Trick or treat…smell my feet, give me something good to eat…. My favorite time of the year was when you see tonnes of children running around the neighbourhood dressed as witches, princess, swordsman and animals in order to get treats. I grew up trick or treating and it was deliciously fun.
I am sitting by here with my bowl filled with candy waiting for the first group of kids run to the door anticipating a large payout of chocolate…yum…. Not too long ago, I was also trick or treating. It was tremendously fun running around the neighbourhood, which was completely decked out in jack o lantern, asking for candy.
Since I am sitting around the computer and waiting for the banging door, I might as well write the next blog. This time it was strawberry friands. Friands were quite similar to financiers. They are mini cakes which when done had a wonderful aroma of strawberry and vanilla. It was a light cake and is the perfect little cake for afternoon tea with friands.
Strawberry Friand (Adapted from here)
125g strawberries, hulled, halved
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste ( I used vanilla extract)
1 1/2 cups (225g) icing sugar mixture, plus extra to dust ( I used only 200 g icing sugar)
1 1/4 cups (155g) almond meal (I used pistachio)
1/2 cup (75g) plain flour ( I used pastry flour)
150g unsalted butter, melted, cooled
Vanillin sugar, to dust
I found it amazingly light. When eaten warm, the cake carried the aroma of berries and pistachio. IMHO, I think this cake would be a wonderful addition to afternoon tea.
Bread again!!! I just love the aroma of fresh baked bread. Crispy on the outside, and soft on the inside. It has been raining for a few days now and as the temperature drops, my solution was to stay at home and drink warm tea while flipping through recipe books.
I recently found a recipe from a Japanese bread cook book. Unlike North American culture where the focus was on sugar, the orients focuses less on sugar. The buns I made were Honey Green Tea bun and yummy. : )
Let the dough proof for about 2 hours or doubled in size. Punch down, knead and roll out the dough. Once the dough has been kneaded, separate into 10 pieces of dough. As a twist to this recipe,I added some azuki bean paste and black sesame to the buns. Allow the buns to proof a bit more until it reaches 1 1/2 in size. Bake take at 350F for 25 minutes. Glaze with egg and honey wash.
Honey Green Tea Bun
250 bread flour (I used all purpose
3 g green tea powder
8 g yeast (I choose active yeast)
130 g water ( I substituted for milk)
10 g milk
10 g butter
10 g milk powder
20 g sugar
40 g honey
*Filling: (auzuki bean paste, black sesame paste or white sesame paste) optional
Results, the buns were perfect, very soft and rich inside. The black sesame paste and azuki paste really stood out and complimented the flavour and texture of the bun., One could have it for breakfast and could be accompanied by fresh fruit, tea or milk. Definitely a keeper.
Enjoy the Fall weather, and watch the trees turn from green, to yellow, to red and orange; quite a sight to see!!!
After few days of intermittent rain, it is finally sunny. I could not get enough of the sunshine. Are we having a late summer or mother nature was kind to us and let us have more sun hmmmm? Nonetheless, regardless of the rain, I finally stopped watching TV and got myself baking again. A friend and I have been having tea recently at Thomas Haas, my idol and motivation. His pastries never fail to turn an upside down frowns into happy faces. Both of us selected the almond croissant. Yummm…it was delicious to which my tummy will pay for ha ha. I liked the pastry so much that I decided to try making croissants again. Hopefully this time, the delicate and flaky pastries will turn out okay and not lumps of hard pastry. Hmmm…I wonder…if I fail to make them correctly…I can use them as little rocks. Moreover feed them to my guinea pigs…I can’t help bit snickering away. I am evil!!! :)
Keys to Making Croissants
-make sure both the butter half and the dough half are at the same temperature or consistency. If the butter is still lumpy encased in the dough, squash it with your finger. This step is absolutely crucial.
-between folds, make sure one brushes away the flour.
-if the dough is rolled too thin and breaks thus showing the butter, dab the dough gently with flour to repair the breakage
-in terms of turns allow for 3-4 turns. After each turn place dough into fridge for at least 1/2 hour to an hour
-when rolling make sure the dough remains rectangular.
-once you reached the 4th turn, it is time to roll out the dough and cut into triangles. Or you could leave the dough over night and roll out the next morning. The extra time will allow the croissants to rest more.
-when rolling make sure the triangles are stretched or pulled out lightly and roll away from you.
-Once the croissants been proofed to 1 1/2 or double in size at room temperature for about 2-4 hours. Make sure you do not place a hot bowl of water underneath them as the butter will melt. Instead place a cloth over them. Egg wash them and bake at 350 F for about 20-25 minutes.
Buttery Croissants adapted from Felder
4 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp plus tsp powdered milk
2 tsp salt
7 tbsp butter softened
1 1/4 fresh yeast (I found it was the better product than the instant yeast)
230 ml water
2 sticks butter chilled
Result: I found the proofing did an amazing job. There was no runny mess of hot butter; furthermore, the active yeast was better than the instant yeast. I was quite happy about the outcome, Felder was quite thorough of his instructions but the added photos did an amazing job explaining the steps. Here’s to more croissant making and its products such as the almond croissant.
Yippee!!! Its still warm and sunny. My corn patch was finally flourishing and filled with baby corns. Nothing was sweeter than to see your own creation blossoming in the warm summer sky. To make it sweeter, my order for a baking book came. I immediately flipped through the pages and stopped on the green tea azuki mousse cake. I had always wanted to learn to make a green tea azuki mousse cake so now was the best time ever :)
I first made the cake and then worked on the filling. The azuki mousse came first. Blossom the gelatin in cold water and whipped the cream first. Warm up the azuki paste so it became spreadable or easily whipped up. By the time the azuki cream warmed up, add the blossomed gelatin. Cool the mixture prior to adding the whipped cream as you want the mixture smooth not grainy in appearance. Once the azuki mixture/cream mixture is smooth and incorporated, spoon the mixture into silicon mould.
The green tea mouse came next. The methodology was similar to a custard when incorporating in the ingredients. Though similar, let the tea and the cream steep for approx 1 hour first
Separate the eggs and egg white
Combine the matcha and water. Keep mixing the matcha powder with the water until paste like. Lumps are very unappealing.
Have the chocolate in a bowl and keep aside until the custard is ready. Pour hot custard to the white chocolate. Cool set aside.
Use this time to whip up the cream and then fold in the cooled custard
1. Place the cake at the bottom
2. Pipe in the mousse
3. Add a layer of cake on top of the mousse
4. Spread the Azuki/red been paste
5. Place the azuki mousse on top.
6. Pipe the mousse to the top and cool in fridge prior to making the glaze.
7. When the cake has coolded sufficiently, pour the glaze over the mousse cake and decorate lightly.
Green Tea Mousse(adapted from William Curley)
290 ml whip cream
10 g green tea leaves
155 white chocolate
3g match powder (Could be 3-5 depending if you want a strong matcha taste
5 ml water
3 g gelatin
35 egg yolks
10g caster sugar.***
***35 egg yolks, 10 caster sugar used to make the sugar/yolk mixture light in colour.
I found this cake superb especially the fact it had red bean mousse in it. It was quite light as the green tea mousse toned down the sweetness. While it may be taxing on time, the results are delicious. A keeper to whom loves matcha tea and red bean dessert. Bon Appetit.
Summer is almost gone as the evenings are cooler and the sun sets at an earlier time. I am back from basking in the sun. Looking at my book pile, I finally realized that I have collected a huge pile of them. As I flipped the pages of recipes, I landed on the White Chocolate and Almond truffles by Will Torrent. As I was making them I realize the recipe called for butter. In the beginning I did not realize butter’s part in the recipe, then the obvious came out at me. The added butter increases the smoothness of the chocolate.
When baking or making with chocolate, do not put water in the ganache as it will seize up and nothing can be done with it. Making sure of that tip, I went ahead in making the ganache. Once they are all piped, I let them chill. While the middle was chilling, nuts were toasted and grounded. They were the coating for the chocolate. Making sure the almonds were toasted to the right level, I then took out the chilled ganache and dipped them in the tempered white chocolate and almond for decoration.
White Chocolate and Almond Truffles (Adapted from Will Torrent)
100 ml/scant 1/2 cup whipping cream
2 tbsp butter
a pinch of salt
550 g white chocolate chopped
250 g almonds
Result these were the best truffles I tasted; they were extraordinary. The texture was smooth and to be enhanced by the toasted almonds… wowwww. I am surely going to be keeping this for either birthdays or holidays. Enjoy the rest of the weekend.