Fatty Dumpling

A piece of cake does not exist until someone eats it.

Category: Pastry

Harry Potter’s Pumpkin Pasties

Have you ever read a book and became completely engrossed in their foods?

Harry Potter fan? Y’know that first scene when Harry first meets Ron in the train that was headed for Hogwarts? The trolley comes along with a lady selling food. Harry buys loads and loads and shares them Ron?

Well, that was a beautiful scene: two boys bonding and forming a lifelong friendship while sharing sweets. And Ron’s corned beef “sandwiches lay forgotten”. …Poor sandwiches.

Anywho, it was Canada’s Thanksgiving Day a few days ago. It’s not something that I usually make a point to engage in—but this year, it was neat to have a friend over to break bread with and enjoy the company of. I’m usually thankful to have her and every other good thing in my life every day, but it was a beautiful thought to know that people across my nation was doing the same thing at the same time I was, eh? Being thankful, that is. Bee-u-tee-full.

Harry Potter’s British. I’m Canadian. Thus, when I read the books as a kid, I thought that I didn’t recognize the foods because they were all weird British stuff. Pumpkin pasties…did they exist before Harry Potter? Pasties…pasties…paste-tees? Pas-tees? See! Weird.

So, my friend and I had our own beautiful scene along with the rest of our country (if they celebrated, of course): bonding and celebrating our lifelong friendship with a big dinner and the pasties. Pastry covered pumpkin stuffs just screams appreciation, right? Yumyumyum.

Pumpkin Pasties
I used the Butter Flaky Pie Crust recipe from allrecipes for the pastry.
I used the Pumpkin Pasties recipe from Diamonds for Dessert, except that I doubled the spices for more spice and added a half cup of trail mix (you can add a combo of any nuts/dried fruits that you like) for a contrast in texture and some more yum factor).

P.S. That wine bottle up there was something I used in place of a rolling pin. It worked well–I just wrapped it in parchment paper to create a nonstick surface. It’s also my roommate’s and she doesn’t know that I did that.

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Cream Puffs

I don’t have memories of baking cookies with my mom, but of baking cream puffs with her and my sister and brother.

After boiling away the stuff on the stove, we’d hold down the pot while ma stirred powerfully away at the choux pastry. Then we’d have a go. Our spindly arms couldn’t handle the work though. The dough was always too tough for us, and we have to stir fast and furious to ensure fat and fluffy puffs. After a few swipes, we’d collapse into an exhausted heap as our ma took over.

Piping was the best fun. There’s always a mess though; but proud funny looking blobs always formed, so it was all good.

My sister and I wanted to take my mom out for yesterday’s mother’s day. Manicures for everybody! Food! Play!  Ma, however, gave a resolute no. That’s a waste of money. What did she want instead? Creem pup. What? Creem pup. What? Those things. Little lumps with cream in them. Cream puffs!

So, sister (brother for a little bit) and I baked cream puffs for our mom, using the recipe she’s kept for over 20 years from Vietnam.

Delicious! Don’t overfill them though—or else when you bite into them, there’ll be a custard explosion. Unless you want that, of course.

Cream Puffs
recipe from momma Fatty Dumpling

Instructions for Vanilla Custard
400 ml milk
3 large eggs
100 g sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp flour

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and flour until combined.

Pour the mixture through a sieve into a saucepan.

The mixture has to be thin. If it’s too thick, add more milk. If it’s too thin, add more flour.

Stir the mixture over high heat. When the mixture begins to thicken, immediately lower the heat and continue stirring. (If you do not continuously stir or lower the heat, the custard will develop sad lumps.)

The custard is finished when it has reached a thick consistency, like pudding.

Once the custard is finished, cool it down to room temperature. Then, place it covered in the refrigerator if you’d like it to be cold filling. Set aside until later.

Instructions for Choux Pastry
500 ml water
2 tbsp sugar
180 g butter
½ tsp salt
300 g flour
8 large eggs
1/2 tsp baking powder

In a large pot, combine the water, sugar, salt, and butter and bring the mixture to a boil. Turn off the heat, but keep the pot on the stove.

Sift in the flour while stirring in one direction quickly. Stir until everything is combined and the dough comes away from the sides of the pot.

Take the pot off the heat and continue stirring in one direction.

Stir in one egg until it is completely incorporated. Stir powerfully and quickly. The dough is tough in the beginning, and becomes easier to stir when the egg first comes in. Stir until the dough is tough again and comes together. (Momma Fatty Dumpling says that in Vietnam, she was taught to stir for 20 eggs to ensure that it is well blended and enough air is incorporated into the dough. However in Canada, 5 minutes should do it. )

Continue stirring in each of the eggs one at a time.

Stir in the baking powder after the last egg.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Prepare a sheet with either parchment paper or greased tin foil.

Place the dough in a piping bag and pipe a blob as big as you like. My blobs were probably as big as 1 ½ tablespoons. Alternatively, you can spoon your dough onto the sheet.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until they are golden brown.

Instructions for filling the puffs

You can pipe the custard into the puffs. I’d suggest a discreet side, ‘cause it might ooz out of the puff’s  bottom.

You can also simply split the puff in two—but the two halves will be hinged by a side, and spoon a bit of custard into its centre.

Rustic Pear Tart

I envy those with fruit or veggie gardens. Or even those with a single berry bush or a little patch of chives. What is it like to walk into your yard to see edible things growing merrily along in the sun? I swear, next year, I’m getting a pot and am growing a tomato in my window sill. And maybe some carrots. Ooo, and beans.

A few weeks ago, a family friend invited us over to pick pears from her three pear trees. Three?! Her trees were so seriously heavy with fruit that she was practically gleefully throwing pears at us to take home. In reality, she threw pears at her son from the top of a ladder (he caught them, don’t worry). The ladderless ones picked fruit with bare hands. In the end, my family was waved goodbye while carrying three huge and full IKEA bags of pears home.

How do you like your pears? Ripe, soft, and juicy or crisp, cool, and sweet? The majority of my family like them while they’re crisp—which explains why the pears were consumed so quickly—fresh and plain fruit, just as they are. And they tasted so dang good, man.

I grabbed a few pears for a tart that my sister and I made, and I am running out of ways to say “it was delicious”. In season fruit that was local (how much more local can you get from a backyard?), that only traveled 11 minutes and 49 seconds between homes…actually, I really am not sure if I noticed these characteristics in the taste factor because I just think food tastes good. It helped my conscious, though.

Now, the simple sweet pear filling was sweet and tender. The simple whole wheat pie crust was crispy and flavourful. It was overall a pretty neat dessert that wasn’t overly sweet and was nicely healthier than other tarts. Ellie Krieger’s Rustic Pear Tart recipe is definitely something swell to munch on. Munch munch.