Monday, May 16, 2016

Frasier Choux: Traditional cake in choux pastry form

This is another recipe tried from Daily Delicious Blog.  I doubled the quantity and made a ring and a few individual choux pastry.  My young son as usual was hovering round the desserts while waiting for it to be served after the photo taking.  Daily Delicious has published a detailed step by step on making choux pastry.  Making this needed quite a bit of effort, other than the choux and cookie dough, the pastry cream and butter cream had to be made.  I simplified 1 step by using store bought non dairy whipping cream instead of making buttercream.  The end product should be equally good.  I asked one of the tasters if the pastry would still be good if only pastry cream was used.  His opinion was the whipping cream added to the texture of the puff and should not be left out.  

These are the single serving choux puffs which were easier to serve instead of a ring one.   I have made both the strawberry and longan version.  The strawberries are a bit tart, and helps to reduce the sweetness and also gives a prettier effect to the puff.  The longan version would be much preferred for those who do not fancy strawberries,  I personally prefer the longan version of this.  

Layered Crepe Cake and White Chocolate Mousse with Mixed Berries

It was a baking frenzy last weekend, making a total of 3 desserts.  It was the side effect from reading Daily Delicious blog. Without hesitation, I tried the Whiite Chocolate Mousse with Mixed Berries.  I shall not re-write the recipe here.  Instead pop over to Daily Delicious blog for the details.  The mix berries goes well with the white chocolate mousse.  Its tangy taste helped to make the white chocolate mousse less "jela" though some tasters preferred to do without the berries.  The white chocolate mousse makes you think of condensed milk.  I made a slight mistake and ended up putting half the portion of gelatin but the mousse was still quite all right while eaten cold.

I made the Mille Crepe Cake using the recipe from The Food Fairy Blog.  I made the cream using pastry cream and ready bought non dairy whipping cream.  The taste of the pastry cream mixed with non dairy was fragrant.  I even added some longan bits in the cake.  I cut the quantity of sugar used by half for the pastry cream as the non dairy whipping cream was already sweetened.  The end product of the cake was a mildly sweetened crepe cake which I will be making for my dad's upcoming birthday celebration next weekend. 

Friday, May 13, 2016

I wanted to try the Tangzhong Method, but decided to use something from an old recipe book I have instead.  The book had 3 methods, straight dough, quick mix and sponge and dough method.

Time is the critical factor in making soft bread.  

Sponge and Dough Method Recipe  (From The World of Bread Making - Alex Goh)

(A) Sponge Dough
2 tsp instant yeast
2 tbsp water
420g bread flour
1/2 tbsp sugar
220 ml cold water

(B) Main Dough
120g plain flour
60g bread flour
1 tsp instant yeast
110g sugar
10g salt
20g milk powder
40ml cold water
1 egg
60g butter

Method :
Mix instant yeast and water and set aside for 10 minutes.  (You should see bubbles in the mix after 10mins.  This means the yeast is active.  If after 10 minutes no bubbles seen, the mix should be discarded and try again with new yeast)

Add the rest of the ingredients in (A), knead to form a dough.

Cover the dough with clear film and let it prove for 2 1/2 hours.

Then add the sugar, salt and egg from (B).  Mix till well blended.  The mixture would be sticky and wet.

Add the flour, instant yeast, milk powder and water.  Mix all ingredients till well blended.  Knead to form a dough.

Lastly, add the butter and knead to form a smooth and elastic dough.

Cover with clear film  and prove for 10 minutes.

The dough is now ready for use.

Filling can be of individual preference.

After adding the filling, let the buns rest for 45 minutes or till double the size.

Brush with egg wash before baking at 170C for 15 minutes or till golden brown.

Monday, May 09, 2016

Chicken Pies with Ready Made Puff Pastry

Image result for puff pastry sheets

Mother's Day was spent making Chicken Pies and Sausage bread with my son.  

I used Pampas Puff Pastry for the skin instead of making my own as it is very time consuming.

Chicken Pie Filling Recipe
100g boneless chicken, diced
2 potatoes, diced
50g frozen diced carrots and peas
l onion, diced
1 tsp chicken granules
1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp butter
60g cream of chicken
50ml water
Salt and pepper to taste. 

1. Blanch all vegetables and chicken.
2. Heat up 1 tbsp butter, add 1 tbsp flour and cook under low fire for 3 mins to make the roux.  
3. Add blanched chicken and vegetables into roux, stir to mix.
3. Add 50ml water and 60g cream of chicken.  
4.  Add chicken granules, salt and pepper to taste. 

Add some water if the mixture is too thick.  As you do not want the puff to be soggy, the filling should be thick.

Chicken and vegetable portion can be adjusted to individual preference.  More meat can be added if preferred. 

The chicken pies are baked at 180C for about 20 mins or till the pastry of golden brown. 

French Macarons Italian Meringue

After 3 attempts of making macrons using the french method and with frustrations as every batch came out different, with unpredictable outcome, like uneven surface, cracked surface and feetless macron,  I decided to give the Italian Meringue method a try despite the initial hesitation as the Italian Meringue method needed to to boil sugar into a syrup before adding it into the beaten egg white.  

I searched through the internet and decided on this recipe from which gave a quite detail explanation on how to go about making the macrons as well as using the microwave to make the sugar syrup.  I did not use this method as I was not sure how many walts my microwave was.  

I decided to boil the syrup over the stove, though I did not have a cooking thermometer at home, thus I wondered if I would be able to be successful with my attempt.  I read from a website that the sugar syrup is about 118C if you see the pot of syrup bubbling all over and it was also advised not to stir the syrup as it may result in crystallization.  (I guess I did not really need a thermometer afterall)

I was glad that I made this attempt and true to what some bloggers claimed, the Italian meringue method was extremely stable.  I made 3 batches and all came out equally good beautiful.  On top of that I did not have to put up with temperamental macrons.

It is critical to use a very fine sieve to sieve the almond powder and icing sugar.  The superfine grade of almond powder that you can purchase from Phoon Huat is for macrons, but it is a must to sieve the powder through a fine sieve which took me quite a fair bit of time to sieve though 3 batches of almond flour.  I find this the most time consuming part of making macrons. 

I made 3 fillings - Rose Syrup (to replicate the local Bandung flavour, Salted Gula Melaka, and Bittersweet Chocoate Ganache.   

Will I make it again? - Yes, I would want to try out other fillings that will balance out the sweetness from the shell.