Jun 9, 2009

In Memory of Mom

Quietly she slipped away before our eyes to embark on her new journey. "Goodbye Mom," I whispered in my mind. Now she can continue to work on that golf swing she loved and missed so much. I felt pain behind my eyes as I struggled not to cry, but Dad's tears pushed me over the edge. I don't ever remember seeing him cry. We sobbed together for a moment in each other's arms.

I'm sad, but very grateful that her suffering is over.

Jun 7, 2009

Vegan Taiwanese "Egg" Tarts

I grew up eating egg tarts on special occasions, or when I visited San Francisco's China Town. The most common ones have a very thick, flaky crust with a very "eggy" custard in the middle. These originated in Hong Kong, and became popular in China and Taiwan. The Portuguese also have their version, which incorporates a more creamy custard that is torched on top like a brulee.
This version is one that seems to have been adapted by the Taiwanese. It has a thinner, cookie-like crust. To be honest, I've never tried these before, and only saw photos of them (I've only seen the Chinese versions here in the States).

To make these a bit healthier, I used the low fat pie crust recipe from Bryanna Clark Grogan, making some adjustments and substituting the vegetable oil with coconut oil, hoping to get a nicer texture. They turned out delicious, especially the next day. To make the filling taste "eggy," I used coconut cream, which also makes this rather rich. If you can't find coconut cream (I found it in the Asian market), you can try using coconut milk, but you may need to increase the starch.

Crust Recipe:

1 C. unbleached all purpose flour
1 C. whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 C. coconut oil
1/2 C. soy milk with 1 tsp. lemon juice added
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. sugar

Roll it out very thin, and cut out circles to fit in the bottoms of your muffin tins. I used my biscuit cutters.

Spray your pan with non-stick cooking spray before placing the circles into the bottoms. Next, roll out thin strips (about 1 1/2" wide) to line the sides as shown below.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 5 minutes, then pull out to cool.

Coconut Custard Recipe:

1 pkg silken tofu (1 lb.)- the kind sold in the plastic tub with water
1 can coconut cream (14 oz.)
1/4 - 1/2 C. confectioner's sugar to desired sweetness
1 T. cornstarch
pinch of tumeric to desired color (optional)

Taiwanese desserts are typically not very sweet, so you can adjust the sugar to the amount you like. This filling could be a great pudding if you heat it on the stove (until just heated through) and let cool in the fridge.

Pour the custard into each muffin tin to almost the top of the crusts. Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes, or until they look set and tops are puffy. Let cool and chill in the fridge. You can eat these at room temp, but like I said, they were better the next day after chilling.

This made about 15 tarts.