RSS Feed
Follow alecooking on Twitter
Become a Fan on Facebook

My Picks:

Bombons and Truffles

Filed under :Desserts, The Dairing Kitchen

The August 2011 Daring Bakers’ Challenge was hosted by Lisa of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drive and Mandy of What the Fruitcake?!.  These two sugar mavens challenged us to make sinfully delicious candies!  This was a special challenge for the Daring Bakers because the good folks at offered an amazing prize for the winner of the most creative and delicious candy!

For this month’s challenge, I decided to make some passion fruit bombons, passion fruit truffles and dove dark chocolate bombons!  I enjoyed playing with chocolate and learning the technique used to make the filled chocolates painted with cocoa butter.

Passion Fruit Caramel Chocolates aka Bonbons

Dark or milk chocolate melted, preferably tempered, about 1 lb
1 cup Granulated White Sugar
1/2 cup Light Corn Syrup
1/2 cup  Water
4 Tbs Unsalted Butter
2 Tbsp  Heavy Cream
1/4 cup Passion Fruit Puree

Painting the moulds with coloured cocoa butter.

Pouring in the chocolate, filling with caramel and finishing off with chocolate

1. Place the sugar, corn syrup and water in a medium saucepan.
2. Set over medium-high heat and stir to combine.
3. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until dark amber in color 310°F-315°F / 155°C-158°C, about 5 minutes.
4. Use a pastry brush, dipped in water, to wash down sides of pan to prevent crystallization as the mixture boils.
5. Remove saucepan from the heat and gradually whisk in the passion fruit puree, heavy cream and butter.
6. Transfer to a medium bowl and let cool.
7. Transfer cooled caramel to a pastry bag fitted with a medium plain tip or a squeeze bottle.
8. Coat the molds with chocolate using the method mentioned above.
9. Fill chocolate coated molds with caramel.  You can use a spoon too but it’s less messy and goes a lot quicker with either of the two aforementioned methods.
10. Finish off with a layer of chocolate as mentioned in the method above for making filled chocolates with molds
11. Once fully set, carefully knock the chocolates out of the mold

Passion Fruit Trufles

Make the ganache:

1. Finely chop or grate the chocolate
2. Place in a heatproof bowl
3. In a saucepan, heat cream until just about to boil (it will start bubbling around the edges of the pot)
4. Pour the cream over the chocolate
5. Gently stir the mixture until all the chocolate has melted and it is smooth
6.    Stir in your desired flavorings

For rolled truffles

1. Allow the ganache to firm up in a container of choice, preferably deep rather than shallow
2.     Using a teaspoon or melon baller, scoop up room temperature ganache
3. With gloved hands, roll the balls between your palms to round them off
4. Dip in tempered chocolate or roll in various ingredients like cocoa or chopped nuts as desired
Tip: If dipping in chocolate, it’s best to refrigerate the ganache balls before dipping so that they’re firm and don’t melt from the warm chocolate
Tip: For a thicker chocolate shell, dip once in tempered chocolate and allow to set. Then do a second dipping or smear a small amount of chocolate over the truffle and roll in desired ingredients
5. Place on parchment paper until set


Filed under :Appetizers, Brazilian Recipes, Breads

It has been a bit crazy around the house lately.  I am loving the new addition to the family, my little baby boy! He is a lot of fun.  My parents were visiting from Brasil, so you can just imagine all the cooking that went on.  Here is one of the recipes we made recently.  Hope you enjoy it!


1 c milk

1 egg

1/2 c oil

1 T sugar

1 t salt

1 T yeast (I used the instant dry yeast)

Flour until the dough is soft and stays together. (it was about 3-4 cups or so of flour. I just add until it forms a dough)

Mix it all together, then make small balls (or big ones depending on the size of esfihas you want)

Open the dough flat into a triangle.

Fill with the meat filling (recipe bellow) or any other filling you may like.

Close the dough into a triangle shape.

Brush with egg wash and bake for about 20 minutes at 350 F or until golden brown. This recipe will be around 40 small esfihas.

For the meat filling:

1 lb ground beef



2 tomatoes (diced)

1 diced onion (diced very small, or you can shred it)

2 T ketchup or tomato paste

4 small potatoes (shred them using the cheese shredder)

drizzle oil

1-2 limes (drizzle juice on top)

Mix it all together and fill the bread with this mixture.

If you would like you can also make esfihas abertas (open esfihas). Follow the recipe until you turn them into balls, then open them into a circle, leaving the sides a little thicker.

Fill (meat, or cheese) and Bake.


This was a cheese filled one topped with a bit of fresh salsa!

Strawberry Cream Cake

Filed under :Desserts, The Dairing Kitchen

Jana of Cherry Tea Cakes was our July Daring Bakers’ host and she challenges us to make Fresh Frasiers inspired by recipes written by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson in the beautiful cookbook Tartine.


Basic Chiffon Cake:

1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon  baking powder
3/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon  salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 large egg yolks
⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon  water
1 teaspoon  pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon  lemon zest, grated
5 large egg whites
¼ teaspoon  cream of tartar

1.Preheat the oven to moderate 325°F.
2.Line the bottom of an 8-inch spring form pan with parchment paper. Do not grease the sides of the pan.
3.In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour and baking powder. Add in all but 3 tablespoons of sugar, and all of the salt. Stir to combine.
4.In a small bowl combine the oil, egg yolks, water, vanilla and lemon zest. Whisk thoroughly.
5.Combine with the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly for about one minute, or until very smooth.
6.Put the egg whites into a stand mixer, and beat on medium speed using a whisk attachment on a medium speed, until frothy. Add cream of tartar and beat on a medium speed until the whites hold soft peaks. Slowly add the remaining sugar and beat on a medium-high speed until the whites hold firm and form shiny peaks.
7.Using a grease free rubber spatula, scoop about ⅓ of the whites into the yolk mixture and fold in gently. Gently fold in the remaining whites just until combined.
8.Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
9.Removed the cake from the oven and allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack.
10.To unmold, run a knife around the sides to loosen the cake from the pan and remove the spring form sides. Invert the cake and peel off the parchment paper. Refrigerate for up to four days.

Pastry Cream Filling:

1 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon gelatin
1/2 tablespoon water
1 cup heavy cream

1.Pour the milk, vanilla, and salt into a heavy sauce pan. Place over medium-high heat and scald, bringing it to a near boiling point. Stir occasionally.
2.Meanwhile, in a stand mixer add the cornstarch and sugar. Whisk to combine
3.Add the eggs to the sugar and cornstarch and whisk until smooth.
4.When the milk is ready, gently and slowly while the stand mixer is whisking, pour the heated milk down the side of the bowl into the egg mixture.
5.Pour the mixture back into the warm pot and continue to cook over a medium heat until the custard is thick, just about to boil and coats the back of a spoon.
6.Remove from heat and pass through a fine mesh sieve into a large mixing bowl. Allow to cool for ten minutes stirring occasionally.
7.Cut the butter into four pieces and whisk into the pastry cream a piece at a time until smooth.
8.Cover the cream with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap onto the top of the cream to prevent a skin from forming. Chill in the refrigerator for up to five days.
9.In a small dish, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let stand for a few minutes to soften.
10.Put two inches of water into a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer over a medium heat.
11.Measure 1/4 cup  of the chilled pastry cream into a small stainless steel bowl that will sit across the sauce pan with the simmering water, without touching the water.
12.Heat the cream until it is 120 F . Add the gelatin and whisk until smooth. Remove from the water bath, and whisk the remaining cold pastry cream in to incorporate in two batches.
13.In a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream until it holds medium-stiff peaks. Immediately fold the whipped cream into the pastry cream with a rubber spatula.

Simple Syrup:

1/3 cup of sugar
1/3 cup of water

1.Combine the water and sugar in a medium saucepan.
2.Bring the mixture to a boil and let the sugar dissolve. Stirring is not necessary, but will not harm the syrup.
3.Remove the syrup from the heat and cool slightly.
4.Transfer syrup to a lidded container or jar that can be stored in the refrigerator. Simple syrup can be stored for up to one month.

Fraisier Assembly:

1 baked chiffon cake
1 recipe pastry cream filling
⅓ cup simple syrup or flavored syrup
2 lbs (900 g) strawberries
1.Cut cake into 3 layers
2. Use one of the layers and moisten it evenly with the simple syrup.
3.Hull and slice in half enough strawberries to arrange around the sides. Place them on the side of the cake to form a ring.

4. Spread or pipe cream in the middle.

5. Repeate process until all the layers are used.

6.  Spread or pipe the remaining pastry cream on the top of the cake. Refigerate.