Thursday, July 18, 2013

Pastry Cream (shh don't tell anyone it's dairy-free!)

Last week I was trying to catch up on the backlog of emails because I had a family emergency and while I was gone just didn't keep up with the blogs that I subscribed to.  Well, when I got back I started going through all of my I came across a recipe for Pastry Cream from the Cake Duchess.  Actually, the first recipe of hers that I saw was for a delicious looking Carmelized Apple Bundt Cake .  The cake looked to die for but what I was most interested in was what the filling was.

 At first I figured that it was a cream cheese filling because as my luck has been for quite a while lately all of the filling or icing recipes that I have found are made with cream cheese.  I'm still working on converting those recipes but first I'm going to have to find a really good vegan cream cheese.  I've tried one made by Follow Your Heart and just didn't like the aftertaste.  Another one I tried I don't even remember the brand and don't want to.  It was made off of a oat base and as soon as I took a taste I thought I was going to get sick it tasted that bad!  I'm just purchased not too long ago, and haven't opened or tried yet, a cream cheese made by Daiya.  I'll let you know how it tastes after I try it.  Daiya products are pretty good I love the sliced mock provolone and cheddar slices.  I love to oven fry some chicken with Lefty's seasoning and when I serve it I serve it on a toasted onion roll with a slice of melted Daiya provolone melted on it.  It is AMAZING!!!!

I was soooo happy to see that the filling was cream based because it made me wonder if I could do some playing with it to make it safe for me to eat.  Especially since I have been craving a banana cream pie but all of my tries at making pudding or anything like that have not been successful.

If you've looked at a lot of my baked goods recipes you'll see that I have a fondness for using canned coconut milk.  What I have found is that it is a good substitute for whole milk or cream in recipes.  I've tried soymilk and almond milk as well but have had the most success with coconut milk because it has made my baked goods so mosit!

So it made me wonder.  Could I trade the whole milk with coconut milk and the butter with Earth Balance vegan butter sticks?  I followed the Cake Duchess recipe making the substitutions for the dairy products and I'm proud to say that it worked!!!  I used to enjoy baked goods that had pastry cream in them especially when it comes from a really good bakery.  I'm happy to say that it tastes just like the stuff with dairy in it!  My dad who is very picky when it comes to my experimenting as he calls it loved it!  Said it tasted just like custard!!!  Yea!!

The only differences I noticed between the original recipe and my changes was that it took longer to thicken.  The original recipe said it would take around 5-6 minutes.  My version, it could have just been my stove, took about 8-10 minutes.  No matter what it is really good!  After the cream had cooled, about and hour and half or two hours, then I used it to make a banana cream pie that was to die for!!  That post should be going up either tonight or tomorrow.  Enjoy! And let me know what you have used pastry cream for because I love hearing how your creative variations!

Maybe this weekend I'm might make some more and split it half plain and half with chocolate in it and layer it as a chocolate banana cream pie.  Oh I'm getting hungry now!!  Enjoy!!

4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 can canned whole fat coconut milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 tbsp Earth Balance sticks, cut into small pieces

1.  Combine the cornstarch and sugar in a mixing bowl.

2.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks.  Pour 1/2 cup coconut milk into the cornstarch mixture and whisk together.  Whisk the egg yolks into the cornstarch mixture until smooth.
Forgot to take picture of the cornstarch and egg
3.  In a small saucepan add the remaining coconut milk and bring to a simmer.  It is very important that you don't let it boil!!! Once the milk comes to a simmer immediately remove from heat.

4.  Drizzle the hot coconut milk into the egg mixture a little at a time.  Keep on whisking while you drizzle in the milk.

 5.  Once you have added all of the hot coconut milk to the egg mix you are going to pour the whole mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat.  Whisk vigorously until it comes to a boil and the whisk leaves a trail in the pastry cream (about 6-8 minutes).
It's looking so so pretty!!!
6.  Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and the butter.
It's hot but soooo delicious!!!

7.  Pour pastry cream into a bowl a place plastic wrap over the surface of the cream and cool completely in the fridge.
So pretty and tastes just as good or even 
better than the version made with dairy!

Once it is cool you can use it to fill pastry or even make a delicious banana cream pie!!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Craftsy"s Bag Making Basics Class

I've been a loyal Craftsy follower for around two years and I have taken so many really great classes.  One of the classes that I love and continue going back to is a free mini class taught by Kristin Link of Sew, Mama, Sew. Bag-Making Basics: Reversible Tote and Zipper Pouch is a very easy class that any seamstress from the beginner to the advanced can do.

I have made 2 zipper pouches and 3 reversible totes and I know I'll be making a few more! 

Kristin is an excellent teacher and who explains each step of constructing the bag.  Before I had taken this course I had made a couple of tote bags but was never happy with them because they were so flat.  Then I learned about boxing the corners of your bag and how it gives them shape and depth.

My knitting bag
Cute owl nursery print I purchased at Joann's as a remnant.
I also loved the section on making great looking pockets.  On my sewing table I have a vase that holds my straight knitting needles and they definitely came in handy when I was turning the pocket.  I think based on the picture above I did a pretty good job!  

All of the fabric I used to make this bag was from the remnant bin at either Joann's Fabric or Hancock Fabric.  So I think this bag might of cost me no more than $5 or $6.  

MJ's Easter bag or what she now calls her "Church Bag"

Pretty pink liner and handles!
Another great project that Kristin had in this class was how to make a cute zipper pouch to go with your tote.  I made one for myself (holds my embroidery supplies) and one for my mom who at the time was a crocheter and has now changed to knitting.  She says it doesn't aggravate her arthritis in her shoulder.  

I was always scared of doing zippers but after Kristin's class I became so much more confident in sewing zippers.  I felt so confident that I took on a dress pattern for MJ that gave me a fit but she looked so cute in.  The one part of the project that didn't kick my butt was the zipper.  It was Tinker Bell patterned dress but all I'm going to say is that I made some changes to it because some of the cutesy stuff like the flounces on the shoulders got removed and I changed it to straps and used the strap pattern for the tote bag to make the straps. 

Halloween costume I finished the night before we moved
out of our old house.  

My first zipper without wanting to cry!

Probably my straightest zipper!

This pouch is easy to put together.  The whole pouch, just like the tote bag is made up of different sized rectangles.  Both of these projects are so easy that you can make both in just one afternoon.  They are great easy way to make a personalized gift as well as learn new sewing skills. 

Kristin's class is one of the great classes that Craftsy has available.  Their platform is very easy to use whether you are using the app for the Iphone or Ipad or you are watching a class on your computer.  I love how you can take video notes which make it easy to refer back to sections of the video that you might need extra help with on your project.  If you get stuck most classes have a instructor that moderates the discussions and will answer your question in a timely manner.  

Well I should probably get back to the class that I was watching on designing your own handbags by Brett Bara.  I have a thank you gift to make for my older sister!