ST. JOHN BAKERY DOUGHNUTS

For the global food fanatics, St. John Bakery won’t be a new name. Like the Magnolia Bakery of New York, it is a household name for baked goods enthusiasts (like me!) For those who don’t know the sheer awesomeness that is St. John, please check it out and prepare to swoon.

I definitely swooned the first time I saw these gorgeous donuts. I decided there and then; I WANT THEM IN MY LIFE. Alas London is a bit too far for me to travel at the moment. So I could either content myself with sighing over delicious pictures or bring some St. John magic to my own kitchen.

Guess which I chose?

St. John Doughnuts. Not too big, not too greasy; with a soft, airy inside and filled with the most delicious vanilla custard cream.

No brownie for you because duhhh. Here I am sharing my experience making these little pieces of pastry heaven. Be bold and bake, my lovelies!

(disclaimer: there is no baking involved in this recipe. I just really liked the alliteration 😋)

St. John Doughnuts. Not too big, not too greasy; with a soft, airy inside and filled with the most delicious vanilla custard cream.

The original recipe can be found here, and if you go through it you can see that the making of the dough requires a stand mixer. All the recipes for St John doughnuts that I have found in my research impress upon the need of a stand mixer in order for the dough to be light and fluffy. But since I am a humble beginner deprived of the joys of a stand mixer (this was a hint for my parents, in case they are reading this), I was willing to take the risk and knead it by hand. I may not have tasted the original donuts but I can say with surety, mine were pretty darn good.

St. John Doughnuts. Not too big, not too greasy; with a soft, airy inside and filled with the most delicious vanilla custard cream.

Making this dough by hand will require some serious elbow grease and patience. I admit there was a time while I was working the dough, that I thought it’s all going wrong! It’s not working, the dough is lumpy and not coming together and I’ve just wasted a lot of ingredients, I am a failure! (over dramatic? My middle name) But gradually and slowly with more kneading and kneading, it came together beautifully. The dough had a lovely stretch to it, just like shown here in this video. And after proofing? My God. The way it rose. I could just tell that it would yield some beautiful doughnuts.

St. John Doughnuts. Not too big, not too greasy; with a soft, airy inside and filled with the most delicious vanilla custard cream.

So if you like me don’t have a stand mixer (yet), worry not, for I’ve explained the recipe step by step as to how to make the dough by hand. Understanding them will take time and concentration. But they are well worth it! My only advice to you is to have patience.

  • While kneading the dough

  • The overnight wait for it to proof and rest

  • The second proof after shaping the doughnuts

  • Allowing them to cool before filling them with the delicious creamy custard

And then… YOU CAN EAT AS MANY DOUGHNUTS AS YOU WANT BECAUSE YOU ARE AWESOME.

I ended up eating five. Don’t judge. THEY’RE THAT GOOD. Not too big, not too greasy; with a soft, airy inside and filled with the most delicious vanilla custard cream.

St. John Doughnuts. Not too big, not too greasy; with a soft, airy inside and filled with the most delicious vanilla custard cream.

They turned out exactly as I had hoped and what I believe St. Johns are like – a thin, crisp exterior that gives way to an airy and fluffy center filled with a smooth pastry cream. The doughnuts are rolled in a coating of granulated sugar and cinnamon powder while they’re still warm, which causes it to just sort of melt onto the outside of the doughnut. Sugary perfection.

Nothing compares to biting into a homemade doughnut and seeing that delicious cream ooze out. It has to be one of the most satisfying experiences.

St. John Doughnuts. Not too big, not too greasy; with a soft, airy inside and filled with the most delicious vanilla custard cream.

One last thing. I would recommend making and frying all the doughnuts once. Do not store the dough for later use. The texture just isn’t same if made out of a day old dough. The doughnuts are best the day they are made, fresh and crisp!

St John Bakery Doughnuts

 Yields: 20 doughnuts
Ingredients:
For the Doughnuts:
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 4 eggs
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 115g or 1 stick butter, soft
  • Oil, for frying
  • Cinnamon sugar, for tossing the doughnuts
For the Pastry Cream:
  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cream, cold
Directions:
For the Doughnuts:
(If you have a stand mixer then, follow all steps using that, if not then knead by hand *read description above)
Place all the dough ingredients, except from the butter, into a large bowl, and mix with the help of a wooden spoon till the dough starts coming away from the sides and forms a ball. Then slowly start adding the butter to the dough, 1 tablespoon at a time, and mix with your hands in circular motion. Dough will be very sticky. Keep on mixing well after each addition until butter is fully incorporated and dough is soft, smooth, and elastic, a total of 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl and place it in a well-floured bowl. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours or, preferably, overnight.
The next day, take the dough out of the fridge and gently press it into a large rectangle about 1-inch thick. Cut the dough into 2 – 3 -inch squares.
Roll the squares into smooth tight buns and place them on a floured baking tray, leaving plenty of room in between. Cover lightly with a kitchen towel and leave for about 1-2 hours, or until about doubled in size.
Fill a large pot with 2-3 inches of oil.  When the oil is hot, carefully place a few doughnuts in the oil.
Fry about 2 minutes per side, until deep golden brown.
Remove the warm doughnuts to a bowl with sugar and cinnamon powder and shake until covered.
Repeat until all the doughnuts have been fried.
For the Pastry Cream:
In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks until well combined, about 30 seconds. Slowly whisk in the flour mixture until thick and pasty. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm the milk until bubbles just start to form around the edges. Do NOT boil.
Pour the just boiling milk over the yolk mixture, continuously whisking to prevent curdling, then return the mixture to the saucepan.
Then cook over a medium heat, whisking constantly for about 5 minutes, until very thick and glossy.
Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap against the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled.
Whip the cream until thick and fold into the chilled custard.
Transfer the cream to a piping bag fitting with a small round decorating tip. Poke a hole in the side of each doughnut and fill with pastry cream. The doughnuts should be served as soon as they are filled.
Recipe courtesy: Not without salt, Brown eyed baker

 

PS. My bunnies, Sam and Pippin, couldn’t resist oohing and aahing over the doughnuts either. :p

St. John Doughnuts. Not too big, not too greasy; with a soft, airy inside and filled with the most delicious vanilla custard cream.

St. John Doughnuts. Not too big, not too greasy; with a soft, airy inside and filled with the most delicious vanilla custard cream.

Kebab Masala with Homemade Puri

I’ve been meaning to make kebab masala for so long. I’d always liked the sound of it…soft, succulent kebabs smothered in a rich spicy tomato gravy.

Easy, comforting, and packed with flavor!

Made using fresh herbs, garam masala, fenugreek leaves; this is a true South Eastern feast. And what’s better than to enjoy it with some good ole puris.

Soft, succulent kebabs smothered in a rich spicy tomato gravy.

What I love most about this kebab masala is how quick it is to put together.

It has two steps to it;

  1. The kebabs

  2. The masala

Soft, succulent kebabs smothered in a rich spicy tomato gravy.

You start off by making the kebab mix, shaping it, and then shallow frying till golden brown. Set aside.

Next you make the masala; everything cooked together till onions and tomatoes mush up. I did end up grinding the whole mixture just because I don’t like bits of onion in my gravy. It’s up to you though. You can leave it as it is or grind it till smooth like I did.

Lastly, add the fried kebabs to the masala and let it simmer on low heat till kebabs are cooked all the way through. Garnish with fresh coriander and serve with puris, and voila, you’ve got a sumptuous dinner ready in no time!

Soft, succulent kebabs smothered in a rich spicy tomato gravy.

And now the Puris.

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Would you believe me if I told you that these puris too take NO time at all to make and devour?

I got the idea of making them halfway through while I was frying the kebabs. I just mixed together all the dough ingredients, kneaded it for a few minutes and let the dough rest for round 20 minutes. Then made balls and rolled them till very thin, fried in very very hot oil.

A few tips to keep in mind while making puris:

  • The dough must be kneaded to a hard consistency. Don’t be tempted to add in more water

  • Yogurt helps in making soft puris, so don’t skip it

  • Oil for frying must be Hot. Very very hot

And that’s it! Soft, flaky homemade puris ready in no time at all.

Soft, succulent kebabs smothered in a rich spicy tomato gravy.

This will make for a perfect Sunday brunch meal. Make this for your family tomorrow and remember me in your prayers.🙂

Gola Kebab Masala with Homemade Puri

Serves: 6-8
Ingredients:
For Kebabs:
  • 500g lean beef mince
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 small bunch coriander leaves, chopped
  • 3 green chillies, chopped
  • 1 slice white bread soaked in milk
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 2 Tbsp. gram flour/ chickpea flour, roasted lightly
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger paste
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin powder
  • ½ tsp. Shan Karhai Masala, optional
  • ½ tsp. red chilli powder
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
For Masala/Gravy:

 

  • 3 medium onions, chopped finely
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 5 small fresh tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/4 cup yoghurt
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger paste
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. red chilli powder
  • 1 green chilli
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cardamom pod
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. coriander powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. garam masala
  • 1 tsp. dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1 tsp. salt, or to taste
  • Fresh coriander for garnishing
For Puris:
  • 2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tbsp. yoghurt
  • 3 Tbsp. oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • pinch of baking powder
  • a little bit of warm milk and water for kneading
  • oil for deep frying
Directions:
For the Kebabs
Place the onion, coriander, ginger, garlic and chillies in a grinder and grind until smooth.  Add this to the minced meat in a large bowl along with all the rest of the ingredients.
Mix well with your hands for about 3-5 minutes until everything is very well combined. Cover the bowl with cling film and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
Shape the kebabs like small balls, make sure they are very smooth, and then lightly shallow fry, just for a couple of minutes on each side till golden brown. Drain and set aside.
For the Masala/Gravy
Heat oil in a pan. Fry the onions till golden brown, then add the cumin seeds, cinnamon and cardamom. Fry. Then add the tomatoes and the ginger garlic paste. Mix well. Add in the tomato paste, a little bit of water, and the sugar, salt, cumin, chilli, turmeric and coriander powders Cook together until the oil is released from the sides. Then add the yogurt and the green chilli. Mix and let it cook on low heat until the gravy is thick.
Next, add ½ cup water and allow to simmer. Gently add in the kebabs and cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Every once in a while, open the lid and gently swirl everything together so that the gravy coats the kebabs and they get turned over so that they may cook evenly on all sides.
Once the kebabs are fully cooked, add the garam masala and the dried fenugreek, garnish with coriander and serve hot puris!
For the puris
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, yogurt and oil. Gradually add in the warm water/milk mix and knead till a hard ball comes to form. Let it sit, covered with a kitchen towel, for about 20 minutes, and then divide the dough into 10-12 pieces. Roll each one out till thin.
Heat your oil, make sure it’s quite hot. Put in a puri in the hot oil and immediately start splashing hot oil over the top of it with a spoon.
Gently press down on the puri with the back of a wooden spoon or spatula, and you will see it start to puff up. Flip the puri over and cook the other side until golden brown.

 

Notes:
For a smoother gravy, blend it before adding the water and kebabs. Make sure the masala is cool before you blend it.

 

Soft, succulent kebabs smothered in a rich spicy tomato gravy.

1st Blogiversary + CHOCOLATE CAKE

Classic Chocolate Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream on Spatula in My Pocket's 1st Blogiversary

This time last year, I sat with my laptop; editing, tweaking, hesitating and finally hitting ‘publish’on the first post on spatulainmypocket.com. *dundundun*

With that one click, I gave permission to everyone in the world to read what I had written and see what I had made. That’s the day Spatula in My Pocket was truly born. It started as a hobby and in the space of an year, has become a part of my identity. A part that I am immensely proud of. So, in this post I am going to indulge myself and talk about my magnificent journey so far (lots more to come, InshaaAllah!)

There is special surprise at the end for you, so start scrolling!

Classic Chocolate Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream on Spatula in My Pocket's 1st Blogiversary

Spatula in My Pocket has opened new worlds to me, found me new friends, a sense of purpose, and above all, it has given me confidence to overcome the crushing fear of failure and TO TRY.

The year has passed by so quickly.

From interviews, shoutouts, being mentioned in Buzzfeed, Parade Magazine, winning the Foona best blogger competition and baking bazillion cakes. This year has been a roll coaster ride.

Classic Chocolate Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream on Spatula in My Pocket's 1st Blogiversary

Some of my favorite posts from this year have been:

This decadent red velvet cake with whipped cream cheese frosting + its Halloween rendition

An all-time family favorite, Chicken Karhai

S’mores. Brownies. PIE. >>> S’mores Brownie Pie

First post, the rich gooey molten lava cake

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread, also involving a mention of my first ever attempt at a Wedding Cake

First Bake Stall!! Sigh. Memories.

This to.die.for Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart

The ultimate comfort food…Fettuccine Carbonara

My brother’s birthday cake: strawberries and cream cake

Classic Chocolate Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream on Spatula in My Pocket's 1st Blogiversary

Also can we just admire these pictures?

I threw myself a little blogiversary party.

Nothing much.

Just some mini cupcakes, normal cupcakes, donuts, and a giant pink ombre cake topped with MORE DONUTS. ^.^

Classic Chocolate Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream on Spatula in My Pocket's 1st BlogiversaryClassic Chocolate Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream on Spatula in My Pocket's 1st Blogiversary

Lastly, thank you all so much for your continued support and love!

I appreciate everyone who visits this humble website even when weeks go by without any new posts (guilty as charged).

Spatula in My Pocket is for you guys.

Classic Chocolate Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream on Spatula in My Pocket's 1st Blogiversary

I hope and pray with all my brownie-loving heart that the next year and the years to come bring endless prosperity and joy and rainbows and sprinkles to the domains of Spatula in My Pocket. I vow to be a better blogress and update more exciting recipes and answer all queries diligently!

Classic Chocolate Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream on Spatula in My Pocket's 1st Blogiversary

And now, without any more sentimental words, here’s the recipe for THE CHOCOLATE CAKE my inbox gets flooded with requests for. MUCH LOVE!

Classic Chocolate Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Serves 12
Ingredients:
For the Cake
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup cocoa powder
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons canola oil
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
1 ½ cups whole milk, at room temperature
1 cup hot strong-brewed coffee
For the Swiss Meringue Buttercream
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large egg whites
250g softened unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla essence
Directions:
Chocolate Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and flour two 8-inch cakes pans and set aside.
  2. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
  3. In the bowl using a hand mixer, beat together the oil and sugar on medium speed for 2 minutes. With the mixer on, add the eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, and almond extract. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.
  4. Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl. With the mixer on low, stream in the coffee and mix just until combined.
  5. Evenly divide the batter among the prepared pans. Bake for 23 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
  1. Place the egg whites and sugar in an extremely clean heatproof bowl. Place over a pan of simmering (not boiling) water and whisk with a hand whisk until the sugar has dissolved completely and the mixture is warm to the touch, if you rub some of the mixture between your fingers it should be smooth and you shouldn’t be able to feel any graininess, this will take about five minutes.
  2. Remove the bowl from the heat and attach it to your stand mixer with the whisk attachment or use an electric hand whisk, whisk the egg whites until it forms a thick, glossy, bright white meringue and is completely cool, the bottom of the bowl should feel cool to the touch, this will take about 10 minutes.
  3. Once the meringue is cold, switch the mixer to a low speed and begin to add the butter, a tablespoon at a time, make sure that each addition is fully incorporated before adding the next; the meringue will deflate a little and may begin to look curdled. This is normal, just keep adding the butter gradually and whipping away and it will come back together. If, once all the butter has been added, your mixture is runny, the butter may have been too soft or the meringue still warm, just put the bowl in the fridge for 15 minutes or so then carry on whipping.
  4. Once the buttercream is completely smooth and silky and all the butter has been incorporated, whisk in the vanilla extract. Keep cool in the fridge till ready to use
Assembling
  1. Place the bottom layer of cake on a cake plate or serving dish. Spread on about ½ to ¾ cup of the buttercream with an offset spatula. Top with the next layer of cake.
  2. Frost the cake with the remaining buttercream. Refrigerate until set, about 15 to 20 minutes.
*For the ombre effect; divide the buttercream into three bowls. Color to of the bowls with varying shades of pink. Starting from the bottom, spread the darkest color frost. Then spread the lighter pink above it. Cover the top layer with the white frosting. With a cake scraper, smooth the sides.

 

Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Taquitos

Remember that killer recipe for Homemade Tortillas that I posted earlier this week? Well, I have the perfect recipe to make using those very tortillas.

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HAWAIIAN BBQ TAQUITOS

Hawaiian BBQ Taquitos. Filled with pineapples and mangoes, paired with a spicy tangy BBQ chicken, caramelized onions, and loads of fresh cheddar cheese.

Hawaiian BBQ Taquitos. Filled with pineapples and mangoes, paired with a spicy tangy BBQ chicken, caramelized onions, and loads of fresh cheddar cheese.

I seem to be on a Hawaiian roll right now. Hawaiian pasta, now these taquitos.

What’s next?

Hawaiian pizza, maybe?

Hawaiian BBQ Taquitos. Filled with pineapples and mangoes, paired with a spicy tangy BBQ chicken, caramelized onions, and loads of fresh cheddar cheese.

For those of you wondering what a Taquito is…it’s a tortilla filled, rolled and then baked to perfection.

They’re super easy, tender, and incredibly delicious!

Hawaiian BBQ Taquitos. Filled with pineapples and mangoes, paired with a spicy tangy BBQ chicken, caramelized onions, and loads of fresh cheddar cheese.

You can go wild with the fillings.

I went for the classic Hawaiian flavors that I know and love…pineapples and mangoes, paired with a spicy tangy BBQ chicken, caramelized onions, and loads of fresh cheddar cheese.

Hawaiian BBQ Taquitos. Filled with pineapples and mangoes, paired with a spicy tangy BBQ chicken, caramelized onions, and loads of fresh cheddar cheese.

I’ve used my own homemade tortillas, the recipe for which I posted yesterday. You can use store bought ones but trust me when I tell you that homemade ones are 100xxxx better.

Hawaiian BBQ Taquitos. Filled with pineapples and mangoes, paired with a spicy tangy BBQ chicken, caramelized onions, and loads of fresh cheddar cheese.

These taquitos have become a family favorite at my place. I’m sure you’ll love them just as much.🙂

Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Taquitos

Prep Time: 15 minutes                                                                        Yields: 5 servings
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Ingredients:
3 Tablespoon oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 chicken breasts, halved
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
2 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup diced pineapple
1/3 cup BBQ sauce
2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves
10-12 Flour Tortillas (recipe HERE), softened
Directions:
Marinate the chicken in black pepper, salt, paprika, cumin, and lemon juice. Leave for atleast half an hour or overnight. Then grill on medium heat till charred well on both sides. Allow to cool, then shred using a fork.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
Heat 1 Tbsp cooking oil in a pan over medium high heat. Add onion and Worcestershire sauce. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and caramelized, about 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
In a large bowl, combine the onion, chicken, cheddar cheese, pineapple, BBQ sauce and coriander; season with salt and pepper; to taste.
Working one at a time, transfer a tortilla to a work surface; place BBQ chicken mixture in the center of each wrapper. Bring the bottom edge of the tortilla tightly over the filling, rolling from bottom to top until the top of the tortilla is reached. Repeat with remaining tortilla and filling.
Place taquitos seam side down onto prepared baking sheet and bake until taquitos are crisp and cheese has melted, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Serve immediately with mango salsa.
Adapted from: Damn Delicious

Hawaiian BBQ Taquitos. Filled with pineapples and mangoes, paired with a spicy tangy BBQ chicken, caramelized onions, and loads of fresh cheddar cheese.

Homemade Flour Tortillas

Don’t you just love Mexican food? Enchiladas, tostadas, quesadillas, tacos, burritos, taquitos… the list is endless. Fresh, spicy, and tangy Mexican food. All of which require one essential ingredient…. tortillas!

Soft, round flatbread, which when filled and baked turn into the most amazing, flakiest thing imaginable.

 Soft, round flatbread, which when filled and baked turn into the most amazing, flakiest thing imaginable.

The thing is, tortillas are a bit hard to find here in Pakistan. Supermarkets in Islamabad have only just recently started stocking the brand Old El Paso. And even if they are available, they can be quite expensive, a pack of 8 for Rs. 400 something.

 

Why not take some time out and make them yourself?

Trust me, they are way wayyy better than the lifeless store bought ones which you have to reheat again and again to make them soft enough to be edible.

Soft, round flatbread, which when filled and baked turn into the most amazing, flakiest thing imaginable.

 

Homemade tortillas require just a handful ingredients;

  • Flour

  • Baking Powder

  • Salt

  • Hot Water

  • Shortening

The term “shortening” in the recipe may raise a few eyebrows. But not to worry. Shortening is a saturated fat similar to butter but with a higher melting point. It makes for the most delicious and flaky pie crusts. And it makes for the softest pliable tortillas ever! But like tortillas, shortening too is hard to find here, I was lucky enough to buy it off from a friend who found Crisco in a small wholesale shop tucked away in the narrow alley of Raja Bazaar, Rawalpindi. But it’s now available in large supermarkets like Al-Fatah or high-end stores like Essa Jees in Islamabad. You can sub with butter, but the result just won’t be the same.

 

These tortillas are literally SO easy to make.

  1. You make the dough using very very warm water.
  2. Let it rest.
  3. Form small ping pong sized balls.

Soft, round flatbread, which when filled and baked turn into the most amazing, flakiest thing imaginable.

4. Cover and let them rest.

Soft, round flatbread, which when filled and baked turn into the most amazing, flakiest thing imaginable.

5. Then roll out each ball as thin as possible. Thinner you roll= flakier the tortilla!

Soft, round flatbread, which when filled and baked turn into the most amazing, flakiest thing imaginable.

Roll out so thin that you can see the counter beneath

6. Then cook each tortilla on a hot griddle till light golden brown on both sides.

Soft, round flatbread, which when filled and baked turn into the most amazing, flakiest thing imaginable.

7. Wrap in a kitchen towel to keep them warm and retain moisture.

Then use them to make whatever crazy Mexican creation you have in mind. Or place in a disposable bag and freeze.

Soft, round flatbread, which when filled and baked turn into the most amazing, flakiest thing imaginable.

 

Once you try these homemade tortillas, trust me, there’s no going back.

Oh and check back here for a recipe using these tortillas!😀

Homemade Flour Tortillas

Yields: 35-40 tortillas
Ingredients:
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup PLUS 2 Tablespoons (extra) vegetable shortening
1 cup hot water
Directions:
Mix together flour, baking powder and salt in a large wooden bowl. Stir together.

Add spoonful’s of shortening, then use a fork or your fingers to combine the ingredients and cut mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.

Slowly pour in hot water, stirring to bring mixture together. Lightly knead dough until it becomes a ball of dough and is less sticky. Cover with a kitchen towel and allow dough to rest for at least an hour.

Roll into small ping pong sized balls, place on a tray, cover, and allow to rest for another 30 minutes.

Heat a pan to medium-high heat. One by one, roll out balls of dough until very, very thin. Cook tortillas, 20 to 30 seconds on each side, till soft but slightly brown in spots. Remove and stack tortillas, and cover with a towel to keep warm. Use immediately or allow to cool before storing tortillas in a container.

Notes:
1.       Water used in the dough should be hot.
2.      Roll out each ball very very thin.
3.      To freeze: Store tortillas in a disposable bag and freeze for upto 2-3 months. When ready to use them, take out and heat in the microwave.
4.      To warm: heat in the microwave for a mere 10 seconds.
Recipe source: Pioneer Woman

 

Baking 101

Today, instead of a recipe, we are going to do a Bake Like Noor 101. (Three cheers! Woohoo!)

Finding the perfect recipe (only on Spatula in My Pocket, yo) is only the first step in the magical world of baking. Since I know the struggle of a beginner baker, I’ll be guiding you through the basics, There is a lot to know and I am really excited to share all! So, I’ve divided it into various sessions:

  • Basic Baking Tools

  • Bakeware

  • Baking ingredients

  • Baking hacks and DIY stuff

First off, we have the basic baking tools that every single one of you should have; regardless of the fact that you’re a die-hard baker like me or just an occasional one timer. It’s a small list of relatively inexpensive items that will be an investment for years to come. You don’t need fancy equipment for baking, sometimes just a faithful whisk and a good ole bowl does the work. I still use my mum’s shaadi-wala (more than 25 years old) hand beater and cake tins. Plain and simple. Nothing fancy and over the top.

Baking 101

I am not saying that you should go all out and buy all of these tools at once. When I started baking, I admit, I hardly had any of this stuff and didn’t even know about them. It’s with time that I learnt and started investing.

All these tools are brought from either Pakistan, Saudi Arab, and America. I will give you an in-depth detail of each tool. Links to where I bought them and the prices are mentioned at the bottom. Hopefully you’ll find them or even better alternates.

Measuring Tools

Basic Baking Tools

I started off using mugs that we use for tea as the measuring cups and the normal tablespoons and teaspoons that we use to eat as measuring spoons. It is with baking over and over again that I leaned that baking is not art but more of a science. Precision and accuracy in measurements is paramount to a good baked product.

Basic Baking Tools

I used to use the measuring cup for wet ingredients too, and that is so so wrong. Liquids are different from dry ingredients. They weigh different, and if you forget that, it can all go wrong from there. So use a pyrex measuring cup for liquid ingredients. Proper measuring cups for dry ingredients. And for smaller quantities use actual measuring spoons and not the spoons you use to eat dinner with.

Basic Baking Tools

This measuring jug is plastic, which I wouldn’t recommend. It’s near to its end, doesn’t clean up that nice either. A nice pyrex one is on my to-buy-list. It should be on yours too.

Electric Hand Mixer

Basic Baking Tools

An electric hand mixer for all the mixing and beating, yielding perfectly smooth and fluffy frostings and batters. It dates back to before I was even born. It’s my mum’s and I’ve been using it for years, and it works perfectly fine.

Spaaatooolas

Basic Baking Tools

YOU MUST BUY THESE. These beautiful, magical, man-made creations. They wipe your bowls so clean that not a spick of batter is left hanging there. They glide ever so smoothly, making mixing a dream; smoothing and delicious. And they cost near to nothing! My favorite is the orange one. It broke. Split in two. Like my heart.

Silicone Brushes

tbrushes-3

Excellent for greasing pans with butter or oil, perfect for egg-washing and glazing, easy to clean; overall perfecto!

Cupcake liners

Basic Baking Tools

No you cannot grease a cupcake tray and then pour in the batter and bake cupcakes straightaway. You need paper liners. Why? Because cupcakes are not muffins. Cupcakes are soft and moist and much more delicate than muffins. They’ll stick like glue to your cupcake tray and you’ll be left with trying to scour out each cupcake out and scratching it while scrubbing it clean. Cupcake liners not only help make eating a cupcake easier, they also help the make the handling of the cupcakes so much easier. Also how pretty do they look… Tiny polka dot, bright pink ones with hearts, pink check boxed ones… totes adorbs.

Offset Spatula

Basic Baking Tools

An angled or an “offset” spatula is very useful for frosting cupcakes and cakes, and loosening cakes and cookies from their pans. I have a large 10” one for smoothly frosting large layer cakes and a non-stick one of loosening cookie and brownies from the parchment paper.

Basic Baking Tools

A palette knife like seen here is also helpful for the same reasons.

Baking pans

Basic Baking Tools

Baking pans are obviously a necessity. Round pans for cakes. Loaf pans for breads. Loose-bottom pans for cheesecakes. Muffin trays for cupcakes. Donut pan for donuts. You name it, you need it. There a pan out there for everything and IWANTTHEMALL. Baby steps. Start with a basic 8-inch round cake pan, a square 8-inch pan for brownies, and a standard 12-sized cupcake tray for cupcakes. Also, if you’re into homemade pizza, then a round pizza tray would be needed.

Prestige and Wilton are the top-notch brands for baking ware. Prestige is easily available in every big supermarket here in Pakistan. Wilton bakeware can be ordered online (link mentioned at the end of the post).

Parchment Paper

Basic Baking Tools

It not only helps prevent cakes or anything for that matter from sticking to the pan but also for stacking and storing cookies or even frozen parathas in the freezer.

Ice cream Scoop

Basic Baking Tools

An ice cream scoop is not just meant for scooping ice cream. Trust me when I say I’ve hardly ever used it for ice cream. This is the most versatile tool in my baking tool box. I use it for:

  • Scooping out perfectly proportioned cookies

  • Scooping out cupcake batter leading to same sized cupcakes

Sifter:

Basic Baking Tools

For light airy cakes, and smooth frosting without any sugar or cocoa lumps…that’s where a sifter comes in.

Piping Tips and Piping Bags

Basic Baking Tools

Wilton piping tips and plastic piping bags for those beautiful swirls and piped roses on cupcakes and cakes. Bought them from Amazon, got them shipped here through a friend. A set of four basic tips, comes with 12 piping bags. Extremely good quality. I recently bought more piping tips through a Facebook page (I’ll leave the link down below), and let me tell you that even though they are nowhere near Wilton, they are pretty darn good.

Whisk

Basic Baking Tools

One of the most inexpensive tools I reckon in my kitchen and most definitely in yours too. It is the most effective and invaluable. Perfect for mixing both dry ingredients and liquid ingredients. If you don’t have an electric beater, then the whisk is the way to go.

Basic Baking Tools

If you bake, you will need a cooling wire rack. Great for:

  • Cooling cookies and cakes

  • Catching the drips off of donuts and cookies

Wooden spoons

I swear by these. They’re hard and sturdy. Make mixing cookie dough so much easier. Perfect for dealing with hot caramels as well.

Basic Baking Tools

All these products have been bought from either:

  • Al-Fatah, Islamabad

  • Hyperpanda, Madina

  • Amazon, Seattle

  • Baking Tools, Facebook Page

Prices: all below Rs. 1500 excluding the electric hand beater (which in my mum’s time, I’m sure, cost below Rs. 1000…but they’re pretty dang expensive now)

Basic Baking Tools

 

Hawaiian Pasta

Running a Ramzan recipe streak on the blog without having a pasta recipe in it? How could I!😮

Pasta is the most eaten, loved, and yearned thing at my household. Every other aftari will see to a bowl of either spaghetti or penne.

Spicy chicken sausages paired with the sweet syrupy pineapples…makes for one delicious pasta.

And if you follow me on Snapchat, then you won’t be surprised by how cray cray my family is over pasta.

This pasta is nothing like the others. As its name indicates, it’s Hawaiian! Albeit with a cheeky (cheesy) twist on it. The perfect mingle between spicy and sweet.

Spicy chicken sausages paired with the sweet syrupy pineapples…makes for one delicious pasta.

And as you might have guessed, it has…pineapples in it!

Spicy chicken sausages paired with the sweet syrupy pineapples…makes for one delicious pasta.

Spicy chicken sausages paired with the sweet syrupy pineapples…makes for one delicious pasta.

It is SO simple. I know I say that every single time. But trust me. Just a handful of ingredients, and presto, you have an entire meal in front of you.

Spicy chicken sausages paired with the sweet syrupy pineapples…makes for one delicious pasta.

 

Put your pasta on a boil, and start slicing them sausages. Make this pasta for aftari today. I know you’ll love it.😀

Hawaiian Pasta

Serves: 6-8
Ingredients:
1 packet uncooked pasta
2 tablespoon oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 large garlic cloves, minced
3-4 chicken sausages, sliced
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt, leveled
½ teaspoon crushed black pepper
½ teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
1 cup canned pineapple tidbits
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Directions:
1.       Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
2.      In a large pan, heat the oil until hot. Add the onion and fry until they start to soften and become transparent. Add the garlic and the sausages, cook till golden brown.
3.      Add the tomato paste, chicken broth, oregano, sugar, salt, ground black pepper, and red chili flakes. Stir. When it comes to a boil, add in the pasta and pineapple.
4.      Stir until incorporated. Top with cheese and cover with lid. Cook until the cheese melts.
5.      Garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves.
6.      Serve immediately.
Notes:
Adjust the salt, black pepper, and chili flakes according to your taste.

Spicy chicken sausages paired with the sweet syrupy pineapples…makes for one delicious pasta.

Mini Pizza Pies

The recipe I am sharing today is a Family FAVORITE.

All families have certain dishes they love to cook and eat. Mine goes gaga for these mini pizza pockets! Put 12 dozen in front of them and they’ll still demand more.

I am sure you will face the same situation with your siblings, cousins, random guests when you try these magical pockets of dough and cheese and everything nice. (unless they are gluten intolerant. Oops)

Mini Pizza Pies. The perfect snack idea!

 

This recipe is especially handy because it makes A LOT of mini pizzas pies (3 dozen to be exact). So they are the perfect, fuss-free party food. Easy to make, fun to eat.

Mini Pizza Pies. The perfect snack idea!

The chicken mixture is a scaled down version of the filling in the Chicken Bread I posted eons ago. A very simple, creamy chicken filling made with loads of butter, milk, and cheese. Divine. (calories, what calories?)

Mini Pizza Pies. The perfect snack idea!

 

Also, these pies feature:

  • fresh bell pepper

  • sweet corn

  • tomato

You can customize the vegs according to your own taste. Leave out the corn if it makes you gag. Add mushrooms instead, or even olives would be lovely.

Mini Pizza Pies. The perfect snack idea!

The recipe is super fun to make. Get your kids or siblings involved and make a kitchen party out of it like we did!

Mini Pizza Pies. The perfect snack idea!

 

I rolled out the dough, got my sisters to cut it out in circles, place them in the cupcake tray, and then fill em up.

First the pizza sauce or chili garlic sauce, then comes the chicken filling, then the vegetables, all topped with shredded mozzarella. Bake till the dough is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly on top.

Dip into a bowl of this sweet and sour imli chutney and I dare you to stop at one.

Mini Pizza Pies. The perfect snack idea!

 

If making for a party, you can prepare them beforehand, cover the cupcake tray with foil, and keep refrigerated till you’re ready to bake them. They take literally less than 20 minutes to cook. They also freeze well. Line the unbaked versions in a airtight container or a ziplock bag and freeze for upto 3 months. The day you need to use them, leave to thaw till the oven gets preheated and then bake as you would normally.

Mini Pizza Pies. The perfect snack idea!

You’ll be the Queen/King of the household after you make these… Or their pizza pie slave forever.

Mini Pizza Pies. The perfect snack idea!

 

Try the recipe and let me know how they turn out by sharing a picture on Instagram with this hashtag #spatulainmypocket!

Happy baking!

Mini Pizza Pies

Yields: around 3 dozen
Ingredients:
Homemade pizza dough (for the recipe click HERE)
CHICKEN FILLING
1 Tablespoon butter
4 Tablespoons onion, finely chopped
1 chicken breast, boiled and shredded
1 Tablespoons flour, heaped
½ teaspoon salt, leveled
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon mustard powder (optional)
¼  cup whole milk
1 teaspoon dry oregano
2 Tablespoons ketchup
2 green chilies, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
Storebought pizza sauce
TOPPINGS
Tomato, chopped
Sweet corn
Green Bell Pepper, chopped
Mozzarella cheese, shredded
Directions:
Prepare the dough and allow it to rise according to the instructions mentioned HERE.
For the filling: In a pan melt the butter and add the onion. Fry till the onions become soft and transparent. Add the chicken, flour, salt, black pepper, and mustard powder. Mix till combined. Take the pan off the heat and add the milk. Turn on the heat again, at low to medium flame, and stir constantly with the help of a wooden spoon. Add the oregano leaves, ketchup, green chilies, and coriander. Allow to cool completely.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees C and grease a cupcake tray lightly with cooking oil.
On a floured counter top, roll out half the dough in a rectangle. Cut out circles using a round cookie cutter.
Fix each round of dough in the cupcake tray. Add a dollop of pizza sauce in each, followed by a spoonful of the chicken filling, the vegetables. Top with cheese.
Bake for 15-20 minutes till its golden brown.
Repeat till all the dough and filling is used up.
Notes:
·         Best served fresh out of the oven. Can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Warm in the microwave before serving.
·         You might end up with leftover dough. You can freeze it or use it to make pizza pockets filling them up with sausages and cheese.

Mini Pizza Pies. The perfect snack idea!