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.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Baileys Tiramisu Cake




Everybody needs a pick-me-up every now and then. And nothing says pick-me-up like tiramisu because that is what it means literally.

I’m fussy when comes to making the perfect tiramisu. I never use instant coffee. That is a big no-no in my books although I’ll still be your friend if you do. I always use baileys in my tiramisu, simply because I like baileys better than marsala. I always finely grate chocolate over my tiramisu instead of using cocoa powder because I find that cocoa powder has a dusty taste to it. I always try to avoid raw eggs, using either the eggless version in this case for the mascarpone filling or the zabaglione version which I have done previously.

I use genoise for this tiramisu cake which is perfect for the job in my opinion. For those who are not familiar with genoise, it is similar to victoria sponge cake. However for the genoise, the eggs and sugar are whisk over simmering water until the sugar has dissolves and the mixture reaches between 40C to 45C. This additional step gives a tighter (smaller air pockets) and springy cell structure in the finish sponge. The genoise is meant to be a dry type of cake, much like the victoria sponge cake, made to be moistened and flavoured by soaking syrup.

The genoise is typically made out of 2 parts eggs, 1 part plain flour and 1 part caster sugar by weight, and usually a few grams of butter are added as well. For a thicker sponge like this one, I like to throw in a splash of milk and a few drops of vanilla essence for flavour. I also use cake flour instead of plain flour because it gives the cake a slightly softer texture. But plain flour is perfectly fine. I’m still trying to perfect my technique for genoise. I think genoise is one of those baking fundamentals that is good to master. Anyway, I have written the recipe below, with some tips and notes, the way it has worked for me.



Baileys Tiramisu Cake

Makes one 18cm cake

Genoise
15 grams unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
30 grams milk
15 grams vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
180 grams eggs (about 3 large eggs)
100 grams caster sugar
100 grams cake flour, sifted (note: you can use plain flour)

Coffee and Baileys Mixture
125ml cup fresh espresso
60ml baileys

Mascarpone Filling
150ml thickened cream, cold
500 grams mascarpone cheese
60 grams icing sugar
60ml coffee and baileys mixture

You will also need a block of chocolate for grating

To make genoise:
Preheat the oven to 170C (or 150C fan-forced). Line a 15cm diameter round cake pan with a removable base with baking paper.

Warm milk and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until all the butter has melted and the mixture is warm through (around 50C). Add vegetable oil and vanilla extract, whisk to combine. Set aside.

Combine the eggs and sugar in a bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, whisk continously by hand until the egg mixture reaches between 40C to 45C and the sugar is dissolved. (Note: Test by rubbing a small amount between your finger tips. It should feel completely smooth without sugar grains. The egg mixture at this stage does not need to pale and creamy or increase in volume.)

Transfer egg mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk at high speed until the egg mixture has cooled and triple in volume. This will take between 5 to 7 minutes. Reduce speed of mixer to low and continue to whisk for 1 minute to breakup large bubbles and smooth the texture.

Add flour around the edge of the bowl, a third at a time, fold until uniform and smooth, taking care not to deflate the mixture too much. (Note: I find that by adding the flour around the edge of the bowl, it does not deflate the mixture as much as sifting the flour directly over the egg mixture.)

Add roughly about a cup of the batter into the butter and milk mixture, and mix well. Then add the mixture back into the batter and fold gently until combine.

Pour batter into prepared baking pan and bake for about 30 minutes. The cake is done when the top is golden brown and springy to the touch.

Immediately turn the cake out of its tin onto a cooling rack. Place a plastic container over the cake. (Note: This helps the cake to retain the moisture). When cake is cooled completely, slice cake horiontally to get 2 layers.

To make coffee and baileys mixture:
Combine espresso and baileys in a bowl. Set aside.

To make mascarpone filling:
Whisk cream and sifted icing sugar in a bowl with electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add mascarpone and 60ml espresso and baileys mixture, and whisk until combine. Taking care not to overwhip the cream.

To assemble:
Line a 18cm cake pan with baking paper, getting the baking paper as smooth to the side as possible. Centre a cake layer in the prepared cake pan. Brush cake generously with coffee and baileys mixture. Pour about 2/3 of the mascarpone filling over the cake, making sure to spread the filling over the side of the cake. Finely grate chocolate over mascarpone filling. Top with the second cake layer. Brush cake generously with coffee and baileys mixture. Pour remaining mascarpone filling over the cake, and smooth surface. Finely grate chocolate over cake. Refrigerate overnight.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Smoked Salmon, Kale and Dill Quiche with Sour Cream Shortcrust




Autumn is well and truly here. Last weekend, we swapped our summer duvet for a winter one; heavier and fluffier doona that showered our bedroom with feathers when we fluffed it out. For me, it’s not autumn until we change the duvet, and I can’t help but feel quietly excited about the colder months ahead. The truth is that I like the cold even when I complain about being cold all the time.

There are many reasons to love the colder months. Comfort food, for one, like warm soups, slow-cooked stews, hearty pies and crowd pleaser quiches. And it so happen that the best time to make pastries is when it's cold.

Let’s talk about this sour cream shortcrust. One word. WOW!

I have my go-to shortcrust that I seldom deviate from when I make quiches. However, I was curious about the Maggie Beer’s sour cream shortcrust and decided to test it out on the weekend. As you can probably tell, I was bowled over. The sour cream shortcrust is rich, buttery, crisp, and melt-in-the-mouth, like any good shortcrust pastry. But on top of it all, it is flaky too. This sour cream shortcrust is like a cross between shortcrust and puff pastry. Could it be the sour cream or my awesome pastry making skill? I would like to think it’s the latter, but it’s probably the sour cream.

For the filling, I like the smoked salmon and kale in big chunks and just enough egg and cream to hold everything together. So, you know, to make it healthier. Some might prefer it with more egg and cream, and lesser and smaller pieces of salmon and kale. I will leave that decision to you.



Smoked Salmon, Kale and Dill Quiche with Sour Cream Shortcrust
(Sour cream shortcrust adapted from Maggie Beer)

Makes one 20cm tart

Sour Cream Shortcrust
250 grams plain flour
200 grams unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes
125 ml sour cream

Filling
1 bunch of kale
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic cloves, crushed
100 grams smoked salmon, flaked into small pieces using a fork
1 bunch fresh dill, roughly chopped
3 eggs
80 ml single (pouring) cream
60 ml milk
40 grams finely grated parmesan
Sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste

To make sour cream shortcrust:
Place butter and flour in a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add the sour cream and continue to pulse until the dough starts to incorporate into a ball. Flatten the dough into a disc, wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm.

Roll out the pastry between two sheets of baking paper to 3mm thick and large enough to line 20cm round loose-based tart tin. Lift pastry into tin, ease into base and side. Trim off any excess pastry. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until firm. (I usually like to cover the pastry with plastic wrap and freeze it overnight. I find that baking the pastry when it’s completely frozen helps minimize shrinkage.)

Preheat the oven to 200C (or 180C fan-forced). Place tart tin on baking tray. Line the pastry with a sheet of baking paper and pour in dried beans or rice. Bake for 20 minutes or until light golden. Remove paper and beans/rice. Return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes to crisp. Allow to cool while we work on the filling.

To make filling:
Reduce the oven to 180C (or 160C fan-forced).

Remove and discard stem from kale. Tear or roughly chop kale leaves into small bite-size pieces.

Heat oil in a frying pan, add garlic and stir over medium heat until fragrant. Add kale leaves and saute until the kale has wilted. Remove from heat.

Place eggs, cream, milk, cheese, salt and pepper in a bowl and whisk to combine.

Evenly distribute kale, smoke salmon and dill in pastry shell and pour over egg mixture. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until set and golden. Rest for 10 minutes before serving.