Apple Cheddar Scones

6 Apr

Spring has already sprung and what a lovely Spring it is as the weather is warm and sunny. It’s Easter weekend and all the families are out celebrating Easter Festivities with their young children. As for me a quick and relaxing trip down to the states.
For this Easter, I decided to make something I had tried recently. An Apple Sharp Cheddar Scone. I first bought it at Thomas Haas Patiserrie and had liked ever since. I then indulged on these scones once again at Creme de la Creme, yummmm! Now its my turn to make it.

The key to making this scone is the sharp cheddar cheese used. Once you obtained some then its a go!!! Like most scone recipes, I combined the dry ingredients first and then the wet ingredients. Dry ingredients included flour, butter,sugar and baking powder. I first combined the flour and butter and made it into crumbs then added the sugar and baking powder. Next I added in the egg, milk, cheese and apple. The dough was then rested for 10 minutes and then rolled out.

Voila!!!!

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Ingredients:

500 g flour
95 g sugar
25 g baking powder
125 g butter
2 eggs
100 ml milk (of cream)
1 1/2 cup cheese
1-2 apples.

Happy Easter!!!

Happy Chinese New Year

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What a gorgeous sunny day. It’s the Lunar New Year this week and the city is again filled with festivities. The Lunar New Year is special amongst Chinese Canadians as it is a time of union and families visiting each other. As the city is decorated in red lucky envelopes and sheep, one can soon see the lions dance again. A good place to catch the yearly tradition is in Chinatown Vancouver. Each store participates in the festivities as they adorn each door with a lucky red envelope and lettuce which proudly invites the lions to stop by their store. In a matter of time, the streets will will also be filled with families and their young children all eagerly waiting for the drums and firecrackers and the lions. Every year, the Lion’s Dance attracts hundreds of spectators.

No New Years will be without pastry and tradition. On a yearly basis like tradition, every family makes raddish pastries. A mainstay and favourite dish, the raddish cakes are savory. They are made up of shredded daikon, chinese sausage, dried scallop, mushrooms, dried shrimp and rice flour, wheat starch.

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Chinese Raddish Cake

Chinese white turnip 1 catty
Mushrooms 2-3
Preserved sausage 1
Dried scallop 3-4
Dried Shrimp 10-12
Oil, water

Seasoning
Sesame Oil 1/2 tsp
pepper 1 tsp
sugar 1 tbsp
water 1 cup

Batter
Rice Flour 200g
Wheat Starch 50g
Water 1 1/2 cup
salt 1 tsp

1. Peel and grate the turnip
2. Soak then dice the mushrooms
3. Soak and shred the dried scallop
4. Heat wok and saute mushrooms, sausage, scallop until fragrant and then add sugar, light soy sauce.
5. Add in oil, turnip, water and seasoning. Mix well.
6. Mix the batter in a bowl and gradually pour mixture into the turnip mixture and cook until thick over low heat.
7. Transfer the mixture into greased pan and steam over high heat for 45-55 minutes and serve.

You will see why this dish is such a favourite as the textures compliment each other. The raddish cake is a favorite also for pan frying. Asian families and business have served this dish as a favorite for Lunar New Year.

Happy Lunar New Year Everyone!!!!
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Valentines Day and Treats

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Vancouver has once again been hit by cupids arrow as the city was a washed in red and what a sweet day it is. Roaming through downtown streets literally every store is filled with roses and chocolates. As I sauntered over to the roses, I am filled with the sweet fragrance of them. Literally tonnes and tonnes of roses of various variations and colours filled the shelves as gentlemen purchase them for their sweeties. I reminisce and nostalgia filled me as I once received gorgeous fragrant red roses and got the warm fuzzy feeling afterwards. Haaaaaaaa…I think I shall by 1 for myself tomorrow. It was one special day as I lay witness to see the opposite sex patiently and with love select the red roses for their sweethearts thinking noting but the fluttering of the lashes, the twinkling of the eyes, the blushing of the cheeks and sweet smile as she receives them. Hmmmmm….a cartoon comes to mind Lady and the Tramp the spaghetti seen.

Well to make make up for the sweet fragrant roses, I decided to make something just as sweet, chocolate hearts.

Tips to Chocolate Making:
Temperature is important when tempering to ensure a beautiful glossy finish.
Make sure no water gets into the chocolate as it will seize.

This time I made pistachio and cranberry white chocolate hearts. I first tempered the white chocolate. Once the chocolate was tempered, it was poured into the chocolate mould. I then proceeded to make the fulling. Pistachios were toasted and cranberries were chopped up. The ingredients were then mixed into warm white chocolate and then pipped into the white chocolate hearts. Finally a layer of white chocolate to finish it off. The Key was the tempering or the seeding of the chocolate.

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Voila!!!!

Ingredients:

White chocolate
Pistachio
Cranberry

Happy Valentines Day!!!

Hazelnut Mousse Paris Brest-Conticini

24 Jan DSC_0657

Another drizzly day today sob*. Instead of the vitamins Vancouverites should be in taking every day, we have been getting daily douses of rain ha ha…pretty soon we will be strong and healthy with drenched in rain :) Not to fear the pastry whisk is here as I have finally found in a drawer.

To stave off absolute boredom while looking out at the grim grey wet sky, I decided to bake again. I recently obtained a copy of La Patisserie des Reves by Conticini. Another beautiful book with the Paris Brest and Gateau St. Honore as show stoppers. His pastries has always grabbed my attention, thus as the first project from this cookbook was the Paris Brest. Conticini’s choux paste pasteries were quite unique; he pipped out individual cream puffs to form a circle for the Brest.

To make the Paris Brest, I first made the choux paste.

Keys for Choux Paste
-Bring the butter/water mixture to a boil first prior to adding in the flour
-Cook the flour/butter/water mixture on the heat until it forms a ball and as a tip watch for the browning on the bottom of the pan. Reasoning one wants to get the water to boil off as much as possible to add in the optimal amount of eggs for leavening
-Don’t stir the flour/butter/water mixture constantly or the batter will becoming oily
-Once the flour/butter/water mixture forms a ball, take off heat and cool
-Add in eggs one at a time.
-place in fridge prior to baking and spray with water for steam. The steam helps the choux rise in the oven.
-Bake at a higher temperature first and then gradually decrease it to dry out the pastries

Next I made the streusel crust, rolled it out and cut into discs.

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Once out of the oven, I cooled the paris brest.

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The Hazelnut Mousse was the last step. To make the mousse, I first melted some homemade Gianduja. Next I whipped out some cream and folded in the Gianduja. When the mousse was ready, it was pipped into the choux. Icing sugar was lightly dusted ontop and voila!!!

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Streusel Pastry Crust (Conticini)

40 g butter
50 g flour
50 g brown sugar
pinch of salt

Choux Paste (Keller)

175 g flour
33 g sugar
water 240 g
unsalted butter 120 g
salt 2.5 g
Eggs 6-7

The result was fantastic. It naturally places a different spin on a classic. The hazelnut mousse complimented the choux paste quite nice. The idea of a separate choux Paris Brest was a good idea as it could be eaten wholely or separated. It is definitely a keeper. Bon Appetit!!!

Pain Au Chocolat.

11 Jan DSC_0403

Another rainy day in Raincouver booo!!!!

Well at least it gave me the idea of making some Pain Au Chocolat. A pain au chocolat was basically a croissant that has chocolat in it.
I decided to use Felder’s version of the croissant dough instead and this time only 3 folds were incorporated instead of the 4 folds I normally use.
Too me, there were less visible breakage of the layers by incorporating 3 folds.

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Keys to Making Croissant Dough can be found here

Croissants au Beurre Dough-Felder

4 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cups sugar
1 tsbp plus 1 tsp powdered milk
2 tsp. salt
7 tbsp butter
25 g fresh yeast
230 ml water
2 sticks, 250 g butter
Chocolate Sticks

Egg Wash
egg and whioping cream

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Prior to baking brush lightly with egg wash. Bake at 350F for approx 20 minutes if not more.

Voila, nice and warm Pain au Chocolat.

Christmas in the neighbourhood and Chocolates

29 Dec DSC_0391

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White Chocolate Hedgehogs

White Chocolate
Cream
Butter
Orange Zest
Chocolate Molds

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Happy Holidays!!!

Christmas and Baking-Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti

25 Dec

Merry Christmas!!! Vancouver is quiet during Christmas day as families gather for the festive holiday. It is a special day of the year and probably most anticipated. Literally everyone is in a joyous mood as it is a time for joy, gift giving and gatherings with ones we love. As I was strolling down the neighbourhood streets, I noticed every house is decked out in lights; a tradition every year. Everyone’s houses are fully decked out in lights while inside families gather listening to music, sipping wine and enjoying dinner.

I had the opportunity to soak in some of the festivities. Every year Hyatt and Four Seasons Hotel hosts the Ginerbread Lane and Christmas Tree Lane. These festivites alone were a crowd pleaser. One could see how much individuals and families love it as both hotels were packed with Vancouverites snapping photos of the Gingerbread houses and Christmas Trees while at the same time admiring the creations. The kiddies loved it as they keenly went from each sugar and spice creation to another. It definitely draws warmth to the heart watching and admiring. Christmas really is a time of peace and goodwill. In the distant you can also hear christmas carols…and I thought little would be out on the streets…boy was I wrong and I am happy to be wrong.

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As I returned home it was time to bake and cook the Christmas dinner. I choose to make Biscotti this time and my favorite was the Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti.

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Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti

2 1/4 cups of flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
6 tbsp butter or 3/4 stick
3/4 c. sugar
2 large eggs
1 tbsp lemon peel
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup unsalted pistachios.
6 ounces white chocolate chopped

I found this recipe really nice. It was subtly sweet with a hint of orange zest. Crunchy and sweet as a biscotti should be and would be a perfect cookie to dip into coffee or have with milk.

Now that my biscotti is done. Time for our Christmas Supper.

Have Very Merry Christmas Everyone!!! :)

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