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Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Pan-Asian Salute to Chinese New Year and an American Dessert Recipe!

A Pan-Asian Salute to Chinese New Year and an American Dessert Recipe!
by Victoria Challancin

This week in my cooking class for Mexican cooks, we saluted the Chinese New Year with a few Pan-Asian recipes.  A few noodles and long green beans for longevity, albeit not the right kind of noodles or beans, some chicken for prosperity, dumplings/potstickers for wealth...not totally authentic, but all delicious.

Potstickers with a ground pork and Napa cabbage filling--recipe with a serious nod to Jayden Hair's Steamy Kitchen recipe and technique for making potstickers 
Rocio, decorating a plate of scallion pancakes
A gentle and easy Thai Vegetarian Coconut Soup

Korean-Style tacos.  What fun for my Mexican students!  Tacos with totally new flavors!  And corn tortillas, of course, of course...and some lovely Asian condiments to accompany them
Oops!  I forgot to add the Onion Relish

The tacos, one is with pork--made with purchased pork carnitas; one is with chicken--made from purchased rotisserie chicken

Martha Stewart gave us this recipe for a lighter version of General Tso's Chicken
A generic Vegetarian Fried Rice--more of a technique than an actual recipe
Carolina of the Uñas (fingernails), decorating the dessert

Although I don't really like Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, this recipe from Better Homes and Gardens appealed to me for this particular class.  I thought my Mexican students would enjoy it--and they did.  It is easy, pretty, and didn't disappoint!  I always shy away from canned ingredients when fresh are available, but we even used canned pineapple and it was fine!

A Recipe:  Mini Pineapple Upside-Down Cakes with Hazelnuts and Gingered Whipped Cream
(Recipe from
Makes: 6 cakes (we made 7)

                                  Prep: 40 minutes            Bake: 15 minutes            Cool: 20 minutes

1/3  cup  butter
1/4  cup  packed brown sugar
2  teaspoons  full-flavor molasses
6  1/2-inch-thick slices  fresh or canned pineapple
3/4  cup  all-purpose flour
1/2  cup  hazelnuts (filberts), toasted, cooled, and finely ground (from Bonanza)
1 1/2  teaspoons  baking powder
1/4  teaspoon  ground ginger
3  tablespoons  butter, softened
3  tablespoons  granulated sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup  milk
1 egg white
Gingered Whipped Cream (see the recipe below)
6 maraschino cherries with stems

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a small saucepan, combine the 1/3 cup butter, the brown sugar, and molasses. Cook and stir over low heat until butter is melted and mixture is combined. Divide among six 3-1/2-inch (jumbo) muffin cups. If necessary, cut pineapple slices to fit into bottoms of muffin cups. Place pineapple on top of molasses mixture in cups. Set aside.

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In a small bowl, combine flour, ground hazelnuts, baking powder, and ginger; set aside. In a large bowl, beat the 3 tablespoons butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add granulated sugar; beat until combined. Beat in whole egg and egg yolk. Alternately add flour mixture and milk to butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined.

Thoroughly wash beaters. In a small bowl, beat egg white on medium speed until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight). Fold beaten egg white into batter. Spoon batter over pineapple in muffin cups, filling each about three-fourths full.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Using a sharp knife or narrow metal spatula, loosen edges of cakes from sides of muffin cups. Invert cakes onto parchment paper or a large tray. Cool for 15 minutes.

Prepare Gingered Whipped Cream. Top warm cakes with cherries and serve with the whipped cream. Makes 6 cakes.

Gingered Whipped Cream: In a medium bowl, combine 1/2 cup whipping cream and 2 teaspoons sugar. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). Fold in 1 tablespoon finely chopped crystallized ginger.


Victoria Challancin
Flavors of the Sun Cooking School
San Miguel de Allende, México

©Victoria Challancin.  All Rights Reserved.

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