As promised, here are more kitchen treats you can give as gifts for the fast-approaching holidays.
Traditional British Mince Pies
By chef Matthew Hornsby Bates of Early Bird Breakfast Club
For the mincemeat filling (good for 30 mini mincemeat pies; can be made in advance):
100 g currants
100 g raisins
50 g chopped dried apricots
50 g chopped dried cranberries
½ Granny Smith apple, grated
100 g sugar
1 tsp grated lemon rind
60 g melted butter
½ tsp mixed spice
Dash of cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
50 ml brandy
1 tbsp Grand Marnier
Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C).
Put the dried fruit, grated apple, sugar, lemon rind and butter into a bowl and mix well.
Add the spices, brandy and Grand Marnier. Mix well, cover and place in a cool place.
Mix mincemeat the next day and leave for another 24 hrs to soak, to soften the dried fruits and develop flavors.
Stir well and put into an airtight container, pressing it down to avoid air gaps. The mincemeat filling keeps well in the chiller for six months.
For the pastry:
300 g flour
150 g unsalted butter
¾ tsp sea salt
1 tbsp sugar
In a bowl with a pastry cutter, work through butter and flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
Add the sugar and just enough ice water for the pastry to come together to form a ball
Roll out the crust till ¼ size and cut into rounds to fit into cupcake tins or small tartlet tins.
Fill pastry with some mincemeat and decorate with a star cut from the remaining pastry dough or cover entirely with another piece of pastry with a small hole on the top.
Place on a baking tray and into the oven.
Bake for 15-18 minutes until golden brown color.
Immediately sprinkle with a little sugar after removing from the oven.
Fruit Cake Cookies
By chef JunJun de Guzman, head pastry instructor and director, Center for Asian Culinary Studies
100 g dried figs, coarsely chopped
100 g candied cherries
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp rum
1 tbsp calamansi juice
Combine and macerate overnight.
½ c butter
¼ c cream cheese, softened
1 c sugar
½ c brown sugar
1 tbsp molasses
¼ tsp ground cloves
Pinch of all spice
2¾ c all purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
Melt butter. Transfer butter to a bowl and add cream cheese. Mix until combined.
Add sugar and beat for a minute. Add eggs one at a time, stir in molasses and spices.
Combine flour and baking soda and add to mixture. Add dried fruit and mix. Let rest for one hour.
With an ice cream scoop, scoop the dough into silicone-lined baking sheets, leaving a distance of 2 inches between each cookie as the cookie will spread while baking.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until edges of cookie turns light brown. Cool on rack.
By Rod Ongpauco of Isdaan
5 k alamang
125 g garlic
½ k onions
½ k tomatoes
1 k brown sugar
½ k white sugar
Vetsin, to taste
1 c vinegar
3 k pork fat, cut into thick strips
½ k chopped pork fat
1 liter oil
Wash alamang and strain. Put it in a wok and add vinegar. Cook until the mixture dries up.
Sauté garlic, onions and tomato with chopped pork fat. Add alamang. Add sugars and mix well. Season to taste.
Fry pork strips until golden brown. Add to bagoong. Allow to cool before bottling.
Cream Cheese Salsa Dip
By chef Sunshine Pengson of Gourmandise
Cream cheese mixture:
1 c cream cheese, softened
1 c sour cream
Mix well until smooth and creamy.
1 pound tomatoes, diced
1 red onion, finely diced
1 jalapeno, finely diced and seeded
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 lime, juiced
3 tbsp freshly chopped cilantro leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
3 scallions, finely chopped
Chili powder (optional)
In a glass bowl, pour the cream cheese mixture and spread evenly.
Top with the homemade salsa.
Sprinkle the cheese and scallions. If you like it a little spicy, sprinkle with chili powder on top.
Chill dip for at least one hour before serving.
Best consumed immediately.
Red Pesto Tapenade
By chef Jessie Sincioco of Chef Jessie’s
100 g of red bell pepper, grilled, peeled, cleaned and coarsely chopped
20 g black olives, chopped
5 g capers, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
5 fillets of anchovy, chopped
30 ml olive oil
1 tsp pesto
Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
Chill before serving.
Serve with crispy croutons or crackers.
By Stevie Villasin of Stevie’s Hainanese Chicken
3 l fresh carabao’s milk
1 c muscovado sugar
¼ c white sugar
1 vanilla bean, scraped
In a sauce pan, bring carabao’s milk to a boil stirring occasionally.
When milk boils, lower the heat to medium.
Add vanilla bean to the milk.
Continue stirring occasionally until mixture is reduced to half.
Add sugar and mix well.
Keep stirring to avoid mixture from burning.
Once the mixture thickens, curdles and becomes grainy, turn off heat.
Let cool and transfer to jars.
To add a different level of flavor sprinkle a little rock salt evenly on top before serving.