Posts Tagged ‘the daring kitchen’

Peruvian Treasures

It’s that time of the month again…. Time for the March Daring Cooks Challenge. Last month was Japanese cuisine and this month it’s Peruvian cuisine. As each month goes by, I am beyond happy that I chose to join the Daring Cooks. I definitely had never before eaten Peruvian cuisine and neither had I got a chance to make Peruvian food. So when the March challenge was announced, I was really excited as it was something really new for me!

Kathlyn of Bake Like a Ninja was our Daring Cooks’ March 2011 hostess. Kathlyn challenges us to make two classic Peruvian dishes: Ceviche de Pescado from “Peruvian Cooking – Basic Recipes” by Annik Franco Barreau. And Papas Rellenas adapted from a home recipe by Kathlyn’s Spanish teacher, Mayra.

The Ceviche is a raw seafood dish. I love seafood but am not particularly excited by the thought of raw seafood. And then there was someone on daring cooks, who made the ceviche with tofu. I loved the idea so decided to make vegetarian ceviche with tofu instead of the seafood. As far as the Papas Rellenas is concerned, I made them with ground turkey. I also added half an egg at the center if the Papas Rellenas which again is something that some of the other daring cooks came up with. So here are the recipes for the Ceviche and the Papas Rellenas.

The Papas Rellenas were a BIG hit. It’s also so versatile as you can make them vegetarian, or change the meat to beef, chicken, pork, etc. I am sure I am going to make different variations of this very soon. I hope you too enjoy these Peruvian treasures as much as I did.

Papas Rellenas


For the dough:

  1. 2¼ lb (1 kg) russet potatoes
  2. 1 large egg

For the filling:

  1. 2 tablespoon (30 ml) of a light flavored oil
  2. ½ lb (250 grams) ground (minced) turkey
  3. 6 black olives, pitted and chopped (use more if you love olives) – I am not very fond of olives, so I skipped this
  4. 3 hard boiled large eggs (halved)
  5. 1 small onion, finely diced (about 1 cup (240 ml))
  6. ½ cup (120 ml) (90 gm) (3 oz) raisins, soaked in 1 cup (240 ml) boiling water for 10 minutes, then minced
  7. 1 finely diced aji pepper (ok to sub jalapeño or other pepper – if you are shy about heat, use less) – I used thai pepper
  8. 2 cloves garlic, minced or passed through a press (if you love garlic, add more)
  9. 1 teaspoon (5 ml) (4 gm) (1/8 oz) ground cumin (use more if you like cumin)
  10. ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) (2 gm) (1/16 oz) sweet paprika¼ c. white wine, water or beef stock for deglazing
  11. Salt and pepper to taste

For the final preparation:

  1. 1 large egg, beaten
  2. 1 cup (240 ml) (140 gm) (5 oz) all-purpose flour
  3. Dash cayenne pepper
  4. Dash salt
  5. 1 cup dry (240 ml) (110 gm) (4 oz) or fresh (240 ml) (60 gm) (2 oz) bread crumbs (you can use regular, panko, make your own or use store-bought)
  6. Oil for frying (enough for 2” (50 mm) in a heavy pan like a medium sized dutch oven)


In order to save time, you can boil the potatoes, and while they are cooling, you can make the filling.  While that is cooling, you can make the potato “dough.”  In this way, little time is spent waiting for anything to cool.

For the dough:

  • Boil the potatoes until they pierce easily with a fork.  Remove them from the water and cool.
  • Once the potatoes have cooled, peel them and mash them with a potato masher or force them through a potato ricer (preferred).
  • Add egg, salt and pepper and knead “dough” thoroughly to ensure that ingredients are well combined and uniformly distributed.

While the potatoes cool down before finishing the dough, you can make the filling:

  • Gently brown onion and garlic in oil (about 5 minutes).
  • Add the chili pepper and sauté for a couple more minutes.
  • Add ground turkey and brown
  • Add raisins, cumin and paprika and cook briefly (a few seconds).
  • Deglaze the pan with white wine / stock. I used vegetable stock.
  • Add olives and cook for a few moments longer.
  • Allow filling to cool before forming “papas.”

Forming and frying the papas:

  • Use three small bowls to prepare the papas. In one, combine flour, cayenne and salt.  In the second, a beaten egg with a tiny bit of water.  Put bread crumbs in the third
  • Flour your hands and scoop up 1/6 of the total dough to make a round pancake with your hands. Make a slight indentation in the middle for the filling.
  • Spoon a generous amount of filling into the center.
  • Then place half an egg inside the filling, then place more of the filling over the egg and then roll the potato closed, forming a smooth, potato-shaped casing around the filling.  Repeat with all dough (you should have about 6 papas).
  • Heat 1 ½ – 2 inches (4 – 5 cm) of oil in a pan to about 350 – 375° F (175 – 190°C).5. Dip each papa in the three bowls to coat: first roll in flour, then dip in egg, then roll in bread crumbs.
  • Fry the papas (in batches if necessary) about 2-3 minutes until golden brown.  Flip once in the middle of frying to brown both sides.
  • Drain on paper towel and store in a 200ºF (95ºC) (gas mark ¼) oven if frying in batches.
  • Serve with salsa criolla (or other sauce of preference) immediately.

I did not use any sauce, the Papas were really delicious just by itself.

Salsa Criolla


  1. 2 medium red onions, cut in half and very thinly sliced (as half-circles)
  2. 1/2 chili pepper (your preference)
  3. 1 tablespoon vinegar
  4. Juice from 1 lime
  5. Salt and pepper to taste


  • Soak the onions in cold salt water for about 10 minutes to remove bitterness. Drain.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the onions with the rest of the ingredients, season with salt and pepper.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes for the onions to macerate and the flavors to combine.

Vegetarian Ceviche


  1. 2 lbs. (about 1 kg) firm tofu (white fish (scallops or other seafood may be substituted) for the original ceviche)
  2. 2 garlic cloves, mashed
  3. 1 chili pepper, minced (Aji if you can find it, but Jalapeno or other peppers can sub)
  4. 1 cup (240 ml) freshly squeezed lime juice (between 8-12 limes)Fresh juice only, no bottled.  Can use lemons in lieu of limes.
  5. 1 tablespoon (15 ml) (4 grams) (1/8 oz) fresh coriander (cilantro), finely chopped
  6. 1 red onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
  7. Salt and pepper (to taste)


  1. 1 large sweet potato
  2. 1 large ear of corn
  3. Lettuce leaves


  • Boil sweet potato and corn (separately) if using for garnish.  Allow to cool. (Can be done hours or even a day in advance)
  • (Wash and trim your fish if making the original ceviche).  Slice into pieces between ½ inch (15 mm) cubes to 2 inch (50mm) pieces.
  • Place tofu / fish in a non-reactive, shallow pan in a thin layer.  Season with salt and pepper.
  • Combine lime juice, chili pepper, coriander and garlic.  Pour mixture over tofu / fish.  Stir lightly to expose all the tofu / fish to some of the lime juice mixture.
  • Put sliced onion on top of tofu / fish as it “cooks”.
  • Let tofu / fish stand for 10 minutes.  Lift tofu / fish out of the lime juice and plate individual portions , garnishing with lettuce, slices of sweet potato and slices or kernels of corn if using.


This can be served either as a starter or as a main dish. I preferred it as a starter and it was an absolutely fresh and light starter.

February Daring Bakers Challenge

I have blogged about panna cotta in the past. In fact I have two panna cotta posts, the strawberry panna cotta and a milk chocolate panna cotta. But they have been healthier versions of the panna cotta but this blog is about the original panna cotta, the melt in your mouth kind, the kind you shut out all other senses for…

The February 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen. She chose to challenge everyone to make Panna Cotta from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe and Nestle Florentine Cookies.

Both the recipes are absolutely easy to make even in large quantities and so delicious. I actually rate my recipes by the rate at which Amit finishes the dish. And this one actually was cleaned out in about 3-4 minutes. So now you can rate the dish yourself. Hope you enjoy the recipe and love it as much as I loved it.

I was supposed to post this recipe last weekend but due to my very hectic schedule now, I was able to make the cookies but not the panna cotta last weekend.

Giada’s Vanilla Panna Cotta


  1. 1 cup (240 ml) whole milk
  2. 1 tablespoon (one packet) (15 ml) (7 gm) (¼ oz) unflavored powdered gelatin
  3. 3 cups (720 ml) whipping cream (30+% butterfat)
  4. 1/3 cup (80 ml) honey
  5. 1 tablespoon (15 ml) (15 gm) (½ oz) granulated sugar
  6. pinch of salt


  • Pour the milk into a bowl or pot and sprinkle gelatin evenly and thinly over the milk (make sure the bowl/pot is cold by placing the bowl/pot in the refrigerator for a few minutes before you start making the Panna Cotta). Let stand for 5 minutes to soften the gelatin.
  • Pour the milk into the saucepan/pot and place over medium heat on the stove. Heat this mixture until it is hot, but not boiling, about five minutes. (I whisk it a few times at this stage).
  • Next, add the cream, honey, sugar, and pinch of salt. Making sure the mixture doesn’t boil, continue to heat and stir occasionally until the sugar and honey have dissolved 5-7 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, allow it to sit for a few minutes to cool slightly. Then pour into the glass or ramekin.
  • Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight. Add garnishes and serve.

I added a layer of strawberry gelee over my vanilla panna cotta. The recipe for that follows.

Strawberry Gelee


  1. 1 cup (240 ml) (230 gm) (8 oz) fruit (strawberries, raspberries, mango, blackberry, etc.)*Note:  Certain fruits interact with gelatin and stop it gelling like pineapple and kiwi etc.
  2. 3 tablespoons (45 ml) water
  3. 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  4. 1½ teaspoons (7½ ml) (3½ gm) (1/8 oz) unflavored powdered gelatin
  5. 1/4 cup triple sec


  • Sprinkle gelatin over water.
  • Place the fruit and sugar in a small saucepan and simmer until sugar has dissolved.
  • Next add the triple sec and let the mixture come to a boil.
  • Now mix the gelatin into the strawberry mixture and stir until gelatin has dissolved.
  • Let the gelee mixture simmer till the fruit has completely disintegrated.
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool (close to room temp, again, if you’re planning on layering on pouring on top of your Panna Cotta, a hot mixture will also heat up your chilled Panna Cotta).

I added a few slices of strawberry over the chilled panna cotta before adding the gelee over it.

Nestle Florentine Cookies


This recipe is from the cookbook “Nestle Classic Recipes”.

  1. 2/3 cup (160 ml) (150 gm) (5.3 oz) unsalted butter
  2. 2 cups (480 ml) (160 gm) (5 2/3 oz) quick oats
  3. 1 cup (240 ml) (230 gm) (8 oz) granulated sugar
  4. 2/3 cup (160 ml) (95 gm) (3⅓ oz) plain (all purpose) flour
  5. 1/4 cup (60 ml) dark corn syrup
  6. 1/4 cup (60 ml) whole milk
  7. 1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla extract
  8. pinch of salt
  9. 1½ cups (360 ml) (250 gm) (9 oz) dark or milk chocolate


This recipe will make about 2 1/2 – 3 dozen sandwiched Florentine cookies. You can also choose not to sandwich yours, in which case, drizzle the tops with chocolate (over your wax paper).

  • Preheat oven to moderately hot 375°F (190°C) (gas mark 5).  Prepare your baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper.
  • Melt butter in a medium saucepan, then remove from the heat.
  • To the melted butter add oats, sugar, flour, corn syrup, milk, vanilla, and salt. Mix well.Drop a tablespoon full, three inches (75 mm) apart, onto your prepared baking sheet. Flatten slightly with the back of your tablespoon, or use a spatula.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 6-8 minutes, until cookies are golden brown. Cool completely on the baking sheets.
  • While the cookies are cooling melt your chocolate until smooth either in the microwave (1 1/2 minutes), or stovetop (in a double boiler, or a bowl that fits atop a saucepan filled with a bit of water, being sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl).
  • Peel the cookies from the silpat or parchment and place face down on a wire rack set over a sheet of wax/parchment paper (to keep counters clean).
  • Spread a tablespoon of chocolate on the bottom/flat side of your cookie, sandwiching another (flat end) cookie atop the chocolate. I did not sandwich the cookies, I just added the chocolate over the cookie to form a hash pattern.

Hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I enjoyed making and eating them.

Another exciting challenge from The Daring Kitchen

I saw the challenge as usual a month back but the whole process looked overwhelming to me. So I thought of sitting out this one. But then I realized that the reason I had joined the forum was to be able to challenge myself. So I decided that I have to atleast try it once. After all last month the challenge helped me overcome my fear of making bread at home in the oven. I am sure most of you are wondering what the name actually means, and what it is. Well hopefully by the end of the blog, you will have a pretty clear idea of what it is. I loved the whole process and the end process not only looks pretty but also tastes delicious. I now know how to serve those pretty looking desserts all thanks to the daring baker’s host Astheroshe.

The January 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Astheroshe of the blog accro. She chose to challenge everyone to make a Biscuit Joconde Imprime to wrap around an Entremets dessert.

Joconde imprime /entremets. A joconde imprime (French Baking term) is a decorative design baked into a light sponge cake providing an elegant finish to desserts/torts/entremets/ formed in ring molds. A joconde batter is used because it bakes into a moist, flexible cake. The cake batter may be tinted or marbleized for a further decorative effect.

This Joconde/spongecake requires attentive baking so that it remains flexible to easily conform to the molds. If under baked it will stick to the baking mat. It over baked it will dry out and crack. Once cooled, the sponge may be cut into strips to line any shape ring mold.

Entremets (French baking term)- an ornate dessert with many different layers of cake and pastry creams in a mold, usually served cold. Think Trifle in a mold vs. a glass bowl.

My final dessert had layers of chocolate graham crackers, chocolate mousse, chocolate wafers and raspberry cream. The
combination of all these layers along with the Joconde Sponge was simply heavenly! The recipe for the Biscuit Joconde Imprime / Entremet is below. I will post the recipe for the chocolate mousse and raspberry cream in another post later. Hope you do try making this sometime, it’s worth the effort because all those you serve this dessert will be singing your praises for a long time to come…

Equipment Required:

  • Silpat ( I bought mine at Bed Bath and Beyond)
  • ½ baking sheets or a 13” x 18” jelly roll sheet (rimmed baking sheet)
  • Mixer (optional)
  • Bowls
  • Knives (I used a pizza cutter)
  • Offset spatula
  • Regular spatula
  • Rulers
  • Spring form pan
  • Biscuit cutter (or ring mold, or cut PVC pipe, or whatever else you can think of to use as a mold for individual desserts) – I bought my mold (PVC pipe joints) at Lowe’s or a dollar.
  • Torte/entremets mold/Springform pan/ Trifle dish (for larger desserts)
  • Cling wrap
  • Parchment paper
  • Gel, paste or liquid food coloring (optional)
Joconde Sponge

YIELD: Two ½ size sheet pans or a 13” x 18” (33 x 46 cm) jelly roll pan


  1. ¾ cup/ 180 ml/ 3oz/ 85g almond flour/meal – *You can also use hazelnut flour, just omit the butter
  2. ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons/ 150 ml/ 2⅔ oz/ 75g confectioners’ (icing) sugar
  3. ¼ cup/ 60 ml/ 1 oz/ 25g cake flour *See note below
  4. 3 large eggs – about 5⅓ oz/ 150g
  5. 3 large egg whites – about 3 oz/ 90g
  6. 2½ teaspoons/ 12½ ml/ ⅓ oz/ 10g white granulated sugar or superfine (caster) sugar
  7. 2 tablespoons/ 30 ml/ 1oz / 30g unsalted butter, melted

*Note: How to make cake flour:


  • In a clean mixing bowl whip the egg whites and white granulated sugar to firm, glossy peeks. Reserve in a separate clean bowl to use later.
  • Sift almond flour, confectioner’s sugar, cake flour. (This can be done into your dirty egg white bowl)
  • On medium speed, add the eggs a little at a time. Mix well after each addition. Mix until smooth and light. (If using a stand mixer use blade attachment. If hand held a whisk attachment is fine, or by hand. )
  • Fold in one third reserved whipped egg whites to almond mixture to lighten the batter. Fold in remaining whipped egg whites. Do not over mix.
  • Fold in melted butter. Reserve batter to be used later.
Patterned Joconde-Décor Paste

YIELD: Two ½ size sheet pans or a 13” x 18” (33 x 46 cm) jelly roll pan


  1. 14 tablespoons/ 210ml/ 7oz/ 200g unsalted butter, softened
  2. 1½ cups plus1½ tablespoons/ 385ml/ 7oz/ 200g Confectioners’ (icing) sugar
  3. 7 large egg whites – about 7 oz / 200g
  4. 1¾ cup/ 420ml/ 7¾ oz/ 220g cake flour
  5. Food coloring gel, paste or liquid


  • Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy (use stand mixer with blade, hand held mixer, or by hand)
  • Gradually add egg whites. Beat continuously.
  • Fold in sifted flour.
  • Tint batter with coloring to desired color, if not making cocoa variation.

COCOA Décor Paste Variation: Reduce cake flour to 6 oz / 170g. Add 2 oz/ 60 g cocoa powder. Sift the flour and cocoa powder together before adding to creamed mixture.

Preparing the Joconde- How to make the pattern:

  • Spread a thin even layer of décor paste approximately 1/4 inch (5 millimeter) thick onto silicone baking mat with a spatula, or flat knife. Place mat on an upside down baking sheet. The upside down sheet makes spreading easier with no lip from the pan.
  • Pattern the décor paste – Here is where you can be creative. Make horizontal /vertical lines (you can use a knife, spatula, cake/pastry comb). Squiggles with your fingers, zig zags, wood grains. Be creative whatever you have at home to make a design can be used. OR use a piping bag. Pipe letters, or polka dots, or a piped design. If you do not have a piping bag. Fill a ziplock bag and snip off corner for a homemade version of one.

  • Slide the baking sheet with paste into the freezer. Freeze hard. Approx 15 minutes.
  • Remove from freezer. Quickly pour the Joconde batter over the design. Spread evenly to completely cover the pattern of the Décor paste.
  • Bake at 475ºF /250ºC until the joconde bounces back when slightly pressed, approx. 15 minutes. You can bake it as is on the upside down pan. Yes, it is a very quick bake, so watch carefully.
  • Cool. Do not leave too long ( after about 5 minutes), or you will have difficulty removing it from mat.
  • Flip cooled cake on to a powdered sugared parchment paper. Remove silpat. Cake should be right side up, and pattern showing! (The powdered sugar helps the cake from sticking when cutting.)

Preparing the MOLD for entremets:

  • Start with a large piece of parchment paper laid on a very flat baking sheet. Then a large piece of cling wrap over the parchment paper. Place a spring form pan ring, with the base removed, over the cling wrap and pull the cling wrap tightly up on the outside of the mold. Line the inside of the ring with a curled piece of parchment paper overlapping top edge by ½ inch. CUT the parchment paper to the TOP OF THE MOLD. It will be easier to smooth the top of the cake.
  • A biscuit cutter/ cookie cutter- using cling wrap pulled tightly as the base and the cling covering the outside of the mold, placed on a parchment lined very flat baking sheet. Line the inside with a curled piece of parchment paper overlapping.
  • Or as I did use PVC pipe joints. Cling wrap and parchment line, as outlined above.
  • Glass Trifle bowl. You will not have a free standing dessert, but you will have a nice pattern to see your joconde for this layered dessert.

Preparing the Jaconde for Molding:

Video: MUST WATCH THIS. This is a very good demo of the joconde and filling the entremets:

  • Trim the cake of any dark crispy edges. You should have a nice rectangle shape.
  • Decide how thick you want your “Joconde wrapper”. Traditionally, it is ½ the height of your mold. This is done so more layers of the plated dessert can be shown. However, you can make it the full height.
  • Once your height is measured, then you can cut the cake into equal strips, of height and length. (Use a very sharp paring knife and ruler.)
  • Make sure your strips are cut cleanly and ends are cut perfectly straight. Press the cake strips inside of the mold, decorative side facing out. Once wrapped inside the mold, overlap your ends slightly. You want your Joconde to fit very tightly pressed up to the sides of the mold. Then gently push and press the ends to meet together to make a seamless cake. The cake is very flexible so you can push it into place. You can use more than one piece to “wrap “your mold, if one cut piece is not long enough.
  • The mold is done, and ready to fill.

*Note: If not ready to use. Lay cake kept whole or already cut into strips, on a flat surface, wrap in parchment and several layers of cling wrap and freeze.

Entremet- Filling Options:

  • I filled the mold with a layer of chocolate graham crackers, chocolate mousse, chocolate graham crackers, raspberry cream and topped it off with chocolate wafers. And some raspberry and whipped cream for a topping. Those recipes coming up soon.

If you have ever wanted to make those pretty looking desserts, this is your chance. This is a very detailed recipe by Astheroshe. And this is one way of being sure of succeeding. Oh and you will love the end result. I made the paste with a lighter colored cocoa powder, I have to make sure I use a darker color to the paste next time around. Other than that I was very happy with the end result. Cheers to the Daring Kitchen and all the daring bakers!! Looking forward to the February challenge…