.
4. These were devoured the minute I was done taking the pictures and they were so delicious.

If you try a recipe, leave and message and let me know how it came out. Also let me know if you added or took away anything, maybe I can try it your way! Follow me on instagram @metemgeeblog or check out my youtube metemgeeblog.

And as always,
Happy Cooking!

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Custard Block… Frozen Vanilla Custard

Custard blockCustard block, is simply frozen Guyanese vanilla custard.  Traditionally it is made with milk, sugar and Bird’s custard powder. I didn’t have any Bird’s custard powder, so I decided to make my custard using the same recipe I use for baked custard but tweaking it a bit. And what do you know, it was amazing and delicious and better tasting than when I do use the Bird’s custard powder.

For this recipe you will need the following…

2 cans evaporated milk 1 can condensed milk 6 eggs (not pictured) 1 tsp french vanilla essence 1 tsp nutmeg A bowl or ice pop mold, to set the custard.

2 cans evaporated milk
1 can condensed milk
6 eggs (not pictured)
1 tsp french vanilla essence
1 tsp nutmeg
A large bowl or ice pop mold, to set the custard.

Combine Evaporated milk and condensed milk in a medium saucepan.

Combine Evaporated milk and condensed milk in a medium saucepan.

Bring combined milk to a boil on high heat.

Bring combined milk to a boil on high heat. Once boiling remove from heat.

Whisk eggs in a small bowl until fluffy.

Whisk together eggs in a small bowl until fluffy.

Temper milk into eggs by adding warm milk, 1/2 cup at a time to the whisked eggs until all is combined.

Temper milk into eggs by adding warm milk, 1/2 cup at a time to the whisked eggs until all the milk is combined with the eggs.

Return egg and milk mixture to the saucepan. Add 1 tsp french vanilla essence and 1 tsp grated nutmeg. Whisk and return to the heat.  The next step happens quickly so be very careful or you'll have scrambled eggs.  Keep whisking mixture while on the heat until it bubbles (boils a little).  At the sign of the first bubble remove from heat.

Return egg and milk mixture to the saucepan.
Add 1 tsp french vanilla essence and 1 tsp grated nutmeg. Whisk and return to the heat.
The next step happens quickly so be very careful or you’ll have scrambled eggs!
Keep whisking mixture while on the heat until it bubbles (boils a little).
At the sign of the first bubble remove from heat.

Custard should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon but not too thick.  I poured my custard into a measuring cup for easy pouring.

Custard should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon but not too thick.
I poured my custard into a measuring cup for easy pouring.

Pour custard into a large bowl or ice pop molds.  I got my mold from Target online for about $12.00

Pour custard into a large bowl or ice pop molds.
I got my mold from Target online for about $12.00

Cover and freeze until completely set. About 2 hours.

Cover and place in the freezer until completely set. About 2 hours.

Remove from mold, once completely set and enjoy. I had to wet my mold with some warm water before removing.

Remove from mold, once completely set and enjoy. I had to wet my mold with some warm water before removing.

Custard Block… Frozen vanilla custard (makes about 1 1/2 dozens ice cream bars)

Ingredients:
2 cans evaporated milk
1 can condensed milk
6 eggs
1 tsp french vanilla essence
1 tsp grated nutmeg

Directions:

Combine evaporated and condensed milk in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil on medium heat, then remove from heat once boiling. Whisk together eggs in a small mixing bowl. Temper milk into eggs by adding warm milk 1/2 cup at a time to the whisked eggs, until all of the milk is combined with the eggs. This prevents the eggs from cooking in the warm milk. Return milk and eggs mixture to the saucepan. Add vanilla essence and nutmeg and whisk together. Return to the heat, constantly whisking until mixture starts to bubble. At the sign of the first bubble remove from the heat, or you will end up with a thick scrambled eggs mixture. The mixture should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon but not too thick. Pour custard into ice pop molds or a large bowl. Place in the freezer until it sets (about 2 hours).

Tips and Ramblings:
1. You can buy ice pop molds for about $12.00 from stores like Target and Walmart. Since it’s almost summer, you can find them almost anywhere.
2. I did not use any Bird’s custard powder in this recipe but trust me, it is more delicious that if I did.
3. The condense milk and evaporated milk gives the custard a really rich taste, but of course you can try with regular milk and sugar. It would be about 4 cups of milk and 1 1/2 cups of sugar.
4. Once the custard block sets, I wet the mold with warm water, to make it easier for the bars to slide out of the mold.
5. These were so good, I wanted to eat all of them, all at once.

Happy Cooking!

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Making Pastries… Pine (Pineapple) Tarts

photo(36)

You all know the story, from my last post. I’ve been trying to get this video tutorial up for the past two weeks. Well, I finally figured it all out. In the first half of this post I’m featuring a video tutorial on how to make basic short crust pastry dough (recipe follows at the end). Then, I have instructions on how to make pine (pineapple) tarts: from making the filling, to shaping the tarts. Pine tarts are a favorite Guyanese breakfast pastry, but it is often eaten as an after school snack, or a light lunch with some fruit juice.

How to make Guyanese short crust pastry dough (this video has no audio).

Making Pine Tarts.

First the filling….

I am using 3 cups crushed pineapples, 1 cup granulated sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon powder (you can use less cinnamon if you like).Combine ingredients in a small sauce pan.

I am using 3 cups crushed pineapples, 1 cup granulated sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon powder (you can use less cinnamon if you like).
Combine ingredients in a small sauce pan and mix together.

Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly, until all the pineapple juice has cooked down. Reduce heat if pineapples begin to burn.

Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly, until all the pineapple juice has cooked down. Reduce heat if pineapples begin to burn. Remove from heat when pineapples cook down to a thick jam-like consistency.

Shaping the pastry dough to form pine tarts (this video has no audio)….

Coat pine tarts with a beaten egg yolk and bake for 20 mins at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place shaped pine tarts on a baking sheet coated with parchment paper. Coat pine tarts with a beaten egg yolk and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Let cool. Then enjoy!

Let cool. Then enjoy!

Pine Tarts, pinetarts, pineapple tarts

Guyanese Short Crust Pastry Dough (Makes 1lb pastry dough)

Ingredients:
4 cups flours
1 cup vegetable shortening (1 stick)
1/4 cup butter
about 8 Tbsp ice cold water

Directions:
Rub/cut/mix shortening and butter into flour until mixture forms a bread crumb like texture. Add ice water, 1 tbsp at a time, and pinch mixture together to form a soft dough. Do not knead. Separate mixture into two and chill in the refrigerator for as least 1 hour. When chilled, use dough to make any Guyanese pastry combination.

Pine (Pineapple) Tarts (makes about 1 dozen)

Ingredients:
Filling:
3 cups crushed pineapples
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1 egg yolk (beaten)
(You will need a large circular object to use as a mould and a rolling pin)

Crust:
1 lb short crust pastry dough (see above for recipe)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Filling: combine all the ingredients into a small saucepan and cook on medium heat until pineapple juice cooks down and mixture forms a jam-like paste. Set aside and let cool.

Crust:(See above).

Shaping pine tarts: Separate pastry dough into 10 or 12 pieces. Roll each piece on a floured surface until dough is the thickness of a coin. Using a circular mould cut rolled dough into circles. Fill circle with a heaped tablespoon of pineapple filling and shape into a triangle. Seal ends with a fork. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper,  then coat with egg yolk and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 to 25 mins.

Tips and Rambling:

1. Now that you know how to make pastry dough you can make pine tarts, patties, cheese rolls, cheese pies and many other Guyanese short crust pastries.

2. You can make the pine tart filling as sweet as you like, or not so sweet if you prefer, but adding more or reducing the amount of sugar.

3. Some people also add ground cloves to their pine tart filling.

4. In the video I add the butter after I’ve mixed in the shortening to ensure that it is well blended. You can add the butter at the same time as the shortening if you prefer.

Happy Cooking!

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Dessert Quickie… Baked Custard and cinnamon sugar berries.

Baked custard with cinnamon sugar dusted berries

Baked custard with cinnamon sugar dusted berries

My earliest memory of baked custard is of my auntie Cheryl bringing it home from work. Auntie Cheryl worked as a cook in the kitchen at Georgetown Public hospital in Guyana. I spent some August (summer) vacations during my adolescence with her and she made lots of yummy treats for me. I remember her custard always came in an aluminum pan with a collapsible handle. Today, the taste of her baked custard still lingers in my memory and I think I’ve come as close as I can to replicating it.

Now for this recipe… I have to warn that, although baked custard is simple and quick to make its deliciousness is addictive and you might find yourself making it quite often.

You will need these simple ingredients.1 can condensed milk (I'm using the fat free version)2 cans evaporated milk4 large eggs1 tsp. vanilla extract1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg

You will need these simple ingredients.
1 can condensed milk (I’m using the fat free version – which is a joke cause it’s pure sugar!)
2 cans evaporated milk
4 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg

1. In a saucepan whisk together condensed milk and evaporated milk and warm until almost boiling.2. Whisk eggs together in a large mixing bowl and add, essence and about 1/4 tsp. nutmeg.3. Slowly add small amounts of warmed milk (about 1/2 cup at a time) to the egg mixture, while whisking vigorously. (This is called tempering the eggs).4. Pour mixture into a greased baking dish. Here I am using a 2 1/2 quart earthen baking dish.5. Grate some fresh nutmeg over the mixture and bake for 30 mins at 350 degrees.

1. In a saucepan whisk together condensed milk and evaporated milk and warm until almost boiling.
2. Whisk eggs together in a large mixing bowl and add essence and about 1/4 tsp. nutmeg.
3. Slowly add small amounts of warmed milk (about 1/2 cup at a time) to the egg mixture, while whisking vigorously. (This is called tempering the eggs).
4. Pour mixture into a greased baking dish. Here I am using a 2 1/2 quart earthen baking dish.
5. Grate some fresh nutmeg over the mixture and bake for 30 mins at 350 degrees.

Baked Custard

Ingredients:

1 can condensed milk

2 cans evaporated milk (substitute for 3 cups of whole milk, if you prefer)

4 large eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.

In a saucepan combine condensed milk and evaporated milk and stir until completely mixed together. Warm on low to medium heat until almost boiling, then set aside. In a large mixing bowl combine eggs vanilla extract and about 1/4 tsp. grated nutmeg. Whisk until eggs are fluffy.  Next, add small amounts of warm milk to the eggs mixture while whisking vigorously. This is called tempering the eggs and is an important step to prevent the eggs from cooking and becoming scrambled eggs. Once the milk is completely added to the eggs mixture, pour mixture into a greased baking dish. You may also use small individual baking dishes for a more personalized touch.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 mins.

Happy Cooking.

 

1. In a bowl mix together1/2 cup sugar and 1 tsp. ground cinnamon.2. Add 1 cup mixed berries to sugar mixture.

1. In a bowl mix together1/2 cup sugar and 1 tsp. ground cinnamon.
2. Add 1 cup mixed berries to sugar mixture.

Cinnamon Berries:

Ingredients:

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 cup of mixed berries (Strawberries, raspberries and blueberries).

Directions:

Add sugar and cinnamon to a small bowl and mix together. Wash berries. While berries are still wet add to mixture.  Mix until berries are completely coated with the cinnamon sugar. Add, as a garnish, to your favorite deserts.

Tips and Ramblings:

1. Most people will be surprised that I am not making this is a water bath (placing the baking dish in a pan of water while baking). Well, a long time ago (out of pure laziness), I decided to do away with the whole water bath situation and found that not only was my custard still delicious but it was nice and thick and creamy and delicious. Oh right I said delicious before. Well it’s true.

2. You can substitute whole, skim, 2%, 1% even almond milk for the evaporated milk in this recipe. Ok, I’ve never tried almond milk but I’m sure it would work too.

3. I baked my custard in a large baking dish so that we could decide how much we wanted when serving ourselves (family style). The custard just sits in the fridge like a tub of ice cream and everyone takes as they like. By everyone I mean my husband since it’s just us and our 6 mth old. You can choose to bake yours in individual baking dishes for a bit more elegant appeal when serving, especially if serving for a dinner party or brunch.

4. I am using frozen berries in my recipe above. It’s winter y’all and fresh berries just don’t taste or look the same as they do when they are in season!

Happy Cooking.

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