Kiosco Kafe: Phyllo Cheesecake Bites

This post is a tad overdue, but I came up with these little phyllo cheesecake bites a couple weeks ago for Kiosco Kafe, after being inspired by the cheesecake-filled strawberries I saw on foodgawker. (Those are vegan…mine are not haha.) After having a lot of phyllo left after my last successful attempt with the phyllo cups for the fruit tarts, I decided to try them again with a different spin.

cheesecake bites

Phyllo Cheesecake Bites Recipe

8 oz package of cream cheese
1/2 stick butter, softened
About 1/2 cup Confectioner’s Sugar (or to taste)
2 tsp Lemon zest (opt.)
1-2 Tbsp lemon juice (opt.)

Graham cracker “crust” crumble:
2-3 Graham cracker rectangles (meaning 4-6 squares), crushed
3 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
2 Tbsp. butter, melted

For phyllo dough instructions, see Phyllo Fruit Tarts post

1. With a fork or mixer (I personally find the fork easier), mix cream cheese and butter together.
2. Add lemon zest, and lemon juice, and sugar to taste.
3. In separate bowl, mix together crushed graham crackers, brown sugar, and melted butter. (I just used my hands)
4. Pipe cheesecake filling into phyllo cups, sprinkle with graham cracker crust crumble. Garnish with a slice of strawberry, or other fruit.

Super easy right? You can do it too and look like a pro 😉 Enjoy!

– CP


Kiosco Kafe: Phyllo Fruit Tarts

Made these cute little thangs for Kiosco Kafe a couple weeks ago. Finally got to try my luck with phyllo dough for the 1st time, and I was quite pleased. Take a lookie…

fruit tarts1

Pretty right? For the phyllo cups, I layered about 6 sheets of phyllo dough*** on top of one another, brushing each layer with some melted butter and sprinkling some sugar. After the final layer, I used my pizza cutter to cut them into little squares, and stuck them in my mini muffin tin, baking at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes. Piped in the pastry cream (I used a pastry cream/custard recipe from here), added some fresh berries, and voila! They were gobbled up in a heartbeat..

***Tip: I actually found that it was better to do 2 separate sets of 3-layered phyllo dough, and offset the 2 sets so that it looks like a 8-point star. This helps to create a better “cup” that will hold custard much better!.

The pastry cream recipe yields quite a bit, so I had a bunch left over to make a humungo fruit tart in a store-bought shortbread pie crust.

fruit tart

And even after this, I had enough to make a banana cream pie…which was not very aesthetically pleasing but was soooo delish. I just happened to see a recipe in Bon Appetit magazine that lined the pie crust with chocolate by melting it with some olive oil and brushing it on. So I did that, cut up some bananas and mixed them with the pastry cream/custard, piled it into the chocolate covered short-bread crust, and topped it all with some home-made whipped cream, to which I added just a hint of vanilla extract and almond extract (since I didn’t have sliced almonds to top it with). Yummy!

– CP


Mango sticky rice

mango sticky rice

Home-made with coconut milk and love.

I just googled a couple recipes to get the jist. Didn’t end up soaking my sweet rice for very long at all, perhaps less than an hour, and it turned out just fine. After fully cooking the rice with water in a rice cooker, I boiled 1/2 of a can of coconut milk with a tbsp of sugar and a pinch of salt, and mixed it into the rice. For the coconut sauce on top, I boiled the rest of the coconut milk with a couple tbsp of sugar (to taste), another pinch of salt, and about a tbsp of cornstarch (premixed with about 2 tbsp of water). Let it thicken, drizzle over your mangoes and rice, and top with some sesame seeds! Tasted just like the kind you would get at a Thai restaurant 🙂

– CP


Home-made Donuts

My friend has been asking me to make donuts with him for a long while now, and last night, I finally relented. I had no idea, however, that it would take us/me over 4 hours! My goodness…

We tried this recipe for Crispy and Creamy Doughnuts. Okay, making the dough honestly isn’t hard, even as I did it by hand, and most of the time was spent waiting for the dough to rise. I let it rise for an hour before I cut the doughnuts. The other thing though, was that since we didn’t have a legit doughnut cutter, I had to get creative and ended up using a wine-glass to cut the circles (which worked surprisingly well), and had to cut out the little holes in the center with a fillet knife. That…sucked.



They don’t look too shabby though right?

The last hassle was the oil. Since our last deep-frying adventure, we have lost the power chord to our deep fryer. What a sad, sad loss…Thus, I had to use a regular pot of oil on the stove for frying, which was so hard to control the heat. It got too hot and was almost burning the outside while leaving the center of the donut holes (out test subjects) doughy and raw. It took a long time for the oil to finally cool down enough for us to get a good golden brown on the outside while having them cooked all the way through.



We did a regular sugar glaze and a chocolate glaze. Who knew that glaze was made from just a crap-load of butter and sugar (or chocolate)? Mmm…



And voila! They actually look pretty legit, I must say. However, after seeing what goes into them…the amount of shortening, butter, oil, and sugar…I’ll be thinking twice before I wolf down a couple of Krispy Kreme donuts next time.

Take-home lesson from this story? If you want to make donuts at home, buy a real doughnut cutter, use a deep-fryer (or a pot of oil with a thermometer), expect to do a lot of waiting for the dough to rise (not just once, but a 2nd time after you cut the donuts), and expect to be slightly disgusted when you’re done. HOWEVER, they did taste quite good, (slightly dense and almost cakey) and I was rather proud of myself in the end 😉

– CP


Jasmine Tea Cupcakes

jasmine cupcakes

Jasmine tea cupcakes with jasmine whipped cream-cream cheese frosting! They aren’t as jasmine-y as I had wanted them to be, and the cake was a little dense, ( may have over-mixed the batter) but delicious nonetheless.

Made these by finding a simple white/vanilla cake recipe, and steeping the milk with 2 jasmine tea bags and cooling it before mixing in the batter. The frosting was made by steeping heavy whipping cream with a jasmine tea bag, cooling it, and whipping it up with some sugar. You then fold the jasmine whipped cream into a cream cheese frosting (1/2 stick butter, 8 oz cream cheese, about 1/4-1/2 cup sugar).

Will definitely be trying these out again, hopefully with a better/lighter cake consistency!

– CP


Cinnamon Sugar Wonton Wrappers with Earl Grey Whipped Cream

Every week for a couple of months now, I open up my little town home for friends to come over and study and enjoy some hot tea along with fresh home-made baked goodies–I call it “Kiosco Kafe” (after the street we live on). This weekly gathering is also an excuse for me to experiment with new recipes and have taste-testing guinea pigs who will eat my food, rather than me having to be left with mounds of cookies or an entire cheesecake. That would be quite dangerous… Anyway, I’ve been pushing myself to try a new recipe/concoction every week, and I’m proud to say that 90% of them are rather successful and tasty. Unfortunately, I either forget to take a picture or they’re too un-photogenic to be foodcult-worthy. But alas, today I concocted a unique creation that was not only tasty, but was somewhat photo-worthy, so here it is!

wonton wrappers + earl grey whipped cream

I have been wanting to experiment with wonton wrappers for some time now. I just happened to have a pack left over from when I made my mom’s delicious pork wontons last week (I’ve been meaning to do a post on these for so long but it just hasn’t happened…but it will!). After gathering some inspiration from foodgawker (yes, I’m an avid gawker), I decided to start my random experimentation.

I tried going the dessert-wonton route, baking the wrappers with some cookie butter inside and folding them in a triangle shape. That was…just okay. Then I tried filling them with chocolate chips. That was also..just okay. The wrappers kept on coming out too chewy or not baked evenly. I found, that out of coating the wrappers with cooking spray, olive oil, and melted butter, melted butter won out by far. It helped the wrappers get a nice buttery flavor while becoming evenly crispy; it also didn’t give the wrappers the ugly bumps that you get if you use just oil. So there you go, the key is to spread melted butter all over both sides of the wrapper. If you don’t spread it all over, the flour on the wrappers stay dry and you end up having to tap the flour off after they’re done baking. Doesn’t taste too pleasant either!

Now, onto the filling…I had originally intended on making coffee-whipped cream, as I had done that before by boiling coffee beans with heavy whipping cream, but all I had was ground coffee. I was actually intending on emptying out a teabag and filling it with ground coffee, somehow close it back up, and then use the coffee-tea-bag to boil in the heavy whipping cream…but that just seemed a little flawed and way too much trouble.

Then, as I was looking through our tea cabinet, and *lightbulb*!


Earl grey whipped cream. And yes, it was quite delicious. It tastes kind of like a super creamy “london fog” 🙂

Here’s my recipe along with some useful tips when using wonton wrappers!

Cinnamon Sugar Wonton Wrappers with Earl Grey Whipped Cream

1 Pack of wonton wrappers (this recipe yields about 15-20)
1/2 stick of butter, melted
3 tbsp sugar
2-3 tsp cinnamon

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 bag earl grey tea
1/2 tsp vanilla
2-3 tbsp sugar (or to taste)


1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Using pastry brush, brush wonton wrappers front and back with melted butter. Make sure to cover them completely, not leaving any of the flour dry.

2. Place wrappers on the diagonal on the edge of a casserole dish, or a baking dish with high sides. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until slightly golden brown. Take out and let cool completely. **If you eat them warm, they will be slightly chewy and doughy, so if you want them crispy, it’s important to let them cool.

3. Mix 3 tbsp sugar with 2-3 tsp of cinnamon. Brush outside of shells/wrappers with melted butter (again, I know) and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Earl Grey Whipped Cream

1. Heat heavy whipping cream with tea bag, frequently stirring bottom of pot, until boils. Then turn down heat to med-low for about 5 minutes, still stirring. Add vanilla. Let cool in fridge for at least an hour.

2. After chilled, add 2-3 tbsp sugar (or to personal preference) and whip with electric mixer with whisk attachment until you get stiff peaks (I only whipped mine to soft peaks, but perhaps I wasn’t patient enough, or the boiling of the whipping cream had something to do with it. Maybe you’ll have better luck!)

3. Place whipped cream in pastry bag with whatever tip you’d like (I used the large closed star tip) and carefully fill wonton shells. Now, they’re ready to serve!

Hope ya’ll enjoy these as much as I did. Perhaps I’ll use the earl grey whipped cream for an earl grey cake or something next time. And the possibilities are endless now with so many different teas. Jasmine tea whipped cream sounds pretty good too doesn’t it? I’ll try to keep you updated with my future tea-whipped cream experimentations 🙂

– CP


Road Trip Munchies Part 3 (Final): Voodoo Donuts

At last, here is the conclusion to our Road Trip Munchies, Portland edition.

Our last stop in Portland was none other than the famous Voodoo Donuts.


The have quite the interesting decor.


And the most interesting menu that honestly tells you next to nothing about what kind of donut you’re getting yourself into.


The four of us decided to order a dozen so that we could try a bunch of different ones. After sampling a bite of each one, here are a couple of our favorites:

The classic Voodoo Doll definitely had to make it on our list. Not only is it morbidly cute, it has jelly/blood filling and was quite fluffy.

voodoo donuts voodoo

To the left of it is the Old Dirty Bastard, with chocolate frosting, oreos, and peanut butter drizzle. Looks pretty cray..and indeed it was. It was too intense for us. The Loop that’s right below it was actually not too bad…I did have a bite of it a day late when the fruit loops were stale..but I bet it would be pretty good fresh.

Now onto the unanimous favorite…the Maple Bacon Bar


You wouldn’t expect such a simple thing to be so delicious but it really was. The bacon was very crispy and complimented the sweetness of the maple so well. Thank God we decided to get two of these because we were practically fighting for more bites.

We also really enjoyed the Portland Cream. It’s a simple donut with chocolate icing filled with Bavarian cream and is apparently Portland’s signature donut. The other ones we tried were more for the novelty of the names or because they sounded interesting. The Mexican Hot Chocolate, French crueller and Chocolate coconut are just a few that I also enjoyed. All in all, it was just fun to be able to visit this famous food place and get a taste of Portland’s eclectic style.

I wish the rest of our epic road trip was as exciting in the food-arena, but I would be lying if I told you we didn’t spent the rest of our trip eating a good deal of fast-food and at not-so-fantastic diners and hotels. This concludes this series of Road Trip Munchies.There will hopefully be another one in the near future. Pauline and I are dreaming of Food Cult business trips in the future which I think would be the best thing in the entire world.

Stay tuned for our coming food adventures!

– CP