Daring Baker - September 2013: Pastel de Tres Leches

Inma of la Galletika was our Sept. 2013 Daring Bakers’ hostess and WOW did she bring us something decadent and delicious! Pastel de Tres Leches or Three Milk Cake, creamy yet airy, super moist but not soggy.. just plain delish!

Another baking travel thanks to the daring baker, this time to south America, with the Pastel de Tres Leches. I never heard of it and at first I thought it might have something to do with the dolce de leches.
The sponge cake recipe is great, and will be used again, as many I was worried the cake might be soggy but it turned out great (ok, I admit I didn't use the whole syrup, because it seemed an awfull lot).
I matched this cake with my smallest niece's birthday, hence the colored chocolate chips decoration, and I choose to go with pears in the filling. It's nice and fresh with the whipped cream and is always a good match with chocolate.

Classic Three Milks Cake

Servings: 12

Ingredients for the vanilla sponge cake
5 large eggs (separated)
½ cup (120 ml) (4 oz) (125 gm) sugar
2 teaspoons (10 ml) of vanilla extract
1 cup (240 ml) (5 oz) (140gm) all-purpose (plain) flour (sifted)

For three milks syrup
1 can (14 oz) (400 gm) sweetened condensed milk
1 can (12 oz) (340 gm) evaporated milk
1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream (about 35% fat) or 1 cup of half & half or 1 cup milk
1 cinnamon stick
2 teaspoons (10 ml) rum (or other flavoring)

Topping and filling
2 cups (500 ml) of whipping cream (about 30% fat)
½ cup (120 ml) (4 oz) (125 gm) sugar
Canned or fresh fruit (to fill and decorate the cake)

Directions For the Sponge Cake:
  1. Preheat oven to moderate 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Prepare a square 9”x9” (23cmx23 cm) pan or 9” (23 cm) round cake pan
  2. Separate the egg whites from the yolks.
  3. Beat the egg whites on medium speed, 3 - 5 minutes.
  4. When soft peaks form slowly add the sugar in small batches.
  5. Whip until stiff peaks form about 5 minutes. Set aside.
  6. In a medium bowl beat egg yolks at medium-high speed for about 5 to 6 minutes, or until the egg yolks become pale colored, creamy and puffy. Stir in vanilla.
  7. Pour the egg yolks over the egg whites, gently fold until just combined trying not to lose any volume from the mixture.
  8. Fold in the flour little by little in the form of rain. Mix until just combined (over-beating will result in a denser, flatter cake).
  9. Pour the batter into the prepared 9”x9” (23cmx23 cm) square cake pan or 9” (23 cm) round cake pan.
  10. Bake in the preheated moderate oven for 25 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean
  11. Let it cool
  12. Once cool, split the cake in half, flip the top of the cake and place it on a base. Poke using a fork holes all over the cake to better absorb the three milk soaking liquid.
Three milks syrup

  1. In a saucepan add the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, heavy cream and cinnamon stick, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and continue boiling for 5 minutes. Remove it and let it cool.
  2. Once it is cool, add the rum or any other flavoring you are using
  3. Gradually brush all the milk soaking liquid into all sides of the cake (including the cut surfaces) until all absorbed. Best to rest the cake in the fridge overnight to complete the soaking process.
  1. Layer some whipped cream on the bottom layer and cover with canned or fresh fruit and decorate the top layer with whipped cream and the fresh or canned fruit.


Cocotte Egg with Mushroom

So let's check: 3 layers of clothes, a big blanket on the bed, temperatures below 10°C at night, yeap, it looks like autumn is coming in early this year. Not that I mind, it's one of my favorit time of the year, but it always takes some adjustement, because I'm a girl and I'm almost always cold, so bring on the big socks, polar jacket and blankets to watch TV.

Because of the (too) many concerts booked, the travels that are planned and some upcoming expenses I know I will have until the the end of the year, I'm mostly cooking out of my pantry these days. Which, once again, proves that it is important to have a well stocked pantry.
This simple recipe is done under 30 minutes (even if you are slow like me) and fits perfectly these early autumn days, for a decent budget.

The mushroom are still from last year's hunting, dried up and stored properly, you can keep them easily. Onions and garlic have to be in every house, I used dried up parsley (obviously fresh would be better, but as said, I'm cooking out of the pantry), a small piece of speck leftover, some cream or soja cream and you're good to go. Enjoy your autumn!

Cocotte Egg with Mushroom

for 2 Cocottes

1 Handfull of dried up Mushrooms (I used trumpets of death)
1 Onion
1 Clove of Garlic
1 Tablespoon of Parsley (dried)
10cl of Cream
50gr of Speck
2 Eggs
Olive Oil
Salt, Pepper

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Put the dried up mushroom in some hot water and let them sit there for about 15 minutes. In the meantime, peel and dice the onion aswell as the garlic clove.

In a non sticky frying pan, heat up some olive oil and add the onions with a bit of salt and cook them for about 5 minutes. Add the dried up parsley, the garlic and the diced speck, lower the heat.

Drain the mushroom (but keep some of the water aside) and add them to the onion and garlic mixture.
Pour the water you kept in the sauce pan and reduce it on a high heat, when there is about 3 or 4 spoonfull left, add those spoonfull to the cream, it will add a nice mushroom flavor to it, add a bit of pepper.

In your cocotte, place the mushroom, onion and garlic mixture first, than poor over the cream/mushroom sauce on it and top it with a raw egg. Place in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, depending how you like your yolk to be.

Serve with some toasted bread if you want, but if you have a nice fresh loaf of good bread no need to toast it first.


One track mind: Patty Melts

Not that I particularly believe in astrology, at least when it says something bad is going to happen to me, but I often "blame" my quirkiest behaviour on the fact that I am a cancer (ascendant cancer, because I never do things by half) and I really think we are the most adorable weirdos in the whole zodiac!
I believe we are very constant in our affections, once we love something or someone, it's there to stay (unless they run away -fearing the crazy- obviously). This works for TV shows, clothes, leisures... or music and bands for instance, because seeing the same band 15 times in 6 months is borderline insane (and I'm not even exagerating for dramatical purpose, this is really happening).

Food is no different, I love trying new things, experiencing ingredients, new spices...etc. But some recipes will just always do, no matter how many time you ate them. My mum's lamb is one of those for instance or anything including good dark chocolate.
My latest craving is the patty melt. I love a good burger, but I often don't plan soon enough to make the buns, so when I read about this recipe using rye bread on David Lebovitz's page, I knew I had to try it out. This was about a month ago, ever since I kept trying this in so many different ways: with different cheese or bread, vegetarian, with sausages... and I liked them all.

Here's the more classic version of the recipe, with a lot of butter. I have to say that it's nice, every once in a while, to cook with butter, I'm an olive oil kinda of girl, but this is just the way to go for this recipe. Don't bother to make fries with that one, it's rich enough, even a salad seems too much to add to this lovely rich burger. I would just advice to go for a walk afterwards!

Patty Melt (from the Pioneer Woman)

Serves 1

2 Slices of Rye Bread
2-3 Small Onions
150-200gr of Ground Beef
2 Slices of Cheese (I used Gouda)
Butter (about 75gr)
Salt, Pepper
Worchester Sauce

Peel and cut the onions in half moons, put a bit of butter in a non-sticky frying pan and add the onions. Add salt and pepper and cook on a medium heat for about 15 minutes, stiring often so it doesn't attach, they should be soft and golden.

Season you ground beef with salt, pepper and some worchester sauce, form a patty that is bout the size of the slice of bread you are using.
In a non-sticky frying pan, heat up some butter and cook your patty the way you like it.

In an other pan, heat up some butter and place one slice of bread in it and top it with one slice of cheese. When the cheese starts to melt a little, add half the onions on the cheese, place your burger on top and add the remaining onions. Now place the second slice of cheese on the onions, aswell as the second slice of bread on top of all that.
Press down a little on your burger, than carefull flip in to color the other slice of bread to a nice golden brown.

Slice in half and enjoy!