Boy it’s getting chilly these days. Yes it is an indication that Christmas is just around the corner. As I strolled and shopped in downtown Vancouver yesterday, I noticed that all the stores were already decked out in their Christmas decorations. A sight to see!!! All it was missing was Santa Clause and gingerbread cookies. It really is a festive time of year where people are in good spirits.
I am baking again as a way to relieve stress and be at peace to myself. I have not made an entremet for a while thus thought of making it again. After flipping through the pages of various cook books, I settled on a Michalak recipe. Known for his modern take on desserts most of his creations are avant garde. The recipe I chose this time was a combination of lemon scented pears and a chocolate vanilla caramel mousse based dessert. Because I did not have lemons, I opted out to make that step and proceeded to make the chocolate vanilla caramel mousse. Instead of lemons scented pears, I did have pear puree in the fridge and decided to make a pear mousse which will compliment the chocolate vanilla caramel mousse.
The chocolate chiffon cake was the first step I did when making the entremet. It was basically a chiffon cake recipe plus 2 tablespoons of cocoa. The cake turned out quite nice. Next I made the vanilla chocolate caramel mousse.
1. I first measured the ingredients and split the cream into 200 ml and 50 ml measurements.
2. Melt the chocolate in the baine marie until melted. At the same time soak the gelatin in cold water until soften.
3. In another bowl Whip up the egg yolks. Add vanilla bean seeds in.
4. Create a light brown coloured dry caramel with the sugar. Once achieved, combine the 50 ml of the whipped cream to the caramel to deglaze it. The caramel will crystallize but keep stirring the cream with the caramel until the caramel becomes liquid form
5. Pour the liquid over the beaten eggs and return to heat and stir until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. * Make sure not to cook the eggs.
6. Wring the excess water from the gelatin and place into custard. Stir until fully incorporated and then incorporate the custard into the melted chocolate. Cool. * Don’t excessively cool the chocolate mixture with the gelatin already in it as it will set. If set warm up again.
7. Whisk up some cream. Fold and work quickly. Pour onto cake.
Next I made the pear and white chocolate mousse. To make the mousse, I melted some white chocolate. Once melted I soaked the gelatin. Heated up some pear puree and whipped up some cream. Combine the white chocolate with the pear puree. Add the gelatin and fold in the cream. Spread onto cake
Chocolate Caramel Vanilla Mousse (Michalak)
100 g milk chocolate
1/2 vanilla bean
1 sheet 2 g gelatin
30 g sugar
2 egg yolks
250 ml whipping cream divided in 50 ml (deglazing caramel) and 200 ml (folding)
1/2 cup white chocolate
3/4 cup pear puree
3/4 whipped cream
Result: It was a stunning entremet. The pear complimented the caramel. This recipe is a keeper. Enjoy making it!!!!
What a drag, its raining again in Vancouver. With all this rain and gloomy weather, I decided to bake again to warm up the house and my tummy :0. Yummmmm….bread gain. Nothing beats the aromas of warm bread in the household. One can’t go wrong when making bread and since I have a few packages of matcha and some freshly made chesnut cream, I decided to be adventurous and make some mathca honey with chestnut cream buns.
To make the buns, made a poolish. This consisted of warming up some milk and adding some sugar, 1/2 cup of the flour and yeast as a starter. Proof the poolish for about 1/2 an hour. After the poolish has proofed a bit, I added remaining ingredients to it. The remaining ingredients consisted of the remaining flour, sugar, green tea power, butter, milk powder, egg and honey. Once they are mixed together I began to knead the dough. Bare in mind, the recipe is quite moist thus add more flour if need be. I actually added another 1 1/2 cups of flour to 2 cups for the dough to be manageable. Thus use discretion. Once the dough kneaded enough and less sticky to the hands, proof the dough for 1 hour.
Once proofed punch down the dough. Knead again for about 5 minutes and divide the dough into 8 pieces. One could divide the dough into 10 pieces for smaller buns. Pat the dough flat and spoon the chestnut cream in. Squeeze the edges to seal the cream inside the dough after which roll them into balls.
Decorate with black and white sesames
Proof the buns for another 30-45 minutes until double in size.
Bake at 350F for 20 minutes. Once done brush with egg glaze.
Matcha Honey Buns
250 g bread flour
3 g green tea powder
8 g yeast
130 g water
20 g fresh milk (I used all milk)
10 g butter
10 g milk powder
40 g honey
This recipe is a keeper. The chestnut cream played well with the matcha. As a suggestion for next time, dougle the sugar, egg, honey, matcha and milk powder in relation to the extra flour used.
Happy Bread Making.
Halloween is here!!!! Yay my favorite childhood day. I can just see the children all decked out in costumes and running up and down the neighbourhood shouting, Trick or Treat!!! There was something nostalgic and enduring about Halloween and I can’t help but reminisce my own childhood blissful memories of trick or treating away with Jack O Lanterns and witches every where. By the time we got home, I be counting up my stash of goodies. I wish I was a child again. Just remembering it makes me want to be a child again weeeeee :) Those were the good old days. Perhaps it was that Fall was in full bloom and the excitement of candies, costumes, tricks and creepiness away made it extra special but nonetheless it proves to be one of most thought of special days for kids and adults.
In light of this special day and fall, I thought of making something Fall-ish again. I making chestnut cake again this time but I wanted to try the Mont Blanc method. I first had Mont Blanc in Vancouver and again in Japan. Yum. I really liked the chesnut cream they used. Creamy, nutty, sweet and with a hint of rum, it was decadent. Mont Blanc originated from France and composed of a merinque, cream and chestnut cream but since then there have been variations of the treat. In Japan, they use sponge cake. Today, I am making my own rendition of a mont blanc variation using sponge cake and chestnut cream.
To start of I made the chiffon cake and baked it and set aside for cooling. Next I started making the chestnut cream. To make the cream, I bought some fresh chestnuts and using a sharp knife put a x on them. Place them in the water and simmer for a few minutes. Remove the chestnuts a few at a time and take out the shell and inner lining as much as possible. Once the chestnuts were de-skinned, I then placed them in milk and simmered them till tender. Use a fork and test them for tenderness. Once they are tender from the milk, cool and drain them. Reserve the milk for use when pureeing in the food processor. If the puree is stiff then add some of the milk bit by bit. Use your judgement as to how thick the paste you want since I pureed it into a soft paste as added more milk than the recipe called for after all I was making chestnut vermicelli with it.
To make the sweetened cream, I made the paste and added icing sugar to the paste along with rum. Stir until well incorporated. Whip up some whipped cream and fold into the chestnut paste to make it even softer. Use your judgement again as to how thick or thin you want the paste to be. As a tip from Christophe Michalak I then created the chestnut vermicelli with a potato ricer. Apply onto whipped cream cover cake. Weeee I am so happy. I finally made my version of Mont Blanc with Chestnut Vermicelli.
Chestnut Puree from Rose Beranbaum
1 cup of milk (use judgement towards the consistency)
Chestnut Mousse Cream
1 cup chestnut puree
2/3 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons dark rum
heavy cream 2 liquid cups (use judgement towards the consistency of the paste)
Fall is finally here and what a spectacular scenery it is with its vibrant hues of orange, reds and yellows and gold. The mornings are a bit chillier and damp in Vancouver otherwise it is still a beautiful city to live in. I have not posted for a while and decided to do some catching up. Thanksgiving was just this past weekend and what a event it was as the city was decked out with pumpkin pies and turkeys. I am not a fan of pumpkin pies thus for Thanksgiving decided to make a apple crumble pie.
To make the pie, I first started out with a tart shell. Good old Christophe Felder, his tart recipe never fails. I baked the tart shells for approx 20 minutes at 350 degree oven.
Next I peeled some apples and added some cinnamon and brown sugar, flour to the mixture. Unlike most recipes that allow the apples to bake the in tart shell, I did the unconventional. I sauteed the apples in brown sugar first cooking them. I found the juices of the apples during cooking made a gooey mess thus decided to do this route.
Next I made the crumble. I combined the flour with the butter, sugar oatmeal and pecans together until it was fine. The tart was then topped out with the crumble. Baked it at 350 for approx 20 minutes.
Apple Crumble Pie.
3 1/4 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup walnuts or pecans, roughly chopped
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch fine salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold butter, cut into small pieces
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!!!
What a beautiful day it is today. It is nice and warm with a bit of clouds. I decided to switch gears today and create something savory again. Potstickers….an family favorite all these years!!!!
Potstickers are quite versatile as literally one could use different ingredient combinations to make them but the key to a good potsticker is the wrapping and filling.
My family tends to use lean ground pork as the filling and mix it with either dried scallops, mushrooms, corn or shrimp. This time I choose to make it with dried shitake mushrooms.
Marinating: To marinate the pork, I added soy sauce, oyster sauce, salt, pepper, sugar, cornstarch, rice wine, and some oil. I mixed it until it became a smooth paste and that all the ingredients had become incorporated. While marinating, I soaked up some dried shitake mushrooms. Then I diced them up and added to the marinating ground pork mixture. Next I separated an egg and reserved the egg white. It was meant to act as an adhesive to the wrapper and the mixture inside.
Assembling: I first placed some egg white to the edge of the wrapper and then spoon in some meat mixture. Next I folded in the edges of the potstickers in an angle and press together the edges. Reprat until you have a meal.
Cooking: I tend to pan fry them in oil, but the key to them not getting burned is keeping the stove at medium heat and now and then add a bit of water to the pan. This allowed steam to develop and in turn helped in cooking the potstickers. Repeat adding water on medium heat until the potstickers are done. A side of red vinegar goes along way with the potstickers.
1 lb ground pork
8 dried shitake mushrooms disced
Success, nothing is as yummy than a crispy skinned potsticker. Bon Appetit.