Baking | Mango Pastel de Tres Leches or Mango Three Milk Cake … Daring Bakers soak up cake!

“The great thing about cake is it doesn’t feel like work. You forget about work. Kids, adults, they all get the same look in their eye when they’re decorating cakes… that’s the magic right there.”
Duff Goldman

Mango Pastel de Tres LechesPastel de Tres Leches or Three Milk Cake … a cake that impressed and how! Love the Daring Baker challenge this time. having missed the earlier two challenges, I went straight into it very early this month. I did think it could turn out soggy, but no! Turned out to be one of the best cakes ever!

Inma of la Galletika was our Sept. 2013 Daring Bakers’ hostess and WOW did she bring us something decadent and delicious! Pastel de Tres Leches or Three Milk Cake, creamy yet airy, super moist but not soggy.. just plain delish!

Mango Pastel de Tres Leches 4My earliest memories of Tres leches goes back to a visit to Dallas in 2007. The Pastel de Tres Leches or Three Milk Cake was very popular among the Indian community there. Maybe in many ways it reminded folk of a popular Indian sweet, the milk cake. While visiting some Indian friends there, they were very excited to serve it up.

Mango Pastel de Tres Leches I was disappointed. It was sadly soggy and not worth all the fuss. Thereafter have seen references on and off to the cake, but it’s never been interesting enough to make one at home. Until now of course! Just the introductory lines were good enough for me to take on the challenge. ‘Decadent & Delicious?’ Yes please! Searched my mind for ideas, searched the net for variations. Not much out there.

Mango Pastel de Tres Leches Tres leches are simple cakes, delicious nonetheless. Me being me, had to go a step further. Fruit had to feature in here somewhere, somehow. I decided to get brave and make a layered Mango Pastel de Tres Leches or Mango Three Milk Cake. Of course I did some important pre planning, some in the head and some on the simmer!

Mango Pastel de Tres Leches The Pastel de Tres Leches is a cake that is very popular in Central and South America. It is a super moist, light, airy and super delicious sponge cake soaked in the three kinds of milk {evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream}. Tres Leches is a very light cake {especially if made without butter}, with many air bubbles in its crumb. This distinct texture is why it does not have a soggy consistency, despite being soaked in a mixture of three types of milk.

Mango Pastel de Tres Leches This recipe slightly adapted from an interview given by one of Mexico’s best Pastry Chefs, Paulina Abascal, to the magazine Revista Secretos de la Pastelería Caserais, produces a super moist yet light Tres Leches. True to the word, this was declared as one of the best cakes we’ve eaten. Light, moist and delightfully flavourful, the mango just added the oomph!

Mango Pastel de Tres Leches Mango Pastel de Tres Leches The three milk mixture is a combination of condensed milk {I always have some on hand}, evaporated milk and cream. While the west consumes tonnes of evaporated milk every year, it’s not a popular concept in India. It was time to make some. Evaporated milk is merely normal milk boiled down to reduce its water content. Simple!

Homemade evaporated milkSimple enough, and with a little pre planning, a cakewalk! Did the sponges on day 1; made the evaporated milk too. Assembled everything on day two, and we cut the cake on day 3! The cake needs a little while to soak in all the good milk, to get matured in flavours. I layered the sponge with fresh diced mango and whipped low cream {stabilized with gelatin}. You can always used canned fruit, peaches, tropical fruit bits etc.

Mango Pastel de Tres Leches Since it needed an overnight rest, I was kind of confident that the cream would set. Of course I was thrilled to see that it all came together beautifully when I demolded it the next day! It will behave even better in the winter. I’ve got to make this cake again. I did have left over milk mixture as expected, even after giving the layers a generous soaking.

Tres Leches Wholewheat Lemon Pound CakeI was tempted to make an iced milk shake out of it, but then a pound cake came to mind. Since it had been flavoured with lemon extract, I made a Tres Leches Wholewheat Lemon Pound Cake, basically soaked the warm cake in the remaining tres leches concoction. FAB!! Even that was appreciated and how! Will share the recipe soon!

Thank you Imma for offering this delicious challenge. We loved it to bits. I enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed the recent Momofuku’s Crack Pie challenge, maybe more! Thank you as always Lisa of La Mia Cucina and Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice for hosting this fab kitchen!! Do stop by here to see what the rest of the Daring Bakers have been soaking up!

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

Baking | Momofuku Milk Bar’s (in)famous Crack Pie … how the cookie crumbled with the Daring Bakers

“It could be argued that there is an element of entertainment in every pie, as every pie is inherently a surprise by virtue of its crust.”
Janet Clarkson

Crack Pies MomofukuCrack Pie … sweet indulgence. This is Momofukus trademark pie, a classic as craveable as the name implies, one that guarantees an instant sugar high. For once, this is just pure decadence in a sweet sort of way. Nothing healthy about it other than the oats in the base maybe. Yet it’s a pie you have to try. It’s one I watched bloggers make and celebrate ecstatically when Momofuku’s Milk came out in 2011.

Rachael from pizzarossa was our lovely June 2013 Daring Bakers’ host and she had us whipping up delicious pies in our kitchens! Cream pies, fruit pies, chocolate pies, even crack pies! There’s nothing like pie!

I had the book on my wish list back then. Somehow never bought it. Had this pie bookmarked. For some reason never made it. Life took over and I forgot about it. Much water flowed under the bridge. Then came this challenge. I was ecstatic when I read  “Life of Pie” . What’s not to love?

I made a delicious Strawberry Pie some time back using a pie bird. That was around the time Life of Pi was winning Oscars galore. I really enjoyed making that, yet I enjoyed this challenge more. More so after my recent bout of Smoothie madness, Crack Pie indulgence felt well deserved!

Crack Pies MomofukuSuch an unassuming sweet pie to make. With a name like this, Crack Pie seems enticing. Interpret the name as you like, but the result is the same … an all time delicious sugar high! In the best meaning possible way, {crack adjective. first-rate, splendid} this very rich, chewy, sweet-salty crack pie in an oat cookie crust fits right in!

Crack Pies Momofuku 5

 Bon Appetit says about Crack Pie, “Anyone who has taken a bite of this Milk Bar best seller immediately knows the reason for the sassy name. Once you start eating this rich, salty-sweet pie with its oat cookie crust, you won’t be able to stop.” A thick, chewy crust filled with an outrageously sweet gooey filling, it’s a wicked sugar-rush. You’ll want small servings!

Crack Pies Momofuku 6I bookmarked this the minute I saw the DB challenge. I just knew I would make mini crack pies. I had to! But I procrastinated. So much continues to happen and I finally got my oat crust going on the 26th! Of course I didn’t take into account that the pie needs an overnight rest. That might explain this slightly delayed posting, but I loved making it.Crack Pies Momofuku Crack Pies Momofuku

The idea of baking a huge giant sized oat cookie for the crust was entirely charming. It seemed like such fun though I was a bit unsure of a crisp cookie as my cookie batter was a bit soft. Happily enough, it baked up a yummy giant crisp cookie. A little nibble and I knew it should be crumbled asap. So addictive that it might not have lasted otherwise.

Crack Pies Momofuku Most pictures of the pie online are like ugly duckling pies so I knew there was nothing fancy in the looks department. I did manage to make rustic little versions though. I loved them … plain, simple, whimsical, sweet, chewy, quintessentially Momofuku.

The pie i

Crack Pies Momofuku It’s a simple pie. A little mix here and there and it’s ready for the oven. A few changes? Yes of course. I didn’t have milk powder so added a spoon of cocoa instead. Also a scraped vanilla bean because I feared eggy aromas from the 4 yolks. And as always, low fat cream instead of whipping cream. Everything worked beautifully!

Crack Pies Momofuku I wasn’t sure the little pies would leave the tins happily the next day, but they obliged sweetly after a little prodding. So here are my little crack pies, ones I absolutely loved making. I waited for the babies to be ‘delivered‘ with a baited breath. This was one of my more fun DB challenges as I had dreamt of making Crack Pie for long. I wish I had more time, but then I’ve made many pies before.

Pies Some of my favourites pies on PAB are Cherry Phyllo Pie {with home made phyllo}, Mixed Berry & Cherry Pie, Mango Quark Cheesecake Pie, Perfect Pumpkin Pie, Tropical Cream Pie, Fresh Cherry Quark Cheesecake Pie, Christmas Fruit Mince Pies and Apple Brown Sugar Meringue Pies.

Thank you Rachael for offering us the delicious Life of Pie. I loved the challenge, especially that you chose Crack Pie as one of the four. Thank you as always Lisa of La Mia Cucina and Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice for hosting this fab kitchen!! Do stop by here to dig into more sweet pies!

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

Baking | Swedish Prinsesstårta Cupcakes … Daring Bakers serve up royally delicious cakes!

“Cake is happiness! If you know the way of the cake, you know the way of happiness! If you have a cake in front of you, you should not look any further for joy!”
C. JoyBell C.

Swedish Prinsesstårta, princess cupcakes Swedish Prinsesstårta Cupcakes … the best BEST cake we’ve eaten of late. Perfect balance of flavours, moist, flavourful, addictive good, non chocolate … PERFECT! It’s been a while since I enjoyed a Daring Bakers challenge so immensely. Everything was good about it. I have to admit that I veered off the basic recipe … but need to blame the treacherous North Indian summer for that!!

Swedish Prinsesstårta, princess cupcakes Come May and I got a very excited call from local DB Ruchira. “Guess what the challenge is? A Princess Cake! Wheee… I love it!I was equally thrilled. A Princess cake is junior teens most favourite cake of all time. Years ago I did a recipe testing for Helene of Tartlette which included a Bavarian cream. That was a princess cake of sorts.

Swedish Prinsesstårta, princess cupcakes To date, it’s been the best ever cake for the kidlet. He repeatedly tells me how good ‘that Bavarian cream‘ was! Talk about love for food and good taste. Everything Helene does has the midas touch. The months challenge was partly inspired by her recipe.

Swedish Prinsesstårta, princess cupcakes

Korena of Korena in the Kitchen was our May Daring Bakers’ host and she delighted us with this beautiful Swedish Prinsesstårta!

Swedish Prinsesstårta, princess cupcakes

A little research revealed that the original recipe was created in the 1930s by a Swedish home economics teacher named Jenny Åkerström, who taught the three Swedish princesses of the time. She published a series of four cookbooks called “The Princess Cookbooks” and in one of the editions, there was a recipe for “Grön Tårta” (green cake). One story is that this later became known as “princess cake” (prinsesstårta) because the three princesses are said to have loved it so much. 

Another story is that Ms. Åkerström actually created three very elaborate “princess cake” recipes – a different one for each princess – and that the current version is a simplified combination of all three. That explains the princess connection, but the reason for the cake being green still seems to be a mystery. 

I got to the challenge very very late. It was the 25th already. And the weather? Hot as hot can be, threatening to get worse by the minute! It was 46C at 6pm day before. Fry the eggs on the sidewalk hot, maybe bake the poor princess there too! Plans for a Princess cake were rapidly demolished. Swedish Prinsesstårta, princess cupcakes Yet I am very nostalgic about the Daring Bakers, a journey that has been long and fruitful. I have been with them for 5 years maybe, and it’s the only baking group I have continued with. I owe them most of what I’ve learnt. The journeys been full of ultimate highs, and a few heartbreaks too; entirely memorable.

Swedish Prinsesstårta, princess cupcakes Besides, the challenge this month was not just one of being a ‘baker‘. Bakers as you know double up quite often as patisserie chefs too. A finger in every pie, and so on! It was a test of skills at many different levels. I had to make something. That came by way of these sweet Princess Cupcakes that I’ve had bookmarked for years! {I baked the cupcakes the previous evening and completed them at the crack of dawn. You can find a few grainy pictures taken in a hurry to guide you through}

Swedish Prinsesstårta, princess cupcakes The components are quite the same. There is cake, pastry cream, whipped cream, jam and marzipan. A petite version in this blistering heat which hitting 48C is much easier to handle.  I had some balsamic cherries from the two ingredient dark chocolate mousse. Cherries make life a lot more worthwhile. 

Swedish Prinsesstårta, princess cupcakes The Swedish Prinsesstårta Cupcakes turned out excellent. The cupcakes are layered about the same way as you would a Swedish Prinsesstårta. In 20 minutes, spared of a power cut, I was past stage one. Cupcakes done! While they baked, the pastry cream was stirred in the Thermomix. 7 minutes to perfect pastry cream!

Swedish Prinsesstårta, princess cupcakes I made the pastry cream a little thicker as it’s so hot. I didn’t get to the marzipan though I have made it several times in the past. It was far too hot to attempt marzipan from scratch. A special gift from my dear friend and Daring Baker Finla came to my rescue. She sent me marzipan with a truckload of stuff a few months ago. I use it very sparingly and was thrilled to have some on hand for the princess cupcakes.

Swedish Prinsesstårta, princess cupcakes This was the best part! Such fun dressing the little ones up. I did the flowers and leaves out of trimmings and it reminded me of my first and only fondant cake, the Tea Rose Fondant Cake, I made a while ago. The cupcakes were patched together on fast track as everything threatened to melt. The end result isn’t as neat as I would have liked it to be, but the marzipan was going too soft.

Thank you Korena was such a beautiful and eye opening challenge. I intend to make the priginal Swedish Prinsesstårta once the weather gets cooler.  Thank you as always Lisa of La Mia Cucina and Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice for hosting this fab kitchen!! Do stop by here and check out some more royalty!

 

Don’t miss a post Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

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