Saturday, July 26, 2014

Banana Turnover

I was at McDonald's (MCD) the other day (well, my usual hang-out area while waiting to pick up my son from school) enjoying their latest promotional craze - Banana Pie.  Well, I have to admit that I really fell for the pie the moment it set in my mouth.  The crust is just perfectly thin and super crisp.  The filling is slushy and yummy.

It hit me so hard that I literally went bananas scouring the net searching high and low for a similar recipe of which I finally called it quit and waved the white flag.  Seriously, I can't seem to find any pie recipe close to that of McDonald's's version.  All I could find was the open-type but not the enclosed one.

Persistent as I was, I  decided to make it from scratch.  First, I would have to search for the filling recipe, then followed by the pastry recipe.  Looking for the filling recipe was surprisingly easy.  I only found one recipe (that resembled McDonalds's version).  So, I hadn't had any choice to choose from - take it or leave it!  So cruel!  As for the pastry recipe, well I have to admit that I was more fussy and picky on this.  Actually, all that I am looking for in a pastry is that it has to be crispy and flaky.  I was somehow glad that I finally found one.

Well, it took me two days before I got both the filling and pastry recipes that passed my so-called personal requirements.  Once done, I got down to business and made them.  All I could say, the making process was straightforward and pretty easy.

But more importantly, what's my verdict on this recipe?  On a scale of 1-10, I would give an 8.  I am generally satisfied with what came out.  The filling was yummy with a nice buttery banana-ry aroma (except that it's a little on the sweet side).  The pastry was buttery, crisp and what's more important is it was SERIOUSLY FLAKY!!!  So, generally, FILLING + PASTRY = NICE BANANA TURNOVER.

 You may ask me - you gave 8 out of 10, so what happen to the remaining 2?  Well, so long as I don't find the McDonald's-like type, the pie does not deserve a 10 from me.

The Recipe:
A) Ingredients for the filling:
     (adapted from Taiwanese Cooking)
  • 4 ripe bananas, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
  • 4 Tbsp. margarine or butter
  • 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. corn starch, dissolved in 2 Tbsp. water
  1. Heat margarine or butter over medium heat in a wok or frying pan. Stir in sliced bananas and cook for about 2 minutes.
  2. Add sugar and lemon juice, then cook for another 3 to 4 minutes over low heat until the texture becomes slightly creamy. Add the corn starch, dissolved in water, to the mixture. Once the filling is creamy with chunks of banana, turn off the heat.  So, this is how it looks like finally.

B) Ingredients for the pastry:
     (adapted from The Pink Whisk)

  • 300g plain flour
  • 225g butter, cold diced
  • (35g caster sugar for sweet pastry/1 tsp salt for savoury)
  • 6-8 tbsps cold water

  1. Measure out the plain flour into a large bowl.
  2. Dice the cold butter into small pieces.  Easiest way I’ve found to do this is to work on a plate.  Slice the butter and add a good spoonful of the flour for the pastry.  Tossing the butter in the flour as you dice stops them from sticking to each other and keeps the pieces separate.
  3. Add the butter to the flour and start to rub it in with your fingertips.  Now maybe the reason I love flaky pastry so much is it’s the lazy persons pastry, you don’t want to rub it in fully pretend you’re making a shortcrust and do a half hearted job, only rubbing it in half way – so there’s plenty of little pebbles of butter still left.
  4. Stir through the caster sugar for a sweet Flaky pastry or 1 tsp of salt for savoury.
  5. Start to add the water, just a couple of tablespoons at a time and mix it together with the blade of table knife until it just comes together without being crumbly.
  6. Lightly knead the pastry in the bowl to form a dish.
  7. Wrap it in clingfilm or a freezer bag and place it in the fridge to chill for 1 hour.
 That’s it!  Flaky Pastry done!

C) Assembling Everything
  1. Roll the dough (according to your desired size) into a square. 
  2. Put 2 to 3 heaping tablespoons of filling in the center of each square and fold in half into a rectangular shape. 
  3. Use a fork to press the edges firmly closed and to also make a decorative pattern.
  4. Arrange the turnovers 2 inches apart on a cooking sheet or in a baking pan lined with foil.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Brush the turnovers with an egg wash, consisting half of water and half of eggs. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown.


Friday, July 4, 2014

Chocolate Molten Lava Cake

Frankly, I have never eaten this cake before let alone baking one myself.  Of course, people around me have been lamenting how much they adore this cake and some even got hysterical and rhapsodic by just hearing its name, especially the words MOLTEN...LAVA!!

Certainly, I do concur that the name itself is already enticing enough to itch your taste buds and eventually making your mouth salivate and your heart yearn to try one.  That's what exactly happened to me.  I have been longing to try eating and baking one myself.

So, last weekend, I managed to squeeze some time out to do some readings trying to look out for a decent recipe.  Hey! The recipe is somehow pretty straightforward and not at all complicated.  The ingredients used are very basic and easily available.  The procedure is just a child's play as claimed by others.  Another shocking fact I found out from some of those who have made one - the bake was.........SHOCKINGLY EASY!!!  Any Tom Dick and Harry can whip one!

As easy as it has been said, this dunghead somehow failed on his first attempt.   Only on his second attempt then he realized that he was not cut out for this cake.  His third try was just as disastrous as the other two.  However, persistency wins at last.  Exactly, I finally succeeded on my fourth try!  The first three came out cakey and hard in that there was NO molten lava whatsoever sloshing out upon cutting.  Reason?  Easy,......I have overbaked it.  Even extra one minute counts and matters.  So, my advice for those of you who intend to bake one yourself, please make one piece first and see the outcome, only then you bake the remaining pieces.

So, what's my final verdict on the successful piece?  Frankly, I enjoyed better eating the failed cake which is hard and cakey.  So as my son, he loved the first three batches much more than the last successful one.  Though no lava, the cake just goes perfectly well with a dollop of vanilla ice-cream.  I somehow feel a tinge of guilt and uneasiness eating the seemingly 'uncooked' chocolate liquid that oozes out.  Anyway, that is just my personal intuition.  You may not agree with me.  I may be the odd ones! He he...

So, for those of you who want to try making one yourself, here you go babe, the recipe adapted from Foodie By Nature.

(yields about 5-6 pcs)
  • 4.5 ounces of dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 110 grams of butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup castor sugar-approximate 150 gms (I reduced to 100g)
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour(35 grams)
  • Vanilla extract 1 teaspoon
  • 5-6 moulds or ramekins depending on size
  • Chocolate powder


  1. Preheat oven at 200 degrees C for half an hour
  2. Butter moulds and dust with chocolate powder so it sticks to the butter..tap away excess
  3. Put chocolate and butter in a double boiler whisking every now and then until melted. Add vanilla extract
  4. In a bowl whisk together eggs,sugar and gradually flour until well blended. Slowly add melted and cooled chocolate-butter mixture
  5. Pour mixture into moulds / ramekins and put in oven ( up and down grill on)
  6. Place in center of oven and bake for approximate 12 mins or until sides leave moulds and top is cracked but wobbly.  The time will vary from oven to oven..start checking after 10 mins (Mine baked at 9 mins)
  7. Remove and serve at once.have straight from the mould until u try it a couple of times..then you can start turning it upside down once you are more confident. Serve with vanilla ice- cream..