Tag Archives: mini

Roasted Plum and Pumpkin Hand Pies

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Wow! A pumpkin recipe…very original this time of year. But how could I not? I’ve been bombarded with everything pumpkin for the past few weeks now. Pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin spice Oreos, pumpkin spice everything. I even saw a picture for pumpkin spice tampons, which I’m sure was a joke. There are pumpkins for sale at every store and every corner so naturally I had to pick a few up. I had never actually cooked a fresh pumpkin before but since the little pie pumpkins were only $1.29 each I really couldn’t have gone wrong.

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Since I had some blue plums left over I decided to roast them with a little sugar and make plum pumpkin hand pies. Maybe it sounds like a weird combination but since they’re both in season, why not? It seemed like a great idea to me and also I could’ve called them Plumkin Hand Pies. What a cute name, right? No…no that’s not right. I did a quick google search to see if the name “Plumkin” had been used before, because I was sure it must’ve. Nothing is ever original anymore, especially with the internet. So, my results were not what I was expecting. If you’d like, you can look it up yourself because I don’t think the definition of a “plumkin” is appropriate for a food blog. Unless you like throwing up while looking at pretty pictures of food.

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Um, so back to the food! These little pies are made with my one and only favourite pie crust, the salted butter pie crust. Which, I really do believe is the key to a good pie, no matter what the filling is. Without this crust all pies are mediocre, in my opinion. Each mini pie gets a dollop of spiced creamy pumpkin puree and half a beautifully dark roasted plum. The filling is a perfect offset to the salted butter crust and the size makes them great for a snack, plus they’re super cute.

Mini Roasted Plum Pumpkin Hand Pies with Salted Butter Crust
Makes 20 2×2″ pies filled with spiced pumpkin and roasted plum

Pumpkin Puree:
1 small pie pumpkin ( or 110g of canned pumpkin puree)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of fresh ground nutmeg
pinch of ground ginger
pinch of salt
2 packed tablespoons of brown sugar

Roasted Plums:
10 small blue/damson plums, halved lengthwise and pitted
3 tbsp caster sugar

Salted Butter Crust:
250g all purpose flour
225g cold, salted butter, cut into small pieces
about 1/4 cup of cold water

1 egg and a little water for egg wash

Preheat oven to 375˚F

Cut off stem and halve pumpkin and scrape out seeds. Rub the inside of the pumpkin with a few drops of vegetable oil. Line a rimmed tray with foil and place pumpkin halves skin side up. Roast in oven for about an hour or until soft.

While the pumpkin is baking, prepare plums. Lay the halves skin side down in a roasting tray and sprinkle sugar evenly over top. Place into oven with the pumpkin and roast for about 15-20 minutes or until juices are bubbling and the plums have softened.

Make the crust by combining the flour and butter in a food processor then adding the water, a little at a time while the machine runs and until the dough starts to come together. Knead lightly by hand. If making by hand, cut the butter into the flour until crumbly. Add the water and mix and form into a dough. Flatten with the palms of your hands and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, about an hour.

Let plums and pumpkin cool to room temperature. Once the pumpkin has cooled, scrape it out of its skin. Puree in a food processor. I only used about half a cup of puree (110g). The rest of the pumpkin can be used in cakes, pies, cookies, stews, soups, etc. Blend the spices into your half a cup of puree.

Roll out the dough to about 3mm thick and cut out squares with a cookie cutter or with your knife. I made mine with a 2×2″ cutter. Different shapes can be used as well. Gather the scraps and refrigerate while you fill the pies.

To fill the pies, first lay out half the squares and brush the edges with egg wash. Place about a tsp of pumpkin puree into the middle of the square and top with half a roasted plum. Take another square and gently press it between your fingers to make the surface larger. Place it on top of the filling and gently press it down on all sides. Using a fork, seal the edges, either with the tips of the fork or the whole side. Repeat with the rest of the squares. Place onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and repeat with the leftover scraps of dough. Once all the hand pies are ready to be baked, brush with egg wash and bake at 375˚F for approximately 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Can be left at room temperature for a couple days in a sealed container and then refrigerated for about a week. Reheat in low oven.

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Miniature Meals

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No, you’re not seeing wrong.  That’s a very mini hamburger that could fit in the palm of your hand. Actually, it could fit in the palm of your baby’s hand.

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On Monday I decided to try out a crazy Japanese snack kit that I bought at one of the asian supermarkets in town. Originally I thought I was just buying a box of hamburger shaped candy. However, upon further inspection it turned out to be a DIY mini hamburger kit of sorts and with no candy in sight.

The kit comes with a whole load of powder filled packets and some mixing trays and utensils. How fun is that?! All you need is some water and a microwave to cook your very own mini hamburger, fries, and cola. A whole meal that will fit in the palm of your hand. Really! Ok, so it’s not exactly a meal, maybe a meal if you were the size of a hamster but still…it was fun.

I’ll just show you a bit of what I did so you can get the gist of it but mainly I just wanted to post it cause they’re so  darn   cute.

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From the pictures you can see the fries being made. Essentially, all I had to do was mix the fry powder with a certain amount of water, mix it up, press it down into the ridged container, microwave it, and slice it into itty bitty little fries. Yes, they are adorable and surprisingly tasted a little bit like fries.

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Next, I made the hamburger buns, patty, and cheese. Yes, you even make the cheese. There’s real cheese powder in there. So weird. So cool.

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Want to know what else? The cola fizzes!

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So, was all the work worth it for the taste? Was it delicious?

Absolutely not.

Though, I wasn’t expecting it to taste good. I mean, come on. Making food out of powder in your microwave? Also, in general, I find that western food created by asian companies always tastes strange. The bun for one was really sweet, the ketchup that I made was severely artificial, and don’t even get me started with the patty.

I managed to eat one and that was enough. But, overall it was totally worth it for the fun of making it. Now I just need to get my hands on their ramen making kit and I’m all set.

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Before The Resolutions Began

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I’ve been absent over the past few weeks busying myself with holiday stuff and of course studying. However, over the holidays I had the chance to cater my sister’s “first… and last cocktail party”, her words not mine. No, I didn’t poison everyone with the food I made and there’s nothing wrong with my catering abilities, except maybe not being able to torch meringue properly (i.e. setting a few cupcakes on fire). I promise you there was nothing wrong with the food nor the drinks but instead, of course, the company. You see, my sister has a lot of friends, girl friends actually, and in my experience girls who don’t know each other don’t tend to want to get to know each other.

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So, I’m making it sound like there were some bitch slaps thrown and some awful words tossed around but none of that happened, though maybe I did hear a few whispers. It was actually more of a strained “I don’t know you so I don’t like you” type of atmosphere. Though, luckily I just got to stay out of the way and in the kitchen most of the time, the place where I feel most comfortable.

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As for the actual catering job, I think it went pretty well. The menu included a few vegetarian items, a meat option, fish option, as well as gluten free options. For the savoury dishes I included a braised soy mustard pork belly on romaine hearts with pickled carrots, lox on a potato pancake with horseradish sour cream, garlic creamed mushrooms on polenta squares, caprese skewers with a balsamic dip, and crackers with cheese and apple slices. My sister, being the picky lady that she is, fought me on those crackers and cheese. I had originally planned on goat cheese stuffed dates with and without prosciutto but she just had her heart set on the crackers and cheese. In the end no one really ate them.  Lesson learned for next time, listen to your little sister, though I guess there won’t be a next time.

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The drinks included a festive spiced rum lemon apple cider and a grapefruit mint mojito. “This tastes like happiness” said one of the drunken guests.

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Last but not least were the desserts. On the menu were peppermint macarons, mini lemon meringue buttermilk cupcakes, and vanilla panna cottas with a raspberry coulis topped with chocolate shavings. All the desserts went down a treat and we ended the night with a Kris Kringle gift exchange. As luck might have it, I chose a real kitchen torch from my cousin and now I don’t have to set tiny cupcakes on fire with my dad’s industrial blow torch!

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Vanilla Panna Cotta with Raspberry Coulis
Makes 8 half cup servings
Panna cotta recipe adapted from this recipe to make it easier

Panna Cotta

1 tbsp (10g) powdered gelatine
2 tbsp (30g) cold water
2 cups (500mL) heavy cream
1 cup (250mL) half and half
1/3 cup (83g) of granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean, scraped

Add the 2tbsp of cold water to a small microwavable cup. Sprinkle over gelatine and let sit for one minute.

In a medium heavy bottomed saucepan, heat the cream, half and half, sugar, and vanilla bean seeds with the vanilla pod on medium heat. Bring just to a boil over moderate heat. Microwave the gelatine mixture for about 20 seconds or until melted. Remove vanilla pod. Remove the cream from the heat and add the gelatine mixture. Stir until fully incorporated. Pour into 8 ramekins and chill at least 4 hours or until set.

Raspberry Coulis

1 pint of raspberries
2tsp of lemon juice, or to taste
2tbsp of sugar, or to taste

Process all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Check for flavour and add more lemon juice or sugar if necessary. Strain through a fine mesh strainer.

The panna cotta’s can either be un-moulded by dipping the ramekins into hot water and running a thin knife around the edge or can be eaten from their ramekins. I used clear plastic wine cups for the party and then topped each with 2tbsp of raspberry coulis and a bit of chocolate shaved with a vegetable peeler.

Apple Cider with Spiced Vodka

1 bottle of vodka
3 sticks of cinnamon, broken in half or thirds
1 clove
2 pieces of star anise
1 vanilla pod or vanilla extract
non alcoholic fresh apple cider
lemon juice
carbonated water

The night before you wish to make the drink, pour out about a shot of vodka from the bottle, reserving it for another time. Add in all the spices to the bottle and gently shake. Let sit overnight. The vodka will turn a medium amber colour and smell like the spices.

Add an ounce of spiced vodka to a glass, 1/2 an ounce of lemon juice and top with half apple cider and half carbonated water.

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