Saturday, May 25, 2013

Malaysian Banana Fritters for Wesak Day, May 24th

In Malaysia, bananas used to be eaten only raw. After the Portuguese introduced them in 1511, they became a morning and afternoon snack. The Portuguese took flour to Malaysia, and were the first to cook the fruit. The name of this dessert is pisang goreng, or fried banana, and the outside batter is similar to the Japanese tempura.

Wesak Day
This national holiday in Malaysia took place on May 24th this year, and celebrates Buddha's birthday, enlightenment and passing away. Before carrying candles and flowers in a procession to remind themselves about how ephimeral life can be, attendees bathe the Buddha, an act that symbolizes purifying the soul from greed. 

4 bananas
1/2 cup flour
1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Mash bananas. Mix all, until a thick batter is formed. Scoop and drop batter into oil, a few at a time. They taste like fried banana bread balls. 

4-6 ripe bananas
1/2 cup of flour
1 tablespoon of rice flour
1/4 cup corn flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch of salt
5 oz. ice water
oil for frying

Peel the bananas and slice in two pieces. Mix the flours, baking powder, salt, and water. Coat the banana slices in the batter and fry for 3-4 minutes in warm oil in a deep fat frying pan. Remove from pan and place on paper towels.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Madeleines from Commercy, Lorraine

There are different stories about the origins of madeleines. The nuns at St. Mary Magdalene's convent in the town of Commercy, Lorraine, in France first baked these shell-shaped cakes in the 17th century. King Louis XV tried it at Chateau Commercy and it became one of his favorite desserts. Another source believes that these cookies were first made in the 1500's at Eure sur Loire, one of the pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela, which explains why these treats are in the shape of the St. Jacques' shell, the symbol of Santiago de Compostela.

3 eggs
130 grams sugar (or 110 grams plus 2 vanilla sachets)
20 grams (1 1/2 tablespoons) of honey
150 grams flour (1 1/4 cup)
125 grams butter
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon of lemon/lime zest or orange zest
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Once you place the pans in the oven, lower immediately to 400 degrees F. Four minutes later, lower it again to 350 degrees F and cook them for three more minutes. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Canneles Bordelais from Bordeaux (Similar to Yorkshire Pudding, only sweet!)

When the Vesuvius erupted in Pompei as early as 79 B.C., large jugs of wine from Bordeaux were lying in some cellars, as Romans produced it in this part of France since 60 B.C. Later, the English enjoyed drinking it, as well as the Dutch who improved roads so they could receive it quickly.
If you visit the wine country around Bordeaux, the rows of vines will relax you like an optical illusion full of dark green stripes stretching over inviting, rolling hills. Even if you visit a wine cellar, you might not be fully satisfied until you are able to enter the fields and feel the special terroir under your feet, and see the curly leaves and heavy dark blue beads.
Not only can you taste the world-renowned wines in Bordeaux, but you will also be visiting a UNESCO World Heritage site, second only to Paris as far as the number of buildings is concerned. port, where metals, copper, sugar, rum, and wine has been traded, has existed since 300 B.C., and was once the most important one in France. It was part of England for four centuries, after Eleanor of Aquitaine married Henry Plantagenet.


If you ever hoped for a sweet version of Yorkshire pudding, this is it. The crunchy, sometimes rubbery delectable exterior contrasts with the soft interior.

They were created in the city of Bordeaux, by nuns who made an earlier version, cannelats, for poor children. It used to be shaped in the form of a stick. Others believe that pastry makers that were members of the association of canauliers were responsible for the more recent version of this treat. In the 1700's Bordeaux, in addition to the bakers' guild, there was another similar guild called canauliers.

The authentic version of this treat, which uses eggs yolks, rum, and vanilla, is sold in the city of Bordeaux, and is spelled with one n: canele, to differentiate it from similar pastries sold in other places, or made with different flavorings. The latter are referred to as "canneles bordelais."

Recipe from
2 cups milk
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs and 2 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/4 cup rum

Melt the butter, then add the milk and sugar. Mix the rest of the ingredients into the previous batter and place in the refrigerator in a closed container with a spout for 24 hours. Next, place a silicone cannele mold on top of a grill or cookie sheet. Pour the batter into it, almost all the way to the top.

Bake in a 475 degree oven for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 60 minutes. Remove from the oven. 
Cool for ten minutes, and pull them out of the pan.