Monday, July 21, 2008


It was my mom's birthday last Sunday and I decided to make a Tiramisu cake for her. Previous occassions, I usually make tiramisu in a dessert cup for ease of consumption and portablity. After examining a few recipes, I decided on forming my own hybrid recipe, taking what I like from one recipe and combining it with something else that I like from another recipe. The ingredients are quite similar for all recipes, basically, there is a mascarephone cheese with whipping cream, a sponge layer which could be in a form of a cake or sponge fingers, chocolate shavings and coffee syrup with coffee liqueur and top it off with cocoa powder.

Initially, I wanted to put sponge fingers at the side of the cake, but in the end, decided to try my hands on working out some chocolate artwork for the sides and the top. I got the flower inspiration from a gelato shop that I visited some weeks back. The chocolate for the side was not easy to make and if you noticed hard enough, some of it actually cracked up when i tried to put it onto the sides.

I am still not able to understand why it is more difficult to work with white chocolate as compared to dark chocolates. It is not only difficult to melt it as too hot a temperature would burn the white chocolate while too low a temperature, the chocolate doesn't seem to melt a all. I suspect it may be due to my lack of skills in tempering chocolates or could it be due to the quality fo the white chocolate that I purchased. It hardens quickly and my attempts to melt it again usually gets it burnt.

As for the sponge cake, it needs more coffee syrup. As I was afraid that the sponge cake would be soaked till too extreme, ie coffee syrup starts dripping out with every cut , I was careful not to put too much coffee syrup, resulting in only 1/2 of the sponge cake was soaked with coffee. It would be better if all the layers of sponge was soaked completely.

I got feedback from my sister-in-law that the tiramisu this round was better than the last but she said it tasted different from those sold outside but she was not able to tell me what the difference was. Which bakery's tiramisu should I taste?

For the recipe, please click on this link

Mooncake Lessons

My colleague and I attended the Mooncake Class at Creative Culinaire last Friday evening to learn how to make the Traditional Mooncake and the Teochew Yam Spiral Mooncake. My objective was maintly to learn how the spiral mooncakes is being done as I already have some knowledge on making the Traditional Mooncake through my own trial and error at home. I used to make Traditional Mooncake years back and my mother-in-law would tell me that she wants 'x' number of boxes to give to relatives. There is usually not enought to go round. However, after the birth of my son, I have stopped making mooncakes and now that he is bigger, and I have more free time, I may venture into this mooncake business again.

This is the Teochew Spiral Yam Mooncake that was taught in the class. We were taught how to make the yam filling as well. It takes quite a lot of effort to make the flaky skin as the dough needs to be rolled out thinly to create the layers. The thinner the dough is rolled, the flakier the end result. This type of mooncakes cannot be kept very long due to the nature of the skin and have to be eaten within 3 days whereas the Traditional Mooncake can be kept for a month and it seems that it tastes better the longer it is kept.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Chicken Pau

There is this stall that sells hand made paus near where I live and I love the softness of the bun and the taste of the filling and I wished I could make paus like that. While chatting with a colleague one day, we decided to try our hands on making paus. It was then decided that my colleage would make the cha siew pau while I try making the chicken pau. Remember the siew mai filling that I made earlier on, I decide to mix it with the chicken filling that was in the recipe for "San Yok Pau" in the Dim Sum Book by Agnes Chang.

The taste and smell of the filling was superb receiving thumbs up for the taste and the smell. I was however slightly disappointed with the result of the dough as the recipe in the book didn't turn out as white as I hope it would be. After steaming the colour of the buns turned slightly yellowish. Some sources online mentioned that it could be due to oversteaming or too much baking powder. So I continue pondering on the question of how to make white soft pau.

I have been analysing the techniques of making 'smiling pau' where the buns will 'bloom' after steaming. But it takes 3 days to complete the fermentation of the dough. It is only then that the buns would smile but by then, I hope I can still smile along with the pau.

Apple Pie

After spending the whole of Saturday wrapping Chicken Paus, there was not much time to go anywhere. So I convinced Hub to make a trip to Phoon Huat in the West. I used to visit one of the outlet almost every weekend when I visit my mom at the North end of Singapore but unfortunately for some reason, that outlet closed.

I bought some lotus paste with the intent to make some mooncakes and aluminium cups for making the quiche and my Hub suddenly said that it would be nice to make some apple pies. I thought of making the filling but it would mean looking for a nice apple pie recipe and spending time cooking it. In the end, we bought a can of ready made apple pie filling and I decide to just make the shortcrust pastry. I wondered if it would be too sweet, but to my surprise, it was all right. Next time I might want to try making apple filling on puff pastry instead of shortcrust pastry.

Mini Bacon and Mushroom Quiche

Last weekend, my brother was raving about quiches and about how nice it was. I personally have never eaten one. It was said to be some sort of an egg tart but on the savoury side instead of the usual sweet one. I was reading last month issue of Flavours and saw some quiches recipes inside. They had large ones and small onces and the small ones looks rather nice and easy to eat as well. No cutting/slicing required, eat directly from the cup.

Consider it a success on first round for the quiches. I asked my brother if it tasted like those he bought from outside and he said 'YES' and he ate a total of 5 at one go. My sister-in-law brought one for a colleague to test as she mentioned that her colleague loves quiches and another 'Pass' graded for the quiche I made. I ate one out of the twenty I made but personally do not fancy it . It there was a choice, I would eat an egg tart to this.

Dragon Fruit Chiffon Cake

Six dragonfruits appeared on Friday evening in the kitchen. It was brought over by my hub's uncle. No one in the house was a fan of dragon fruits, so I thought I would try to make use of it to make a chiffon cake from Kelvin Chai's - Chiffon Cake is Done book. Is uses red dragon fruit for the recipe. I wonder what colour was the dragonfruit that was brought over but I suspected it to be white as that is the most common one available locally.

With white flesh, it would mean that the cake would turn out white with black dots from the seeds of the fruit. I decided to add some red colouring to give the cake a slight pinkish colour. The fruit I had didn't have much flavour and the recipe calls for a tablespoon of lemon which gave the cake a slight freshing sourish taste.

Siew Mai

I finally got myself to make this from a Dim Sum book from Hong Kong. The quantity in the recipe was large. Eg ingredients for making 100 pcs. Why would I want to make 100 siew mai, thus I had to do some division to make it into a smaller portion. A mixture of meat, prawns and mushroom with season. The meat had to be mixed with ice cubes before adding in the other ingredients.

I didn't have a mixer, with a K hook, so I end up beating the meat with my hands. The result was good. The original recipe actually had a Part II filling for the top of the siew mai that was made of shrimps and seasoning. I thought the Part I filling was good enough for siew mai, thus I have omitted making the Part II. (Another partial reason was that I was getting a bit lazy and tired after beating the Part I filling with my hands).