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Apple Pie Kunafa

2013 August 4
Posted by Nevine

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Hi there! I’m..uh..back! Again. Hopefully, back back this time.

I really don’t want this to turn into a complaint fest akin to the type I have with my mother on the phone every morning, so suffice to say that life with six month old twins is…interesting. I don’t think I’ll be cooking much for the next three and a half years. Or eating. Or sleeping. Or brushing the bird’s nest-like frizz  currently attached to my head.

But hey, it’s Ramadan! Food, food and more food is on everyone’s mind. And where there’s Ramadan food, kunafa is almost always there, in all its ooey, gooey calorie ridden glory. Although we all love the traditional syrupy one with all the nuts, sometimes it’s nice to try something a bit different. 2013 favourites include mango, Nutella and red velvet kunafas. Nice, huh?

While munching on a red velvet piece, it suddenly dawned on me that kunafa was just like pie; fruit, cream, nuts, almost anything sweet can be added to it and it would be incredibly yummy. Good news is, it’s much easier to make than pie but equally delicious.

Ready for my idea of the perfect dessert?

Apple. Cinnamon. Cream.

All the flavours of apple pie on a golden, crunchy, caramelly kunafa crust.

Ingredients:

Crust:
1 pound kunafa
1 cup corn oil (you can use melted butter)

Apple filling:
2 medium apples (I used sweet, firm apples)
1 cup water
1 Tblspn corn starch
2 tspns sugar
1/2 Tblspn cinnamon
1/2 tspn vanilla
Juice of one lime/lemon
Raisins (optional)

Cream:
1 cup milk
1 Tblspn corn starch
1/2 cup sugar
1 tspn vanilla

Caramel sauce:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup warm milk
1/2 tspn vanilla



Make your caramel first. Caramel is tricky. If you mess up more than three batches- and two pots, a spoon and possibly a finger- give up and just buy it ready made.

You’ll need a good, sturdy preferably stainless steel heavy bottomed pot. Don’t use teflon or your favourite, most expensive Hello Kitty short sided pan.

Put water. Add sugar. Stir gently on medium high heat with a wooden spoon until sugar dissovles. Then stop! DO NOT stir again. You could cover the pot and/or brush the sides of the pot to avoid crystalization of the sugar. Swirl mixture every now and then, again NO stirring.

Keep milk handy, you’ll need it soon.

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As soon as mixture starts turning a rusty yellow, keep your eye on it and get ready to take it off the heat as soon as it turns light golden brown.

Make sure you wear an oven mitt.

Ready?

Take pot off the stove (maybe into sink, to avoid any accidental messes), add half of the milk and whisk quickly. It will bubble furiously. Keep whisking, and return to stove over a low heat. Add the rest of the milk until you have the desired consistency.

You want a thin sauce.

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Now you can get to the kunafa.

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Add oil (or melted butter) to kunafa and then use your fingers to “fluff” it, cutting the long strands into shorter pieces.

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Press the doughy strands into well greased cupcake molds, then bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees celsuis until they turn a dark golden colour.

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I made an Egyptian milk custard (Muhalabeya) to be the creamy base for the apple filling. It’s incredibly easy and goes perfectly with the kunafa.

Bring milk to the boil with sugar. Dissolve corn starch with a little milk in a seperate bowl then add it to pot. Add vanilla. Whisk mixture over medium heat till it becomes the consistency of a thin custard. Don’t worry, it will thicken a bit more as it cools down.

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AppleNCinnamon time!

Peel and cut apples into medium sized cubes and immediately squeeze a lime over them to avoid browning.

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Dissolve corn starch in water. Add sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. Stir well and bring mixture to a boil.

Add apples and raisins and simmer until apples are tender.

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Now we’re ready to assemble our apple pie kunafa “cup cakes”.

Drizzle with caramel and set aside for five minutes.

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Place a dollop of cream in the center.

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Add a big spoonful of the warm apple mixture.

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Ramadan Kareem:)

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Anyone still out there?

2013 January 22
Posted by Nevine

I’m probably talking to myself but what the heck, maybe one of the two people who used to follow this blog still checks in once in a while so here goes.

I’m so sorry I completely disappeared off the face of the Earth. You don’t need to hear the big sob story but suffice to say that due to some personal circumstances (so no, no alien abduction invloved) I layed low for a while and neglected my already not-very-active cooking project, which wasn’t such a smart move when you already don’t have more than a couple of followers.

Oh well.

Anyway, I’m not back yet because I’m away from my very missed kitchen but I fully have the very good intentions of coming back to the land of the living very soon God willing.

If you’re one of my couple of really, really loyal followers and are reading this right now; I thank you from the bottom of my heart for still checking my humble blog after it seemed like I’d got lost on Mount Everest/was kidnapped by the cooking blog Mafia/joined the travelling circus.

I’ll hopefully be back soon inshallah:)

Homemade Frozen Yogurt

2012 May 20
Posted by Nevine

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This recipe comes with a warning!

It all started simply enough, with me thinking that making frozen yogurt = sticking a container of yogurt in the freezer for 30 minutes and voila- instant homemade Baskin Robbins.

Turned out there’s a leeetle more to it than that.

First of all, you may need a machine. I don’t have one, and I imagined that this wouldn’t be a problem when I came across this recipe. Well, up to a point this actually does end up looking and tasting like real frozen yogurt. However, that is the point where you should eat it. All of it. Don’t leave any overnight in the freezer.

Why? It kind of hardens up into a big block of pink ice.

Still, the dish I devoured while it was still nice and creamy was absolutely delicious. So make it (and eat the whole thing because you’ll feel guilty if you leave any of it to ici-fy in the freezer). Sorry, I know how difficult it will be to eat a whole batch of cold, refreshing, velvety, tasty, strawberry-ful frozen yogurt.

Adapted from Poor Girl Eats Well

Ingredients:
2 cups strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 tblspn lemon juice
1/2 cup milk
2 cups strawberry yogurt
1 tspn vanilla (optional)

Grab your strawberries and try not to eat too many before you start chopping them.
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Combine the strawberries, sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan. Bring to a low boil and simmer gently for about 5 minutes.
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When the mixture looks like jam, remove it from heat and let aside to cool.
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Whisk milk and yogurt together.
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Add cooled strawberry mixture to yogurt and milk and mix gently.
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Put mixture in a metal pan and freeze for 45 minutes. It’ll look like this:
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Remove pan from freezer and mix the icy parts from the edges with the soft centre until smooth.
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Put in the freezer again for another 30 minutes. Keep doing this every 30 minutes for up to 2 hours.

This is the point I told you about at which you eat, eat and eat.

Theoretically, if you let your icy block of yogurt soften a bit after taking it out of the freezer it would probably look like this again.

But don’t take any chances, just eat the whole thing now.

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How To: Cut a Watermelon

2012 May 8
Posted by Nevine

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Summer in Egypt= Cold Watermelon.

Egyptians (Or at least my family. And Ismail’s family. And my uncle’s family. Also our next door neighbours in Alexandria) have a huge obsession with watermelon. Once the big green balls start appearing at every supermarket, fruit and vegetable stall and donkey drawn cart in the street it’s like Santa has come to town.

I visit my mother and she serves watermelon for (or should I say instead of) dessert. I pop upstairs to see my in-laws and find them gnawing on watermelon chunks. I have lunch at a friend’s house and out come the watermelon slices as soon as we finish eating.

Then we spend the rest of the visit discussing how red/sweet/ripe/under-ripe /tasty/bland the watermelon of the day is. Sometimes we even reminiscence about the previous week’s watermelon and talk about how much better/worse this one is than that one.

By the time September comes around, I can get literally sick if I just hear the word “watermelon”.

Jeez, I’ve been yakking for 5 minutes about how much we tend to yak about watermelons. I need to shut up now.

Ok, long story short. It’s still May. I’m not sick of watermelon yet. I saw this technique on how to cut a whole melon into ready-to-eat cubes over at Our Best Bites and loved it.

And Our Best Bites is my favourite (and first!) cooking blog of all time.

I will definitely be shutting up now.


Copied from Our Best Bites

Ingredients:

One juicy watermelon (yup, that’s all you’ll need :) )


Supposedly some people can tell whether a watermelon is ripe just by tapping on it and listening for the hollow sound that means it’s ripe. Ripe melons also have yellow bottoms (I think). Ok, you got me. I never buy watermelons (Reasons? Read my intro again).

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Wash it first. Then stick the tip of the knife in its middle and start cutting it into two halves.

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Now cut it again into quarters.

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Take one quarter.

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Slice it vertically along the rind. Like this:

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Now carefully just with the tip of the knife, make horizontal cuts like so:

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Repeat this on the other side.

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Here comes the fun part. Slice so as to separate the flesh from the rind.

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You’ll get cute little cubes that look like this:

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There you go, a plateful of perfectly cubed watermelon.

Note to Ismail: Yes, I removed the seeds from my own watermelon cubes, but that does not mean that I will do the same to the other one hundred and twenty six watermelon cubes in the fridge.

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