Thursday, August 28, 2014

Flourless Orange and Almond Cake




I have this recipe for many years, way before gluten-free is “trendy” and few knew what coeliac disease is.

This flourless orange and almond cake remains one of my favourites all these years. It’s wonderfully light and refreshing, and simply melts-in-your-mouth. It doesn’t require many ingredients which is always a bonus. And it’s so easy to make that I’m almost tempted to say that it’s fail-proof. The only downside to this recipe is that it’s time-consuming because you need to simmer the oranges for at least an hour.

Sometimes, I would add a tablespoon of orange liqueur (e.g. Cointreau) to make this cake just that little bit special. For those who like frosting on their cakes, cream cheese frosting with finely grated orange zest will go well with this cake. Today though, I opt for a light brush of warmed orange marmalade over the top of the cake and decorate it with candied orange slices. Of course, this cake will just be as good on its own. Oh, this can be made into cupcakes too, just so you know.

This cake is best serve chilled and a day after it’s made. The flavour and texture of this cake will be so much better after a day or two of rest.



Flourless Orange and Almond Cake

Makes 22cm diameter cake

Flourless Orange and Almond Cake
2 medium size oranges (about 240g each), unpeeled
6 eggs
180 grams (1 cup) caster sugar
250 grams (2 1/2 cups) almond meal
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons orange marmalade (optional)

To make cake:
Place whole unpeeled oranges in saucepan, cover with cold water, and bring to the boil. Once the water starts to boil, drain water, cover oranges with fresh water, bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour or until the oranges are soft. Remove oranges and allow to cool. Discard cooking liquid.

Once the oranges are completely cooled, preheat oven to 180C conventional (or 160C fan-forced). Line base and side of a 22cm diameter round cake tin with baking paper.

Trim and discard ends from oranges, quarter the oranges, then remove any seeds. Process oranges in a food processor until smooth.

Whisk eggs and sugar in bowl of electric mixer, on high speed, until thick and pale in colour. Reduce speed of mixer, gradually add orange puree, pouring it down the side of the bowl so not to deflate the eggs mixture, until just combined. Add mixture of almond meal and baking powder in 3 batches, along the side of the bowl, whisk until well combined. Pour mixture into prepared tin.

Bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into centre comes out clean. Allow cake to cool completely in cake tin, then refrigerate, preferably overnight. Before serving, warm orange marmalade in the microwave for one minute, brush marmalade over cake. Top with candied orange slices.

Candied Orange Slices
1 medium size orange, thinly sliced
250 grams caster sugar
300ml water

To make candied orange slices:
Place orange slices in a small saucepan, cover with cold water, and bring to the boil. Once the water starts to boil, drain and discard liquid.

Combine sugar and 300ml water in a saucepan, bring to boil. Once the sugar is completely dissolve and the syrup starts to boil, reduce heat to the lowest possible heat with just barely a bubble breaking the surface. Return the drained orange slices to the barely simmering sugar syrup, cook for about 1 hour or until the zest is transparent and glossy. Cool in the syrup before using, or refrigerate (with the orange slices still in the syrup) until ready to use.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Flourless Black Forest Entremet




The first thing J said when he saw the cake was, "It's not Christmas yet."

Well, Mr Smarty Pants, have you not heard of Christmas in July?

Okay, so it's August now (What?!? It's August already?). And the cake does look surprising festive. But who's to say we can't have a festive cake whenever we want.

This entremet comprises of 5 components; flourless chocolate sponge, kirsch morello cherry syrup, chantilly cream dotted with morello cherries, chocolate mousse and cherry glaze. It’s not as difficult as it looks or sound. And it’s not as time consuming as most of the entremets that I have made so far. It’s probably as easy as making a traditional black forest cake. Maybe.

I might add some gelatin to the chantilly cream next time I make this. The cream is a tad too soft to neatly hold up the weight of the sponge, mousse, glaze and decoration on top.

Note that the chocolate sponge is very delicate and will fall apart if you are not careful handling it. And although you don’t have to freeze the cake overnight, I do highly recommend doing so, as the glaze will set a lot faster, you will get a neater cut and also the cream will hold up a lot better.





Flourless Black Forest Entremet

Makes 7"x7" cake

Flourless Chocolate Sponge Cake
250 grams 70% dark chocolate, finely chopped
60 grams unsalted butter, cube
250 grams eggwhite (about 6)
80 grams caster sugar
60 grams egg yolk (about 3)

To make flourless chocolate sponge cake:
Preheat oven to 180C conventional (or 160C fan-forced). Line 2 numbers of 30x20cm cake pans with baking paper.

Melt chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Once the chocolate has melted, set aside to cool slightly while you work on the rest of the ingredient.

In a clean bowl, using an electric mixer, whisk eggwhite until foamy. Sprinkle in 60 grams sugar and whisk until soft peaks. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, using an electric mixer, whisk egg yolks and remaining 20 grams sugar until pale and creamy.

Add one-third of whipped eggwhite and all of the egg yolk mixture to the slightly cooled melted chocolate. Using a spatula, fold the ingredients together thoroughly. Gently fold in the remaining whipped eggwhite.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans. Using a palette knife, spread the batter to an even thickness. Baked for 8-10 minutes or until springy to the touch. Turn sponge straight from oven onto a sheet of baking paper. Peel off baking paper from the bottom of the sponge. Cover with baking paper, then a tea towel. Set aside to cool completely.

Kirsch and Morello Cherries Syrup
150ml juice or syrup reserved from jar of morello cherries
50 grams caster sugar
2 tablespoon kirsch

To make kirsch and morello cherries syrup:
Combine juice/syrup and sugar in a saucepan, stir, over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Allow to boil for 5 seconds. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Add kirsch and stir to combine.

Chantilly Cream
400ml heavy cream, cold
40 grams caster sugar

To make chantilly cream:
Whip cream and sugar using an electric mixer until cream holds firm peaks.

To assemble (1):
You will also need about 400 grams morello cherries.

Trim flourless chocolate sponge cakes to fit a 7"x7" square cake ring.

Line cookie tray (or any rectangular baking tray) with baking paper. Place a 7"x7" square cake ring on top. Place a trimmed cake layer in the cake ring. Brush cake generously with syrup. Pipe or spoon half of the chantilly cream over. Place morello cherries over cream, roughly 2.5cm apart, stagger the lines. Pipe or spoon remaining chantilly cream. Brush second cake layer generously with syrup, place cake syrup side down on top of cream, press down lightly, brush cake layer with syrup. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate while you work on the chocolate mousse.

Chocolate Mousse
225ml heavy cream, cold
125 grams 70% dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 egg yolk
25 grams caster sugar

To make chocolate mousse:
Whisk cream using electric mixer until it holds firm peaks. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Once the chocolate has melted, set aside to cool slightly.

Whisk egg yolk and sugar (I use hand whisk for this) in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water until the mixture reaches the ribbon stage, and is pale and creamy.

Using a spatula, fold whipped cream into the egg yolk mixture until combine. Fold one-third of the mixture into the cooled melted chocolate until well combine. Gently fold in remaining of the cream and yolk mixture into the melted chocolate until well combine.

Spread chocolate mousse evenly over assembled cake. Cover with cling wrap and freeze cake overnight.

Cherry Glaze
200 grams cherries (if use frozen cherries, allow to thaw.)
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1 tablespoon glucose syrup
2 sheets (6 grams) titanium grade gelatin

To make cherry glaze:
Puree the cherries in a blender or food processor. Strain the puree through a sieve into a bowl, pressing down with the back of a spoon and discarding the solids.

Soften the gelatin in a bowl of cold water.

Place 100 grams of the cherry puree juice, caster sugar and glucose syrup in a saucepan, stirring constantly, over medium heat until the sugar and glucose dissolves. Remove from heat. (Do not let the mixture boil. It should be warm but not hot.)

Squeeze excess water from the gelatin. Stir gelatin into the warm cherry mixture.

Allow glaze to cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Pour glaze over frozen cake. Return cake to fridge for 10 minutes or until glaze set completely. Remove cake from cake ring. Trim and cut the cake while it’s still frozen to get a neat finish. Remember to allow the cake to thaw completely before serving. This will take about 20 minutes at room temperature or 2 hours in the fridge.

To decorate, you will need:
150 grams heavy cream, cold
100 grams 70% dark chocolate, finely chopped

You can cut the cake to whatever size you like. I prefer a generous 3x12cm slices, which I get about 5 slices of that size out of the cake, which also means that there will be some wastage (or aka chef’s treat).

Whisk cream until it holds firm peak. Fill piping bag fitted with a medium size petal decorating tip, and pipe cream over cake in a zigzag motion.

To make trees, melt chocolate either over a saucepan of barely simmering water or in the microwave, and pour melted chocolate into a piping bag. I didn’t bother to tamper the chocolate for this job. Snip off a small hole from the piping bag, and pipe onto a baking paper. Allow the chocolate trees to set completely before you peel it off from the baking paper.

Dust with icing sugar before serving.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Swedish Cinnamon Buns




I might have mentioned here once before that I like to go to Sweden someday. I want to spend a day in Ikea just to marvel at how everything is (probably) exactly the same as back home. I want to spend hours browsing in local homewares and handcraft stores, and fill my suitcases with little treasures. And I look forward to have a fika everyday, and have a pastry, or a piece of cake, or a sweet bun with my coffee. For now though, I guess these cinnamon buns will just have to do.



Swedish Cinnamon Buns
(Adapted from The Guardian)

Makes 12

Buns
300ml whole milk
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
50g butter, roughly chopped
425g plain flour
7g fast action yeast
60g caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1 egg, beaten lightly

Filling
75g butter
50g dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

Topping
1 egg, beaten lightly
Pearl sugar to sprinkle (Or use silvered almonds like I did if you can't find pearl sugar)

To make buns:
Put the milk and ground cardamon in a small saucepan and bring to just below the boil. Take off the heat, stir in the butter and leave to infuse until the milk mixture is just warm (about 38C).

Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with hook attachment. Add warm milk mixture and egg to flour mixture. Knead on low speed until you get a smooth pliable tacky dough, about 10 minutes. The dough is ready when it starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Resist adding more flour to the mixture.

Lightly grease your hands, and shape the dough into a ball. Place the dough in a lightly greased mixing bowl, and cover with cling wrap. Let the dough rise at room temperature (somewhere draught-free and not too cold) until doubled in size. Depending on the temperature of your room, it can take anything between 30 mins to 1 hour. Press the dough gently with a fingertip. If the indentation remains, the dough is ready for the next step.

Meanwhile, make filling:
Melt butter and set aside. In a separate bowl, combine dark brown sugar, cinnamon and salt.

When the dough is ready, deflate the dough, cover with cling wrap and let rest for 5 minutes.

Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to a rectangle roughly 60 x 25cm. Generously brush melted butter over the dough. Sprinkle over the cinnamon sugar mixture. Roll the dough, from the longer side, tightly like a swiss roll. Position it on its seam. Cut and discard the ends. Cut roll into 12 equal slices.

Line standard cupcake/muffin pan with paper cases. Place rolls in paper cases. Cover loosely with cling wrap. Let the dough proof for the second time until double in size, about 30 mins to 1 hour. Press the dough gently with a fingertip. If the indentation remains, the dough is ready for baking.

Heat the oven to 180C fan-forced. While waiting for the oven to heat up, brush top of each roll lightly with the beaten egg and sprinkle over silvered almonds. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Note: This is best serve while the buns are still warm.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Birthday Cake (Japanese-style Strawberry Ombre Shortcake)




It’s my birthday today. If you know me, you probably know how I feel about birthdays. If not, the candles will give you a clue.

I baked myself a birthday cake. Like I did the last couple of years. And just like every year, I made a strawberry cake because it's my favourite. This year, it's a Japanese-style strawberry shortcake (the best one yet).

It’s a simple cake of chiffon-like sponge layers that are so light and soft and melts away in your mouth like candy floss, and mascarpone cream that is light-as-cloud with specks of vanilla seeds. Of course, it can’t be strawberry cake without fresh strawberries. And homemade strawberry jam added too for good measure. To make this extra special, because it’s my birthday cake afterall, I made the sponge layers in different shade of pink.

I have done several variation of strawberry cakes on this blog; the Japanese-style strawberry shortcake (version 1), the strawberry and cream genoise cake, and the strawberry cloud cake. All delicious and different in their own way. However this one, I dare say, is the best one yet. (Did I say that already?)





Japanese-style Strawberry Ombre Shortcake

Makes one 12cm diameter cake

Sponge cake
Note: Recipe for the sponge cake makes only 1 number of 28cm x 28cm square sponge layer. Repeat 2 more times to achieve a 3 layer cake. I find that it’s easier to bake each layer separately. To get a neater finish, I bake the cake in a 28cm x 28cm square cake tin, and then cut rounds with a cookie cutter. The biggest cookie cutter that I have around the house is a 12cm diameter round cutter, hence a 12cm cake. You can obviously make a bigger cake if you have a bigger cookie cutter.

3 egg whites
30 grams caster sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
3 egg yolks
30 grams caster sugar
60ml milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
40ml vegetable oil
80 grams cake flour
pink food colouring

To make sponge layer:
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees celsius (or 150 degrees celsius fan-forced). Grease and line a 28cm x 28cm flat square cake pan with baking paper.

Using an electric mixer, whisk egg whites, 30 grams caster sugar and cornstarch until egg whites are glossy and stiff peaks form.

In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks and 30 grams sugar until pale and thick. Combine milk, vanilla extract and oil in a small bowl, add to beaten egg yolk mixture, whisk at low speed until combined. Sift flour over egg mixture, and whisk at low speed until smooth and well-combined. Stir in pink food colouring until you get the desired shade.

Add one-third of meringue into egg yolk mixture and fold in lightly using a spatula. Add remaining meringue and gently fold to incorporate completely.

Pour batter into the prepared tin, bake for 20-25minutes, or until the cake has risen and feels springy to the touch. Remove from oven. Turn sponge straight from oven onto a sheet of baking paper. Peel off baking paper from the bottom of the sponge. Cover with baking paper, then a tea towel. Set aside to cool completely.

Cut round from the cake sponge using a 12cm diameter cookie cutter, or the biggest cutter that you got around the house.

Repeat all of above 2 more times to get a 3 layer cake.

Strawberry Jam
200 grams strawberries
100 grams caster sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

To make strawberry jam:
Puree strawberries in a food processor. Add strawberry puree, sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan, bring to boil and reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes. Strain the jam through a sieve into a bowl, pressing down with the back of a spoon and discarding the solids. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Sugar Syrup
150ml water
100 grams caster sugar
2 tablespoons of orange liqueur (cointreau)

To make sugar syrup:
Combine water and sugar in saucepan, stir, over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Allow to boil for 5 seconds. Cool completely before adding orange liqueur.

Vanilla Mascarpone Cream
300 grams mascarpone, cold
300 grams thickened cream, cold
30 grams icing sugar
seeds scraped from 1 vanilla pod

To make vanilla mascarpone cream:
Using an electric mixer, whisk mascarpone, cream, icing sugar and vanilla seeds until stiff peaks form but cream is still smooth. Take care not to overwhip the cream.

To assemble:
You will also need about fresh strawberries, sliced.

Brush first cake round with sugar syrup, then generously with strawberry jam, top with sliced strawberries, and spread or pipe mascarpone cream over cake. Brush second cake round with sugar syrup and strawberry jam on both sides, lightly press second cake round over, top with sliced strawberries, then spread or pipe mascarpone cream over cake. Brush last cake round with sugar syrup and strawberry jam on one side, lightly press cake with sugar syrup and jam side down. Cover cake with mascarpone cream. Refridgerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Coconut, Pandan and Gula Melaka Dome




Coconut milk, pandan and gula melaka (dark palm sugar) are the flavours that I grow up with, and therefore quite a nostalgic one for me. It reminds me of the dozen types of nonya kueh that we have for breakfast and afternoon tea in Singapore, and the bubur cha-cha that my mum makes (the best), and the chendol that we like to sip and munch on a hot humid afternoon.

In South East Asia, coconut milk is use like cream to add creamiest, pandan like vanilla for flavour, and gula melaka like dark brown sugar to sweeten and to add a molasses-toffee like flavour. Of course, I know I’m generalising here since coconut milk does not taste like cream, or pandan like vanilla, or gula melaka like dark brown sugar. And I’m not saying that one can be substitute for the other, since coconut milk, pandan and gula melaka in comparison have a much more complex and richer flavour. But the concept is the same.

So, for a while now, I have been sitting on the idea of creating an entremet with coconut milk, pandan and gula melaka. This jade green entremet is what I come up with, and I love it. It’s a fusion of South East Asia meets French meets Italy, if you like. We have a pandan coconut bavarian cream with a coconut gula melaka panna cotta centre, the sponge is soaked in gula melaka syrup, and the whole thing dressed in a glossy jade green pandan coconut glaze.

I guess coconut milk needs no introduction since you can find them easily in the shops these days. I use the canned stuff of course, and I usually go for the Ayam brand. You can find pandan paste and gula melaka (also known as palm sugar) in any good well-stocked Asian grocer shop in Australia (or in Perth anyway). The brand that I always use for the pandan paste is Koepoe. It’s a dark green thick syrup-like liquid that comes in a small plastic bottle. For the gula melaka, this might be a little confusing because I found different types of palm sugar in the shops and all of them are labelled as palm sugar. Choose the one with a dark caramel brown that usually comes in cylinder shape.






Coconut, Pandan and Gula Melaka Dome

Makes 6 numbers of 70mm diameter domes

Coconut Gula Melaka Panna Cotta
1 sheet (3 grams) titanium grade gelatin
150ml coconut milk
20 grams gula melaka, finely grated
Pinch of salt

To make coconut gula melaka panna cotta:
Soften the gelatin in a bowl of cold water.

Combine coconut milk, gula melaka and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until gula melaka dissolves. Allow mixture to cook until just under the boil. Remove pan from heat.

Squeeze excess water from the gelatin. Stir it into the hot coconut milk mixture. Pour mixture into holes of mini muffin tin to about 2cm high.

Freeze panna cotta until completely frozen. To unmold, dip bottom of muffin tin in a tray of hot water for 5 secs. Flip muffin tin upside down on a baking paper and give a gentle shake to get the panna cotta out. Return the unmolded panna cotta rounds back into the freezer immediately until ready to assemble.

Gula Melaka Syrup
150ml water
100 grams gula melaka, finely grated

To make gula melaka syrup:
Combine water and gula melaka in saucepan, stir, over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Allow to boil for 5 seconds. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.

Sponge
90 grams egg whites
80 grams caster sugar
80 grams egg yolks
40 grams cake flour
20 grams corn flour
35 grams unsalted butter, melted

To make sponge:
Preheat the oven to 200C (or 180C fan-forced). Line 30x20cm cake pan with baking paper.

Whisk egg white until foamy. Add one quarter of the sugar and whisk for a while. Then add remaining sugar and beat until stiff peaks form and egg whites are glossy. Add egg yolks and whisk until combine.

Combine and sift both flours. Gently fold flours into the batter with a spatula until combine. Fold in melted butter until combine.

Pour batter into the prepared pan, spread evenly, and bake for 15 minutes or until when a toothpick is inserted in the center comes out clean.

When sponge is done and cooled, peel away (by gently rubbing) the layer of brown skin on the top.

Pandan Coconut Bavarian Cream
2 sheets (6 grams) titanium grade gelatin
2 egg yolks
50 grams caster sugar
125ml coconut milk, room temperature
1 teaspoon pandan paste
200ml whipping cream

To make pandan coconut bavarian cream:
Soften the gelatin in a bowl of cold water.

Whisk egg yolks and sugar in a heatproof bowl until pale and creamy. Add coconut milk and pandan paste, and whisk to incorporate. Place bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water, whisk constantly, until the mixture reaches 85C. Remove from heat.

Squeeze the excess water from the gelatin. Stir it into the coconut milk custard. Place the custard over a bowl of ice, stir until it cools to room temperature.

Whisk cream to firm peaks (be careful not to overwhip). Carefully fold whipped cream into the custard with a spatula until combine.

At this stage, start assembling the entremet. The bavarian cream needs to be use immediately before the gelatin start to take effect.

To assemble (1):
I used a 70mm diameter x 34mm height 6 cavities half semi-sphere silicon mould for the domes. You can use small cake rings if you wish.

Spoon bavarian cream to fill about 1/3 of the mould. Use a small palette knife to spread the cream up the side of the mould. Put a frozen panna cotta round inside the mould. Fill the sides with more bavarian cream if required.

Cut out 60mm diameter round sponge with a cookie cutter. Brush sponge generously with syrup. Place sponge over the panna cotta and press down lightly. Wrap the mould well with plastic wrap, and freeze until completely frozen.

Pandan Coconut Glaze
100 grams white chocolate, finely chopped
3 sheets (9 grams) titanium grade gelatin
100ml water
50 grams caster sugar
100 grams liquid glucose
1 teaspoon pandan paste
70ml coconut milk

To make pandan coconut glaze:
Melt the chocolate in a bowl over, not touching, simmering water. Stir occasionally to assist the melting. When the chocolate has melted, remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Soften the gelatin in a bowl of cold water.

Combine water, sugar, glucose and pandan paste in a saucepan over medium heat, stir until sugar and glucose disolves, bring to boil. Remove from heat.

Stir coconut milk into the syrup mixture. Squeeze the excess water from the gelatin, and stir gelatin into the syrup mixture. Pour over the melted chocolate, then stir gently to combine.

Allow glaze to cool to room temperature. The glaze will thicken as it cools to the right temperature. To check if the glaze is ready to use, dip spoon into the glaze. The glaze should coat the back of the spoon. Use glaze immediately.

To assemble (2):
Unmould domes from molds. Place domes on a cooling rack set on a baking tray. Working very quickly, and in a confident and smooth motion, pour glaze over frozen domes.

Decorate with shredded coconut.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Chocolate Lover's Puffs




It would be an understatement to call this a chocolate profiterole. Because it’s not JUST a chocolate profiterole but a chocolate profiterole made out of chocolate choux pastry, wrapped in a crispy chocolate crust, filled with chocolate pastry cream, and then dipped in melted chocolate. It’s a quadruple chocolate profiterole- a chocolate lover’s puff.



Chocolate Lover's Puffs

Makes 20 small profiteroles

Chocolate Pastry Cream
200 grams milk
3 egg yolks
50 grams caster sugar
20 grams plain flour
100 grams 70% dark chocolate, finely chopped
85 grams whipping cream

To make chocolate pastry cream:
Place milk in a saucepan and bring to boil. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar until mixture is pale and thick. Whisk in flour until well combined. Gradually pour hot milk into the egg yolk mixture, constantly whisking to combine.

Pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Place over medium heat, whisking constantly with a hand whisk until it thickens and becomes smooth and glossy. Remove from heat, transfer pastry cream to a bowl, cover surface of pastry cream with plastic wrap, and set aside.

Heat cream in a saucepan until just below boiling point, pour it over the chocolate, allow to sit for 1 minute before gently stirring until you get a ganache. Whisk ganache into the pastry cream until well combine.

Cover the surface of the chocolate pastry cream with a plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.

Chocolate Sable a Choux
80 grams butter, cut into small cubes, softened, at room temperature
80 grams brown sugar
80 grams plain flour
10 grams dutch-processed cocoa powder

To make chocolate sable a choux:
Mash butter into the brown sugar with a spatula or the back of a spoon, until there are no more lumps of butter and the mixture has form a paste. (Note: The butter will need to be soft for this to work.) Combine and sift flour and cocoa, then stir the flour and cocoa into the butter mixture until just combine. Wrap the mixture with a plastic wrap, pat the mixture down to form a disk and refrigerate until firm (about 1 hour). Roll dough between 2 sheets of baking paper to 2mm thick. Use a 5cm round cutter to cut into rounds. If the mixture is too soft to cut, place dough onto baking tray and refrigerate until firm.

Freeze the rounds of sable a choux until firm or ready to use.

Chocolate Choux Pastry
80ml milk
80ml water
70 grams unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
large pinch of salt
10 grams caster sugar
100 grams plain flour
10 grams dutch-processed cocoa powder
120 grams (about 2 eggs) eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten (Note: You will need an additional egg if the pastry is too dry. See method below.)

To make chocolate choux pastry:
Preheat oven to 150C fan-forced.

Combine and sift flour and cocoa powder. Set aside.

Place milk, water, butter, salt and sugar into a saucepan. Place pan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a spatula or wooden spoon until the butter has melted, and liquid has come to a boil. Allow liquid to boil for 2 seconds. Remove from heat and add the flour and cocoa mixture all at once. Start mixing until the mixture comes together and no more dry flour is visible.

Return saucepan over medium heat, stirring vigorously until the dough pull away from the side of the pan and bottom of the pan is clean.

Immediately transfer the dough to the bowl of an electric stand mixer with paddle attachment. Mix on medium for about 30 seconds to cool slightly. Begin gradually incorporate the eggs into the mixture, about a tablespoon at a time, beating until each addition is completely absorbed before adding the next. Once you have incorporate all the eggs, stop the mixer to check the consistency of the dough.

(Note: To check the consistency, scoop and lift up a large amount of dough with a spatula. The dough should adhere well to the spatula, and the rest of the dough should slid off the spatula very slowly, almost "magna-like", then drops off with a clean break from the mixture that is on the spatula within 5-10 seconds.

If the mixture doesn't stick to the spatula and falls off without leaving any traces behind or doesn't fall off at all, gradually add more eggs, checking the consistency every 2 tablespoons. I find that I usually need an additional egg to get the right consistency.

If the mixture immediately break off from the mixture still attached to the spatula without any pause, too much eggs has been added. If that is the case, nothing more can be done at this point except to start again.)


Spoon mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm round nozzle. Pipe twenty 4cm diameter rounds onto a tray lined with baking paper, leaving enough space between each round for the dough to expand without touching.

(Note: To get the perfect size and shape for the choux pastry, I used a silicone cake pop mould for the job. First I piped the choux pastry into the mould, cover the mould with plastic wrap, and put it in the freezer until it’s completely frozen. The unbaked choux pastry can keep up to 3 months in the freezer. Bake the choux pastry, from frozen, on the day when you are ready to assemble and serve the profiterole.)

Place a round of sable a choux on top of each choux pastry and bake until the choux pastry double in size, about 45 minutes. (Note: Resist opening the oven door before the choux pastry has time to puff up and become golden as this will cause the choux pastry to collapse.)

Immediately once the choux pastry is out of the oven, gently slit a small hole at the bottom of the choux pastry to allow steam to escape. Allow the choux pastry to cool completely before filling it with pastry cream.

To assemble:
You will also need 200 grams dark chocolate, melted.

Spoon chocolate pastry cream in a piping bag fitted with a plain small nozzle. Pipe pastry cream in profiterole. Then dip top of profiterole in melted chocolate.

This is best served on the day it's assembled.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Passionfruit-chocolate Entremet




Creating entremets is one of my 2014 resolutions. And you know what? It’s actually not too hard once you get the hang of the basics like gelĂ©e, italian meringue, mousse, bavarian cream, and glaze. Once you find your favourite formula for the basic components, it’s simply just a matter of incorporating different flavours to these components.

The thing about entremets is that it can’t be rush. Each layer needs to be set or frozen completely before the next. This passionfruit-chocolate entremet took me 3 days. I made the chocolate mousse on the first, then the syrup, sponge and passionfruit bavarian on the second, and the passionfruit glaze on the last.

Another thing about entremets, I believe is important, is the gelatin. Powder gelatin never worked for me, and I find that it has a strange “chemical” smell that I’m not sure how to describe. And ever since I started using gelatin sheets, I never look back. I use titanium grade leaf gelatin (3g per sheet).

This entremet comprises a passionfruit bavarian cream with a chocolate mousse center. I like the combination of chocolate and passionfruit- the richness of the chocolate mousse is balance out with the tartness of the passionfruit. I have made this chocolate mousse before, my favourite, this time I have half the quantity and it worked.




Passionfruit-chocolate Entremet

Makes 8 numbers of 7.5cm diameter cakes

Chocolate Mousse
250ml heavy cream
150 grams 70% dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 large egg, room temperature
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
60 grams caster sugar
2 tablespoons water

To make chocolate mousse:
Using an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk cream to medium peaks. Set whipped cream aside in the fridge while we work on the rest of the chocolate mousse.

Melt the chocolate in a bowl over, not touching, simmering water. Stir occasionally to assist the melting. When the chocolate has melted, remove from the heat and set aside until it cools to 45C.

Meanwhile, place yolks and eggs in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.

In a small saucepan, combine sugar and water and bring to the boil, swirling pan occasionally to dissolve sugar. Continue to boil until the temperature reaches 115C. Remove pan from heat. Whisk eggs on high speed, and start pouring the syrup in a thin stream into the egg, take care to avoid the spinning whisk. Continue to whisk until the eggs triple in volume and cool to room temperature.

Fold a third of the whipped cream into the cooled chocolate using a hand whisk. (Note: You can be quite rough with folding the cream into the chocolate at this stage. The melted chocolate might start to clump together. Just keep mixing until the mixture comes together and is well combine.) Using a spatula, work as delicately as you can, fold in the rest of the whipped cream until combined, followed by the egg mixture.

Line a cookie tray (or any rectangular baking tray) with baking paper, place 6cm diameter cake rings on top, pour/spoon the chocolate mousse to about 2cm high in the cake rings. Freeze until completely frozen. You will need 8 cake rings. Alternatively, you can spread chocolate mousse in a rectangular baking tray lined with baking paper, to about 2cm high, and when the mousse is completely frozen, cut out rounds of chocolate mousse with a 6cm diameter cookie cutter.

Sugar Syrup
150ml water
100 grams caster sugar
2 tablespoons of orange liqueur (cointreau)

To make sugar syrup:
Combine water and sugar in saucepan, stir, over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Allow to boil for 5 seconds. Cool completely before adding orange liqueur.

Sponge
90 grams egg whites
80 grams caster sugar
80 grams egg yolks
40 grams cake flour
20 grams corn flour
35 grams unsalted butter, melted

To make sponge:
Preheat the oven to 200C (or 180C fan-forced). Line 30x20cm cake pan with baking paper.

Whisk egg white until foamy. Add one quarter of the sugar and whisk for a while. Then add remaining sugar and beat until stiff peaks form and egg whites are glossy. Add egg yolks and whisk until combine.

Combine and sift both flours. Gently fold flours into the batter with a spatula until combine. Fold in melted butter until combine.

Pour batter into the prepared pan, spread evenly, and bake for 15 minutes or until when a toothpick is inserted in the center comes out clean.

When sponge is done and cooled, peel away (by gently rubbing) the layer of brown skin on the top.

Passionfruit Bavarian Cream
2 sheets (6 grams) gelatin
125ml strained passionfruit juice, room temperature
2 egg yolks
50 grams caster sugar
200ml whipping cream

To make passionfruit bavarian cream:
Soften the gelatin in a bowl of cold water.

Whisk egg yolks and sugar in a heatproof bowl until pale and creamy. Add passionfruit juice and whisk to incorporate. Place bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water, whisk constantly, until the mixture reaches 85C. Remove from heat.

Squeeze the excess water from the gelatin. Stir it into the passionfruit custard. Place the custard over a bowl of ice, stir until it cools to room temperature.

Whisk cream to firm peaks (be careful not to overwhip). Carefully fold whipped cream into the custard with a spatula until combine.

At this stage, start assembling the entremet. The passionfruit bavarian cream needs to be use immediately before the gelatin start to take effect.

To assemble (1):
Line a cookie tray (or any rectangular baking tray) with baking paper. Place 7.5cm diameter X 4.5cm height cake rings on top. You will need 8 cake rings.

Cut out 7cm diameter round cake sponge using cookie cutter. Brush sponge generously with sugar syrup. Place sponge in the centre of cake ring.

Unmold frozen chocolate mousse from cake ring. (Note: I'm still trying to find the best way to do this. At the moment, I put the cake ring with the frozen mousse in a ziplock bag, and dip the ziplock bag in a bowl of hot water for 3 seconds. Then I remove the cake ring from the bag, and gently push the mousse out of the ring onto a baking paper. A bit messy, but it works.)

Place the frozen chocolate mousse on top of the sponge. Pour passionfruit bavarian cream over, and level with a spatula. Place in freezer until completely frozen.

Passionfruit Glaze
150ml strained passionfruit juice (reserve seeds to decorate)
1 tablespoon glucose syrup
2 sheets (6 grams) gelatin

To make passionfruit glaze:
Soften the gelatin in a bowl of cold water.

Warm passionfruit juice and glucose syrup in a saucepan, stir, over medium heat until glucose dissolves. Do not let the passionfruit mixture boil. It should be warm but not hot.

Squeeze the excess water from the gelatin. Stir it into the warm passionfruit mixture.

Allow glaze to cool to room temperature.

To assemble (2):
Place passionfruit seeds randomly over top of the entremets, pour cooled glaze on top, refrigerate until glaze has set completely. Unmold entremets from cake rings.