CHOOSING the best gift for everyone who is special to you is always a dilemma come Christmastime. Somehow, it is difficult to pick the proper present for each member of the family, friends, colleagues and loved ones. So, how about edible gifts that you have personally made? The personal touch and the love that goes into it cannot be denied, so they are the perfect gift to give on Christmas.
For this holiday season, California Raisins encourages everyone to rekindle the spirit of meaningful giving by making delicious and wholesomely nutritious edible giveaways. In an interactive event held at New World Makati Hotel recently, California Raisins collaborated with multi-awarded chef Michael ‘Miko’ Aspiras of Le Petit Soufflé and Scouts Honor in creating two Christmas recipes that emphasize the essence of meaningful sharing this yuletide season.
These recipes—of California Raisin Modern Christmas Cake and California Raisins Bomboloni with California Raisin Rum Chantilly and Crispy Topping—make full use of California Raisins, which are fat- and cholesterol-free, low in sodium, and naturally sweet. So you do not have to add too much sugar to sweeten the cake and the bread.
Try turning out a batch or two of these exciting recipes by Chef Miko and find out how baking with love, with the addition of California Raisins, makes for a more special and personalized Christmas present.
CALIFORNIA RAISINS MODERN CHRISTMAS CAKE
For the cake:
350 grams cake flour
3 grams salt
3 grams baking powder
3 grams cinnamon powder
3 grams garam masala
240 grams California Raisins*
330 grams good quality unsalted butter
125 grams caster sugar
300 grams eggs (6 pcs. medium-sized eggs)
45 ml. fresh milk
45 ml. orange juice
5 grams lemon zest
5 grams orange zest
*For the California Raisins:
25 grams white sugar
100 ml. water
35 ml. rum
200 grams California Raisins
1. First, prepare the California Raisins. Cook sugar in water until it turns into a light syrup, add in rum, then remove from heat. Soak raisins in the mixture overnight.
2. Grease four 6x3x2-1/2-inch height loaf pans, then line with parchment paper, grease again and flour the pans.
3. Preheat oven to 160°C.
4. Prepare the cake. Sift all dry ingredients together.
5. Strain and remove excess syrup from California Raisins, and set aside. Save the syrup.
6. Using a planetary mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
7. Add eggs one at a time.
8. Pour in milk, followed by orange juice.
9. Add the lemon and orange zest.
10. Fold in dry ingredients, then the California Raisins.
11. Pour or pipe into the prepared loaf pans.
12. Bake for 35 minutes or until baked through.
13. Remove from oven, pour excess syrup from soaked raisins over the cake.
14. Cool down to room temperature, then freeze.
For the Crispy California Raisin and Chocolate Dip coating:
200 grams white chocolate
40 grams red cocoa butter
40 ml. vegetable oil
55 grams California Raisins, chopped
55 grams toasted walnuts, chopped roughly
1. Melt chocolate in red cocoa butter, temper, then add color, temper again, and add vegetable oil.
2. Fold in raisins and walnuts.
3. Dip frozen cake in the mixture until fully covered.
4. Finish by decorating with edible Christmas ornaments and marshmallows.
CALIFORNIA RAISINS BOMBOLONI
WITH RAISIN RUM CHANTILLY
AND CRISPY TOPPING
For the brioche:
86 grams stiff levain
366 grams hard levain
55 grams white sugar
176 grams water
116 grams whole eggs
1. Combine all ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a hook attachment.
2. Mix until all ingredients are well-blended.
3. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and let rest for 30 minutes.
936 grams hard flour
55 grams white sugar
18 grams salt
24 grams yeast
486 grams whole eggs
250 grams California Raisins (pureed chunks)*
590 grams softened butter
*For the California Raisins:
45 grams white sugar
160 ml. water
70 ml. rum
310 grams California Raisins
*For the crisp topping butter:
200 grams all-purpose flour
4 grams baking powder
4 grams salt
200 grams unsalted butter, softened
4 large eggs, beaten
15 grams vanilla extract
1. First, prepare the California Raisins. Cook sugar in water until mixture turns into light syrup, add in rum, and then remove from heat. Soak raisins in the mixture overnight. Run through a food processor or blender lightly until pureed but still chunky.
2. Combine all dry ingredients and eggs on rested dough. Mix until dough sticks onto the hook attachment of the mixer. Slowly add a small amount of butter, and mix until butter is combined. Continue adding butter until completely incorporated. Then add raisin puree.
3. Keep dough in an oil-coated container, transfer dough, fold four sides, cover with plastic wrap, and chill overnight before using.
4. Prepare the crisp topping butter the next day. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl. Using clean and dry mixer bowl with paddle attachment, beat butter and confectioners’ sugar over medium-high speed until light, pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. With mixer running, gradually add eggs, then vanilla. Mix until smooth, scraping down bowl as needed, about 2 minutes. Add flour mixture and mix on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape down bowl, and then fold ingredients by hand to mix fully. Transfer mixture to a piping bag with round piping tip. Do not refrigerate.
5. When ready to use the dough, remove plastic wrap lightly flour the working table and the top of the dough. Turn the container upside down to let the dough out, slowly lifting the container in the process until the dough falls to the work surface. Lightly flour the dough again, and divide into a form according to desired weight.
6. To shape the dough, pinch the sides of the square dough like a dumpling then seal.
7. Place the seam side of the dough on the working table, put your palm on top of the dough, and shape it into a ball with circular motion.
8. Place rounded dough on a baking tray with seam side down, cover and let rest for 45 minutes.
9. Pipe top with crisp topping batter.
10. Preheat oven to 200˚C at least 15 minutes before baking.
11. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until done. Remove and let cool.
12. When cooled, make a 1-inch incision at the bottom of each cooled bun. Fill with Chantilly.
13. Dust with powdered sugar.
For the California Raisin Rum Chantilly Cream:
400 grams dairy whipping cream
400 grams non-dairy whipping cream
100 grams raisin puree
1. While the buns are baking in the oven, prepare the Chantillly Cream. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Whip until mixture is stiff.
2. When the buns are done, remove from oven and let cool. Then make a 1-inch incision at the bottom of each cooled bun. Fill with Chantilly. Dust with powdered sugar.
California Raisins are available in leading supermarkets nationwide. Learn more about California Raisins and find recipes using them. Visit http://calraisins.org/ and www.caraisins.com.