Feb 072011

Oh no!

1 more month to go and i’ve not started training. With my current condition, i don’t think i can run or do any form of exercise at all without coughing my lungs out. And my throat hurts very much :(

Too many late nights, too little rest, too much heaty food.

CNY, what have you done?!?!

Anyway, without breaking the tradition, i always grab a photo with the boys on the first day of CNY and post it here. As of every year, we never quite manage to get a picture perfect photo because someone (the boys) is always acting funny or kena hidden or something. This year, boy2′s face is completely blocked! Grrr.

Apart from visiting friends and family, we had friends over for a mini CNY gathering. Instead of more visiting on the second day of CNY, i spent almost the whole afternoon baking away before the husband whisked me off to dinner and movie with friends.

Because i am a lazy bum, we had the friends over for tea instead of lunch. Less cooking to do! :P

The friends brought Yu Sheng (鱼生) over and so all i had to do was to provide snacks and desserts! I actually planned to bake and make a lot more desserts but how much can 10 adults and 10 children eat, i asked myself. In the end, i struck off many items on my list and ended up with just 3…

- matcha macaron with cream cheese filling

- kek or kueh lapis with cranberry (baked it again!)

- tiramisu

I’m quite pleased with my 4th attempt on macaron.

I finally had pretty feet!!!! :D

One thing about baking for friends is that u can never take proper photos! You know, too busy with all the preparations and baking till you just can’t take time off to click away leisurely.

tiramisu is just too messy to capture, unless it’s in a cup but i love messy tiramisu photo! somehow, it’s more appealing to me. hahaa!

It was Darcy who suggested tiramisu. But he also suggested freshly baked banana cake (bake only when the friends arrive) too which i didn’t bother. HAhahaa! Darcy must have missed my tiramisu quite a bit, probably because i’ve not made it for 2 years already!

Macaron was a hit. I must say i was pretty daring to attempt it after 3 very so-so attempts using a totally new recipe, on the very day itself in the morning. And i didn’t even have a back up plan!

Matcha Macaron

(adapted from here)

110g egg white
6g egg white powder
90g caster sugar
140g almond flour
160g icing sugar
3 – 4 teaspoon matcha powder
black sesame seeds (optional)

1. Preheat oven at 170 degrees Celsius.

2. Sift almond flour, matcha powder and icing sugar together in a bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites and egg white powder till soft peaks are formed. Whisk in caster sugar until stiff peaks form.

4. To the egg white mixture, fold in dry ingredients from Step 2 in 1/3 portions to combine. Fold in the mixture more vigorously. Test the consistency from time to time by lifting a generous dollop of macaron paste and dropping it into the mixing bowl. If the macaron paste does not settle smoothly after 30 seconds, continue folding the paste. If the macaron paste smooths out too quickly, you’ve gone too far.

5. Pipe out the shells onto a baking sheet lined with parchment and leave them to rest for 25 minutes before baking. Sprinkle some black sesame seeds on the shell.

6. When a crust is formed, turn temperature on oven down to 140 degrees Celsius and bake for 15 minutes, turning the tray halfway through baking.

7. Cool parchment of baked shells on cooling rack. Unmould when the shells are completely cool.

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Taste and texture wise, it’s pretty darn good especially after resting them overnight in the fridge. Some say, best to eat it after 2 whole days when the flavor is fully developed and the shells are well re-hydrated but errrr, i didn’t manage to find that out cos every morsel was gone by noon. ^_^

With 30 egg whites sitting pretty in the fridge and this awesome recipe, you can be very sure there will be many many many macaron posts this month ;)

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Edited to add this in upon requests :

Tiramisu

(adapted from MamaC)

* i use 7″ square ring pan

* as for lady’s finger, i like this brand starts with V that can be found in all Cold Storage, Singapore. the packaging is orange in colour.
Syrup:
90 ml water
90 ml milk
65 ml Bailey
25 ml rum
1 teaspoon vanilla
1.5 tablespoons melted chocolate or chocolate syrup

Cream:
500g mascarpone cheese (I use Philadelphia Cream Cheese)
450 g whipping cream
150 – 170g sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
30 ml Bailey

Method
Roast the lady fingers in the oven at 160°C for about 5 minutes. (Optional) could be done without. Roasting the ladyfingers will give the cake a better flavor.

First make the cream and place in the refrigerator

Beat very well the whip cream + half amount of the above sugar until sugar is dissolved, make sure you don’t mix it too much (whip cream can turn to curds if over beaten), and then, beat very well the cheese + the last half amount of  sugar until it is dissolved. Combine all. Add vanilla and Bailey. Mix well.

For the syrup:
Place all the ingredients into a measuring cup and warm 30 seconds in the microwave. It doesn’t need to be hot, just warm would do.

Assemble the cake:
Place a layer of lady fingers on the bottom of the baking pan, using exactly half the liquid sprinkle all over the lady fingers, make sure you don’t put too much in one side and less in other areas.

Take a tea strainer and powder with cocoa (about 1 full teaspoon-if needed more add as desire) all over the lady fingers.
Take 1/2 of the cream mixture and place it in the middle of the cake. This is a little tricky… cream tends to stick to the spoon and get loose because of the cocoa powder. What I do, is push the cream towards the sides of the pan, until it touches the walls. The cream must touch the walls all around, and make sure the cream is spread well and no holes are communicating with the lady fingers bellow. We don’t want any liquid to go to the layer bellow.

Place next layer of lady fingers over the cream, sprinkle the rest of the syrup, sprinkle with cocoa and place the rest of the cream on top of everything. Level well and sprinkle plenty with cocoa.
Refrigerate over night.

Note :

  • the remaining of the lady fingers that i trimmed to fit into the square pan is squashed to crumbs-like texture. i use these crumbs to fill the holes in between the lady fingers that have been arranged in the pan

Have fun making!

Aug 202010

I wanted to make macarons from the many egg whites that have been sitting in the fridge for a while but strangely, i wasn’t in the mood to eat something so girlie and dainty at that particular moment when i was gonna bake. Yes, macarons are girlie and dainty in my opinion and to eat it, i needed to be in that proper English tea mood – i is eccentric like that! :P

So instead, i baked something more rugged looking. Something that i didn’t have to be very careful when i handle it. Something i can be very rough with….

So dacquoise it is!

Moreover, i’ve been wondering for the longest time what IS the difference between macarons and dacquoise, so found out i did :)

So what’s so different about dacquoise?

For a start, they have no skin. So, they’re not crisp on the outside but of course, if you were to eat it when they’re just outta oven, then it’s slightly crisp but well, not the same crisp that macaron’s shell gives though. What’s more fascinating is, when they’re kept overnight, they become 2 different thing altogether!

Just 1 night in the fridge, they’re financier-like even though dacquoise contains no browned butter.

Another very obvious difference is, they’ve got more bite. I can many macarons at 1 go (macarons are almost like chiffon, you know, rather airy) but with dacquoise, the most i can polish off is only 4-6 pieces. I cannot do more than that. Heh. Dacquoise is very much cake-like but minus getting the fat part — what a welcoming fact!!– which i really dig. Of course, having buttercream sandwiched in between is another story altogether ah! Heeeeee!

All in all, i enjoy dacquoise very much.

It tastes really awesome with buttercream. Without buttercream, there’s no life to it. Therefore, expanding the waist or not, buttercream is a must and no other substitutes! (i tried replacing it with chestnut puree but it just doesn’t work)

And oh, the fact that it isn’t as sweet as macarons rocks my boat even harder. I don’t have to worry so much about my sugar intake for the day with these little not-so-wicked-morsels ;)

Green Tea Dacquiose
from okashi, keiko ishida

biscuit dacquoise

ground almonds, 180g
icing sugar 80g – i used 70
green tea powder 10g
castor sugar 40g – i used 35g
egg white powder 2g
egg whites 200g

green tea cream

unsalted butter 100g – i used 80g
egg whites 35g – i used 30
icing sugar 35g – i anyhow, to taste
green tea powder 5g

1. Preheat oven to 180c. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Sift ground almonds, icing sugar and green tea powder with a corase sieve twice. Set aside.

2. Make a meringue. Combine castor sugar and egg white powder. Beat egg whites until foamy. Add sugar and egg white powder mixture and beat until egg whites are glossy, with stiff peaks.

3. Add sifted almond, sugar and green tea powder mixture to the meringue and fold in gently to make the dacquoise batter.

4. Transfer batter into a piping bag. Pipe out small disc onto parchment paper. Dust with icing sugar (i skipped this) and bake for 15-20 mins until dacquoise rises up completely and surface becomes dry.

5. Make green tea cream. Beat butter until pale and creamy. Using another clean bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Add half the sugar and continue beating. When egg whites have some volume, add remaining sugar and continue to beat until egg whites are glossy and in stiff peaks form. Add meringue to butter and mix thoroughly. Add green tea powder.

6. Dacquoise can be kept for up to 3 days.

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Dec 212009

coffeemacs

Coffee Macarons

Source : here

Makes about 4 dozen small macarons

181 grams almond flour
243 grams powdered sugar
138g egg whites
3 grams egg white powder
2 grams of finely ground sea salt
81 grams granulated sugar
3 tsp coffee, finely ground

In a large bowl, sift together the almond flour, powdered sugar and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, add the egg white and the egg white powder. Whip in medium speed until egg whites start to increase in volume. I know a lot of recipes say to whip the egg whites at high speed but I find that it is better to start slower to build a better structure for the meringue.

When the egg whites are almost fully whipped and very fluffy, slowly start adding the sugar, sprinkle it in. After all the sugar is incorporated, continue to whip the meringue in high speed now until semi stiff peaks have formed. This is when we will add the orange zest and the food coloring.

Add the meringue to the almond flour and powdered sugar mixture and with a spatula, fold the meringue into the dry ingredients. This is called “macaroner” and is also a tricky part. It is better to fold slowly and test a couple of macaroons because it is possible to over fold this mixture. We are looking for a shiny mass. For this amount of ingredients, I would say that it will only take about 10 to 15 strokes. But again, it is better to check for consistency. We are looking for a mass that spreads a little but not too much otherwise our macaroons will be flat.

Pipe the mass onto half sheet pans lined with silpats. Sprinkle the wet macaroons with cocoa nibs.

Let them sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes so they dry. We want the tops to not stick to our finger when we touch them. This will ensure a crack-free macaroon.

Have your oven preheated at 325 degrees. Bake one sheet pan at a time positioning it in a middle rack. Bake for about 8 minutes and rotate sheet pan to ensure even baking. It should take about 14 minutes but that depends on the oven. We want to be able to pick up the macaroon without it falling apart but we don’t want to over bake it either. It is better to bake it slowly so no browning occurs. Remove them from the oven and slide the silpat onto a cold surface. Let them cool on the silpat.

Chocolate ganache

150g dark chocolate

80g cream

Double boil both and let cool before piping.

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Do pardon the not-so-good-looking-macarons!

I kept them in the fridge for 3 days, jammed together in an airtight container before the hardworking Sherie got the better of me. Grin. (i just wanna eat them, not photograph them then!)

We churned out quite many batches. 4 trays to be exact, i think.  2 trays piped by me and the other 2 by bossacafez. One would assume that coming from the SAME meringue batter, the temperamental cookies would look the same right???

You’re now in for surprise :)

All 4 came out looking very different!

How strange can it get?

First 2 trays with prettiest feet ever, but one with plumper shells than another. Then, the final 2 trays, no visible feet.. and if you will, a little dome was visible on some!

Oh well, feet or no feet, they were sure delicious. Pssstttt, i think the friend almost had a heart attack seeing how much i could eat in that short 3 hours! Muaaahahhahahaaaha. Please call me Ms. oink! :@

coffeemacs1

I sprinkled the macarons with cocoa nibs and also coffee granules.

I like the cocoa nibs better. Coffee granules melted whilst baking and added a very bitter taste while gobbling the cookies.

Macarons baking again??

You bet! ;)

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