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Purple Yam Fudge (Halayang Ube)

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There are, I think, close to a dozen arguments on how to make the best Halayang Ube throughout this country. But all I wish to divulge is how I make mine. 

  • You have to buy the best looking purple yams with the most intense purple colour, which can range from bright lavender to Barney purple to really deep dark purple (almost verging into blackish in colour).
  • You can either boil or bake the purple yams, skin still on (this way none of the gorgeous purple colour bleeds out of the root vegetable) until very tender. Finely grate the yams using a fine grater, or for your modern-day convenience, use a food processor- cut the boiled (or baked) and peeled yams into medium dices. Fill the food processor tub half full (for each batch) with the yams and blitz/puree.
  • The amount of milk (both condensed milk and evaporated milk) is as much as important as the amount of purple yam is. The creaminess and richness of the milk should compliment and enhance the starchy quality of the purple root veg.
  • Use a large non-stick (teflon coated) pan to cook the mixture. I do recommend using a big and sturdy silicone (very heat resistant) spatula to stir the mixture, and also by using a silicone spatula instead of a wooden spoon, you can conveniently scrape all the sticky mixture away from the base of the pan preventing scorching or burnt bottom. 
  • And finally, patience is really the key element in making this decadent confection. For the amount of purple yam fudge mixture in this recipe, you have to cook and constantly stir it for 3-3 1/2 hours on a stove top over medium heat or until the fudge when stirred, can be lifted off the pan like a dense dough. The best characteristic of a very good Halayang Ube is that is it chewy and dense and rich and toothsome. 

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Ingredients: 

2 kilos finely grated purple yams, prepared*

*(boiled or baked with skin still on until fork tender, then peeled and finely grated or blitzed in a food processor)

4 cans condensed milk

2 cans evaporated milk

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup melted butter + 2 Tablespoon softened butter (to lightly coat the moulds the purple yam fudge will be poured to be moulded and set)

1 teaspoon salt

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Procedure:

Prepare moulds- coat the base and sides of dish moulds with softened butter.

- In a large non-stick pan or even teflon coated wok (much suggested and preferred) , combine all ingredients and thoroughly mix until homogenised. 

- Place pan over medium heat. From this point, you only have to stand in front of the stove and your pan of purple yam mixture for the next 3- 3 1/2 hours- constantly stirring, making sure the bottom of the mixture doesn’t get scorched and burnt. 

- After working the hours stirring the fudge, it becomes chewy and much like a very heavy and dense dough, and you can see that the mixture easily lifts itself off the pan. At this stage, turn off heat. 

- Divide purple yam fudge into prepared moulds/dish. Smoothen the surface of the fudge with an offset or regular spatula lightly coated with softened butter (this will make the surface shiny). Cool completely and let it set. 

- Slice according to preference. 

Makes about 3 kilos

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Maple and Almond Nut Tarts
Ingredients: 
Sweet Dough (tart shell)
2 1/3 cups unsifted all-purpose flour (*spooned gently into measuring cup, do not tap or shake cup when measuring)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cold and cut into cubes
1 whole egg
- In a food processor, pulse all sweet dough ingredients together until the dough comes together.
- Wrap dough in cling film, and chill for 30 minutes inside the fridge. 
Maple and Almond Filling
2 large eggs
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons melted butter
4 cups coarsely chopped almonds (or you can also use slivered almonds)
- Mix all filling ingredients together and set the mixture aside.
Assembly:
- Preheat oven at 350’F
- You will need 4 mini (12-mould) muffin pans.
- Take the dough out of the fridge and scoop 1 tablespoon of dough into each mini muffin mould. Press dough and create a cylindrical indentation to hold the filling.
- Spoon filling in each prepared unbaked shells.
- Bake tarts for 20-25 minutes or until light golden brown.
- Lift tarts from moulds 5 minutes after taking the pans out of the oven. Cool tarts on wire racks.
Makes 48 mini tarts

Maple and Almond Nut Tarts

Ingredients: 

Sweet Dough (tart shell)

2 1/3 cups unsifted all-purpose flour (*spooned gently into measuring cup, do not tap or shake cup when measuring)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cold and cut into cubes

1 whole egg

- In a food processor, pulse all sweet dough ingredients together until the dough comes together.

- Wrap dough in cling film, and chill for 30 minutes inside the fridge. 

Maple and Almond Filling

2 large eggs

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon cinnamon powder

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 tablespoons melted butter

4 cups coarsely chopped almonds (or you can also use slivered almonds)

- Mix all filling ingredients together and set the mixture aside.

Assembly:

- Preheat oven at 350’F

- You will need 4 mini (12-mould) muffin pans.

- Take the dough out of the fridge and scoop 1 tablespoon of dough into each mini muffin mould. Press dough and create a cylindrical indentation to hold the filling.

- Spoon filling in each prepared unbaked shells.

- Bake tarts for 20-25 minutes or until light golden brown.

- Lift tarts from moulds 5 minutes after taking the pans out of the oven. Cool tarts on wire racks.

Makes 48 mini tarts



CHICKEN PASTEL EMPANADA

Ingredients:

Empanada Pastry:

4 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter

3/4 cup beer (light beer)

1 egg, beaten (for the pastry)

1/2 cup all-purpose flour (for dusting the work surface and rolling out the pastry)

1 egg, beaten (to use as an eggwash to brush the Empanadas with before baking)

Chicken Filling:

1 whole (uncooked) chicken breast, cut into small chunks

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt (not table salt)

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

2 cups par-boiled mixed vegetables (small diced carrots, sweet corn kernels, string beans, and broccoli florets separated into small pieces)

4 cloves garlic, finely minced

1/4 cup unsalted butter

2 tablespoons flour

1 cup evaporated milk

small pinch of nutmeg

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

salt and white pepper according to taste

1 1/4 cup grated gruyere cheese

Procedure:

For the Chicken Filling:

1. Marinate chicken pieces in Worcestershire sauce and season with salt and white pepper. Let it marinate for 15 minutes inside the fridge.

2. Melt butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Gently saute the garlic.

3. Once the garlic is soft, add the chicken into the pan and saute for about 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.

4. Add the 2 tablespoons of flour and cook for about a minute just to get rid of the raw flour taste. Add the evaporated milk, Dijon mustard and a small pinch of nutmeg and stir the bechamel sauce.

5. Mix in the par-boiled vegetables and cook in the sauce until tender and finally add the grated gruyere cheese. Season with salt and white pepper according to taste. Turn off heat and set the pan aside.

For the Empanada Pastry: Pre-heat oven to 375’F.

1. Sift together the 4 cups of flour, sugar and salt.

2. Cut the cold butter into the flour mixture.

3. When the butter is well incorporated into the flour (mixture resembles fine bread crumbs), add the beer and pre-beaten egg.

4. Gather and form the pastry mixture into a ball of dough. This dough does not require resting.

5. Turn out the dough onto a well floured work surface and divide the dough in halves. Form each halve into a fat cylinder and cut and divide into 4 pieces (8 Empanadas for this recipe).

6. Roll out and flatten each piece of dough into 1/4 inch thick disk.

7. Put about a heaping serving spoon of chicken mixture on the half side of the rolled out pastry. Fold the other half over and run your fingers around the folded dough, and over the mound of filling to seal the dough together and get rid of air pockets inside the pastry.

8. Using a rolling pastry cutter, trim the edges off the Empanada. Then using a fork, crimp the edges to totally seal the pastry pocket.

9. Place the empanadas onto a parchment lined baking sheet and brush with an eggwash. Using a fork, prick the surface of each piece once to create an air vent.

10. Bake empanadas in a 375’F oven for 40-45 minutes or until these pastries are golden brown.

Makes 8  6-inch Empanadas

(Source: goddessofscrumptiousness)