Monday, October 15, 2012


Pastillas de love them, kids at heart are also crazy-addicted to these sinful treats. They can be lovely desserts or sweet-in-between snacks. The best part is they are quite easy to do. 

Whenever we find ourselves in the mall which is every Sunday, our youngest  child Job more often than not will not let up until his dad buys him his favorite pastillas de leche.  His dad normally buys him a big box with 25 pieces and with the "help" of his sibs , finish it all of in under 2 minutes.. Not surprising, considering how small the pastillas are, rolled  inside   what looks like a bond paper wrapped in white japanese paper.

Last week, Job came up to me and requested me to make him pastillas de leche. So I went and googled the recipe plus checked out You Tube too.  Here's what I found in Panlasang Pinoy. Only 3 ingredients and its the "no cook easy way".

Ingredients :
2 cups Nido or Bear Brand powdered milk sifted
1 can 14 oz Alpine condensed milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Method :
1. Just mix them all together
2. The final mix will have a dough-like consistency
3. It is very sticky so I used two teaspoon  to roll the pastillas in the granulated sugar
4. Roll in a pre-cut parchment or bond paper

Pastillas de leche literally means candies with milk and the "lazy" version ( which I adapted from panlasang pinoy)  uses two kinds of milk - condensed and powdered and granulated sugar to roll them in.

A more complicated recipe uses boiled carabao milk before adding the powdered milk.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

My Exciting Journey into Chocolate Ganache, Covering 
with Fondant and "Edging"

In our decorating class a few weeks ago , there was a part where we were told to cover our chocolate-ganached-crumb-coated-cake with fondant. It is a one-shot deal. If you don't get it right the first time, you ruin your fondant and your set ganached cake  and you have to do both fondant and cake-ganaching all over again. To say that it was a nerve-wracking moment was an understatement. We were  only 7 students in Chef Joanna's class and it would be humiliating if Im the only student who can't get it right.  This was my Basic 101 class. Pressure, pressure...

I kept kneading my fondant trying to calm my fears and making sure the dimensions of my fondant is correct for the 8 inches  round cake I will cover. Then harnessing all my positive energy and fully committed, I dove in. I think I forgot to breathe for a while, just concentrating in making sure the whole cake is covered, acting  quickly to smooth out all the creases. A few seconds or so after the last wrinkle have been evened out, I realized I just covered my cake...Yay!!! I was grinning from ear to ear. Now with more confidence and a bit of a swagger ( hehe), I proceeded to the next edges.

But Im getting ahead of myself...must discuss ganche( ing) first......:))

Part I :    Ganache ( ing)

I didn't even know that one can use Chocolate Ganache as crumb coat.  B.C.G. (Before Chocolate Ganache) I  crumb coat my cake with SMBC ( Swiss Meringue Buttercream) previous to covering them with fondant. Don't get me started with fondant. That would require another post hehe.

For now, lets just discuss my fascination with chocolate ganache. Thanks to Chef Joanna of Cuppy Puppy,  a whole new vista opened itself to me.  I use 3:1 ratio ( 2 parts semi sweet chocolate to 1 part cream). I heat up the cream via microwave and pour it over the chopped chocolate. I let it rest for a minute before it stir it all up. Once the chocolate and cream are incorporated , I let it cool at room temperature overnight.

The next day, if the ganache is not pliable, I heat it up for less than 10 seconds in the microwave. One is looking for a peanut butter consistency. One has to work real fast covering one's cake because ganache tends to set  fast in an air-conditioned environment and melts when the room is too hot.

Step 1:                
Divide your cake into three parts .

Step 2:                  
Glue your cake to your cake board with ganache (top side - reverse the cake so that   top is glued to the cake board)

Step 3 :
Put buttercream filling or ganache per level

Bench Scraper and Acetate - important tools in ganache(ing) with edges
Step 4:
Check that your cake is level with a cake leveler.

Step 5 :
Cover the cake with chocolate Ganache. Use a spatula and bench scraper. Work fast as ganache tends to set quickly. Position your bench scraper at 90 deg angle against your  cake board. Fill in the gaps.

Step 6 :
If a squared   cake, move your bench scraper from corner to center

Part III :    Making Sharp Edges with Fondant

Tools needed :

1.  Two kinds of fondant smoother
2.  Acetate
3. An air-conditioned room if in a humid tropical country like ours
4.  music
5. lots of patience and a positive attitude

As in anything in life, practice makes perfect. For a novice like me,  making edges via the fondant smoother and acetate is hard work indeed.  It seemed like a no-brainer when Chef Joanna demonstrated  the why's ,wherefores  and the hows. But as they say, its easier said than done. A day after our class, my arms , wrist and fingers are still sore from all the rubbing, smoothing that I did just to get the aspired for edges. It was frustrating,exhausting but exhilarating at the same time . You get an unexplained high for realizing that yes with a vast amount of patience initially, I can make edges like a pro too Yay!

For now though. my bench scraper-acetate-fondant smoother-patience are my best friends :)