Please wait a few seconds while we redirect you
to the new and improved House of Annie website at !

Friday, October 30, 2009

Recipe for Kalua Pig with Cabbage

Updated 30 October 2009
Originally posted 13 June 2007

This recipe for Hawaiian Kalua Pig with Cabbage calls for simply roasting a pork shoulder in an oven bag. No heavy lifting involved!

Kalua Pig with Cabbage

Kalua Pig with Cabbage

When Annie and I got married in Hawaii, one of my groomsmen made kalua pig for the big banquet after the wedding. Real kalua pig, cooked in an imu in his backyard the night before the wedding. Instead of coming to my bachelor party, the guy stayed up late to tend to the pig. That was a special wedding meal!

We don't have a pit in our backyard in San Jose but we still like to enjoy Hawaiian-style kalua pig and cabbage every now and then. For our Ultimate Hawaiian Backyard Lu’au, we made our kalua pig the night before. We shredded the pork and reserved the juices from the bag too cook the cabbage on the day of the lu’au.

Recipe for Kalua Pig with Cabbage


1, 5lb pork shoulder
2 Tbsp Hawaiian sea salt
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
4 cloves garlic, peeled
3 slices ginger
2 tsp liquid smoke
2 heads cabbage (or more), chopped


1. Preheat the oven to 325*F.
2. Place the pork shoulder in an oven roasting bag.
3. Add all the ingredients to the bag and massage it in to the shoulder.

Seasoning Kalua Pig

4. Seal the bag and place it in a roasting pan. Cut a few holes in the top of the roasting bag to allow steam to escape.
5. Pour some water into the pan until it comes about halfway up the sides of the pan.
6. Insert a remote probe thermometer through one of the holes in the bag and into the center of the pork shoulder. Set the target temperature for 195*F.
7. Place the pan in the oven and roast until the shoulder reaches the target temperature.
8. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the pork to cool.
9. Remove the pork from the oven bag, but reserve the juices from the bag in a stock pot. Refrigerate the stock.

Kalua Pig jus

10. Shred the pork shoulder using a couple of forks. The pork should shred fairly easily, but you can also chop up some of the tougher chunks.

Shredding Kalua Pig

11. The next day, you will find that the fat from the pork juices has risen to the top of the juices and congealed. You can now easily remove all the fat.

Kalua Pig fat

12. Bring about half of the reserved juices to a simmer in a large pot or saucepan. Add half the chopped cabbage and cook the cabbage down until softened, then add half the shredded pork.

Cooking Kalua Pig with Cabbage

13. Mix well until the pork has been heated through. Empty the kalua pig and cabbage into a serving tray and cook the remaining stock, cabbage and pork.

Tray of Kalua Pig and Cabbage


Aloha, Nate

Hungry for more Hawaiian food? Click below:

Lomi Lomi Salmon Recipe

Ahi Limu Poke Recipe

Huli Chicken Recipe

Chocolate Haupia Pie Recipe

Mochi Ice Cream from Bubbies (Honolulu)

Continue Reading: "Recipe for Kalua Pig with Cabbage"...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

House of Annie’s Third Bloggerversary

Esther blowing out 3rd birthday cake

Today marks the 3rd anniversary for the House of Annie food blog and boy did it come up fast! We originally had plans to do something big and fun to celebrate but since Annie and I were out of town in KL, we didn’t have enough time to work it all out. Oh well; there’s always next month…

A lot has changed in a years’ time!  A year ago, we were happily living, eating out and cooking in San Jose, California.  The blog was growing, and I think we were beginning to hit our stride and get noticed.  We even got a little mainstream press attention when I wrote our memorial to Ryo, the Sushi Man of San Francisco, who was unfortunately killed at the beginning of this year.

An Eventful Year

We got to go to the Fabulous Food Festival and also participated in online blog events such as Grow Your Own and Weekend Herb Blogging. But our biggest, most fun foodie events were throwing the Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24 parties at our house.  Starting off with the Chinese New Year Cioppino, followed by the Ultimate Rib Showdown, and then the Ultimate Backyard Lu’au, we were excited to not just cook for ourselves but organize larger and larger parties for our friends.

But we hit the brakes when we found out in April that we had to move to Malaysia .  It really put a damper on our blogging activities while we prepared for the move. But it also got us excited over the possibilities of blogging from Annie’s homeland.

We arrived in Kuching, Sarawak in August and almost immediately began making friends.  We got to know about local foods, local ingredients, and local markets. We even got to do another Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24 post, this time focusing on a local delicacy of Sarawak Layer Cakes. And once our kitchen supplies arrived, we started up cooking and baking again!

I really want to thank all you loyal readers who have stuck with us through the ups and downs.  And welcome to all the new readers who have joined us this year.  Special thanks to those of you who comment regularly – you really bring a smile to our faces by letting us know we’re not just posting into a vacuum but building a virtual community.

There is so much more that we want to do with the House of Annie.  More baking, more cooking, more events, more giveaways.  There is still the matter of migrating over to our own domain. Let’s see what the next year will bring!

Aloha,  Nate

Click below for more

Two-Year Bloggerversary Week

2008 Year in Review

Thanks and Thanks Again, PLUS a Seven Things Meme

Continue Reading: "House of Annie’s Third Bloggerversary"...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Bad Ass Coffee: A Little Taste of Hawaii in KL

I’ve joined Annie in Kuala Lumpur on holiday for just a couple of days. Annie’s cousin has been graciously taking us around to makan (eat) at places around town. One place she said she must take me is Bad Ass Coffee Company of Hawaii because I’m Hawaiian (well, Hawaii-born at least).

Bad Ass Coffee Company of Hawaii, Tropicana City, Kuala Lumpur

bad ass coffee company tropicana city kuala lumpur malaysia

Bad Ass Coffee Company is located on the ground floor of the Tropicana City Mall, a newer mall in the SS22 area of Petaling Jaya. We showed up there around 4 PM on Friday afternoon. We couldn’t see too many patrons there at the time – just a table of young guys enjoying the free WiFi, and another couple sitting on tables outside the establishment.

Bad Ass Coffee Company, Tropicana City, Kuala Lumpur

bad ass coffee company tropicana city kuala lumpur malaysia 2

One thing we noticed right away was that they were playing Hawaiian music over their sound system. Not the hapa-haole, steel guitar, touristy muzak, but good, contemporary Hawaiian music by artists like Keali’i Reichel, Makaha Sons, and Amy Hanaiali’i Gilliom. Wow, I haven’t heard real Hawaiian music played at a restaurant since the last time we were in Hawai’i! Nice touch.

There were other touches of Hawaii evident in the ambiance of the restaurant, like the surfboard above the counter and the staff clad in Hawaiian print shirts greeting us with a hearty, “Aloha!”

Bad Ass Coffee Company Surfboard Sign

bad ass coffee company surfboard tropicana city kuala lumpur malaysia

Still, this is a lone coffee shop in a mall that also boasts a Starbuck’s. What would make anyone want to come and have a cuppa joe here? Two words: Kona Coffee.

Coffee connoisseurs know that Kona coffee – coffee grown on the Kona side of the Big Island of Hawaii, is among the best tasting coffee in the world. Bad Ass Coffee Company sells two kinds of coffee, a “Kona blend” which contains only 10% beans from Kona mixed with other beans from Columbia and Brazil, and 100% Kona coffee. 100% Kona coffee is expensive, but after you’ve tasted it, you will understand why this coffee is so prized around the world.

Bad Ass Coffee Company Coffee Menu

bad ass coffee company menu tropicana city kuala lumpur

Besides your standard coffee preparations, they also have special flavored coffee concoctions that you can get either hot, iced, or blended. For non-coffee drinkers, they have fruit smoothies that are blended with milk, or “Hawaiian Ice” which is basically a fruit smoothie without the milk. (I was a bit disappointed to hear that, because I would have expected something more like a Hawaiian shaved ice.)

There’s a glass case to the side of the counter that contains various sweet desserts and pastries. Annie’s cousin wanted us to try their macadamia nut cream pie, which is a small pastry tart containing chopped macadamia nuts, and topped with a toasted meringue (but interestingly, no cream!). I opted for the passion fruit mousse. The mousse was delightfully tart, but a little dried out from sitting too long in the case.

Passion Fruit Mousse, Macadamia Nut Cream Pie from Bad Ass Coffee Company

bad ass coffee company passion fruit mousse macadamia nut cream pie.

What was also interesting about this place was they had a kitchen that was serving hot entrees like “Hawaiian Pizza”, “Tom Yummy Spaghetti”, and “Lamb Pita Bread”. You don’t find many coffee shops with such an ambitious and varied menu. At least, not in Hawaii.

Bad Ass Coffee Company Hot Food Menu

bad ass coffee company food menu tropicana city kuala lumpur malaysia

Daniel was enjoying the music, but he wanted to know if they could play the song “Ala Moana Annie” by Amy Hanaiali’i Gilliom over their system. I went up to the counter to ask, but the staff there said they didn’t know how to access the songs – the songs were played from the owner’s iPod plugged into their sound system. Then Annie’s cousin pointed out that the owner was actually sitting at another table there just outside the doors of the restaurant.

I went over to the table and asked if they had that song, explaining that I was from Hawaii, my wife’s name is Annie, and my son really likes this song. The owner said that he didn’t know if he had that song in his playlist. I thanked him and returned to our table.

A little later, the owner came over to talk to us. It turns out that he used to live in Hawaii, and graduated from the same alma mater – Hawaii Pacific University - as me and Annie’s cousin! He said that I was the first Hawaiian to visit his restaurant, so he wanted to meet me.

He also had one of his servers bring over a slice of cheesecake and a humongous sugar-coated donut, on the house. The kids devoured the donut while Annie and her cousin shared the cheesecake, which they liked. I thought that the cheesecake would have been better with some actual coffee grounds mixed in.

Bad Ass Coffee Company Cheesecake

bad ass coffee company cheesecake

The owner said that he had really fallen in love with Hawaii, and wanted to bring back a little something from Hawaii to Malaysia, especially the laid-back, aloha spirit. This coffee shop is the first Bad Ass Coffee Company to open in Southeast Asia and it’s been open for only two months. He has plans in the future to expand to other areas of Malaysia, and other SEA countries as well, but first he wants to spend time building up this flagship store and building a reputation for good, quality coffee as well as good customer service.

The hot foods menu, he admits, is a work in progress. He has a chef developing recipes for the menu, but it’s tough to balance the desire for authentic Hawaiian dishes with the Malaysian palate. (To be honest, I really didn’t think the menu was very Hawaiian. Maybe he could try selling a Spam musubi, using Turkey Spam?)

As for the drinks, the kids loved their mango smoothie. My “Jitter Juice” blended coffee drink gave me heart palpitations after drinking about 1/3 of the cup. And Annie’s cappuccino ended up as a latte after some confusion and miscommunication with the counter staff.

Bad Ass Coffee Company Latte

bad ass coffee company latte

The restaurant’s location in a far corner of the mall, next to the San Francisco Steakhouse, is out of the way for regular mall traffic except on Saturdays. But he hopes that business will pick up when the new office tower opens up, and people begin finding out that there is good, Kona coffee being served here. I wish him well.

Aloha, Nate

Hungry for more Hawaiian food? Click below:

Ultimate Backyard Lu’au

Mochi Ice Cream from Bubbies (Honolulu)

Waiola Shave Ice: the Best Shave Ice in Hawaii

Secrets to Making Spam Musubi

Continue Reading: "Bad Ass Coffee: A Little Taste of Hawaii in KL"...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Microwaved Cabbage and Carrot, a Bachelor’s Tale

Microwaved Cabbage and Carrot

The House of Annie has been pretty quiet lately, as Annie took the kids with her to Kuala Lumpur to visit with friends and family. I’ve been staying here at home in Kuching, living the bachelor life for the past five days. Fortunately, there’s a public holiday coming up on Friday so I’ll be joining Annie and the kids in KL for a few short days over the coming weekend. (Yay!)

So, what have I been eating? On Saturday, I ate pretty well, thanks to our friend Mike who took me to have FooChow beef noodle soup in the morning, Hainam chicken rice for lunch, and thosai and garlic naan for dinner. But the rest of the time, I’ve been eating leftovers for dinner.

Annie left me with a big dish of kau yuk – fried and steamed pork belly and taro . It took me three nights to eat it all, but I finally finished it. So here I am on Wednesday night with no more leftovers to eat. Besides finishing the prepared leftovers, Annie told me that I should cook the head cabbage that was left in the fridge.

What the Heck?

I rooted out the cabbage in the veggie bin and also saw some tomatoes left over from the braised pork belly dish she made last week, plus a bell pepper and a carrot. What the heck can I make with that? We don’t have any potatoes, so I can’t make colcannon (besides, there’s no corned beef to enjoy it with!).

On top of that, I wanted to make something fast, and I wanted to make something that didn’t require a lot of cooking implements. Life as a bachelor means a lot of eating in front of the tv or computer, and a lot of unwashed dishes in the sink. If I could minimize the amount of dishes to wash and maximize my time out of the kitchen, all the better. So I got the brilliant idea to cook everything together in the microwave.

Unfortunately, Google is no help in finding recipes for cooking cabbage in a microwave. But there is an Indian recipe site, run by my friend Srivalli of Cooking 4 All Seasons, that talks about easy microwave cooking. And surfing her site brought me to Veggie Platter, which sparked an idea that I could actually toast spices like cumin, coriander, and mustard seed in the microwave, and use that to cook my veggies with.

I thought I’d give it a shot. I’m no gourmet chef. I am barely passable with a knife. But I’m only cooking for myself, so who’s it gonna hurt?

I started off by shredding the cabbage. Then I julienned the bell pepper, then thinly sliced the carrot. Finally I cut the tomatoes into chunks.

Hey, that didn’t take long at all!

Cabbage Tomatoes Carrots Bell Peppers

In a large glass bowl, I heated a couple of tablespoons of oil on high for 2 minutes in the microwave. Meanwhile, I ground up some coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and white peppercorns in our mortar and pestle. When the oil was done heating, I tossed the spices in. Back in the microwave for 2 minutes on high, give it a quick stir, and two more minutes. Coriander Cumin Peppercorns Mustard Seeds

Then, I dumped all the chopped veggies into the bowl, sprinkled on a little curry powder, added a cup of water, and put it back in the microwave for 2 and a half minutes. I took it back out, tossed and turned the veggies, then cooked it for another 2 and a half minutes. When it was done, I tossed the veggies once more and gave it a taste.

Needs salt.

I could have gone for the kosher salt, but since this was an “Indian-ish” dish, I thought I try sprinkling on some Indian Kala Namak salt that we got from our friend Tammy the Spice Hound. This salt is a finishing salt with a high sulfur content, so it tastes strongly of eggs. A little dash’ll do ya!

Indian Kala Namak Salt from Spice Hound

Here’s the final product.

Microwaved Cabbage and Carrot Finished

How’d it taste?

I’m not going to say it was the best thing I ever put in my mouth. I thought it was lacking something, maybe garlic or onions or soy sauce. But it was edible. And I was hungry. So I ate it. In front of the computer. As I’m writing this post. And you know what?

It’s all gone. AND I only have one dish to wash!

Aloha, Nate

Annie will be back to the House soon, cooking legitimately good dishes. So subscribe to our site and receive all our latest posts to your RSS reader or to your Inbox.

I'm entering this post in the October edition of the "Microwave Easy Cooking" roundup, created by Srivalli of Cooking 4 All Seasons and hosted by Suma of Veggie Platter.

Wanna read about more of my cooking experiments? Click below:

Leftover Turkey Omurice

Mushroom and Gruyere Omelette, Banana-Nut-illa

Evolution of Dinner: Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Evolution of Dinner: Grilled Halibut

Evolution of Dessert: Sake-Poached Asian Pears with Ume and Li Hing Sauce

Continue Reading: "Microwaved Cabbage and Carrot, a Bachelor’s Tale"...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Braised Pork Belly with Tomatoes in Soy Sauce

Braised Pork Belly with Tomatoes in Soy Sauce

Pork is so tasty here in Malaysia compared to the US. I don’t know what it is but there is just more flavor to the pork meat here. It is unabashedly porky and isn’t dry like what I have found in the US, where I always have to brine the pork for it to taste like anything at all. Maybe it is also because the pork we get here at the market is really fresh and mostly locally raised. Whatever the reason, it’s just delicious.

The interesting thing about buying pork in Malaysia is that if you go to the wet market, you will find all the pork vendors in a separate part of the market away from the rest of the other meat vendors. Pork is non-halal for Muslims so whenever you want to buy pork, you need to buy it from a special section. The same happens if you go to a grocery store—they have a special section for all the non-halal items including some imported desserts and foods that may contain lard, gelatin and other pork parts.

The other day, I was at the grocery store in the non-halal section and found some pork belly on sale at a 25% discount. Though it was a thin slice, it had beautiful layers of meat and fat and was just calling my name. I decided that I had to buy it and figure out something to cook later on.

The next day, when deciding on what to make with it, I looked to see what I had and saw that I had some onions and some tomatoes. I decided that I would make a braise with tomatoes and onions and use dark soy to give it a rich salty-sweet flavor. Combined with the tomatoes, this made a really nice braise. So simple and yet delicious.

Braised Pork Belly with Tomatoes in Soy Sauce Recipe

1 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium yellow onion, halved and sliced
1/2 lb (300g) pork belly, cut into bite-sized chunks
3 medium or 5 small roma tomatoes, large dice
8-10 button mushrooms, halved (optional)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp dark soy sauce
2-3 Tbsp soy sauce
dash of white papper
Garnishing: chopped cilantro and halved cherry tomatoes

1. Heat up oil in a medium-sized heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Stir in garlic and onions and saute till onions are just softened.
2. Add pork chunks and let it brown (move onions and garlic to sides). Stir every so often to ensure pork pieces get evenly browned. Season with a little salt.

Browning Pork Belly with Onion

3. Add tomatoes and the rest of the seasonings. Stir to combine well. Once ingredients come to a boil, lower heat and let simmer for 30-45 minutes or until pork is tender. If using mushrooms, add it now.

Braising Pork Belly with Tomato and Soy Sauce

4. Taste and adjust seasonings. The dish should taste salty and slightly tart-sweet from the tomatoes.
5. Plate up and garnish with cherry tomatoes and cilantro.

There you have it, a quick weekday meal.

Pork Belly Braised with Tomatoes in Soy Sauce


Cheers, Annie

Hungry for more porky dishes? Click below:

Ultimate Rib Showdown

Pork and Daikon Soup with Red Dates and Carrots

Tau Yu Bak (Pork Braised in Soy Sauce)

Homemade Breakfast Sausage

Braised Char Siew (or Non-bake Char Siew)

Continue Reading: "Braised Pork Belly with Tomatoes in Soy Sauce"...

Friday, October 16, 2009

Dutch Apple Bread

Dutch Apple Bread

dutch apple cake sliced

Several Thanksgivings ago, a friend, Andrew, made this fabulous Dutch Apple Bread and shared it at a church dinner. It was so simple looking but on that cold evening, with the bread still warm from the oven, it was a total hit. The bread was moist, hearty and infused with apple flavor. It was comfort dessert at its best.

I ate a slice and it stayed in my memory for days. I love homey cakes and quick breads without the frills of adornment especially when the flavors satisfy every craving I have. And it’s not just the flavor, it’s the texture and the simplicity of good ingredients that make it so memorable for me.

So I talked to Andrew about the bread (it is really more like a cake) and in our conversation he mentioned that he had gotten this recipe from a cookbook called “More With Less” by Doris Janzen Longacre. Our conversation left me intrigued about the cookbook and even though I had asked him to email the recipe to me, I had to look the cookbook up in my local library. Lo and behold, they actually had a copy and I ended up getting the book before he had sent me the recipe!

A Real Treasure

This cookbook is a real treasure. It’s not flashy and it doesn’t have pictures but the recipes in this book are truly comfort foods that use everyday ingredients. For an older cookbook, this is one that is classic and is not dated at all. Her ideas and philosophy are as relevant today as it was then.

I flipped through the cookbook and quickly found this recipe. Even though Andrew had not told me the name of the bread, I surmised from reading the recipe that this was the one. The only thing that stumped me was the sour milk in the ingredients list.

I didn’t quite know what “sour milk” meant. And even though the author gave a substitute suggestion, I really wanted to use the sour milk. So I emailed Andrew and asked what he did. He told me that he usually just put in a teaspoon of vinegar into warm milk and let it curdle. So I did just that and it worked out great (my technique was to put the vinegar into cold milk, stick it into the microwave for about a minute and – tadah - curdled milk!).

The only other thing I changed around was the margarine (I used butter instead). And instead of chopping the apples, I went with Andrew’s suggestion of putting the apples through a large-hole box grater. The bread was really easy to make and most of the ingredients I easily had available in my pantry.

grated apples

Now that apples are in season, you really need to get yourself some apples and bake this bread. You won’t regret it!

Dutch Apple Bread Recipe

from “More With Less” by Doris Janzen Longacre
(makes 1 loaf)


1/2 cup margarine (or butter)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup sour milk or orange juice
1 cup chopped apples (or grated with box grater)
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup chopped cranberries (optional)—I didn’t use them

1. Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C).
2. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
3. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well, scraping down sides after each egg.
4. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt.
5. Alternating with the dry ingredients, add the sour milk or orange juice.
6. Fold in the chopped apples and nuts (and cranberries, if using).
7. Bake in greased 9x5” loaf pan for 55 minutes or until loaf tests done.

Dutch Apple Bread

dutch apple bread baked

Let cool, remove to a plate, slice, and…


Cheers, Annie

This post was entered in the 2009 edition of World Bread Day.

Hungry for more bread? Click below:

Recipe for Corn Bread with Bacon

Buttery Dinner Rolls Recipe

No Knead No More

Pandan Kaya Bread

Foccacia w/ Poached Garlic

Continue Reading: "Dutch Apple Bread"...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Roasted, Salted Pumpkin Seeds

Roasted pumpkins seeds are a favorite snack food here in Asia. And, they’re quite easy to make at home. All you need is a pumpkin.

roasted and salted pumpkin seeds

Last year, I made a pumpkin swirl cheesecake using a Halloween pumpkin that the kids had decorated. It wasn’t carved, so the pumpkin was still intact and unspoiled. I cut the pumpkin up, roasted it, and pureed the flesh to use in my cheesecake.

painted pumpkin

After first sectioning the pumpkin, I scraped out the pulp and the seeds.

seeded pumpkin

Then I put the seeds and pulp in a colander and rinsed them off while the kids picked out any stray bits of pulp.

picking pulp from pumpkin seeds

After the seeds were cleaned off, I spread them out onto a sheet pan to dry. The kids were kinda impatient, so I broke out the hair dryer. Daniel did the “heavy lifting” as he diligently dried those seeds.

blow drying pumpkin seeds

After they were dried, I drizzled a couple tablespoons of olive oil onto the seeds and tossed them to coat. Daniel and Esther then stepped in to grind some sea salt onto the seeds.

salting pumpkin seeds

They went into a 300*F oven for 30-35 minutes until they started turning brown.

roasted salted pumpkin seeds

After cooling, we started snacking. And we didn’t stop. Those seeds were gone by the end of the night!

Aloha, Nate.

This post was entered in the October edition of the Heart of the Matter recipe roundup.

Hungry for more pumpkin and squash recipes? Click below:

Pumpkin Mee with Prawns Recipe

Kabocha Squash with Spinach in Coconut Milk

Pumpkin with Egg and Green Onion

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Bacon

Continue Reading: "Roasted, Salted Pumpkin Seeds"...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Recipe for Banana Cream Pie

Banana Cream Pie

banana cream pie slice

I love, love, love pies! There’s something about crust filled with yummy things that just appeal to me (to the cost of my hips). When I first came to the US, I was amazed by the variety of pies and I just couldn’t get enough of them.

I discovered banana cream pie when an acquaintance who attended the Hawaii Writing Project with me brought them one day to share. They were so delightful that I had to get the recipe. She generously shared it with me.

Testing, Testing

I baked this banana cream pie recently because I’m testing out the microwave/convection oven that came with our house. I figured if the crust didn’t turn out, it wouldn’t be as big a loss as a whole cake. From my research into other similar types ovens plus all the help I had gotten from some of you, I plunged ahead with this pie as my first bake.

And it turned out pretty good despite the oven not coming with any manual at all. The crust did bake up brown but I think I still need to work out the timing and temps a bit more to get it perfect. For a first attempt, I was quite happy.

I also chose to bake a banana cream pie because I am now in a land of plentiful bananas. Local bananas are so varied and delicious that we are eating a bunch or two a week. For this pie, I used Pisang Rastali/Kering, a banana that is very similar to the apple bananas you find in Hawaii. They are creamy but have a slight tart apple finish. Simply delicious—my absolute favorite variety!

Lessons Learned

The first time I tried to bake a banana cream pie, I must have had beginner’s luck because everything turned out really well. There have been a few times since then that the egg paste curdled when I mixed it into the milk. I suspect that the milk was too hot when I added the egg yolks (I get impatient and crank up the heat sometimes) and that is what caused the curdling. So make sure you keep the heat on the milk low when you’re adding the egg paste. Don’t let the milk come to a boil! But if you do get some curdling, all is not lost—just strain the pudding before filling the pie.

The recipe for the crust makes a really flaky and tender crust. It’s not the most flavorful crust because it doesn’t have any butter in it. But since the banana and the pudding is very flavorful already, this crust is a nice complement. If you want more flavor, feel free to substitute butter for the shortening, but you will lose the flaky texture you get from the shortening. Maybe next time, I will try it with half butter and half shortening. Anyway, if you are making this dough as it is written, be sure to chill the dough first so that the crust won’t shrink back too much while baking.

This recipe bakes up enough crust and filling to make two pies. And I recommend making two as they disappear very quickly. I served this at a church small group meeting and when the evening was done, I only had a quarter of one pie left to take home as leftovers.

Banana Cream Pie Recipe

(makes 2 pies)

Pie Crust Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup crisco (I used a butter blend here in Malaysia)
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup milk

banana cream pie crust dough and batter

Pie Crust Method:
1. Rub ingredients A together to form a shaggy dough in a medium bowl. Yes, I know it’s quite a bit of fat but you can always add more flour later if it’s too wet. It’s the fat that makes this pie crust flaky and tender.
2. Mix ingredients B together to form a paste in another bowl.
3. Add B to A and mix gently with a spatula until it forms a dough. If it’s too wet, add more flour to the dough to get a nice soft dough. Don’t overwork the dough; the crust will be more tender and flaky the less it is worked.

banana cream pie crust dough

4. Form two balls, cover them in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least an hour.

banana cream pie crust dough ball

5. Preheat oven to 400 F (210 C).
6. Roll out your dough into a round, about 1/8 inch thick, dusting with flour to keep it from sticking. Place dough rounds on your pie pan and press into pan and crimp edges to the side of the pan. Dock with a fork all around the crust.

banana cream pie crust crimped and docked

7. Cover with foil or parchment paper and cover with pie weights. In truth, I normally just press the heavy duty foil into the crust and I’ve never needed to use weights. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
8. Remove foil/parchment paper and bake for another 10-12 minutes till golden brown.
9. Cool pie crust.

Pudding ingredients:
4 cups milk
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar (or less, you can taste the pudding later and if it’s not sweet enough, you can add more sugar)
6 heaping Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
6 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla essence

Pudding method:
1. Heat on stove 4 cups milk and 1/2 cup butter over med-low heat in large sauce pan.
2. Mix in another bowl the sugar, flour, salt and yolks. Add to this mixture enough milk from the sauce pan to make a paste.
3. Add paste to milk/butter mixture on stove. Make sure the milk mixture is not too hot when adding the paste or the eggs will curdle. Whisk mixture constantly over med-low heat until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil.
4. Remove from heat immediately and stir in vanilla essence. Let it cool slightly. If you want a smoother pudding, strain it so that the bits of cooked egg will be strained out.

banana cream pie custard

To assemble banana cream pie:
1. Slice 5-8 bananas (depending on size of bananas) in half length-wise. You can choose to slice them into rounds but I find that the pie slices hold better when you slice in half and lay them in circles around the crust. Cut as needed to fit all the bananas into the bottom of the pie crust.

banana cream pie bananas

2. Pour warm pudding over bananas until the bananas are covered and the pudding is almost at the top of the crust.

banana cream pie bananas and custard

3. Cool in refrigerator until set, about 2-3 hours.
4. Just before serving, whip some heavy cream (about 1/2-1 cup depending on how much whipped cream you like), with 2 Tbsp sugar and 1/2 tsp vanilla. Spread whipped cream over pie.

banana cream pie spreading whipped cream

5. Slice into wedges and enjoy!

Cheers, Annie

banana cream pie slice

We're happy to find that our combi convection oven can still bake something, and making plans to bake even more. Don't miss a bake! Subscribe to our blog and receive all our latest posts to your RSS reader or to your Inbox.

Hungry for more pies? Click below:

Zingerman’s Apple Pie

Golden Gate Bakery Egg Tarts

Polenta Pie

Continue Reading: "Recipe for Banana Cream Pie"...

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Vi’s Fruit Pastry

Plum Nectarine Grape Fruit Pastry Baked

My forum friend Vi shared this recipe with me a long time ago. She calls it a fruit pastry but to me it’s a coffee cake which is topped with fruit. It’s simply lovely at tea time or anytime at all actually! Just beware, it is a very addictive cake and after one slice, it’s really hard to resist going back for a second and third…

Plum Nectarine Grape Fruit Pastry

Plum Nectarine Grape Fruit Pastry

The recipe is so simple and uses the basic creaming method for the cake. And it uses up whatever excess fruit you may have handy. If you don’t have any fresh fruit handy, just use canned—they work too! I’ve used a combination of different fruit—strawberries, plums, peaches, blueberries, and mandarin oranges. Just don’t press down on the fruit when you lay it down on top of the cake batter. It will sink into the cake all on its own while baking.

Plum Blueberry Mandarin Fruit Pastry

Plum Blueberry Mandarin Fruit Pastry

The key to this cake is in the tangy ingredients—the sour cream and lemon/orange zest makes the cake come alive and is what makes you keep coming back for more. I always zest my lemons and oranges whenever I use them and put the zest in a ziplock and stick them in my freezer. That way, whenever I have a recipe that calls for only the zest, I already have some handy to use. My friend, Vi, suggests that instead of freezing, just put the zest into a jar with some sugar and that will keep it from spoiling and is great to be added as flavoring to any of your baked goods.

Plum Blueberry Mandarin Fruit Pastry

Plum Blueberry Mandarin Fruit Pastry Baked

Vi’s Fruit Pastry Recipe

200g sugar
3/4 stick (100g) butter
50g sour cream
3 eggs
210g all-purpose flour (I’ve substituted 1/3 with whole wheat without any issues)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp lemon/orange zest
500g fruit tossed with 2 Tbsp sugar (I find that 500g is sometimes too much so I slice up as much fruit as I think I will need and if I use canned fruit, I omit the sugar)

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Cream butter and sour cream and sugar till light and fluffy.
3. Add eggs one at a time and beat till incorporated in batter.
4. Add vanilla essence and zest.
5. Stir in flour and baking powder and mix till smooth.
6. Butter and flour a 9” round pan. Pour batter into pan and even out top with a spatula.
7. Place fruit on top. Don’t press the fruit down into the batter. Decorate the fruit as you please.
8. Bake for 60-70 minutes or until tester comes out clean when inserted into the cake.
9. Cool and then remove from pan. If you want to pretty it up some more, you can dust the cake with some powdered sugar but it is really good as is too.

Plum Blueberry Mandarin Fruit Pastry Slice

Plum Blueberry Mandarin Fruit Pastry Slice

You might even want to double the batch just so you can share with friends. Enjoy this cake and let me know if you are as addicted to this as I am (I love it so much that I’m now afraid to bake it as I am very capable of wolfing down half the cake myself!).

Cheers, Annie

This cake was entered into the “High Tea Treats” Monthly Mingle, created by Meeta and hosted by My Diverse Kitchen.

Hungry for more cakes? Click below:

Pandan Chiffon Cake

Our Favorite Layer Cake Recipe

Marble Cake Recipe

Malaysian Honeycomb Cake

Third Aunt’s Butter Cake

Continue Reading: "Vi’s Fruit Pastry"...