Happy Turkey Day!

Tomorrow we'll be heading to my in-laws (so weird to say that!) and since I'm not a big fan of the typical pumpkin pie, I was looking around for something with a twist but that was still traditional, and I came across a ridiculously easy Pumpkin Banana Mousse Tart, so why not make it? The thing that I like the most about this dessert is that it doesn't need much baking time (only 10 minutes for the shell), so it's perfect for Thanksgiving; no need to fight over oven space. Also- I get to use my tart pan which I don't use often enough.

The crust is a very simple graham cracker crust and the only thing you'll bake for this dessert.

Use your hands to even the bottom and I used a square glass to make a cleaner edge, you can then trim the overflowing crust with your hands. Bake 10 minutes at 350.

You'll want to start by getting some of the ingredients ready first. Mash up the bananas and set them aside. Also, have your yolks in a separate bowl and beat them lightly, just to break them.

Now that we have all our ingredients ready, we can start.

In a heat proof bowl, mix the pumpkin puree, sugar, the spices, salt and half and half. Bring the bowl onto a double boiler and keep mixing while it heats up. 

Once its warm to hot to the touch (about 4 minutes), spoon some of the pumpkin mixture to the yolks, so that you don't end up with scrambled eggs.

Mix the pumpkin mixture and the yolks, then pour the yolks back into the double boiler. Make sure you keep whisking to avoid the yolk to cook in tiny pieces. Cook for about 4 minutes and remove from heat.

While the pumpkin mixture is cooling, mix the gelatin powder with 1/4 cup of cold water, then add it to the pumpkin mixture. Whisk until the gelatin is melted and dissolved.

Then add the mashed bananas, and fold

Fold the bananas until incorporated and set aside while you work on the whipped cream.

Whip the cream and sugar until soft peaks form. The pumpkin mixture will be cooling while you do this. Add and fold the whipped cream when the pumpkin mixture bowl is cool to the touch, otherwise you'll have a pretty curdled mess.

The cream will make the mixture a lot lighter and give it the mousse consistency. 

Pour over the tart shell and refrigerate for 4 hours so that the gelatin sets, and that's it! The easiest tart ever.

I can't wait to try it, but I can't bring a pie missing a piece... or can I? 

Happy thanksgiving peeps, hope you have a fun food day, whether is turkey, tofu or just pie!

Ingredients (adapted from Ina Garten):
Tart Shell
  • 2 cups of graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup of melted butter
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 (15oz can) of pumpkin puree (yes, canned! I roasted and drained a pumpkin once and i couldn't really tell the difference)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of light brown sugar
  • 1 package of unflavored gelatin
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
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Baking for Mikae

My sister in law (Mikae) is one of those women that can eat everything she wants and is still super skinny- so now that she's pregnant, she can eat a lot (LOT) more and what kind of aunt would I be if i can't provide her with some sweet goodies?

She absolutely loves cheesecakes, and when we lived together I used to make them for her quite often, so I decided to make one for her again. I modified the classic Junior's cheesecake recipe and she finished it within days. 3 to be exact.

There is something about sponge cakes that I really enjoy making them, so I usually go for this base instead of the graham cracker crust, besides- I like how the timing works on this one, by the time i'm done with the cheesecake batter, the sponge is baked and cooled.

Since I don't have the typical cheesecake pan, I used my 9" ring, buttered it up, placed a piece of parchment and wrapped the sides and with aluminum foil.

For the sponge cake (recipe below), you'll want to sift all the dry ingredients, so it's free of lumps, pretty and fluffy.

In another bowl, beat your yolks until pale, and slowly add a bit of the sugar (about three tablespoons). The sugar will help the yolks to become think and keep beating them until you pull the mixer and you can see the batter sitting on top. They call this "punto letra" in Spanish because you should be able to write with it. I find the stand mixer to be too big for the sponge cake, so the multi-use hand blender is perfect for this.

Add the vanilla extract and after incorporating it, sift the dry ingredients and fold by hand, just until everything is incorporated, then add the melted butter and incorporate it.

Wash the whisk and wash it well, any fat left on it (from the yolks) may not let the egg whites to whip until frothy. A little of cream of tartar will help the whites to rise. Once they are frothy, slowly add the remaining sugar. The whites will become shiny and whip them until you get soft peaks.

Add about a quarter of the whites into the yolks mixture and you can use the whisk to incorporate them. After that, only fold the whites by hand with a spatula.

Spread the batter into the prepared pan and even it out with an offset spatula, or a small butter knife will do the job as well. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees F. The sponge cake should be golden but not brown.
Remove from oven and set it on a cooling rack while you prepare the cheesecake part and leave the oven on.

The cream cheese should be at room temperature so it's easier to whip. Using the paddle attachment, mix (on low speed) one package of the cream cheese, 1/3 cup of the sugar, and cornstarch until creamy. You'll have to scrape the bottom a few times as the cream cheese will stick to the bottom of the bowl. Once creamy and smooth, add one package of cream cheese at a time, scraping the bowl between additions.

Now you can increase the speed to medium and add the rest of the sugar, then the vanilla extract.

Blend in the eggs one at a time.

Once the eggs are incorporated, add the heavy cream and mix just until everything is incorporated.

Gently pour the batter on the cooled sponge cake and even out just like you did on with the sponge cake mixture.

Bake the cheesecake for about 75 minutes over a water bath. It's always a good idea to pour the water into the baking dish once you have already placed it in the oven, safe and more efficient!  The cheesecake should be brown on the edges and tan on the top. It will still be a little wiggly in the center, remove from the water bath and place it on a cooling rack. Leave it on the cooking rack for about 2 hours and then you can loosely wrap it with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight before digging in.

Strawberries are always good with cheesecakes, so you can make a quick sauce by boiling the water, the  sugar and once the sugar has dissolved, add the cornstarch and once it comes to a boil, pour over the strawberries. Place the strawberries on top of the cheesecake and enjoy!!

Sponge cake:
  • 1/4 cup of cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons of melted unsalted butter
  • pinch of cream of tartar (optional)

  • 3 packages of 8oz cream cheese
  • 1 1/3 cups of sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cups of heavy cream

  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 4 tablespoons of cornstarch dissolved in a bit of warm water.

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Happy Halloween!

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España- segunda parte

While selecting the pictures for this entry, I realized how much I love the food culture in Spain, but then again..  maybe because that's the part we explored the most while there. We arrived around 8pm to Sevilla and after freshening up at the hotel we went out trying to find a place for dinner. The hotel we stayed at was in the older side of town, where the streets are narrow, so narrow that the cabbie couldn't drop us off at the front door of the hotel because the car would just not fit.

Oh... Good times!
I had ice cream every night while we went for a walk to walk off dinner, somehow i always managed to have a little more room for ice cream. I found some really interesting flavors. Like Smurf  and Cloud. 

...and the Kinder one took me right back to 5th grade.

When we got to Barcelona, I couldn't wait to check out Boqueria. Acording to our guide book, we could get hot churros and good coffee for breakfast. We never found the churros stand, and the only coffee we could find was Dunkin' Donuts. There is nothing wrong with Dunkin' coffee, but it wasn't the local experience I had anticipated. Either way, it was really cool, and we decided to leave when i had too much eye candy and needed some real food.

Chewy, colorful and so many shapes of colored sugar.
And everything you can imagine covered in chocolate.

De pez a pescado
Mm... juicy!
Signs both in Spanish and Catalan.

We found a restaurant attached to a market (not boqueria) where all the ingredients came from that market. This is the menu.

A chart with foods on one side and cooking method on the other.
Hands down the best thing we ate at the market: Roasted peppers, a little salty a little spicy all delicious.
The clams with pancetta and artichokes wasn't bad either.
Picture of the restaurant, exposed storage + communal dining 

Wall of herbs. Urban gardening at it's best

If you have the chance to visit Spain, do so. And eat your heart out. You won't regret the extra pounds of Jamon Iberico you'll come back with.
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Cake pop intermission

Before I post the second and maybe third part of Spain, i figured i could put some cake pop pics that i've made lately.

Red Velvet pops for a private event at the Sky Room, NYC.

I made these for my sister- in- law's bridal shower.
Congrats Katie & Kevin!
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Sweet as honey. 1era Parte

It's a while since my last post. A month to be more exact. A lot happened during this past month; I got married, family came and went, and we went on our honeymoon to Portugal and Spain.

Picture of our cake topper - bobble head version of us
The trip was great, the weather was unbelievable in every place we visited and the food was out of this world - and that's what i'll talk about. I definitely came back with a little more junk in my trunk, but whatever, i'm married!

We landed in Lisbon and ate our way through Sevilla, Granada and Barcelona. In Lisbon, we had amazing seafood, unfortunately, we we're busy eating and forgot to take pictures. That seems to happen to me a lot, I love food, then comes blogging. In Sevilla, we started taking pics of food.

A picture is worth a thousand words, so here you go, I'm giving you over ten thousand mouth watering words. Enjoy. 

Oh yea, the "device" to cut the jamon iberico is called Jamotec.

So simple yet so delicious. Pan con tomate y anchoas

Gambas al ajillo.
More jamon iberico.

Plump aceitunas

Fried Cod
Pollo al ajillo
Stacked roasted veggies, held up by melted cheese. YUM
Fideos con tinta

Amazing Ox tail stew

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