Christmas is around the corner. The city gets prettier and prettier each coming year with Christmas decorations around every corner and in every department store there is Christmas songs playing. Christmas would not be Christmas without snow and we are blessed as snow is on the mountains.
It has been almost 4 months without posting and now is the time as never to post as it is Christmas time!!! I have been busy with work and school and now that I have finished my final mid-term I am free till the final exam. I recently bought a book, “Chocolate,” from my favourite pastry chef Pierre Herme and flipping through its mouth watering pages I stopped at some of his chocolate recipes. I have always loved the taste of pistachio and matcha but am curious how they would work together. IMHO, Pierre Herme used the flavour combination so it can’t be so bad heheheh. Off I went to make the recipe.
To make the ganache, I first measured the ingredients. Herme mentioned to combine the chocolate together with the matcha and then pour the hot cream on it the mixture; however, how will that melt (for lack of better word) the matcha? You would get granules of matcha. Instead, I combined the cream together with the matcha and heated it up. Once heated up pour onto the chocolate and whisk out from the middle. Cool and set the mixture when it is homogenized.
Pierre Hermes truffles called for roasted pistachios thankfully I had some in the fridge. The ganache was quite soft hence after I scooped it out I froze them for a firmer texture to be rolled into chocolate. Once they were more firm, they were rolled in melted chocolate twice and on the third time coated with roasted pistachios.
200 g whole pistachios skinned
Milk Chocolate and Matcha Green Tea Ganache
95 g butter
610 g milk chocolate 45% cocoa ( I used Valhrona Jivara)
30 g matcha green tea power
600 g cream
Result: This is an interesting combination. The ganache is not that sweet and has a hint of bitterness. However when combined with the enrobbed chocolate it becomes sweet. To top it off one get the roasted pistachios flavouring with the matcha. I would suggest this recipe for matcha lovers.
Let the holiday baking begin.
Hello all, I am back at baking again. Over the past few weeks, I was contemplating to go back to school for professional ungrading. I had narrowed it down to 2 schools and am thinking of applying back. The dread of studying terrifies me as I embark on this new journey with the future filled with uncertainty. To counteract this fear, I find myself baking again to escape the decision he he.
I had some cream cheese and matcha left over from previous baking sessions thus decided to bake a japanese matcha cheesecake.
165 ml Milk
165 g Cream Cheese
40 g butter
4 piece egg yolks
36 g cake and pastry flour
14 g starch
4 g matcha
4 piece egg white
90 g sugar
This recipe is a good one as there is a pronounced matcha taste in the cake. It is light and smooth as it is a japanese cheesecake and is not too sweet. I found that I had overbeaten the egg whites resulting in it not being sponge all the way through but will remedy it for my next baking adventure. Hopefully there is some outcome of my decision to go back to school and move forward with that decision.
Booo another overcast weekend in Vancouver and no doubt with rain coming. I have been baking lots lately on an certain pastry. Continuously trying and retrying, researching and researching some more, I finally have some luck with this elusive pastry. Sssssshhhhhh what is this pastry? A pastry that is a welcomed addition to most pastry shops in Vancouver. When done properly they are wonderfully light as air on the outside and usually encased with a perfect creamy middle. What is this pastry? The eclair of course. That is right I love making and eating cream puffs.
Comprehensive Research and Tips:
Tips can be found here as well.
-bread flour is considered the better choice when making eclairs because it has more proteins in it allowing it to hold its from when baking.
-on a simmer at medium heat mix milk/water and butter until combined and melted. Remove from heat and then add the flour. To avoid lumps sift the flour, sugar and salt.
-cook the dough until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pot and forms a ball
-you want to get as much moisture out of the flour dough so cook the dough and stir until you see a film at the bottom of the pot
–Keller mentioned to further mix the dough for another 30 seconds to evaporate as much moisture once off the heat
-add eggs to the choux only when the dough has cooled as the heat will cook the eggs. When adding the eggs, in the beginning, it will look like scrambled eggs but the dough will come together
–pastry school instructor instructed to fold the eggs into the mixture to create pockets of air
-the dough should be soft and paste like and not runny. If it is too wet, when baking, the eclair will not rise properly, spread out and remain flat thus at your discretion add the eggs one at a time and check the consistency of the dough. It may need more eggs or less eggs.
-the dough is ready when you wet a finger and run it through the dough and it forms a soft through that peaks but holds its shape
-pipe at 45 degree angle and maintain pressure through out the pipping
-Once pipped spray water on the choux pastry to create steam. Steam helps the choux to rise
–Aoki suggested instead of putting egg wash on the choux paste, sift icing sugar on the eclair for an extra crunch
-depending on the caliber of your oven bake at a high temperature to puff them up and gradually lower the temperature to dry them out. Both Herme and Keller suggested around the 375 to 390 degree ranges.
-the choux must be thoroughly baked, if the sides of the walls are moist, when removed from oven, the steam will condense back into water and the still-wet walls will recoil. This will cause the choux pastry to collapse/ and flattened itself. To avoid this mishap use a toothpick or knife and make a incision in the eclairs so they can dry out properly.
The eclair is quite versatile as it can take on all sorts of fillings but for me I was always fascinated by Sadaharu Aoki’s creations especially his matcha eclair. Matcha eclair it is.
Kellers Pate a Choux
All purpose flour ( I used bread flour) 175 g
Granulated sugar 33 g
Water 240 g ( I used combination of milk and water at 1/2 each)
Unsalted Butter 120 g
Salt 2.5 g
Eggs 250 g ( I used 6 eggs and half recipe at 3 eggs)
Matcha Pastry Cream
500 ml Milk
100 g sugar (increase sugar to your taste as the matcha is bitter)
40 g corn starch
3 g matcha
2 piece egg yolks
.5 piece vanilla bean
Result: The choux pastry was light and airy. They had risen quite nicely and made it able to pipe the pastry cream into it. My research and findings finally paid off. The Matcha had a strong taste and complimented the whipped cream. Thank You for all the tips from fellow bakers!!!!
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.
Baking time1!! I usually switch to seasonal fruits this time of year but despite the warm weather Vancouverites have been getting, the farms are not opned yet as the fruits aren’t optimal. As a result, I decided to make something that can be prepared anytime of the year. Intending to make something from Curley, I flipped through his book. The green tea cake captured me eyes. These are similar to financiers as it uses a beurre noisette or browned butter, almonds, and hazelnuts. Like mentioned the beurre noisette gives off a nutty and caramel scent when done properly.
To make the cakes, first brown the butter and cool it. While the butter is cooling, whip the eggs with the sugar until soft peaks form. Add the flour, nuts and matcha. Mix until smooth and then add the butter. Rest in fridge for 15-30 minutes then use a pipping bag to pipe out into silicone moulds.
Curley noted to leave the batter in the fridge for at least 30 minutes prior to baking. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.
Green Tea Cakes
125 g unsalted butter
115 g egg whites approx 4 eggs
125 g sugar ( I used 100 g berry sugar)
115 g ground almonds
15 g hazelnuts ( I used coconut)
5 g matcha powder
40 g plain flour ( I use 60 g cake and pastry flour)
When baked, the cakes had a touch of sweetness and had a nice matcha taste coupled with hints of coconut. It is definitely a keeper. As an alternative one can add/sprinkle black and white sesame on top for crunch.
After a break, I am back baking. This time it is a Green Tea Azuki Cake. I had first tried it at Chicco, a Japanese bakery, on Robson St. I really liked the combination of red beans and green tea flavours together. Apparently there are other bakers that like the combination of the two flavours as well as I have found inspiration on the internet. Here is my version.
To make the cake, I used a chiffon cake. The key to making this cake and eliminating undissolved matcha powder was to make a paste first. This was accomplished by warming some milk, adding the matcha powder and whisking it until the powder dissolves. Once the milk mixture becomes green from the matcha and without flecks of matcha, add it to the cake mixture. The paste method will help in matcha maintain its green colour even during baking. Next I whip the egg whites and folded it into the cake batter and baked it at 350 for approx 20 minutes until done.
To make the azuki filling, I bought some azuki paste and folded in some whipped cream. The mixture was then spread to the matcha layers. Assembly was simple, I had opted to do a simple whipped cream decoration.
Swans Caking Flour
Azuki Bean Paste