Vanilla Puff Pastry Pillows

Something that we face daily while working in Puno, is trying to throw water on  smoldering superstitions.  It’s a hard line to define whether we should confront them or not because sometimes they are just silly/quirky beliefs and aren’t necessarily satanic in nature.  We had to confront a belief yesterday that had me literally flabbergasted!

This is Ella with Jesse, the new addition to this household for now.  One of our contacts is in pain and it’s believed that if you get a black puppy or bunny and put it next to where the pain is it will absorb the pain.  However, it only lasts for one day, and you need to kill it to get rid of the pain.  We went to see this contact the other day and she had a puppy on the bed and she told us her grandmother was going to kill it for the latter reason.  She told us we should take it home or she would die!!!!  So, she’s here for now, but we don’t know if she’s going to stay with us or if we will find another home for her.  Poor little thing, she’s got diarrhea and she is really malnourished.  Her back legs are pathetic and she has very little appetite.  Anyone got any suggestions?

On to a lighter topic, I finally made a dessert that is worth putting up.  Last week I made a custard and it turned out awful!  Even the neighbor’s dog wouldn’t eat it.  But, according to my friend Garren, this is the best thing I’ve made yet!

Mmmmm!  So delicious!

You have two routes you can take in embarking upon this recipe.  You have an easy route, and the route not for those light of heart in the kitchen.  You know, this kitchen is called handicapped for many reasons, one such reason would be the limitation of things I can buy in my local supermarket.  To make these tasty sensations, I had to make my own puff pastry by hand.

This is the second time I’ve tried my hand at puff pastry, and the second time round it’s really not that bad.  It takes three days to make, sure!  But, it’s not strenuous work.  If you are up for a challenge, I would say give it a go!

Vanilla Puff Pastry Pillows

Dough
My best advice if you are making this homemade is to go here.  It will tell you everything you need to know… except that instead of using butter, I had better results with margarine, it has to do with the melting temperature of butter and margarine.

Or you could just go to your local supermarket and buy some filo dough… cheater!

Cream

1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of
 salt
1 tbsp
 butter (melted)
large eggs
2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla

In a medium sauce pan whisk together flour, sugar, and salt.  Then whisk in melted butter and eggs until it is well mixed.  Pour in the milk gradually and whisk as not to create any lumps.  Put over medium high heat and stir constantly bringing the mixture to a boil.  Once it begins to boil it will thicken to a custardy goop.  Remove the pan from the heat and mix in the vanilla.  Set aside to cool.

Puff Pillows

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a muffin pan.  Roll out the dough until it’s rather thin.  About as thin as poster board, I suppose.  Cut the dough into 3″x3″ squares and place the squares into the muffin pan lining the bottom and allowing the corners to peak up the sides of each cup.  Put in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from the oven and slide out of the muffin pan.  Put the cream in a piping bag and pipe into the centers of the pastries when they are cooled.

That’s it!

Chocolate Dipped Banana Cake Balls (C.D.B.C.B.)

When you fall your supposed to pull yourself up and try again, right?  And the advice goes that even if you fall again you pull yourself up again.  One, I don’t like failing.  Two, if I fail I hate repeating something I feel should’ve worked the first time.  Baking at high altitudes is a great exercise for me in this department. 

A week ago I tried making Carrot Cake Rolls.  M-mmm.  It sounds good, right?  My inspiration was the classic Pumpkin Roll.  So, I found a Carrot Cake recipe and a Pumpkin Roll recipe and combined the two.  What happened?  I got a cookie sheet full of goop that didn’t set until an hour of baking (it should have only been 15 minutes). 

“What did you want to do, Trevor?” you ask.  I wanted to take the cookie sheet and chuck it out the front door hoping to catch a passing taxi in my baking-gone-wrong rage and bust out his window.  But, instead I slopped on the cream cheese frosting (which at this point I was feeling was a waste of good cream cheese) and rolled it up.  Later, everyone told me it wasn’t very pretty but it was the best thing I had made so far.  Can you imagine how upset I was?  Argh!

So, I decided to try it again, except this time instead of using carrot I would do a banana variation.  Mashed banana is similar to pumpkin puree, so I thought it might turn out better… nope.  It was practically identical the result.  This time I even adjusted the amount of flour, sugar, and leavening crap.  It got me nowhere.  So, looking at my kitchen towel with my sad excuse of a Banana Cake Roll with cream cheese oozing out everywhere, instead of getting upset and wishing doom on the 12,000 foot high city of Puno and all it’s residents, I threw it all in a bowl and mashed it together.  This is what it became. 

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I was really happy to have them turn out and actually hand them to somebody feeling proud of what I was giving them.  Cracked and brittle Carrot or Banana Cake Rolls are just not acceptable. 

Banana Ball Base

3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup mashed banana

The Binder

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz cream cheese (room temp)
1 cup powdered sugar
6 tbsp unsalted butter (softened)
1 tsp vanilla extract
———
1/2 cup oatmeal (if needed)

Chocolate … about 175 grams (or 6 oz) of bittersweet chocolate. 

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F and grease a pan… I think you could use a 9×9 pan just fine.  I used a cookie sheet, but that was when I was making a Banana Cake Roll… now you’re making C.D.B.C.B. 

Make the flour mixture by whisking together in a bowl all the dry ingredients except the sugar.  In your mixing bowl mix the eggs and sugar until thick then beat in the mashed banana.  Then stir in the flour mixture.  It’s fine if it’s still lumpy.  Then, pour into the pre-greased pan and put in the over for 15-20 minutes or until when pressed slightly with your finger the cake springs back. 

While baking prepare the cream cheese frosting.  In a mixing bowl blend together the cream cheese and butter until smooth.  Add the vanilla extract and then gradually add the powdered sugar. 

When the cake is cooked turn out, scoop out, or whatever, just get it out of the pan into a bowl and mix it together with the cream cheese frosting and also, at this point, dump in the 1/2 cup oatmeal as a further bonding agent.  If you feel the cake and cream cheese frosting will bind together fine without the oatmeal then leave it out.

Melt the 6 oz of chocolate over simmering water.  Here’s a link that can give you further advice on how to melt your chocolate correctly.  Melting Chocolate.     

Once your chocolate is ready spoon out some of the “dough” you now have and roll it into a ball with your hands.  Stick it on the end of a fork and dip it into the chocolate only covering the bottom part… if you want to cover the whole thing with chocolate you’ll just need more chocolate.  Then place on a baking sheet covered with plastic wrap.  Once you’ve got your pan full place in the freezer for a couple hours and voila!  You’ve got my mistake made delicious.

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