Tuesday, August 30, 2011

7 Links Challenge

I was tagged and  invited by Lena of Frozen Wings to play a game called the 7 Links Challenge.  The challenge is to publish a list of 7 links to previous posts that I have written that respond to the following 7 categories:
1) The most beautiful post
2) The most popular post
3) The most controversial post
4) The most helpful post
5) A post that was surprisingly successful
6) A post that did not get the attention it deserves
7) A post I am most proud of

Thank you Lena for the invitation. It was fun looking back at my old posts and see how far I've progressed thus far from my baking/cooking to my photo taking skills - man, I want a dslr camera! 

Now, I'd like to extend this challenge to all bloggers who are interested to play this game. Are you up for it?

Here are my 7 links.  

1) The most beautiful post - Swiss Carrot Cake
The pink color scheme, the little sugar flowers, the simply iced cake. I just love the sight. So pretty.

2) The most popular postThe almost perfect sponge cake
Based on pageviews, this post has received the most views to date.

3) The most controversial post - NIL
None so far. Anyone wanna debate with me? LOL

4) The most helpful post - Cocodrillo Ciabatta
The embedded video was very helpful to me when I made the ciabatta. From the video, I got to see how the consistency of the very wet bread dough should look like and learned how to handle the dough. Hence, I think it would be useful to others who is interested to try the recipe. 

5) A post that was surprisingly successful - Swiss Roll with Stawberry Jam
Now, this is successful because when I posted this entry I didn't expect this plain swiss roll would garner any attention at all let alone praises. It was a surprise indeed. A very pleasant one :).

6) A post that did not get the attention it deserves - Nigella's Molten Chocolate Baybycakes
This didn't get as many attention as I thought it would.  Just look at that silky dark molten chocolate!   I expected oohs and aahhs, lip smacking sounds and drools dribbling.

7) A post I am most proud of - Mango Mousse Cake
This is the first mousse cake I've ever made and it has made me a convert. In the past, I was not a fan of  mousse cakes. I thought they had a weird texture, tasted waxy and just plain awful. I didn't realize then those mousse cakes from bakeries used non-dairy cream until I made this cake (I used full fat dairy whipping cream). It was so delicious. What a revelation!  Since then I've experimented and made many mousse cakes (which I've yet to post in my blog).

Monday, August 29, 2011

Food Processor Almond Danish Braid

Man, I gotta give my self a pat in the back. I never would have thought I'd make danish pastry EVER! Okay, I cheated a little. I used Nigella Lawson's food processor recipe. See even the goddess herself cheats! Haha. This is what I love so much about Nigella. She makes everything simple and approachable to mere home cooks like me. Do try this recipe if  the task of laminating butter between layers of dough scares and intimidates u as it always did to me... and still does. I'll never attempt the proper old-school way of making danish pastry - why would I when it is so easy this way!

I am submitting this post to Aspiring Bakers #10: Easy as Pie (August 2011), hosted by Janine of Not the Kitchen Sink! If you would like to join, please see details here.

Food Processor Almond Danish Braid
(Recipe adapted from  Nigella Lawson's 'How to be a Domestic Goddess' cookbook)

For the pastry dough:
60ml warm water
125ml milk, at room temperature
1 large egg, at room temperature
350g white bread flour
7g (1 package) rapid-rise yeast or 1 tbsp fresh yeast
1 tsp salt
25g caster sugar
250g unsalted butter, cold, cut into thin slices

For the filling:
150g ground almond 
80g icing sugar
2 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
½ tsp almond extract (I used vanilla)
1 large egg white, beaten lightly

For the egg glaze:
1 large egg, beaten with
2 tbsp milk

For the clear glaze:
100g caster sugar
60ml water

For the sugar glaze:
100g icing sugar
1-2 tbsp warm water


To make pastry dough:
Pour the water and milk into a measuring cup and add the egg, beating with a fork to mix. Put to one side for a moment. Put the flour, yeast, salt and sugar in the processor, and give one quick whizz just to mix. Add the cold slices of butter and process briefly so that the butter is cut up a little, though you still want visible chunks. Empty the contents of the food processor into a large mixing  bowl and quickly add the contents of the cup. Use your hands or a rubber spatula to fold the ingredients together, but don’t overdo it. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, put in the refrigerator, and leave overnight or up to 4 days.

To turn it into pastry, take it out of the refrigerator, let it get to room temperature, and roll it out to a 20-inch (50 cm) square. Fold the dough square into thirds, like a business letter, turning it afterward so that the closed fold is on your left, like the spine of a book. Roll out again to a 20-inch square, repeating the steps above three more times. Cut in half, wrap both pieces in plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Or you can refrigerate one (up to 4 days) to use now (for the Almond Danish Braid) and put the other one in the freezer to use later.

To make the almond filling:
Beat the butter until soft. Mix in the ground almonds and powdered sugar. Then add the almond extract and 2 tbsp of the egg white. You can make this in advance and keep it in the fridge for up to a week.

To make danish braid:
(You'll need only 1/2 quantity of the pastry dough above)
Roll the pastry out to a big rectangle. Slice the left and right thirds of the dough at an angle and parallel to the other side into 1/2 inch wide slices.Spread the filling on the middle of the dough.
Fold the top and bottom flaps over to hold in the filling. Fold the slices of dough from the left and right sides of the middle, alternating and forming a braid.

Place on the baking sheet and brush with the egg glaze. Leave to rise until it doubles in size and feels spongy like marshmallow, about 1 ½ hours. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 175°C. Once risen, bake for 30 minutes or until golden.

Remove to a wire rack and make the two remaining glazes.

To make the clear glaze:
Heat the granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil then take off the heat.

To make the sugar glaze:
Add the water to the confectioners’ sugar a little at a time to make a runny icing. Brush the braid with the clear glaze first once it has cooled a bit; then when almost cold zigzag the sugar glaze over it.

Yummy moist almond filling which is not too sweet.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Rustic Free Form Pear Tart

If you're like me who thinks all things pastry in general are a pain to make, this free form rustic tart may just change your mind!  This is one easy and delicious tart to make at home. I especially like the fact that I don't need to line a tart tin let alone needing one, but just roll the pastry into a rough circle and fold up the edges. And it's okay if it's uneven and knobbly, because rustic and homey is what we want.  I've got to say, I'm pretty pleased with this pear tart. It didn't get soggy like what I expected -  the filling was oozing pear juices and was bubbling away during baking. Instead,  the crust was deliciously buttery and crisp. The pears all soft and fragrant and  the juices thicken up nicely upon cooling. A delight to eat and eat..... and eat.

I am submitting this to Aspiring Bakers #10: Easy as Pie (August 2011), hosted by Janine of Not the Kitchen Sink! If you would like to join, please see details here.

Rustic Pear Tart
Recipe adapted from here for the pastry and here for the filling.


Shortcrust Pastry:
250g plain flour
125g salted butter, chilled, finely chopped
80g icing sugar
2 egg yolks, chilled
1 tbs water, chilled

3 medium pears


For the pastry:

Monday, August 22, 2011

Basic Chiffon Cake

Great for making layered cakes.

To my dear cousin Feli,

Here's the basic chiffon cake recipe you asked for.

This cake is soft, moist, fine textured and fluffier than other chiffon recipes I've tried. It freezes well too. The trick is to whip the egg whites until glossy and almost stiff. It's ready when the bowl is overturned the whites will not fall off. Bake at the lower rack of your oven and if you find your cake cracking, try baking at a lower temperature.

Have fun trying!

P/S Now, where's that scrummy cornflakes cookie recipe you promised? LOL 

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 80 ml water
  • 70g caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt (reduce to 1/4 tsp if u like)
  • 120g self raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) corn oil
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 70g caster sugar


  • Preheat oven at 160C.
  • Beat egg yolks, sugar and salt until sugar dissolves completely. Then, add water, vanilla, oil and self raising flour. Mix well.
  • In a clean mixing bowl, whisk egg whites until frothy. Add in the cream of tartar and 1/3 of the 70g caster sugar. Whisk until sugar dissolves before gradually adding in the rest of the sugar. Continue whisking until egg whites form stiff peaks and shiny and would not fall off the bowl when overturned.
  • Take a 1/4 of the beaten egg whites and fold in to the egg yolk mixture to lighten the batter. Gently fold in the rest of  the egg whites until well combined (until you see no streaks).
  • Pour batter into an 8 inch round deep cake tin with removable base or springform tin (no need to grease or line). 
  • Bake at lower rack of the oven for 40-50 minutes or until skewer comes out clean when plunged in the middle of the cake.
  • Cool inverted on a wire rack. Remove cake from tin when cake is cooled completely.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pumpkin Muah Chee

I had some leftover pumpkin puree and was wondering what to do with it and toyed with the idea of making pumpkin Muah Chee. 

Here it is, my experimental Pumpkin Muah Chee which only took a mere couple of minutes to cook by zapping in the microwave.

As you can see, the pumpkin made the muah chee a bright sunny yellow. However, it was not as pumpkin-ny tasting as you may think.  The taste was very subtle. In fact, I can hardly taste it. But it was fun experimenting. 

Now I'm thinking of what other muah chee flavor I'll experiment next. I have so many ideas, from sweet potato to green tea to black sesame, I'm having a hard time to choose!

Pumpkin Muah Chee
(serves 2)

100g pumpkin puree
40g glutinous rice flour
20g water
1 tsp vegetable oil

For coating:
crushed / finely chopped peanuts
brown sugar

Mix all ingredients into a smooth paste. Put into a microwave safe bowl, microwave on high for 2 minutes. Take out, give it a stir and microwave further for another 2 minutes. The dough would have become opaque, sticky and thicken.
In the mean time, crush or finely chop some ready roasted peanuts. Mix with brown sugar to taste.
Put the microwaved dough onto the peanut sugar mixture. Cut the dough to pieces using a plastic knife, at the same time coating the cut pieces with the peanut sugar mixture. Serve!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Mazarin Tarts

Mazarin tarts are small Swedish almond tarts, oval shaped with a tender buttery crust and an even more buttery and moist cake-like almond filling, topped with sweet icing sugar glaze. Very fattening & rich but I absolutely love these delectable tarts and eating just one is never enough for me - I don't care even if they add extra inches to my thighs!  Unless I fly to Sweden, the only place I could get them is from Ikea Stores in Singapore and KL, both of which are sadly thousands of  miles away across the South China Sea from my place. Fortunately, I have a kind aunt who brings these tarts over whenever she comes to visit, but unfortunately, she does not visit often enough.  Thus, savouring these tarts is just a once-a-year indulgence for me. Not enough I say.   

I have bookmarked this Mazarin recipe for the longest time and had told myself to make many times over, but I just never did. Honestly, to me pastry in general is such tedious work - a real challenge to my lazy bones, not to mention the most unconducive hot weather we're experiencing these days! However much I dread pastry making,  I do not want to miss out this month's  Aspiring Bakers   (everyone is challenged to make pies and tarts and all things pastry), and for my entry I'd like to finally give this Mazarin recipe a try.  And boy did all that 'hard' work paid off!  My homemade tarts were deliciously buttery and utterly moist with a bright hint of refreshing orange zest. Totally yum! What's more, my opinionated Mom raved about them and said they were better than those from Ikea! 
*Smug smile*     

I am submitting this to Aspiring Bakers #10: Easy as Pie (August 2011), hosted by Janine of Not the Kitchen Sink! If you would like to join, see details here.

Mazarin Tarts
(Recipe adapted from here)
Wish I have oval shaped tins!
Makes about 15 tarts
150g flour
80g sugar
110 g butter

1 egg yolk
1 tsp rum

100g butter 
100g sugar 
2 eggs 
150g ground almonds
finely grated zest of 1 orange 

150g icing sugar
about 3 Tbs water 


Make tart crust: 
Using a food processor, blitz the flour, sugar and butter together until crumbly. Add the lightly beaten egg yolk and rum and blitz again, just until dough forms. Tip the dough out, gather into a ball then flatten into a disk. Wrap the dough/disk in cling wrap and place in refrigerator to rest & firm up for at least half an hour. Pinch a small ball of dough and press evenly into each tart tins.

Make Filling:
Beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, then add the eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly. Mix in grated orange zest and then gently fold in the ground almonds. Fill the tart shells with the  almond batter, smooth surface and then bake in the oven at 175 °C for about 20 minutes or till the tops turn a crisp golden brown and skewer comes out clean when tested. Wait till the tarts cool before glazing - the filling is likely to sink slightly during cooling.  

Make Glaze:
For the glaze, mix 3 tablespoons water with  the icing sugar to a spreadable consistency.  With the back of a spoon thinly cover the the tops of the cooled tarts with glaze. Let the glaze set and harden.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Butter Milk Pau

Growing up my favorite filled paus were those with butter milk filling. Now they have  become my Daughter G's favorite too. She would eat the pau skin first and leave out the filling to slowly savour. 'Saving the best for last', she reasoned.  The butter milk filling is made of butter and copious amount of milk powder - very rich and milky. I've search high and low for the filling recipe and have tried a couple but they were not of the consistency I was looking for. This one comes close in taste but still too wet . What I'm looking for is dry-ish and a little crumbly. Oh well, the search continues.

Butter Milk Pau

Butter Milk Filling
(recipe adapted from I cook I bake I love here)

60g Castor Sugar
60g Butter
100g Milk Powder
20g Corn Flour
40g Fresh Milk

Pau Skin
(recipe adapted from Cooking Crave here)

130 g warm water
5 g instant yeast
300g pau flour
80g icing sugar
30g oil
2"x2" pachment papers for lining the paus


To make butter milk filling:

Beat all the ingredients of the filling together until smooth. Leave the mixture in the fridge overnight to let it firm up so that it is easier to fill the pau skin with.

To make & fill pau skin:

In a big bowl slowly mix the yeast together with warm water and a tablespoon of icing sugar (from the 80g icing sugar). Cover, set aside and let it prove for 45mins - mixture will bubble up and expand.

Sieve flour and icing sugar together into a big mixing bowl. Combine with the proofed yeast mixture. Add in oil. Start kneading the dough with hand. The dough will be a bit sticky at first, knead until it's soft and smooth. It takes approximately 20-25mins. Cover the bowl with wet cloth or cling wrap and let the dough rest for 15mins.

After 15mins, the dough are ready to be wrapped with its fillings. Cut and weigh the dough into 30g balls.
Take a piece of dough ball, flatten out, make sure the edges are thinner than the centre part. Spoon the fillings on the centre of the skin, fold, pleat and pinch to seal. Put the filled pau on a piece of parchment paper and cover with a damp cloth to prevent it from drying up. Once all the paus are filled, let them rest for about 30-45mins. Do not let them proof longer than the specified time to avoid wrinkly skin. Steam paus on high heat for 10-12 minutes. 

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