Tag Archives: Strawberries

Strawberries and Cream Muffins

21 Aug

A few of my friends were also avid bakers; see the connection :). With their encouragement, I decided to take the Wilton cake decorating courses at Michaels. My friends had previously taken them and showed beautiful results in gum paste, fondant and icing. Enticed by my own determined will and undeniable thirst to improve, I went off to enroll in these lovely courses. This week we were required to make cupcakes to decorate with. Imagine my surprise, another excuse to bake hee hee.

Muffins have always been on my mind, and now it was my chance. Over the years, I tried some cupcakes with a cheese cake filling. It was like heaven in my mouth, yes I’m exaggerating, but it was very good. Luckily I found an amazing blog that had the perfect recipe. The recipe consisted of fresh strawberries, my favorite, and a cream cheese filling. Yumm!!!

Unlike the oringal recipe’s methods, which uses a hot water bath to do most of the prelimary steps, I chose the cupcake method. Frozen strawberries where then chopped up. These were actually the ones from berry picking. Next came the cream cheese filling. Once all the components were made, I assembled it and made sure there were strawberries on top as they were the stars of the recipe. Because of the dense middle, the cupcakes were baked longer then the supposed 18-20 mins as suggested by the blogger. Mine were baked at 350 for approx 30 minutes and then checked for doneness. I noticed that if they were not down, the tops would collapse. The results were excellent and I brought them for cupcake decorating class.

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As one could see, I used green and pink frosting. The pink coloured frosting was actually a flower we had learned and course the photo did not do it much justice. For an some added colour, I made some marzipan strawberries.

Strawberries and Cream Muffins (adapted from here)

1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 and 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. almond extract
2 large eggs
2 cups All Purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 and 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup fresh ripe strawberries chopped into very small pieces

4 oz. full-fat cream cheese, very soft
1 and 1/2 Tbsp. of liquid from one whole egg that’s been beaten lightly
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Results: The cupcake was nice and light. It smelled fantastic with the sweet aroma of strawberries. Next time, I would maybe prebake the cheesecake part in a silicone mold and place it in the batter. This would reduce the amount of time to bake.

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Strawberry Mango Mousse Cake

5 Aug

What a lovely weekend this has been, the temperatures hit the high twenties in Vancouver. Ever the beach lover I was, I lapped up the rays of sunshine and enjoyed watching beach vball. The city was always spectacular in the summer. I had been craving a cake again. As always, I have been hovering around the bakery department. Call it an addiction or the full moon as it was this time of month I start hmmmmm…itch???

With some strawberry puree (approx 1 cup) and mangoes in the fridge, I decided to perfect my skills and make a mousse cake. I first started off with a chiffon cake. Yes, I love chiffon cakes. Unlike the sponge and pound cakes, this cake was lighter in texture and more moist. Once the cake was baked until a golden brown colour, I cut out four layers of the cake. To increase the shelf life, one could saran wrap the cake to keep it moist. Next, the bottom to layers was spread with whipped cream and fresh mangoes. Strawberry mousse was done by boiling the puree and then adding the gelatin (approx 6 sheets). White chocolate (approx 1/2 cup) was then combined with the puree. To complete the mousse, cream was folded into the puree chocolate mixture. When the mixture was emulsified, I proceeded pour it onto the cake and covered it with the final layer for cooling. I chose to kept the cake simple by decorating it with strawberries, honey dew and whipped cream.

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One could made a modern version of a mousse cake by adding a white chocolate glaze onto the mousse. Its practically a fixture in most french bakeries these days. In order to make one, reserve some cake and mousse. The white chocolate glaze is a combination of white chocolate and whipped cream. To successfully apply the glaze, make sure that the cake was cold from the fridge. This would allow the glaze to set almost immediately. Overall, I found this a delicious and sweet combination of mangoes, strawberries, cream and cake. Both fruits were light and sweet and the cake accentuated the flavour.

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Enjoy both cakes!!! Welcome the sunshine!!!

Lovely Long Weekend and Truffles

5 Aug

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As one could see I had an amazing long weekend filled with festivities. Normally I would write about it but as they say, a pictures worth a thousand words.
To top it off, I made chocolates again. Being enamored with chocolate from the very beginning. I always sought out ways to better improve myself thus I decided to toast the nuts and sesame seeds for a even better pronounced flavor. I also grounded up some freeze dried berries as well. The ganache was white chocolate rolled with an assorted of nuts and berries. What did I get? A colourful flavourful array of white chocolate truffles. Yum. 🙂

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Ganache:
White Chocolate
Cream
Butter
Toppings: Black Sesame, Almond, Coconut, Pistachio, Strawberry and Raspberry.

Looking forward to the rest of this long weekend.

Macaron Madness 2-Pierre Herme Ispahan Macaron

19 Jun

I have always been a fan of fruit. Summer always excited me as it’s fruits galore season. What made my tummy sing were lychees and mangoes ahhhh!!! To my hearts content, I decided take on Pierre Herme again. I had a profound fondness for macarons and they always tug at my heart strings. A Parisian friend of mine raved about Herme’s wonderful rose macaron. Finally I had his book, Macarons. Herme, to me, was undoubtedly the King of Macarons. I literally drooled over the stunning photographs and couldn’t take my eyes of The Ispahan macaron as it jumped out at me. The exquisitely sweet floral combination of rose, raspberry and lychee had my lips smacking everytime I thought of it. Atlas my knees got weak but boy did my heart sing. They were such beautiful and delightful morsels with a crunch and a chew.

For the first step, rose colouring was added to the macaron mixture. I then made the jelly. While the recipe called for raspberry jelly, I opted for strawberry puree. To make square jellies, I settled on silicone molds to form the jelly first and then sliced them. Silicone molds were so verastile. Once the jelly was set, I assembled them on the macarons. The lychee rose ganache came next. Herme suggested canned lychees, I supposed for a stronger flavour, I used lychee puree instead. Cream was then boiled. The puree and rose extract were then added. The ganache would not be perfect without white chocolate.

So pretty, once they were assembled!!! One taste, had me coming back for more like Oliver. It was a delicious combination; delicately balanced as well.

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Ispahan Macaron(adapted from Pierre Herme)

Macaron
300 g almonds
300 g icing sugar
110 g egg whites
4 g approx. strawberry food colouring ( I chose to use Rose food colouring)
4 g approx. carmine red
300 g caster sugar
75 g water
110 g egg whites
NoteYou will get better volume with old egg whites as the proteins are more relaxed.

Raspberry Jelly
420g raspberries ( I opted for strawberry puree)
35g caster sugar
2 leaves of gelatin weighing 2 g each ( I used about 4 sheets as jelly did not set for me)

Lychee and Rose Ganache
410 g White chocolate (I used Valhrona and Callebaut)
400 g lychees-preserved in syrup (I used lychee puree)
60 whipping cream
3 g rose essence (I used rose extract)

To finish
100 g granulated sugar (I used red sanding sugar)
or Edible ruby glitter

As for extra shells, I used raspberry jam as filling to make raspberry macarons. I encourage you all to try Herme’s macaron recipes you won’t regret it :).

White Chocolate Green Tea and Jasmin Delice

27 Feb

I have been wanting to do a cake again and since I got today off, I wasted no time in making a cake.  I have made this cake before previously and had decided to make it again since I had alot of matcha in storage.  I decided to make Claire Clarks Green Tea and Jasmine Delice cake.  Unlike previous times which I stacked fruit on top of the finished cake, this time I opted to go the simpler route and the ending to me was more hmmmm…well you be the judge, it’s personal preference.

The original cake had three components, but I opted to change it a bit and instead of a pistachio sponge cake, I chose to make a chiffon cake instead.  Besides that, I stuck to the Jasmine Tea and Green Tea Mousses.

I first made the Jasmine Tea Mousse.  As the first step, I soaked the gelatin in cold water to soften it up and steeped the jasmin leaves.  To me this will prevent lumps in the gelatin.  Of note, prior to adding the gelatin to the white chocolate, make sure the white chocolate was warm still and the gelatin was warm or the result would be a lump of gooey mess.  Chocolate was not cheap-grrrrrr…..While the chocolate was melting, I whipped up some cream.  Once the chocolate has melted, the gelatin and steeped tea was added.  Caution, as mentioned before, all ingredients need to be warm or the gelatin will set fast.   I then folded the whipped cream into the chocolate/tea/gelatin mixture.  In terms green tea mousse, I made a paste with the water and green tea first and then added it to the melted white chocolate.  Emphasis again was placed on, I soaking the gelatin.  All the components were then added together and folded in the whipped cream.

As for decoration, I added some strawberries and blueberries and added a dusting to ground pistachio and freeze dried strawberries for colour.The ended result was a creamy light cake complimented with the taste of matcha and jasmine.  It would be an ideal cake for tea and matcha lovers.

Jasmin Tea Mousse (I opted for 1/2 recipe which was sufficient)

3 tablesp. water

2 tbsp. jasmin tea

300 ml double cream

2 gelatine leaves

150 g white chocolate

2 tbsp. liquid glucose

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3 tbsp. water

2 tbsp. green tea

300 ml cream

150 g. white chocolate

2 tbsp. liquid glucose

You could use any kind of cake, but I would suggest either a pistachio cake or chiffon cake.  It will work wonders as you would taste the mousses.

Valentines Day-Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

14 Feb

In light of this special day, I decided to make some treats that would be favored by all…chocolate dipped strawberries.

I first bought some strawberries by a local market and then melted some milk and white chocolate.  The strawberries were first dipped in milk chocolate first and then cooled in the fridge.  Next came the dipping of the white chocolate.   ***Note do not let water to get into the melted chocolate or it will seize thus ruining the chocolate.  Once the strawberry is dipped in white chocolate, set aside to cool.

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As for decoration, I bought some rose petals and cinnamon hearts for garnishing and highlighting.  These treats are quite easy to make and stunning.

Happy Valentines Day to All!!!

 

Flakiness and creaminess of Mille Feuille

18 Sep

So I was looking around for things to throw together and what have we here?  I’ve have some remaining puff pastry frozen in my freezer.  A leftover piece from pastry class.  Well…I immediately knew what to do with this puff pastry.  Amazingly puff pastry freezes well.   All you need to do was to defrost the pastry roll it out into a rectangle and pretty much bake it.In this case I did.  I defrosted mine.  Rolled out the puff pastry to an even thickness and trimmed off the edges.  Once the dough was rolled out to a even thickness, I pricked the dough with a fork.  I then placed the dough in the fridge allowing the butter to firm up again and at the same time allowing for the dough to relax.  Baked it at high temperature.  It was cool to see the dough rise; a key for successful puff pastry making.  Once cooled I trimmed of the edges again and measured its width for cutting.

As seen here, I have divided it into 4 sections for alternating layers of custard and puff pastry.   Pastry cream was poured onto the first layer and second mille feuille layer was added on top.  The pastry cream recipe can be found here https://evasbakingpassion.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/magic-of-puff-pastry/.   Both cream and pastry were alternated until all was done.  The edges was then cleaned with a spatula for a refined clean look.

Next was the decorations.  Mille Feuille would often be seen at bakeries around town decorated with a fondant icing; however, I am not much of a icing person and preferred mine with fruits.  Hence I decided to use the vibrant colours of strawberries and pistachios to contrast the creamy colour of the custard and pastry.  I sliced up some strawberries and arranged them on the pastry and then sprinkled some pistachios on top as a garnish. 

Note:  I found that the puff pastry once filled with fresh custard does not last long. Meaning the pastry itself will loose its lightness and flakiness once the custard was added on.  Thus as a suggestion, eat it while fresh and don’t allow it to sit too long.  Nonetheless, both the strawberries and pistachios added a subtle sweetness and freshness to a light pastry while providing a beautiful colour contrast.

Butterflies

In order to make butterflies, use the remaining puff pastry cut which are left over and press together.

Key:

  • Do not knead the puff pastry or you will loose layers
  • Do not roll dough too thin
  • When rolling the dough to make butterflies roll out on sugar instead of flour.
  • Rest dough before baking.

Roll out the puff pastry again and then fold the dough in half.   You will get 2 halves and in the separate halves fold them again like a letter 1/3 until reaching the half way mark.  Repeat again on the other side.  Once done fold both halves together like a book and press together.  Slice out the butter flies, arrange them and allow dough to rest.
Here was how mine looked like when baked.   The browning was the sugar.  Overall taste was light and sweet with the added crunch of the sugar.

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