Sunday, 4 December 2005

LP 4.5: Chestnut Squares

The Lasang Pinoy group decided to have a 'special edition' of the monthly food blogging event that showcases Filipino cuisine. Since it's in between the regular events, they christened it Lasang Pinoy 4.5 to underscore the issue of plagiarism in the blog world and in the internet as a whole. To be specific, this came about when pictures of Karen's and Market Man's yemas was printed in a Philippine broadsheet without their permission. Most bloggers are generous with their resources all one has to do is ask for their consent to use their pictures. There have been numerous cases of copying images (and contents) in blogs then published in some other websites or forums. But this is the first time (AFAIK) that images from food blogs ended up in print! It may be easy deleting webpages but having them in a published newspaper is a very strong and undeniable evidence of the dastardly deed. The issue, it seems, has not been resolved entirely. It might be better if you follow the whole controversy by visiting here and here.

As for me, as a protest I borrowed Stel of Baby Rambutan's recipe and pictures with her permission - that is in bold letters. A few posts back, another food blogging friend gave me some yummy ingredients from her sojourn in France. That's why I ended up with chestnut puree/cream in my cupboard. I so love this confection and Stel's previous baking posts saved me from digging up recipes for it. You have to understand why I was so ecstatic with the results of my baking - it's the first time in about 15+ years that I baked a meringue-based cake! The last time it came out so hard even our dog won't eat it. :) But this time, hah! it was oh so springy and soft and well risen - and no raising agents at that - only the beaten egg whites. Wheee! I was so happy I did the dance of joy ... 'One for the money and the free rides. It's two for the lie that you denied. All rise (all rise)'. LOL!

According to Stel this recipe of hers, which I adapted, was in fact adapted also (2x times adapted will that make it original? Asa pa ako!) from The French Cookie Book by Bruce Healy with Paul Bugat. I did not use cream of tartar, it was already too late when I realised my pot was already expired. But even without it the egg whites peaked marvellously. Then I used half milk and half dark chocolates because I could imagine my kids not touching this with a ten-foot pole if they know it's plain dark chocolate. Lastly, I spread the choc topping while the cake is still in the baking pan. Why? So as not to waste the chocolate dripping needlessly by its sides. Well yes, I would surely scrape the drippings and eat them but it's nice to know they all ended up in the cake.

picture courtesy of Baby Rambutan

Chestnut Squares

[heaping 1/3 cup + 2 tsp] caster sugar (superfine)
2 large eggs - separated and at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
250 g  [heaping 3/4 cup] chestnut cream (creme de marrons)
1/4 cup unsalted butter - melted
1/8 tsp cream of tartar (optional)
45 g  [1/3 cup + 2 tsp] plain flour

200 g  dark cooking chocolate (70% chocolate content) OR combination of dark and milk chocolates
1 tsp almond oil or neutral vegetable oil (optional)
  1. Pre-heat oven to 425°F/220°C/fan 200°C.
  2. Butter and flour well a 9-inch square baking pan.
  3. Set aside 2 1/2 tsp of the sugar.
  4. In a bowl, beat the egg yolks with the rest of the sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer until light, thick and smooth.
  5. Add in the chestnut cream, followed by the butter. Mix well.
  6. Get another bowl and whip the egg whites with an electric mixer (make sure the beaters and bowl are clean and dry) on low speed until frothy. Add the cream of tartar at this point if you're using it.
  7. Increase the speed to medium-high until whites are stiff but not dry.
  8. Add the reserved sugar and continue beating at high speed for a few seconds to incorporate the sugar.
  9. Sift the flour over the chestnut-egg yolk mixture and mix with a wooden spatula.
  10. Add about 1/3 of the whipped egg whites into it and fold quickly.
  11. Then gently fold in the remaining egg whites. Do not overmix.
  12. Pour the batter in the prepared pan, spread evenly and smooth the surface.
  13. Bake for about 16-20 minutes or until lightly browned and springs back to the touch.
  14. Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.
  15. Melt the chocolates by placing in a heatproof glass bowl over simmering saucepan of water.
  16. Pour melted chocolate on the cake, spreading it evenly, letting the excess flow down the sides. You can do this while the cake is still on the rack OR put back the cooled cake in the baking pan then pour the chocolate in the pan. The latter is to avoid wastage of chocolate.
  17. Cool and let the glaze set.
  18. Cut into squares and serve.

LasangPinoy 4.5

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