Honey Green Tea Bun

16 Oct DSC_0597

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. : )

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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.

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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

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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!!!

Croissants-Christophe Felder

11 Oct DSC_0585

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.

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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

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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.

Green Tea and Azuki Bean Mousse- Curley

20 Sep DSC_0567

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.

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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

Keys

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

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Assembly:
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.

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7. When the cake has coolded sufficiently, pour the glaze over the mousse cake and decorate lightly.

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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.

White Chocolate and Almond Truffles

12 Sep DSC_0541

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.

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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

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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.

Mille-feuille-Raspberry and Chocolate

7 Sep

What weather we been getting. Just finished a trip up to Kraus Berry Farms and must I say it was always a treat to go to a farm as the experience will never change. Being in the countyside, rest and peace is always aparant as many families go there to either relax, re-energize and admire the environment. For me it was an absolutely stunning enviroment; nothing an beat natures bounty, beautiful cloudless sky, fragrant flowers and berries. There were also tables with covering for the customers to sit in and snack on waffles, shakes while relaxing and socializing away.

Our rewards for this trip was blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and corn. Too take advantage of this good weather and berries, I made a Mille-Feuille. Mille-Feuille had always been partnered with custard between layers but in the recent years, there seems to be some variation to the traditional dessert. I had made mille feuille with custard before but this time, I decided to be more adventurous and walk dowm the same road that chefs walked down. This time I made the puff pastry but instead I made a white chocolate mousse and combined it with raspberries.

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Since the internet was with recipes on mille-feuille, I opted to leave the recipe out. Same goes for mousses. The mousse I had hear was white chocolate mousse. As for individuals who like to get tips on the pastry you can see it here. . While puff pastry can be a challenge to make since the pastry was quite finicky, pure joy in seeing it raise and layers make up the difference. As for me, I would be looking out for more recipes to try. Until then, I can be spotted out at the farms and relaxing with a Strawberry Milkshake.

Baked Ribs and Wings

2 Sep DSC_0522

What a long weekend!!! Weather was absolutely wonderful.  Had a chance to go to the fair and my favorite spot; watching the little chicks and ducklings swim and sleep.  I don’t know why I am so attracted to them; maybe because they were babies but moreover soft, squishy and puffy.  One quack or chirp I hear, I melt away.  The annual fair was quite the gathering spot for locals and tourists as there was something for everyone.  For me, it was cotton candy and baby animals but alike all things, it came to an end.   

As I walked around the fair and gazed at what the vendors were offering, I realize the over abundance of sweets. It made me realize that I too have been making too much sweets lately. My  perfect excuse, I am trying various recipes and enhancing my baking abilities. The truth was I love sweets to a detriment of cavities. To to save myself from sugar high and a growing belly,I decided to make a main dish.

Recently, a local superstore had a promotion on wings and ribs thus I bought some. Deciding to bake them I first marinated the wings and ribs.  I used soy sauce, sugar and salt and BBQ sauce to bake the ribs and wings. The key to making a flavourful dish was to prepare it the night before and bake the next day. In this case thus I marinated the wings and ribs the night before. Next day, I took them out to bake. Bake at 350 degrees and then glaze them with honey.

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Yum was the reaction that I got. The crispy glaze sure made the dish for delicious. I think next time I will try them with bourbon or more honey.

Bon Appetit.

Puff Pastry with Caramelized Gianduja Mousse

18 Aug DSC_0516

Wow August so soon!!! It’s almost like July blazed through and I did not do anything. Well that’s a lie, I actually went to pick berries at its best.

With steady sunlight and warmth, it is always a joy visiting the farms and bask in the warm sun light while picking. The farms which I normally or Vancouverites visit are Emma Lea Farms or Krause Berry Farms. Though it can be tiring at times crouching under the hot sun but the reward will be all smiles, relaxation and a bucket full of round plump blue berries. They are huge in comparison with store bought berries. After a hard afternoon of berry picking, a delicious strawberry milkshake hit the spot. I will distributing my pick with family. Blue berry muffins will be coming shortly :) but prior to that, I decided to make puff pastry.

Over the course of the summer, I bought a couple of books. As I sifted through the pages, I found a recipe on Caramelized Gianduja. Being low on gianduja, and being adventurous I decided to beat up some inverted puff pastry and use the gianduja as a basis to form a mousse.

Keys to Puff Pastry Inverted

-as the butter is hard, chop or dice it to a size from which one can handle

-French inverted puff pastry has the butter dough outside while the dough is inside.

-once ready, roll the dough into a rectangle.

-if the butter becomes to warm or unworkable, place it back to the fridge allowing the butter dough as hardened again.

-do not roll too thin

-do not over fold 3-5 folds is good enough

-for every turn and fold one takes make sure to allow the dough to rest in the fridge. It will prevent the softening of the dough

-when rolling and folding the turns, make sure to be gentle with the dough.

-As an extra step, place the finished dough in the freezer to allow it to rest and solidify the butter a bit.  Putting the pastry in the freezer to rest while waiting for the oven to reach 400 F is a plus.  Think warm air as it expands in the layers; as air expands, it will raise the pastry as well resulting in better volumes.  it will raise the pastry as well.
-Bake about 20-25 mins at 390-410 degrees F.

Puff Pastry Rolls

Once the pastry was cooked, the molds are be removed immediately. Through this way, the pastry was easier to be removed from the molds.

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Next came the caramelized praline.

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Caramelized Hazelnuts or Almonds (adapted from William Curly)

250 grams hazelnuts

100 sugar

40 ml water

Once the caramelized hazelnuts where done and cooled, they were ground in a processer until fine. Melted chocolate was then incorporated with the ground nuts until smooth and let cooled. With the gianduja cooling, I then whipped up some cream and folded in the gianduja and pipped into the cooled pastry rolls. When making the mousse, make sure the gianduja is cooled or it will melt the whipped cream. Place it in the fridge and allow the mousse to set.

Finish by pipping it inside the cone and decorate with pistachio and icing sugar.

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Result: When ones buy puff pastry, recommended ones come with a pastry or whipped cream in the middle. I experiemented with flavours and made a Gianduga Mousse instead. While different from a typical puff pastry cone, the gianduja for me made a hit. 

Bon Appetit.

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