A soft and fluffy bun dough encases the lip-smacking potato, caramelised onion and cheese filling. The buns are fun to shape and delicious to eat.




On weekends we make kids spend some time in the kitchen,  involve them and try to initiate them into the wonderful world of cooking and baking. How a recipe can be made yours by adding ingredients and flavours of choice and how  in umpteen ways one can experiment with tastes and textures is all so exciting and enthralling.




This weekend was really interesting. We made caterpillar buns. Shaping the buns was an activity that everyone loved. The caterpillar bun recipe uses a clever cutting and rolling technique to create the stripes. Some caterpillars were fat while some thin as the filling was either on the higher side or on the lower side. Amongst all the fun and frolic, a tray of caterpillar buns went into the oven for baking.




The caterpillar buns are soft and fluffy, the filling hearty and delicious. A combination of potatoes, caramelized onions and cheese can never go wrong.

You may get creative with filling and add anything that you love- savoury or sweet.

 


Caterpillar Buns

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon milk powder
  • 1 ½ tablespoon oil
  • ¾ warm water
  • 1 tablespoon unrefined sugar
  • 1 teaspoon instant dry yeast
  • Some chocolate chips or black currants for eyes

Stuffing

  • 4 medium-size potatoes, boiled
  • 1 large onion chopped fine
  • ¼ cup broccoli florets
  • 3 cube cheddar cheese grated
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Instructions

Instructions

  1. Whisk together first five ingredients.
  2. Add sugar to warm water and stir to dissolve. Add yeast. Stir. Cover and keep for 10 minutes. It should turn frothy.
  3. Add this to the dry mix and knead. Knead until the dough becomes smooth and soft.
  4. Transfer to an oiled bowl. Turn around once so that it is coated with oil. Cover and keep in a warm place for 1 hour or until double.
  5. In the meantime, prepare the stuffing. Boil cool and mash the potatoes. Heat oil in a wok and add chopped onions. After 5 minutes add broccoli florets. Add salt, cover and cook until broccoli florets are cooked. Turn off the heat. Add mashed potatoes. Mix well. Adjust salt. Add grated cheese.
  6. Punch the risen dough. Divide into 8 pieces. Roll out each piece into a ball. Cover.
  7. Work on one piece at a time. Roll out into an oval. Add  a tablespoon or more of the stuffing on one side of the rolled dough and fold the dough over the filling to enclose it.
  8. Cut strips on the other side of the rolled dough and roll all the way to the end.
  9. Place the rolls on a parchment-lined baking tray. Cover and keep in a warm place for 30-45 minutes.
  10. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for 25 minutes or until the rolls turn a beautiful golden.
  11. Brush with melted butter once out of the oven. Serve warm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Tender flaky crust surrounding a hearty savoury stuffing of choice, Empanadas are pockets of                                                                                deliciousness. 



My favourite corner in the homestead is the small balcony tucked under the pear tree. It overlooks the orchard and the adjoining forest. We often spot White-throated laughing thrushes removing the dead leaves from the ground and feeding on the insects hidden underneath. Sometimes the majestic Blue Magpies perch on the branches of the trees letting out raucous calls.




 And to watch a pair of Yellow-throated Pine martens galloping in the fields and frolicking around is a feast for the eyes.

Sometimes, friendly talks are exchanged with the villagers returning from the forest with their cattle. And if someone passes by around tea time, sharing a cup of tea with some snacks is a ritual. Yesterday, we baked Pizza Empanadas.




Empanadas (which mean “to wrap in bread” in  Spanish ) are a Spanish or Latin –American savoury pastries filled with a variety of ingredients that are baked or fried. Empanadas are usually shaped in half-moons. Tender flaky crust with a delicious filling makes them a  delectable treat.

Empanada dough is pretty easy to make. Though the traditional recipe has egg, I made the dough without egg. The dough does not need to be overworked and requires minimal kneading. Empanadas have become our favourite snacks. They are so versatile and you can be as creative as you want with the fillings.

 I made two batches of empanadas. First with whole wheat flour. It was earthy, rustic and filling. It made a light meal with soup.

Second, with all-purpose flour. It was delicate and flaky, a pleasure to bite into.



Tangy pizza sauce, melted cheese, mushrooms and flaky crust, it is divine!





The homemade chunky pizza sauce was made beforehand and it was quick to assemble empanadas. In fact, if you may prepare the dough a day in advance and it becomes a breeze to assemble these. 





To seal the edges, I used all three techniques. Sealed the edges with a fork, cut the edges with a serrated edged cutter and also twisted the edges with hands.




Make sure that the circles that you roll are not very thin else it may burst open while baking. Do not add too much filling. Overstuffed empanadas may leak while baking. Leave enough space around the edges while sealing so that the edges don’t open up while baking.




Pizza Empanadas (Eggless) 

Ingredients

Dough

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour or 1 ¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 stick ( ½ cup ) cold butter cubed
  • ¾ -1 cup cold water
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon unrefined sugar (powdered)

Stuffing

  • 1 cup chunky pizza sauce
  • 3-4 cubes grated cheddar cheese
  • 100 grams grated mozzarella cheese
  • Sauteed mushrooms
  • 2-3 teaspoons Italian seasoning

Others

  • 2-3 tablespoons water to seal the edges
  • A fork to press the edges

Instructions

  1. Take flour in a deep bowl. Add salt and sugar and mix well. Add cubed butter and rub with your fingers until you get a sandy textured mixture.
  2. Add cold water bit by bit and knead lightly to get the mixture together into a dough. Do not knead the dough too much. Just get it together.
  3. Wrap dough in a cling film and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  4. While the dough is chilling, arrange all the ingredients for stuffing on the counter by placing the bowls of cheese, pizza sauce, sauteed mushrooms, seasoning, rolling pin, a fork and a bowl with some water.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees C. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  6. Divide the dough into two parts. Wrap one half and keep it back into the fridge while working on the first half.
  7. Divide the first half into 7-8 small pieces.
  8. Dust your work surface with flour and put one of the eight pieces on it. Lightly dust the top of the dough with flour and roll out into a round of about 4 inches in diameter.
  9. Place about two heaping teaspoons of pizza sauce, two teaspoons of mozzarella cheese, 1 teaspoon of cheddar cheese, mushrooms and ¼ teaspoon of the spice mix. Use your finger to wet the bottom edge of the dough with water then carefully pull the top edge of the dough over the filling and down to the bottom edge, making sure that no cheese or filling gets in the seal of the edges. Press down to make the edges stick together.
  10. Use a fork to seal the edges or, use a serrated edged cutter wheel to cut the edges. Alternately, you can also fold the edges.
  11. Repeat until all the pieces are used. Arrange on a baking tray. Brush with an egg wash (optional). Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  12. Serve hot.

 

 

 Linking to #BreadBakers

Bread Bakers logo

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

This month, the Bread Bakers are baking all kinds of pizzas. Our host for the month Karen wanted us to get creative with pizzas. Remember to check out her blog Karen's Kitchen Stories for amazing bakes. 

Here are the pizza-themed bakes for the month


 

 

 Eggless Plum Cake has an amazing warm aroma of the spices. Marinating the dry fruits and nuts in rum adds a beautiful holiday flavour to the cake. Soft, fluffy, not too sweet and packed with fruits and nuts, the cake is delicious and addictive.



Shrill calls of  the Great Barbet shatters the silence of the cold winter evening. The wind whispers through the pine trees and wails through the valley. It is getting darker minute by minute as another cold day ends. The green hills begin to wear the shades of grey and then look almost dark silhouettes against the moonlit sky.




A pack of black raisins and golden raisins lying in the pantry need to be used. Along with nuts and homemade orange peels we soak them in rum. An Eggless Plum Cake is on the way.

The brightness of the morning erases all the dullness and drabness that winter inflicts. It’s a bright and beautiful morning with songs of a thousand birds rending the sky. The wild Cherry tree has been hosting birds and bees to feed on the nectar of its flowers. 



A Scimitar Babbler has been foraging on the ambrosial nectar all morning. 




It cranes its neck and pokes every flower

The fruit and nut mix drinks the rum overnight and plumps up. It smells divine. This version of the cake really suits baking in the cold weather. The butter cut into chunks needs to be rubbed into the flour. This makes mixing easier. The heavenly aroma of spices fills up nook and crannies of the home as the cake bakes.





This is a versatile recipe. One can add nuts and dry fruits of choice. One can use fresh orange juice in place of rum to soak dry fruits and nuts.

Let the cake rest overnight for the flavours to develop. Brush with rum twice when resting. It gives a rich taste.




Eggless Plum Cake

Ingredients

Fruit and Nut mix

  • 1/3 cup black raisins
  • 1/3 cup golden/green raisins
  • 1/3 cup chopped figs or apricots
  • 1/3 cup glace cherries
  • 3-4 tablespoon chopped candied peels or 2 tablespoon orange zest
  • ¼ cup chopped almonds
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts
  • ½ cup Orange juice or rum

Caramel

  • 4 tablespoon sugar
  • 4 tablespoons water

 

Cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • ¼ teaspoon clove powder
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg powder
  • 1/8  teaspoon dry  ginger powder
  • ½ cup (100 grams) butter
  • ¾ cup warm milk
  • 2 teaspoons vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup unrefined sugar

Instructions

  1. Grease and line one 8 inch cake pan.
  2. In a large bowl, take all the dry fruits and nuts. Add orange juice or rum and soak overnight or for at least 4-5 hours, stirring in between. The dry fruits should plump up with very little or no liquid remaining.
  3. To make the caramel, take sugar in a thick bottom vessel. Cook on low heat. The sugar will start melting. Shake the vessel for even browning. Once the caramel turns golden, turn off the heat. Add water little by little. Keep stirring and cook on low heat until caramel dissolves and you get a nice, thick, golden syrup.
  4. In a glass, take milk. Add vinegar. Mix well. Let stand for 10 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 160 degrees C
  6. In a large bowl, take all the dry ingredients except sugar. Whisk well. Add cubed butter and rub into the flour with your hands until well incorporated and you get a sandy texture. Add soaked dry fruit and nut mix. Reserve some to add on top of the cake. Mix well. Make a well in the centre. Add caramel, sugar and milk mixture into the well. With the help of a spatula mix everything well to get a thick homogenous batter. Add more milk only if the batter feels dry.
  7. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Spread the reserved soaked dry fruit and nut mix on top.
  8. Bake for 60-70 minutes or until the top turns golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  9. Let cool in the oven for 5-6 minutes. Transfer to the cooling rack and slice the next day. You may brush the cake with rum once cold. If you can keep the cake for two days before slicing, brush with rum twice- morning and evening.

 

 

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