Waitress Pie Recipes

I like to bake, but I’m not a fan of pies. I guess it’s because I don’t like the pie crust which I usually find is hard and thick and just not to my liking. Maybe I haven’t had the best pie in the world yet. I’m pretty sure they’re nice but I guess it could be because the ones I’ve tried were baked using shortening or margarine (I prefer real butter!).

Anyway, a friend mentioned about these funnily named pies in the movie Waitress and asked if I’ve ever seen the movie. She also said the recipes for those pies can be found online. I do remember surfing the TV once and the movie was on but it didn’t catch my attention to continue watching. So the other day when I caught it on TV again, I decided to see it. Fortunately, it was still in the beginning of the movie.

It was a cute story but not a favorite. However, my friend was right about the quirky named pies and they intrigued me to google the pie recipes. Am posting them here but I haven’t tried them out yet. If you do, please let me know.

Strawberry Oasis
A dark and velvety chocolate experience. In the movie, this pie used a chocolate cookie crumb crust which you can certainly also use but in this first testing, I went with a buttery, baked pastry pie crust. This is filled with luscious, dark and silky chocolate filling and topped with a double strawberry filling. It is a sparkling romantic pie of decadence and the fluttery of spring – all in one bite. You can make the elements a day ahead and the assemble a few hours before serving.

1 baked 9 inch pastry pie crust(or chocolate cookie crumb pie shell)

Chocolate Silk Filling

1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cup coarsely chopped, semi-sweet chocolate, (5 ounces)
1 package miniature marshmallows
1/3 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

(Whipping cream as required)

Fresh Strawberry Filling
2 cups strawberries, slightly crushed
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon strawberry or raspberry extract, optional
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 1/2 cups strawberries, diced if large, or halved if small

Garnish
2 cups whipping cream; whipped with 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1/3 cup chocolate cookie crumbs
Diced Strawberries

Bake and cool the prepared pie crust. Set aside.
In a small saucepan over lowest heat, slowly melt the chocolate and butter together over low heat. Remove from heat and stir in the marshmallows to melt and then the cream and vanilla. Refrigerate while making strawberry filling.
For the Strawberry Filling, crush or mash the first amount of strawberries. Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl and whisk. In a medium saucepan, heat the crushed berries with sugar until they start to get a little liquidy. Cook and then add the cornstarch mixture until lightly bubbling and thickening. Remove from heat and stir in extract and vinegar. Cool 15 minutes and then fold in fresh strawberries. Refrigerate 2 hours.To assemble pie, spoon chocolate filling into pie shell. If the filling is too thick and cold, put it in a food processor and whiz with some whipping cream drizzled in, until it is soft enough to use as filling (but not gloppy). Top with the strawberry filling and then offer with dollops of sweetened whipped cream. Dust top with chocolate crumbs and diced strawberries. Serve at once or chill up to two days.
Serves 6-8

The rest I got from here:

Marshmallow Mermaid Pie

9 graham crackers
1/2 C. sweetened, flaked coconut, toasted
5 Tbs. butter or margarine, melted
34 lg. marshmallows (8 oz.)
1/2 C. whole milk
1 1/2 C. heavy or whipping cream
1 oz. unsweetened chocolate, grated

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine coconut and graham crackers in food processor until coarse crumbs form. Combine crumbs and butter with fork. Press to bottom and side of 9-inch pie plate. Bake 10 minutes and cool on wire rack. Heat marshmallows and milk in 3-qt. saucepan over low heat until smooth, stirring constantly. Remove saucepan from heat. Cool completely (30 minutes.) In large bowl with mixer at medium speed, beat cream until stiff peaks form. Fold marshmallow mixture into whipped cream with grated chocolate. Spoon filling into cooled crust. Refrigerate pie at least 3 hours or overnight. Top with mini marshmallows, maraschino cherries and rainbow sprinkles.

Falling in Love Chocolate Mousse Pie

9-inch baked pastry shell
1 14-oz. can condensed milk (not evaporated)
2/3 C. water
1 (4 serving) pkg. chocolate pudding mix (not instant)
1 1-oz. square unsweetened chocolate
2 C. (1 pt.) whipping cream, stiffly whipped

In large saucepan, combine condensed milk, water and pudding mix; mix well. Add chocolate. Over medium heat, cook and stir rapidly until chocolate melts and mixture thickens. Remove from heat; beat until smooth. Cool. Chill thoroughly; stir. Fold in whipped cream. Pour into prepared pastry shell. Chill 4 hours until set.

I Don’t Want Earl’s Baby Pie

1 pie crust
4 Tbs. butter
3 slices ham
8 green onions
1 C. brie cheese

1 C. parmesan cheese, grated
4 eggs
2 C. heavy cream
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover pie crust with foil and bake for 10 minutes. Remove foil and bake 5 minutes more. Remove crust and reduce heat to 325 degrees. Julienne ham. Chop green onions. In skillet, saute ham until brown. Remove and set aside. Saute onion until tender. Remove with slotted spoon and combine with ham. Spread on bottom of pie crust. Spread brie over ham mixture and sprinkle with parmesan. Combine eggs, cream and nutmeg; pour over cheese. Bake 30 minutes or until set. Cool slightly, cut into wedges and serve.

Baby Screamin’ Its Head Off In The Middle of the Night & Ruinin’ My Life Pie

4 8-oz. cream cheese, softened
1 C. unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 C. sour cream
1/2 C heavy whipping cream
1 3/4 C. white sugar
1/8 . cornstarch
1 fl. oz. amaretto liqueur
1 tsp. vanilla extract
5 eggs
1 egg yolk
1 C. chopped pecans
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Bring all ingredients to room temperature. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wrap outside of 9-inch springform pan with foil. Generously butter inside of pan. In large bowl,beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Mix in sugar and cornstarch. Blend in sour cream and whipping cream. Add amaretto and vanilla. Stir in eggs and egg yolk one at a time, mixing thoroughly between each addition. Pour batter into pan. Place pan in another pan at least 1 inch wider and add water to outside pan (prevents cracks). Bake on center rack for 70 minutes. Turn oven off and let cool with door open for 1 hour. Remove cake from water and chill at least 3 hours before removing cake from pan. Top with crushed pecans and dust with nutmeg.

I Can’t Have No Affair Because It’s Wrong & I Don’t Want Earl to Kill Me Pie

2 1/2 C. graham cracker crumbs
1/2 C. brown sugar
1/2 C. melted butter
2 large eggs
1/3 C. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 C. milk, scalded
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 egg whites
1/2 C. white sugar

Mix crumbs, brown sugar and butter until well-blended. Press mixture into a 9-inch pan. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Beat eggs slightly in a large bowl. Add sugar and salt. Slowly stir in hot, scalded milk. Add vanilla. Strain mixture into pie crust. Sprinkle top with cinnamon. Bake on lower shelf 25-30 minutes, or until custard is firm. In larger glass mixing bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Gradually add 1/4 C. white sugar, continuing to beat until stiff peaks form. Spread meringue over pie after custard is set, return to oven until meringue is slightly brown. Cool 15 minutes.
Lonely Chicago Pie
Cinnamon, spices and sugar underneath rich melted chocolate and smashed berries. Inspired by the movie “Waitress”.

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp melted, salted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups milk
1 (10 inch) unbaked deep-dish pie crust
1/3 cup fresh strawberries or blackberries, lightly crushed
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 tsp salted butter

Preheat oven to 400F.
In a large bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. Add the beaten egg, butter, and vanilla. Mix well and add the milk.
Pour mixture into crust.
Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350F and bake 40 minutes.
Top pie evenly with crushed berries, return to oven and bake 10 minutes longer.
Let cool completely on rack.
Melt together chocolate chips and 1 tsp butter, pour thoroughly over baked pie. Allow to chill in fridge before serving.

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Sticky Date Pudding

I’ve only recently tried sticky date pudding and I must say, “WOW!” It’s really good, especially with vanilla ice cream. The other day I was craving it and it didn’t seem like we’d be going out, so I googled some recipes and tried it out. The finished product was YUMMY and it tasted exactly like the pudding I had at the restaurant! Haha.

Sticky Date Pudding
adapted from Exclusively Food
Serves about 8

270g (1 1/2 cups) deseeded dried dates
312ml (1 1/4 cups) water
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
60g (1/4 cup) butter, roughly chopped (we use salted butter)
2 large eggs (we use eggs with a minimum weight of 59g)
1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla extract
188g (1 1/4 cups) self-raising flour
150g (2/3 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar

Butterscotch Sauce
180g (3/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons, firmly packed) brown sugar
300ml (1 cup plus 2 1/2 tablespoons) cream (35 to 40 percent fat)
25ml (1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon) golden syrup
25g (1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon) butter (we use salted butter)

Place dates in a bowl and add bicarbonate of soda and 60g butter. Pour in the boiling water, stir and set aside for 25-30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius (160 degrees Celsius fan-forced) — I preheated to 170 degrees.

Grease pan and line the base and side with baking paper.

Mix the cooled date mixture to form a chunky paste. Add in eggs and vanilla.

In a medium bowl, stir flour and 150g (2/3 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar together. Add date mixture to the flour mixture and gently fold the ingredients together until just combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake the pudding for about 25-35 minutes, or until it springs back when lightly pressed in the centre. A thin-bladed knife or wooden skewer inserted into the centre of the pudding should come out without any batter attached.

Meanwhile, make the sauce (instructions below).

Leave pudding in the pan and allow it to cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Using a skewer, pierce several deep holes in the pudding. Pour about 125ml (1/2 cup) of the hot butterscotch sauce over the pudding. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before removing from the pan.

Reheat sauce if necessary. Serve pudding with hot butterscotch sauce and vanilla ice cream.

Store leftover pudding and sauce in the refrigerator or freezer (we freeze the sauce separately). Suitable to reheat.

Butterscotch Sauce
Place sauce ingredients in a small saucepan. Stir mixture over medium to medium-high heat until the mixture comes to the simmer. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove sauce from heat and set aside until required.

Notes:

  •  My date mixture method is easier because I didn’t need to pulse it in a food processor. The dates I used easily became a nice and chunky paste after it cooled down. My dates were the moist kind and not fully dry.
  • I used my 9×9 pan.
  • My baking time wasn’t as long as required in the original recipe. It seemed to cook fairly quickly. I LOVE my oven!
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Mint Brownies

I love mint and brownies so I thought that I’d make some mint brownies. I used my go-to-brownie recipe to make the brownie part of the recipe, and used mint choc chips for the chocolate ganache layer.

I rarely find mint choc chips sold in the supermarket, so got this tip from Taste of Home – place 2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips and 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract in a plastic bag; seal and toss to coat. Allow chips to stand for 24-48 hours.

Moving on with the recipe. Line a 9×9 inch pan with foil making sure the foil extends over the edges by at least one inch. Make and bake brownies.

The frosting layers part is taken from make-it-do.

Cool brownies for a few minutes and place in freezer for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, make the first layer of topping.

Mint frosting:
½ c. butter softened
2 Tbsp. milk
2 c. powdered sugar
(I didn’t dump 2 cups in straight. Instead, I added the sugar gradually and stopped when I was happy with the sweetness. I don’t remember the exact amount of sugar I use, but it definitely was less than 2 cups.)
1 tsp. peppermint extract  
(I added 1/2 t more)
green food coloring
(since peppermint extract is clear, you need to use a lot of green coloring to get the green colored layer. I’m not a fan of coloring that much, so my mint layer isn’t green at all.)

Mix thoroughly.  Evenly frost brownies and put back in freezer for 20 minutes. Make chocolate ganache top layer.

Chocolate Ganache Topping:
½ c. butter
1 ½ c. good semi sweet chocolate chips  
(or dark choc. I used mint choc chips)

Melt and whisk together.  (I melt them together in a Pyrex measuring bowl in the microwave for one minute.  Be careful not to overheat.  It won’t look melted but once whisked it is.)  Drizzle warm chocolate over brownies and spread smooth with a spatula.  Put back in freezer for another 20 minutes.


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Egg Yolks and Pudding

Pudding is what you make when you have some leftover yolks. And you should really make them from scratch instead of the instant kind. Try it first before you write them off. I’ve only tried them once as I rarely find myself without extra yolks and I can’t remember which recipe I used. Anyway, listing down a few recipes that I might try in the future.

Found a nice compilation of pudding recipes here:

VANILLA PUDDING

3/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 1/2 cups half-and-half

3 large egg yolks

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon vanilla

Combine sugar, cornstarch and salt in a medium saucepan. Slowly whisk in half-and-half and then yolks. Bring mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat, whisking gently but constantly and scraping bottom and sides of pan. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly until pudding is thick and coats the back of a spoon, 1 to 2 minutes. Strain pudding through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl, scraping the inside of the strainer with a rubber spatula to pass the pudding through. Stir butter and vanilla into pudding until butter is melted. Press plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate until set, about 3 hours. (Pudding can be covered tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerated up to 2 days, but stir briskly before serving.) Serve topped with whipped cream, if desired. Makes 4 cups, 4 to 6 servings.

BUTTERSCOTCH PUDDING: Increase the cornstarch to 3 tablespoons. Substitute 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar for granulated sugar. Reduce vanilla to 2 teaspoons. Stir 1/2 cup butterscotch or caramel sauce (store-bought is fine) into the pudding with butter and vanilla.

DOUBLE-CHOCOLATE PUDDING. Reduce the cornstarch to 4 teaspoons. Add 2 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder with the cornstarch. Add 6 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, melted, to the mixture after the yolks and reduce vanilla to 2 teaspoons. (The chocolate may form clumps, but will smooth out during cooking.)

COCONUT PUDDING: Substitute 1 1/2 teaspoons coconut extract for vanilla.

From “The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook (revised edition)” by the Editors at America’s Test Kitchen.

CHOCOLATE POTS DE CREME

10 ounces bittersweet chocolate (use 60 percent cocoa bittersweet chocolate such as Ghirardelli, Callebaut, Valrhona OR El Rey), chopped fine

5 large egg yolks

5 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

3/4 cup half-and-half

1 tablespoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder mixed with 1 tablespoon water OR 1 tablespoon strong brewed coffee

Whipped cream and cocoa powder OR chocolate shavings for garnish

Place chocolate in medium heat-proof bowl; set fine-mesh strainer over bowl and set aside.

Whisk yolks, sugar and salt in medium bowl until combined; whisk in heavy cream and half-and-half. Transfer mixture to a medium saucepan. Cook mixture over medium-low heat, stirring constantly and scraping bottom of pot with wooden spoon, until thickened and silky and custard registers 175 to 180 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, 8 to 12 minutes. Do not let custard overcook or simmer.

Immediately pour custard through strainer over chocolate. Let mixture stand to melt chocolate, about 5 minutes. Whisk gently until smooth, then whisk in vanilla and espresso. Divide mixture evenly among 8 (5-ounce) ramekins. Gently tap ramekins against counter to remove air bubbles.

Cool pots de creme to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours or up to 72 hours. Before serving, let pots de creme stand at room temperature 20 to 30 minutes.

Serve topped with a dollop of whipped cream whipped to soft peaks with a little sugar and vanilla and garnish with a dusting of cocoa powder or chocolate shavings, if desired. Makes 8 servings.

Shared by Chris Kimball, from Cook’s Illustrated, November 2006 issue.

BUTTERSCOTCH BUDINO WITH CARAMEL SAUCE

BUDINO:

3 cups heavy cream

1 1/2 cups (whole) milk

1 large egg

3 large egg yolks

5 tablespoons cornstarch

1 1/8 cups dark brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

5 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 tablespoons dark rum

SAUCE AND TOPPING:

3/4 cup heavy cream

Scrapings from a 1-inch piece of vanilla bean OR 1/4 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

1/2 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup crème fraîche

Maldon sea salt for garnish

For Budino, in a large bowl or pitcher, combine cream and milk; set aside. Whisk egg, egg yolks and cornstarch in a medium bowl, set aside.

Combine brown sugar, kosher salt and 1/2 cup water in a heavy duty pot. Place over medium-high heat and cook (without stirring) until edges start to brown. Tilt pot as needed to even the browning until caramelized, nutty and deep brown, about 10 minutes.

Immediately whisk in cream mixture – mixture will steam and caramel will seize. Bring to a boil, whisking, then reduce heat to medium. Whisk a cup at a time into egg mixture until half is incorporated. Remove from heat, and immediately whisk egg mixture back into pot until custard is very thick, about 2 minutes.

Whisk in butter and rum. Pass through a fine mesh strainer and divide among 10 (6-ounce) ramekins. Cover with plastic wrap, allow to cool, and refrigerate until chilled, about 3 hours or up to 3 days.

For Sauce, combine 1/2 cup cream and vanilla in a medium saucepan. Heat until simmering. Add butter and remove from heat; set aside.

In large heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine corn syrup, granulated sugar and enough water (3 to 4 tablespoons) to make a wet, sandy mixture. Cook over medium-high heat, swirling pan for even cooking, until mixture is medium amber, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and carefully whisk in cream mixture; set aside and let cool. (May be refrigerated and reheated before serving.)

Whisk remaining 1/4 cup cream in a large bowl until it begins to thicken. Add crème fraîche and whisk until thick and fluffy. To serve, spoon a tablespoon of warm caramel sauce over each cold budino. Garnish with a few flecks of Maldon sea salt and add a dollop of cream topping. Makes 10 servings.

From Nancy Silverton, co-owner and Dahlia Narvaez, pastry chef, Pizzeria Mozza, Los Angeles.

 A simple creamy vanilla pudding without half and half :

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups milk, divided
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine

Directions

  1. Place 2 cups milk and salt in a saucepan. Sprinkle sugar on milk and do no stir; heat over medium-high. Quickly combine cornstarch with remaining milk; add egg yolks and mix well. When milk comes to a full boil, remove saucepan from the heat and stir in cornstarch mixture. Pudding will begin to thicken. Return to the heat and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla and butter. Pour into individual dishes. Serve warm.
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Directions

  1. In medium saucepan over medium heat, heat milk until bubbles form at edges. In a bowl, combine sugar, cornstarch and salt. Pour into hot milk, a little at a time, stirring to dissolve. Continue to cook and stir until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. Do not boil. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and butter. Pour into serving dishes. Chill before serving.

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Alcohol Cooking Substitutions

Whenever I find a recipe that contains alcohol, I find myself googling the substitutes for it. Guess it’s time for me to jot down my findings for easy reference.

Most of the time, we find the recipe uses white wine. I like this article that explains which type of substitute we should use. Some points I like:

  • Another good substitute for white wine is the use of ginger ale or apple juice.
  • If you are preparing a soup like a hot and sour shrimp soup or a French onion soup then the best white wine substitute in soup would be to use chicken or beef broth. If you are a vegetarian you can also replace white wine with vegetable stock. You cannot use grape juice or ginger ale in these recipes is that will make the soup taste sweet and completely change the flavor.
  • If you are cooking a meat dish that calls for white wine for making a sauce or for marinading the meat then it is best to use a vinegar and grape juice substitute. The vinegar will cut the sugar in the grape juice and if you use this for marinading meat it will also make the meat more tender and succulent.
  • But if you are looking for a good substitute of white wine in risotto, then your best option is to use a mixture of chicken broth to which a few drops of lime juice is added. Avoid using any kind of vinegar as it will completely ruin the taste of risotto.
  • Some other substitutes for white wine are to use a sharp tasting cheese like white cheddar or feta cheese, clam juice, bouillon or the liquid from canned mushrooms. Although they do not impart the same taste to the dish, the flavor profile is close enough to white wine.

For more alcoholic substitutes, here’s a good list and below is a good chart. I didn’t compare the lists so before posting so I’m not sure if they’re identical.

 Alcoholic Ingredient  Description  Substitution
Amaretto Italian almond-flavored liqueur Almond extract.
Beer or ale Various types. For light beers, substitute chicken broth, ginger ale or white grape juice. For heavier beers, use a stronger beef, chicken or mushroom broth or stock. Non-alcoholic beers may also be substituted.
Brandy Liquor made of distilled wine or fruit juice. Scotch or bourbon. If a particular flavor is specified, use the corresponding fruit juice, such as apple, apricot, cherry, peach, raspberry etc. or grape juice. Corresponding flavored extracts can be used for small amounts.
Calvados Apple brandy Apple juice concentrate or juice.
Chambord Black raspberry liqueur Raspberry juice, syrup or extract.
Champagne Sparkling white wine. Sparkling white grape juice, ginger ale, white wine.
Claret Light red wine or Bordeaux. Non-alcoholic wine, diluted currant or grape juice, cherry cider syrup.
Cognac Aged, double-distilled wine or fermented fruit juice. Cognac is considered the finest brandy. Other less expensive brandies may be substituted, as well as Scotch or whiskey, or use peach, apricot or pear juice.
Cointreau French, orange-flavored liqueur. Orange juice concentrate or regular orange juice that has been reduced to a thicker consistency.
Curacao Liqueur made from bitter Seville oranges. Orange juice frozen concentrate or reduced fresh orange juice.
Creme de menthe Thick and syrupy, sweetened mint liqueur. Comes both clear and green. Mix spearmint extract or oil with a little water or grapefruit juice. Use a drop of food coloring if you need the green color.
Framboise French raspberry liqueur. Raspberry juice or syrup.
Frangelico Italian hazelnut liqueur. Hazelnut or almond extract.
Galliano Golden Italian anise liqueur. Licorice extract.
Grand Marnier French liqueur, orange-flavored. Orange juice frozen concentrate or reduced fresh orange juice.
Grappa Italian grape brandy. Grape juice or reduced red wine.
Grenadine Pomegranate syrup, sometimes alcoholic. Pomegranate syrup or juice.
Hard Cider Fermented, alcoholic cider. Apple cider or juice.
Kahlua Syrupy Mexican liqueur made with coffee and cocoa beans. Strong coffee or espresso with a touch of cocoa powder.
Kirsch (Kirchwasser) Colorless liqueur made of cherries. Black cherry, raspberry, boysenberry, currant, or grape juice or syrup, or cherry cider.
Red Burgundy Dry French wine. Non-alcoholic wine, red wine vinegar, grape juice.
Red wine Sweet or dry wine. Non-alcoholic wine, beef or chicken broth or stock, diluted red wine vinegar, red grape juice diluted with red wine vinegar or rice vinegar, tomato juice, liquid from canned mushrooms, plain water.
Rum Liquor distilled from molasses or sugar syrup. For light rum, use pineapple juice flavored with almond extract. For dark rum, use molasses thinned with pineapple juice and flavored with almond extract. Or use rum extract flavoring.
Sake Fermented rice drink. Rice vinegar.
Schnapps Flavored, colorless liquor. Use corresponding flavored extract such as peppermint, peach, etc.
Sherry Fortified dessert wine, sweet or dry, some with a slightly nutty flavor. Orange or pineapple juice.
Southern Comfort Bourbon mixed with peach liqueur. Peach nectar mixed with a little cider vinegar.
Tequila Liquor made of the agave plant. Cactus nectar or juice.
Triple Sec Orang-flavored liqueur. Orange juice frozen concentrate or reduced fresh orange juice.
Vermouth Wine-based drink infused with herbs, sweet or dry. For sweet, use non-alcoholic sweet wine, apple or grape juice or balsamic vinegar. For dry, use non-alcoholic white wine, white grape juice or white wine vinegar.
Whiskey (whisky) Distilled liquor. Bourbon, Scotch and whiskey may be used interchangably. Small amounts may be eliminated. Large amounts cannot be effectively substituted.
White Burgundy Dry French wine. Non-alcoholic wine, white grape juice diluted with white wine vinegar.
White wine Sweet or dry wine. Non-alcoholic wine, chicken broth or stock, diluted white wine vinegar or cider vinegar, white grape juice diluted with white wine vinegar, ginger ale, canned mushroom liquid, water. For marinades, substitute 1/4 cup vinegar plus 1 Tbsp sugar plus 1/4 cup water.

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Glorious labneh

When I decided to make homemade fro-yo, I found out that greek yogurt is strained yogurt, which is also labneh. Since I live in the Middle East, labneh is aplenty and more affordable than Greek yogurt. I love its creamy texture which is cream cheese-like but without all that fat. It spreads nicely too. Mmm..

Anyway, I figured that lovely texture of labneh could be made into a cheesecake so I googled for yogurt cheesecake recipes. I narrowed it down to two recipes — one uses a mix of cream cheese and labneh (Greek yogurt) while the other just uses labneh (Greek yogurt). I made the one with cream cheese and labneh as I had some cream cheese in my fridge and wanted to use it.

Results: I love it! I definitely didn’t feel guilty at all having seconds or thirds.. or fourths! :p

Here’s the recipe I didn’t use but am keeping for future reference: Vanilla Lime Yogurt Cheesecake.

24oz strained yogurt
1-2 small eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
juice and zest of half a lime
graham cracker crust (I used premade)

Preheat the oven to 350F.
Mix the wet ingredients, pour into the crust, and put in the oven.
Bake till the outer edge of the batter just starts to brown (about 40 minutes)
Remove, let cool for about 10 minutes, then chill in the refrigerator till set, or until you want to eat it.

And here’s the recipe I used: Vanilla Yogurt Cheesecake. I made my cheesecake in a muffin pan (so I made mini cheesecakes) and without any crust.

Yogurt Cheesecake
8-oz cream cheese, room temperature
16-oz Greek-style yogurt, room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 tbsp vanilla extract
pinch salt

Prebake a graham cracker base into a 9-inch springform pan (see recipe below); a 9-inch graham cracker pie crust should work fairly well, too. This cheesecake can also be baked without a crust.
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a food processor, blend cream cheese, yogurt, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and salt until mixture is very, very smooth.
Pour into prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, until the cake is set and jiggles only slightly when gently tapped.
Cool to room temperature before refrigerating.

Serves 10

Springform Graham Cracker Base
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350F.
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and stir until well combined. Press into a 9-inch springform pan, pressing the crust slightly up the sides if you don’t wish to have a thick crust on the bottom.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until set. Cool completely before filling.

Notes:

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Essential Malaysian Ingredients

I found this great illustrated guide by Normas Musa for guardian.co.uk on Malaysian ingredients. I particularly like the tip on kerisik (roasted coconut).

Lengkuas (galangal)

Lengkuas (galangal)
Lengkuas (galangal). Photograph: Ning Ltd

This herb is of the same family as ginger. The aroma and flavour is very pungent and citrusy.

You only need to use a bit in a recipe otherwise the dish will turn slightly bitter. 100g of fresh galangal peeled and blended with 100ml of water can produce up to 10 tablespoons paste. You will find it in the chiller cabinet of oriental grocery stores.

Serai (lemongrass)

Serai (lemongrass)
Serai (lemongrass). Photograph: Ning Ltd

This is one of my favourite herbs. The refreshing fragrance makes recipes smell so fresh and aromatic.

Four stalks lemon grass blended with 150ml water can give up to 10 tablespoons paste. Having cut off the tip, use the bottom half of a lemongrass stalk, chopping it into small pieces before blending it with the water. When frying it, it is best to extract the juice from the pulp so the oil will not spit.

Cili Kering (dried chilli paste)

Cili Kering (dried chilli paste)
Cili Kering (dried chilli paste). Photograph: Ning Ltd

Dried chillies are used a lot in Malaysian cooking. The colour is a rich, gorgeous crimson compared to using fresh chillies, and the flavour sweeter and more intense than sharp.

Twenty dried chillies (the bigger the better) with 150ml of water can give up to 10 tablespoons of chilli paste. To prepare, bring to the boil 1 litre of water and boil the dried chillies for 10 minutes. Remove the chilli stalk beforehand if there is any. Drain the water and blend the chillies with 150ml cold water in a blender. You can always soak the chillies overnight to soften the chillies first.

Daun Kari (curry leaves)

Daun Kari (curry leaves)
Daun Kari (curry leaves). Photograph: Ning Ltd

Curry leaves originate from India, and consequently a typical ingredient in Indian style Malaysian dishes.

Buying fresh ones is best. You can normally buy them in Asian grocery stores and markets. In Manchester, we have a so-called Curry Mile where you can pick them up. If you cannot get hold of them, you can use dried ones but soak them first in boiling water to soften them.

Kari Ayam dan Daging (meat curry powder)

Kari Ayam dan Daging (meat curry powder)
Kari Ayam dan Daging (meat curry powder). Photograph: Ning Ltd

The brand I use is Adabi, Malaysian produced. This curry powder is available in many oriental grocery stores.

It comprises a mixture of ground herbs like cumin, coriander, fennel and chilli powder, among others. It is good quality, saving a lot of time with the pestle and mortar.

Kari Ikan (fish curry powder)

Kari Ikan (fish curry powder)
Kari Ikan (fish curry powder). Photograph: Ning Ltd

Similar to the meat version, this is another type of Adabi brand but designed for fish curries, also use this in Murtabak LINK.

It is less spicy compared to the meat curry powder.

Kerisik (roasted coconut)

Kerisik (roasted coconut)
Kerisik (roasted coconut). Photograph: Ning Ltd

The authentic way of making this is by frying desiccated coconut until brown and then blending it until the coconut turns into a paste.

However, thanks to my best friend Yosrie, he taught me to do it a quicker way by putting the coconut block (creamed coconut) in a microwave oven for 3 minutes. Stir it immediately and microwave for further 1 minute to make it darker.

Like magic, it turns to roasted coconut of the same quality as if it was done authentically. One block of creamed coconut block can produce up to 8 tablespoons of kerisik. I get so proud telling my students how they will save time preparing it this way.

Asam Jawa (tamarind)

Asam Jawa (tamarind)
Asam Jawa (tamarind). Photograph: Ning Ltd

Malaysians use a lot of tamarind juice in cooking, as an alternative to lime or lemon juice. It gives the same effect.

Tamarind is like a sour plum, of which the pulp is edible (when ripened). Soak the tamarind pulp in boiled water for 5 minutes before using it. If the recipe only requires a few tablespoons of the juice, just soak a couple pinches of tamarind pulp. The remaining can be kept for months in the fridge.

Daun Pandan (fragrant screwpine)

Daun Pandan (fragrant screwpine)
Daun Pandan (fragrant screwpine). Photograph: Ning Ltd

Pandan leaves are from the “screwpine tree”, and are widely used in South East
Asian cooking.

Their distinctive, slightly nutty aroma adds a delicate scent to rice and added flavour to curries. In Malaysia, their extracted juice is a natural green colouring used for desserts. Tied in a knot, a leaf can also be used to brush oil on a pan.

Sos Cili Manis (sweet chilli sauce)

Sos Cili Manis (sweet chilli sauce)
Sos Cili Manis (sweet chilli sauce). Photograph: Ning Ltd

The best sweet chilli sauce brand I have come across is the Thai Mae Ploy label. The sauce has less vinegar in it and more garlic.

It is nice to have with spring rolls, samosas and also murtabak LINK. It is available in many oriental stores or the world foods aisle of major supermarkets.

Santan (coconut milk)

Santan (coconut milk)
Santan (coconut milk). Photograph: Ning Ltd

There are many brands available in the UK, but the best brand in my opinion is Chaokoh, produced in Thailand.

It’s very creamy and not watery compared to other brands you might pick up in a supermarket. It is available in most oriental groceries or in the world foods aisle of major supermarkets.

Kicap Manis (sweet soy sauce)

Kicap Manis (sweet soy sauce)
Kicap Manis (sweet soy sauce). Photograph: Ning Ltd

The brand I normally go for is Malaysian Habhal’s Kicap Kipas Udang.

There are two types available in most oriental grocery stores: sweet, with a red label; and salty, with a green label. Many of my recipes use the sweet type.

Belacan (shrimp paste)

Belacan (shrimp paste)
Belacan (shrimp paste). Photograph: Ning Ltd

Belacan is popular throughout South East Asia, made from fermented ground shrimps which are then sun-dried and formed into slabs like cheese or pate.

These days you can widely buy it in jars. Malaysians use the paste to enhance the flavour, though the smell can really put some people off.

Gula Melaka (dark coconut block sugar)

Gula Melaka (dark coconut block sugar)
Gula Melaka (dark coconut block sugar). Photograph: Ning Ltd

This type of sugar comes in blocks or discs, but is different from palm sugar which is widely available in oriental shops.

The sweetness is more intense compared to granulated white sugar. Malaysians use a lot of coconut block sugar for their desserts. I also choose to use it in my beef rendang LINK as it gives extra darkness to the gravy. only available in selected oriental grocery stores.

Bawang Goreng (crispy fried shallots)

Bawang Goreng (crispy fried shallots)
Bawang Goreng (crispy fried shallots). Photograph: Ning Ltd

You can buy these ready-made in plastic jars or packets. They are widely used in Malaysia to garnish curries – just sprinkle them over.

Curiously enough, Scandinavians enjoy them too. You can even buy them in the food shop of a certain well-known Swedish furniture store.

Rempah Tumis (whole mixed herbs)

Rempah Tumis (whole mixed herbs)
Rempah Tumis (whole mixed herbs). Photograph: Ning Ltd

Whole mixed herbs and seeds are available in most South Asian grocery stores.

They come in a packet containing a mixture of black mustard seeds, fennel, fenugreek and cumin seeds. I use them in my Kari Ikan (fish curry).

• This extract is taken from Malaysian Food by Norman Musa (Ning,£14.95)

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