Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Crema de Fruta
Here's another one of my favorite Filipino desserts. It's called crema de fruta (which translates to "fruit cream") and it's what I'm making for our family gathering this Christmas. I'm not sure why this dessert is so synonymous with the holidays, but why ask why? All that matters is it's sooooo good! There are so many variations of this dessert but the one I'm familiar with is a sponge cake layered with stirred custard and fruit cocktail and topped with unflavored gelatin.
My mom gave me a recipe for crema de fruta a long time ago but it only had instructions on how to make the custard and fruit gelatin - not the cake. She told me that when she makes it, she just goes to the local bakery and asks to buy a sheet of sponge cake, the same kind that's used to make jelly rolls. This saved her time baking, especially during Christmas when there's so many activities going on.
I decided to use a hot milk sponge cake for my version of crema de fruta because it's quicker and easier to make than traditional sponge cake. If you're really short on time, you can just buy the sponge cake at a local bakery like my mom did. Ladyfingers or pound cake are good substitutes as well. I also added a little cake syrup, a secret ingredient that most pastry chefs use to keep cakes moist. It's basically simple syrup that you add flavored liquers like Grand Marnier or kirsh.
Merry Christmas! Maligayang Pasko! Joyeux Noel!
Crema de Fruta
Allergy Note: contains eggs, dairy and wheat
1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
3 cups milk
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
30 oz. can of fruit cocktail in heavy syrup
1 Tbsp. unflavored gelatin
To make the sponge cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a rectangular glass baking pan (I used an aluminum pan because sometimes I forget to bring back my baking pans during potlucks or family gatherings). Sift the flour and baking powder together. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks until thick then slowly add the sugar. Continue mixing until light and fluffy. Gradually add the flour mixture.
In a saucepan, combine milk, butter and vanilla extract; cook just until the butter has melted. Slowly pour into the batter; mix until combined. Pour into prepared pan then bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool completely.
To make the cake syrup:
Place sugar and water in a saucepan; cook until the sugar has dissolved. Drizzle lightly over the sponge cake.
To make the custard:
In a saucepan, combine sugar, flour and milk. Cook in medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until it thickens. Pour some of the mixture over the egg yolks and mix together till combined. Add the egg yolk mixture to the saucepan. Cook for a few more minutes then remove from heat.
Stir in butter and vanilla extract. Pour over the sponge cake. Let cool.
Using a strainer or sieve, drain and reserve the syrup from the fruit cocktail in a medium bowl. Sprinkle the unflavored gelatin over the syrup. Let the gelatin "bloom" (absorb liquid and expand), about 1 to 2 minutes. Microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute to melt the gelatin. Set aside. Arrange fruit cocktail over the cooled custard. Carefully pour the gelatin/syrup mixture over the fruit cocktail and custard.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.