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Confessions of a passionate home baker

Panaderya sa Holland

Hoofddorp, The Netherlands

Baking is a real art. The reason is very simple:  inspiration, patience, control, and waiting are required in baking . We let ourselves be inspired by the flavors, we patiently wait for the leavening, we check every process and then we wait for the cooking to take its course.  For this and a thousand other reasons, the work of the baker can be very stimulating, in some ways even fun.

 

Be inspired by Catherine Mejino-Andres’s story on how her curiosity helped her create beautiful and good things from water and flour. However, Andres says that you can only get great results if you are passionate.

Who introduced you to the world of pastry, and who was your mentor?

When I first came to the Netherlands, I didn’t even know how to fry an egg, let alone bake. So, my foray into baking was by accident. In 2008, my niece was turning two, and no one bakery would accept an order because it was on Queen’s Day. So, my cousin asked me if I could try to bake a cake. And I thought, how the hell will I bake a cake? Google and I haven’t met yet around that time. But I thought I got this. If I could dismantle a computer and put it back again, baking a cake couldn’t be that hard.

“How would I know that you can't frost a warm cake? It was not on the instructions!”

My niece suggested that we buy a cake mix. So, we did. Put the cake mix in a bowl, add eggs, water, and oil, and voila. We have a cake! The next challenge was the frosting. By this time, I sought Google; I heard he knows a lot of things. I remember I searched for “easy frosting.” And on the results, I saw this Fluff marshmallow spread which I happened to have in my pantry. It says on the instructions that I have to add butter and powdered sugar and mix well. So I did. We have frosting. I got so excited because now I can even make a frosting! I put the cake out of the oven and pan and started spreading my fluffy frosting on it. But the frosting began to melt because the cake was still warm. How would I know that you can’t frost a warm cake? It was not on the instructions!

“If I could dismantle a computer and put it back again, baking a cake couldn't be that hard”.

Nevertheless, we were able to make a cake and made my niece happy on her birthday. This experience piqued my curiosity. So, I became good friends with Google and later on with Pinterest. I sought cake recipes made from scratch and tried making them. And the rest is history.

Have you ever developed or improved a recipe?

Egg pie! It’s not my favorite, but back in the Philippines, egg pie was one of the cheapest lunches I could afford when I was still in high school. And then I saw this egg pie recipe on one of the Filipino bloggers and tried it. It was ok, but I was expecting more. So I kept on searching for recipes. I think I made egg pie ten days in a row, and they all ended up in the bin. Even my kids wouldn’t eat it. None of them satisfied my palate. So, I set out to develop my egg pie recipe. In my first attempt, it was it! It was the egg pie I wanted. It’s very far from what I used to eat in the Philippines. It is much better. It became a hit in every family gathering, and I started selling it as well. And it reached bestseller status. The other one is sapin-sapin. I tweaked the recipe I found to make it more tensile, and it was a success. You can never find a sapin-sapin recipe on the net like mine . Lately, I have been doing experiments on different flavors of chiffon cakes. I have one flavor in my mind that I want to make. I am just gathering more info about the ingredients. It will have an unusual flavor, so I’m kind of nervous . How do you find work around your complicated schedule? I am working full-time in a company, and it is challenging to combine baking with my office job. But since I am not a full-time baker (yet) and not actively selling my baked goods, my office job is my priority. I accept orders mainly on the weekends, so it will not get in the way of my job.

“The money you earn will never be too much in proportion to the sacrifices you make, but the satisfaction you will have in producing a good and genuine product with your own hands will be immense”.

The economic aspect is secondary. For the patience that the trade requires and for the sacrifices related to the profession of being a baker, the push must come from within, not from what you will earn by being a baker. The money you earn will never be too much in proportion to the sacrifices you make, but the satisfaction you will have in producing a good and genuine product with your own hands will be immense.

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Ube Jam

Catherine Mejino-Andres
The Ubeness craze is sure here to stay! Here's another recipe that's definitely "isang patak lang Ubeness na sa sarap!" Making ube jam is a very simple process that has simple ingredients, too. You can enjoy it as a dessert or a snack.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Filipino

Equipment

  • boiling pot
  • large pot
  • blender or food processor or potato smasher
  • stove

Ingredients
  

  • 1 kg Fresh or frozen Ube thawed
  • 397 g condensed milk or 1 can
  • 473 ml coconut milk or 2 cups
  • 1/2 tspn Ubeness® Purple Yam flavoring and food coloring
  • 50 g unsalted butter or margarine
  • 60 ml sugar (optional) depends on how sweet you want your jam or 1/4 cup

Instructions
 

  • Steam or boil the ube until tender for about 30-40 minutes. I prefer steaming over boiling because the natural purple color stays in the ube.
  • Once cooked through, let them cool down before chopping them into small cubes and set aside.
  • In a heavy bottom, large pot, add the cooked ube, condensed milk, and coconut milk. If you want your ube jam a little bit sweeter, add the sugar as well.
  • With an immersion blender, blend the mixture until smooth. You can also use a food processor or a potato masher but it will take longer to get your ube mixture smooth.
  • Once smooth, move the pot on the stove and set it on a low-medium fire.
  • Here comes the real job, stir the ube mixture continuously while cooking to prevent the jam from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Do this until you have a spreadable consistency. At this point, add Ubeness® flavoring and witness its magic 🙂
  • When it has cooked to the consistency you wanted, whisk in the butter and stir until combined.
  • Spoon the ube jam in clean (sterilized if possible) jars while still hot and allow it to cool down to room temperature. The ube jam will last in the refrigerator for about 4 to 5 days but you can freeze it for up to 4 months.

Notes

If you have questions about this recipe, send an email to cpamej@gmail.com
Keyword ube, ube jam