The Sweet Spot

Pastry Chef & Traveler

Key Lime Pie

Hello all! What a gloomy Monday it is.

Well, don’t feel too sad that you should be tucked in bed right now instead of (insert where you don’t prefer to be) cause I have here for you, a Key Lime Pie. I’m still sorting out my photos and travelogues from my Summer trip to London and Europe, so I guess you won’t be able to see posts for that for a while. But I will make it up by posting more cakes :) Or tarts.

key lime pie

How come it’s not green ? Yeah cause there’s no colouring aight? A salty crumbly biscuit base, milky sweet and tangy custard filling topped with a lightly whipped whipped cream. Oh hang on. What is the difference between a tart and pie ?

A pie is a sweet or savory dish with a crust and a filling. The sides of a pie dish or pan are sloped. It can have a just a bottom, just a top, or both a bottom and a top crust. A pie crust is traditionally made of flour, salt, cold water, and lard (or shortening) but many pie crust recipes use a combination of fats such as butter, lard, or vegetable shortening, or just butter. The goal is a crisp, flaky crust. Pies are served straight from the dish in which they were baked.

A tart is a sweet or savory dish with shallow sides and only a bottom crust. Tart crusts are usually made from pastry dough: traditionally flour, unsalted butter, cold water, and sometimes sugar. The goal is a firm, crumbly crust. Tarts are baked in a pan with a removable bottom, or in pastry ring on top of a baking sheet so that it can be unmolded before serving.

(source : The Kitchn)

So traditionally, key lime pies, are made in pie moulds which is sloped, and deep. But because I couldn’t get any decent ones (I can’t be bringing ceramic pie moulds to my baking demo classes and risk breaking them) I decided to just make it in a tart mould, hence I really think it should be called key lime tart.

key lime pie 2

The ingredients are fairly simple. As you may or may not know, I conduct demo classes in Jaya Grocer in Intermark, KL (Sundays) and Empire Shopping Mall in Subang Jaya (Saturdays). Each session only takes about 1 hour, hence I need to make things which are simple, easy and quick for home makers or just people who want to have free food while grocery shopping (HAHA).

For the filling, use key lime juice (Limau Nipis), condensed milk and egg yolk. But if I may stern on it, it is IMPORTANT (actually, make that vital) to use imported condensed milk for this. Here’s why. (read this too if you have time)

Look at the ingredients list the next time you shop for local condensed milk and compare it with the imported ones. The main ingredient, milk solids, is actually replaced by ‘something else’. Now if you google homemade condensed milk, you’d know that the key to making condensed milk is by cooking milk and sugar  till the water evaporates and thus, leaving you with a thick, dense sweet milk. The milk solids fat from a real tin of condensed milk will set when baked with it’s help by combining egg yolks. It gives it a nice velvety and creamy texture. So really, my fellow Malaysians, please, the next time you buy something from the supermarket, check the ingredients.

key lime pie - smallDid I talk too much ? hehe.

Key Lime Pie
 
Ingredients
Crust
  • 150g Digestive biscuit (ground)
  • 40g Salted Butter, melted
  • 20g Sugar
Filling
  • 1 can Condensed milk (400g, only use imported condensed milk)
  • 4 nos Yolks
  • 100ml Lime juice (8-12 lime / limau nipis)
  • 1 tsp Lime zest
Topping
  • 100ml Whipping Cream
  • Lime zest
Instructions
  1. Blend digestive biscuits to a crumb that is not too fine. Add melted butter and sugar, and mix well.
  2. Press mixture evenly onto 9” deep pie tin. Bake at 170 C for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let it cool.
  3. For the filling, whisk egg yolks for 2 minutes, add in condensed milk and whisk for another 2 minutes. Gradually pour in lime juice and whisk another 2-3 minutes to let mixture be homogenized.
  4. Strain mixture over a fine sieve to remove fine bubbles. Add in lime zest. Mix. Pour into pie shell.
  5. Bake at 170 C for about 15 minutes or until set. Allow to chill in the fridge for 1 hour then top with whipped cream and lime zest (optional).

Since I demonstrated how to bake this, some of my regular students have made it a few times with different decorations and different crust. Happy teacher then :)

 

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Spanakopita – Spinach Filo Pie

Hey hey,

Wow, sorry for the MIA but things have gotten out of control at work with those 10-12 hrs shift, and with all those post-holiday syndrome, I just didn’t feel like turning on the computer the moment I reach home. But things are getting in order now and I have some time to post this up.

I actually made this during midnight for one of the World Cup matches (either semis or finals). I’ve always enjoyed working with filo pastry BUT everytime I make anything with filo, it freaks me out a little HAHA.

spinach feta filo pie 3

Filo (or also known as phyllo) are paper-thin translucent sheets of pastry commonly used in Greek, eastern European and Middle Eastern cuisines. Several layers are stacked together with melted butter to strengthen the delicate sheets. More commonly, it is used for baklava, strudels, burek and samosas.

Spanakopita is a Greek spinach savoury pie made mostly from filo pastry. The filling of spinach, feta cheese, eggs and onions are wrapped in layers of filo pastry, then baked till crispy.

spinach feta filo pic

For this version of spanakopita, I decided to add in sundried tomato and some dried oregano herbs and some lemon zest to enhance the flavour alongside feta cheese and some lightly sauteed baby spinach. Leeks can be added in as well but let’s just say that I’m not the biggest fan of leeks.

spinach filo pie

The filling is made by lightly sauteeing baby spinach in garlic oil, drained and added with some feta cheese cubes, egg, herbs, lemon zest and chopped sundried tomato. The oil in the sundried tomato bottle can be kept and used for brushing the filo pastry layers as it would have alot of flavour. I melted some butter and added the sundried tomato oil, brushed each layer of filo (about 4-5 layers) in order to form the pie. Pine nuts are also added to give it some nutty taste and crunch (not that there isn’t enough crunch in the filo pastry)

It also can be made into an individual triangle or cup. Since filo pastry comes in a big sheet, feel free to cut or fold in any shape you want.

spinach feta filo pie

spinach feta filo pie 2

The thin layers of pastry alternating with melted butter resulted in a very crispy pie, especially when it is warm.

Spanakopita - Spinach Filo Pie
 
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 300g baby spinach leaves
  • 80g jar sundried tomatoes in oil
  • 100g feta cheese, crumbled
  • 50g pine nuts
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ 250g pack filo pastry
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Pinch of salt and black pepper to taste
  • 50g butter, melted
Instructions
  1. In a hot pan, toast pine nuts till golden brown. Remove pine nuts into a bowl. Melt butter over a medium heated pan, add in baby spinach and toss. Tip into a sieve, leave to cool a little, then squeeze out any excess water and roughly chop.
  2. Roughly chop the tomatoes and put into a bowl along with the spinach, feta, pine nuts, lemon zest, eggs, dried oregano, salt and black pepper. Mix well.
  3. Carefully unroll the filo pastry. Cover with some damp sheets of kitchen paper to stop it drying out. Melt butter, add in 30-50ml of the sundried tomatoes oil.
  4. Take a sheet of pastry and brush liberally with some of the oil. Drape oil-side down in a 22cm loose bottomed cake tin or cake ring so that some of the pastry hangs over the side. Brush oil on another piece of pastry and place in the tin, just a little further round. Keep placing the pastry pieces in the tin until you have roughly 4 layers, then spoon over the filling.
  5. Pull the sides into the middle, scrunch up and make sure the filling is covered. Brush with a little more oil.
  6. Heat oven to 180C. Cook the pie for 30 mins until the pastry is crisp and golden brown. Remove from the cake tin, slice into wedges and serve with a wedge of lemon.

 

 

Grilled Peach & Fig Arugula Salad

peach fig parma ham salad

Bonjour!!

I’m back from my holiday and I came back with lots of peaches and figs from Bastille Market in Paris! so cheap, 1.5 euro for 1kg for peaches and for figs, it’s about 1.50 euro for 500g. So I bought quite a number back. Now they are all super ripe so I have to quickly finish them up. Maybe time for a peach ice cream or a figs pound cake. Uhmm well leave the heavier stuffs aside, here’s a simple salad recipe to sweeten up your appetite. Peaches and figs are really sweet so if it wasn’t for the black pepper vinaigrette, and ham, I would feel like I’m eating a savoury dessert, or a sweet appetizer Haha.

If that makes any sense at all.

grilled peach and fig salad

It is somewhat optional to grill them on the griddle pan but by doing so, it warms up the fruits and gives if more juice and softens the texture. Use Parma ham or proscuitto too add saltiness to the salad, and possibly some cheese and nuts for texture. Very colourful salad I would say but not cheap in terms of the products availability in Malaysia. 2 slices of parma ham is about RM9, 4 figs would be RM 10-12, a bright yellow peach is about RM 4 and a box of arugula is about RM 4 as well, I’m not even counting in the cheese cause they were leftovers. So I’ll leave you with the calculations. But when the produces are easily available in your own country then it makes it a ‘cheap in price but expensive in taste’ salad.

rocket

I really like its sweetness, peppery taste from all the ingredients that I think I may make it again. Peaches and figs are really good fruits to be made into a salad because of its’ vibrant colour and distinctive shapes. Please don’t use any canned peaches for this. thanks.

The salad ‘recipe’ was adapted from A Cozy Kitchen.

Grilled Peach & Fig Arugula Salad
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Serves: 1
Ingredients
Dressing:
  • 3 tablespoons good-quality olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon good balsamic vinegar
  • Juice from ½ lemon
  • Salt
  • 6-7 turns freshly ground pepper
Salad:
  • 4 figs, sliced
  • Olive oil
  • Few handfuls of arugula (2 ounces), cleaned and dried
  • 1 yellow peach, sliced
  • 2 slices Italian Parma Ham
  • Brie Cheese
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, add the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper; mix until thoroughly combined. Do a taste test and add a bit more salt, if you like. Set aside.
  2. Heat a grill or grill pan. When hot, brush with olive oil. Place the figs and peaches on the hot grill, face down and cook for 1-2 minutes, until grill marks appear. Remove and set aside.
  3. To a large mixing bowl, add the arugula. Sprinkle the leaves with salt. Add half of the dressing and lightly toss the salad. Transfer the leaves to your serving plate. Add the peaches and figs to the mixing bowl and toss with a bit of dressing. Transfer the peaches and figs to the serving plate, arranging how ever you like. Top with a few torn pieces of Parma Ham and thin slices of brie cheese.

 

 

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