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Baked Tapioca Pudding w/ Pineapple Bun Crust

28 Jan

We celebrated my brother’s birthday over the past few weeks by dining at a chinese restaurant. The meal was decent for the price they were charging but the dessert was very good. It was a baked tapioca pudding; the ones you see being served at dim sum. It had a crust similar to the ones seen on the pineapple crust bun. The tapioca had a smooth texture and tasted sweetened milk. Yummm….

I have seen recipes for the baked tapioca pudding from time to time but this time was different as I wanted to make it. Off I went to find recipes of baked tapioca pudding w/ pineapple bun crust. Alas I found one here.

Tips when making the tapioca pudding:

1. When cooking the tapioca make sure to cook it till maybe 75 percent cooked only. Take of heat and immediately rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside. I used the sieve for the tapioca and ran cold water over it.
2. Measure out the milk. Half for the custard powder and egg mixture. Half for the sugar, evaporated milk and butter mixture.
3. Heat the milk/butter/sugar mixture and pour onto the egg mixture. Return to heat and cook until thickened.
4. Only add the tapioca to the custard when thickened as the tapioca will continual cooking.

Crust:
1. Combine the flour, butter and lard first and mix until sand like texture. Then add the rest of the ingredients. This will ensure a flaky crust.
2. The dough is quite soft, so I rolled it out in 2 pieces of saran wrap. The alternative is to refrigerate it until not as soft then roll out.
3. To ensure the round cookie shape use a round cookie cutter.
4. Egg white wash the cookie.

Bake at 375F for 15-20 minutes.

Voila

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Ingredients

Tapioca Pudding

50-60 g small whole tapioca pearls
250 ml milk, divided into 100 ml and 150 ml
2 tbsp custard powder
1 large egg lightly beaten (set some egg white aside to paint over the crust)
50 ml evaporated milk
45 g sugar
20 g unsalted butter

Pineapple Bun Crust

110 g all purpose flour
80 g sugar
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
20 g unsalted butter, softened
40 g vegetable shortening
1 egg yolk, slightly beaten
1 tbsp evaporated milk

Results: This is a amazingly light dessert and not too sweet. There are variations of it with red bean, black sesame, taro and lotus paste. Next time I think I shall try lotus paste with the pudding. The evaporated milk gives the pudding a fragrant taste while the lightness and crispness of the crust compliments each other well. A keeper!!!

Bon Appetit.

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An Asian Favorite : Pineapple Pastry

23 Mar

Yippeeee!!! AS a child, I had always been a fan of chinese pastries. A favorite of mine was the Pineapple Pastry. From the sweet and chewy filling to the light shortcrust there was something nostalgic about the treat. Well, my eyes definitely shone and gleamed when I found the perfect recipe. One would wonder why it took so long for me to make it, fear was the response. Maybe it was the thought of boiling down the pineapple puree or the wrapping of the puree into the delicate shortcrust without breaking it but once I got the pineapple the rest became history.

Key to Making Pineapple Pastry:

-Pineapple needs to be chopped not pureed
-Do not puree because as pineapple is simmered there will be a higher amount of juices this will then increase the cooking time to caramelize and form a paste
-Reduce the pineapple mixture to a paste like consistency as it is easier to wrap it
-The ratio of wrap to filling is 1:1. If you have a hard time wrapping and sealing, you can increase the ratio to 3:2. The crust will be more thick and tender
-Do not roll the shortcrust pastry too thin as it will crack when forming and crispy when baked.

To make the filling I first cored and diced the pineapple in a blender. Under medium heat, I combined the maltose, sugar and pineapple and stirred slowly until the mixture is reduced to a paste. The short crust then came next. Once the short crust was finished, I rolled it into a log and divided it into pieces to be rolled out individually. Using a melon baller, I then scooped the pineapple mixture onto the shortcrust dough and pressed in the seams to seal it. Be gentle or the delicate shortcrust will crack which would be disastrous. The thickness Once assembled, I brushed the pastries with egg wash and sprinkled them with sesame.

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Pineapple Pastry Recipe (recipe found here)

Pastry Ingredients:

150g/1.5 cups cake flour
100g/7 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
30g/4 tbsp powdered sugar
25g/1/2 egg, slightly beaten
30g/4 tbsp milk powder
1/4 tsp salt

Pineapple filling:

1 medium size pineapple
60g/5 tbsp sugar
60g/5 tbsp maltose

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Bake at 350 for 20 minutes and serve the delicate pastries warm. Results: I found the pineapple filling quite tangy and yummy but found the crust crispy due to the egg wash and thickness of the dough. Next time one can adjust the dough to the ratio as mentioned above but wow….Melt in your mouth goodness.

Bon Appetite.

An Eventful Weekend and Chinese Favorite Dessert

1 Oct

This was one of the better weekends I had in this month apart from the miserable weather. I won tickets to VSO’s opening courtesy of News 1130. What a treat, as we were seated in the centre section. This year marked VSO’s 95th Anniversary. No words could describe the beauty of the Orpheum. Inspired by European Opera Houses, the interior was a marvel. From the rich red carpeting to the beautifully brightly lit chandeliers and intricately detailed ceiling, it represented passion, grandeur and refinement; traits one sees in Europe. If you listen even more closely, one might even hear Beethoven, Mozart’s music resonate. :). The highlights were by Dame Evelyn Glennie who gave a spectacular performance and my favorite Bolero. I could literally feel my heart beat to Bolero from the softer beginning to a powerful finale. Everyone who attended was awe stricken and VSO received a standing ovation to a much deserved performance.

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Besides going to the VSO this weekend, I also ventured to Science World. Like a girl scout undeterred by mother nature, I braved the weekend’s nasty combination of torrential down poor and wind in order to attend the exhibits. Science World had free admission all weekend. Guess what that means? Yup, long line ups of eager awaiting kiddies and their families. First stop DINOSAURS….why…hello there, Mr. Rex and Pterodactyl. Mouths agape, everyone was in awe as evident by the flashing cameras. Giddy as school children, adults were eagerly taking a photo with their new found buddy, Mr. Rex. Dino exhibit definitely hit the spot for me.

The Jenga exhibit was another crowd pleaser as it showcased Architecture. Individuals of all ages raced around their creations while carefully laying down each piece to build a masterpiece. Imagine their glee when the jenga pieces started to wobble and well…you know what came next….CRASH heheheh. Here are the photos of the exhibits.

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Finally… nothing could be better than a nice warm dessert. I reverted back to my favorite, Black Sesame Pudding. A classical dessert that never looses its appeal to Asians, it was actually delicious and nutritious too :). The mighty black sesame packs a powerful punch in minerals, such as zinc, magnesium, copper, vitamins and antioxidants. Instead of the store bought instant mixes, I decided to make it the traditional way. Say hello to Mr. Blender.

The key to making a smooth Black Sesame Pudding was making sure that the rice was soaked thoroughly first. Similar to cornstarch, the rice serves as a thickening agent. For a strong toastier taste, toast the black sesames and finely grind them. Almonds were also a tasty addition so soften some too.

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Methodology: Blend the almond and water until you get a smooth consistency. Then add the ground sesames, again making sure the mixture was granule free. Incorporate the rice last. Boil about 4-5 cups of water and gradually add in the sesame/almond/rice mixture. Stir continuously until smooth and break any occuring lumps. As the mixture thickens add in enough sugar for sweetening.

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Enjoy!!!

Ginger Milk Pudding

18 Aug

Finally I found a recipe to make one of the simplest yet delicious light desserts. In 2008, I went on a trip to China and was taken by a simple dessert, Ginger Milk Pudding. Luck me I ate it every chance I got. The dessert was best eaten warm or cold and my preference was cold.
It was basically a combination of steamed milk, sugar and ginger juice. The key ingredient in making the dessert was old ginger and it was the ginger’s starch and juice that reacted with proteins in the milk. The reaction causes coagulation and curdling of the milk proteins and results in a puddling like consistency.

Keys in Making Ginger Milk Pudding:

• Temperature is key steam the milk to 90 degrees celcius
• Old Ginger-the older the better as it has more starch
• After grating the ginger of its juice, let the juice settle so that the starch settles to the bottom (10-15 minutes)-it is white in consistency as to the yellow juice
• Temperature is again key let the steamed milk cool down to 80-85 celcius
• When pouring the milk into the ginger juice, make sure to pour it at 10-15 cm from the bowl with the juice in it-causing even distribution of the starch.
• Let the pudding cool and set firmly

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Ginger Milk Pudding (recipe found here)

500 ml of fresh milk (I used 2% milk)
4 tsp of sugar
4 tsp of juice extracted from old ginger (see “method” below)

To prepare the ginger juice, use a knife and scrap off the exterior of the ginger and then grate the ginger. To obtain the most out of your ginger, squeeze the grated pulp for juice as well. Although the recipe called for 4 tsp of ginger juice, one actually needed more than 4 teaspoons to get enough starch to make the pudding. For me I probably juiced about 1/2 cup. Again the key was to let the juice settle and separate between starch and juice. Meanwhile boil the milk to 90 degrees celcius. At this point you could add in the sugar and allow the temperature to cool down to approx 80-85 celcius. While the milk was cooling, spoon approx 2 tsp. of starchy ginger juice into the bowls. When the milk has cooled to 85 degrees celsius, pour at a height of 10-15 cm into the bowls to eventually distribute and cook the ginger starch. Let the pudding cool and set.

Results: I finally found the recipe closest to the puddings I tried during my trip. Again it is nutritious after it was milk. As a note to individuals who would like to try it, if it did not set tweak the amount of juice. Enjoy.

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