Black Sesame Macarons

More macarons! This time I replaced the cocoa powder with black sesame, and filled it with a black sesame-white chocolate whipped ganache. I used the same recipe as my chocolate macarons, but replaced the cocoa powder with an equal weight of ground sesame seeds, which I whizzed in my blender and sieved.. a highly tedious task! The flavour was good, although, as in the case with most macarons, I found them way too sweet! The filling is a whipped white chocolate ganache flavoured with more ground sesame seeds. I accidentally overwhipped the ganache so it split a little bit. Oh well, it still tastes good!

Posted in Macarons | Tagged Asian, black sesame, ganache, Japanese, macaron | Black Sesame Macarons

Chocolate Macarons


Finally, finally I’ve conquered the french macaron! All of them had feet, no cracks and shiny tops- yahooo! As Malaysia is extremely humid- more so now that it’s the rainy season, I had to take lots of precautions to ensure that the feet form. Macarons are notorious for misbehaving in humid environments!

Firstly, I age the egg whites for at least a day to dry it out and increase its acidity. This step is essential regardless of the humidity as aged egg whites are much more stable than fresh ones.

Secondly, I switched on the airconditioning for at least half an hour before I start baking. This nippy environment is much more friendly for macarons, and will help the “skin” form properly before baking.

Thirdly, I let the piped macarons rest on the baking sheet for an hour to properly dry it out. Recipes usually state a rest period of 30 minutes, but that’s hardly enough for KL where it’s so muggy. I baked one macaron after a 45 minute rest just as a tester, and it cracked on top, so it definitely needs at least an hour- don’t skimp on the wait time, otherwise your efforts will be wasted and you’ll have lots of cracked macarons!

Fourthly, I baked one tray at a time.. I’m not sure if this helps but it doesn’t hurt either. Anyway, the bake time is short (15 minutes per tray) so the other tray would just have a slightly longer rest period.

The basic recipe is:

  • 3 egg whites
  • 110g ground almonds
  • 170g icing sugar
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 2T cocoa powder

1. Sift the almonds, icing sugar and cocoa powder together, then blitz them in a food processor or blender until fine. Don’t blend for too long, the almond will become oily.

2. Whisk the egg whites in a very, very clean bowl. When it’s foamy, slowly add the caster sugar in. Beat until stiff, be careful not to overbeat it!

3. Sift the almond mixture over the stiff meringue and use a spatula to fold it it. The mixture will be quite hard initially but it will become more viscuous after several folds. Don’t worry, the meringue is meant to deflate quite a lot. The mixture is ready when it “flows like magma”.

4. Pipe 1.5″ circles on two baking sheets lined with parchment paper or a Silpat. Pipe them an inch apart. I drew a template on a large piece of paper and placed them under the parchment paper as guidance.

5. Let the piped batter rest for an hour in an air-conditioned room.

6. Bake for 15 minutes at 150C. Don’t forget to rotate the pan halfway.

Cloud doughnuts

There’s just something so lovable and naughty about doughnuts, so cute and puffy and sugary. And when they’re shaped like clouds? I’m a bit of a goner.

The ideal doughnut, to me, is one that is not too light, something fluffy but still with a bit of a chew. A beautiful, crackly crust dusted with caster sugar (powdered sugar is pretty, but lacks the crunch of caster sugar) or, depending on my mood, a thin layer of glaze. I once saw a beautiful photo of a raspberry doughnut covered with a speckled, pale red raspberry glaze, and the image has been stuck in my head since. It wasn’t one of those bright coloured artificial looking doughnut- it looked natural and rustic and absolutely irresistable. But most times, I prefer my doughnut plain, with just a sugary coat.

The recipe I used, is once again, my go-to bread recipe. The only thing that has to be done differently is instead of shaping the dough into a loaf, it is rolled out about 1.5 cm thick, then cut out into doughnut shapes using 2 different sized round cookie cutters, or, shapes of any kind with any cookie cutter. Fry them in oil that’s 375F- this is important as it is hot enough to fully cook the doughnut without it sitting in the oil for too long, and not too hot as to burn the outsides before it is cooked in the middle.

Oh, and if you’re ever in KL, the best doughnut you will ever eat (seriously) is from a doughnut truck in Taman Tun.

Posted in Sweet Bread | Tagged bread, doughnut, yeast | Cloud doughnuts

Milk Chocolate Cream Scones

Cream scones are my favourite. I love my scones moist, tender only slightly sweet and with a biscuity crust. And I like to eat them plain, fresh out of the oven. Sometimes, I feel a little naughty and throw in a chopped up chocolate bar, and if I do it’ll always be milk chocolate. Yum!

  • 2 C flour
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 C sugar
  • 1 1/4 C heavy cream
  • 100g milk chocolate, chopped

 

1. Sift flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together.

2. Pour cold heavy cream over the flour mixture and mix very gently with a fork until the cream is absorbed and it is somewhat combined. Don’t worry if it looks like a shaggy mess, it’s meant to be that way. It shouldn’t be wet at all though, so add a little flour if it’s slightly wet.

3. Tip the mixture out onto a lightly floured surface and pat into a circle. I don’t usually knead the dough as I’d rather err on under-mixed than over-mixed as there’s nothing worse than a tough scone.

4. Cut into wedges, there should be enough for 8. You could also use a cookie cutter to cut them into rounds, but I prefer wedges as there aren’t any scraps to re-roll. The re-rolled dough makes tougher scones as they’ve been handled more.

5. Bake at 210C for 15 minutes.

 

Roasted Greengages

It’s exciting how the seasons change what we eat. It feels so much more special eating fruit that comes with the season- berries in summer, plums in autumn, citrus in winter.. it’s like everything has its time and place and its turn in the spotlight. I get so excited when I visit the fruit shop and see different fruit on display as the season progresses from one to another. These greengages were bought in late summer, and are mouth-puckeringly tart- in the best way possible. Too sour to be eaten as is, I roasted them with a vanilla bean, sugar and lemon zest. Don’t skimp on the sugar as stone fruit actually gets more sour after roasting, unlike other fruit which gets syrupy sweet. I ate them with oatmeal, but I think it will be lovely tucked into a muffin batter or with greek yoghurt, honey and muesli.. mm.

You don’t really need a recipe for this, just taste and adjust as you go. I suggest at least half a cup of sugar (100g) of sugar per 500g of fruit though, as it does get quite sour! Bake at 2o0C for about 30-40 minutes, but this time is just a guidance, and it varies considerably from oven to oven, and depending on your roasting dish.

Peach + Strawberry Pavlova

Pavlovas are possibly one of the most delicious things to eat, and so effortlessly pretty. It’s perfect as it is- its crisp, fragile shell, marshmallowy centre, luxurious cream and sweet-tart fruit tumbled on top. Absolutely perfect. Although I used peaches along with strawberries this time, I prefer it with just strawberries. Lucas Hollweg’s brilliant book, Good Things To Eat has a beautiful autumn version with blackberries and cinammon- what a dream. A gorgeous book with gorgeous photographs, definitely one of my favourites.

My go-t0 recipe for pavlova is from here- I’ve made it several times, and it’s flawless.

Blueberry + Peach Bread

Another variant of theAdzkuki, Matcha and Milk Loaf recipe- this time with fresh peaches and blueberries scattered on top, dotted with butter and a sprinkling of demerara sugar. I made this in the peak of summer of this year, when berries and stone fruit were at its juiciest and sweetest (how I miss it!). Really, with fruit as perfect as that, it was quite a shame to bake with it! But this bread was absolutely lovely, the flavoursome fruit blistered in the oven, and softened into deliciously jammy pockets of juice. Next time, though, I’ll tuck some honey-sweetened ricotta into the middle of the dough to make it a little more luxurious!

Adzkuki, Matcha and Milk Loaf

I love Japanese pastries and bread. Their bread is always so soft and plush, like eating a milk-scented cloud. The Japanese have a knack for making absolutely beautiful pastries- their cakes and bread look exactly like how they should- like pastries from an alternate and perfect universe. I mean, their bread look more bread-like and their cakes more cake-like than seen anywhere else, and I am absolutely in awe of them.

This bread is Japanese inspired, and is made from my favourite Hokkaido milk loaf recipe with some matcha powder kneaded into half of the plain dough. I make the plain milk loaf frequently and is my absolute favourite home-made bread. It is so soft and milky and smells slightly sweet and very lovely. It keeps for days as it uses a “water roux” which is essentially milk and flour cooked together to form a paste, and this paste, which keeps the bread moist, ┬áis incorporated with the bread dough.

I make the swirls by separating the dough into 2 portions, and add 2 tablespoons of matcha into one of the portions. It takes abit of kneading to incorparate the powder but eventually it will be combined and the dough will be a beautiful jade green. Let the dough proof then deflate them and separate the 2 portions into 3 little balls each. Flatten a plain dough and a matcha one, then lay the matcha dough on the plain dough. Roll it out into a long rectangle and spread some adzuki paste on it, then roll it up from the short end like a swill roll. Repeat with the others and you’ll end up with three rolled-up doughs. Place them in a loaf pan, let it proof until doubled then bake as stated in the recipe. I know, sorry for the very wordy explanation, it’s much easier to understand with illustrations or photos, I promise the next time I make a loaf I’ll take some pictures!

The recipe for the milk loaf is from here.

Posted in Bread, Sweet Bread | Tagged adzuki, bread, loaf, matcha, milk | Adzkuki, Matcha and Milk Loaf

Hello again!

My old camera is broken so I’m using a great little high-techy camera for now.. the only problem is, the camera is too good for me! It’s not as straightforward as my Pentax with all its functions and buttons, so I’m still trying to understand it.. two years after I got it for my birthday! So the first couple of tries were pretty embarrassing, hence the major (crappy) Photoshopping. I just can’t help myself when I see all the pretty, pretty candy colours…

Oh and my entire site got eaten up so I’ve got to start from scratch again.. boo.