Monday, June 29, 2009

Wolfberries & Sweet Osmanthus Jelly - retry

Re-did the jelly again, and this time round it is much better. I have not found the osmanthus sugar yet but from what i know, it is sold in yue hua chinatown. Instead of the osmanthus sugar, i used osmathus flowers but i brew the osmanthus first for the flavor to develop in the water, then i add the sugar and gelatin and then cold water. After pouring into the mold (i only had the konnyaku jelly molds!) i add the wolfberries (which has been soften with water) and some of the 'cooked' flowers..into the jelly..

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Custard Bread

I made 2 variations of the custard bread. The 'open-face' and the other 'closed' bun - both sprinkled with 'pearl-sugar' (i dunno what's the actual name for it..but i call it the pearl sugar). The recipe is taken from this bilingual chinese-english book published in Hong Kong - however the instructions pretty unclear and doesn't seem to relate to the i just have to do it my way and what i think it should be. The weather is sooooooo hot again today and i can't be bothered to knead the bread either. So i changed the recipe but maintained the same proportion of the main ingredients, ie flour, yeast & sugar but i played around with addition of other ingredients as well.

Surprisingly the bread turned out soft and light. :D I was expecting it to fail since i was simply 'experimenting' with varying! :P And the custard also blends in well with the bread.

My husband is nagging at me to go watch the hong kong cantonese i can't type out my recipe now..later..

[The Next Day] i must have did something right cos after the next day, the bread is still as soft on its own without the need to 'heat' up...:D ..:D

Recipe Taken from Hong Kong Breads

Sweet Dough
448g Bread Flour
112g Sugar
7g Yeast
42g Butter/Lard
168g Warm Water
1 Egg (abt 50g)
56g Milk
Some Food Coloring (egg yellow/lemon yellow)
4g Bread Additive

1) Put all ingredients together, mix well. Put the mixture on table. Knead into a small dough, don't make it too sticky.
2) Put the dough into a container, cover with cling film, leave it for 30mins. Fold and press lightly for a few times, leave it for another 30 mins then cut into shapes.

My Version to the Sweet Dough
448g Bread Flour
112g Sugar
7g Yeast
50g Butter, Melted
100-110ml of water (to be added last)
2 Eggs
56ml Milk
7g Lecithin granules
15g Milk Powder
4g Bread Improver (optional)

My Method:-
1) Put all dry ingredients together. Add in the eggs, melted butter, milk first and then water not add all of the water at one go, just add till the dough comes together. If not enough water, add more water, if the dough comes together, stop adding water. It is alright to be a bit sticky. Just knead the dough in the bowl to combine the ingredients. Wrap the bowl tightly in cling wrap and leave to prove for 2 hours till double in size.
2) After 2 hours, punch the dough down and then knead slightly. Shape the dough into smaller bun dough accordingly - i did mine at 45g per dough each.
3) If making 'open-face' custard bun, just roll the small round bun dough flat and then leave it to prove 20-30mins. Dimple it. Brush with egg wash/milk wash (whichever you prefer, i prefer milk wash) and press the custard cream in the dimpled area and sprinkle "pearl sugar" on top.
4) If making buns, flatten the dough with the palm of your hand, put the custard cream in the centre and wrap the cream up with the dough and leave it to prove for 20-30mins and brush with egg wash/milk wash. I sprinkled with pearl sugar cos too lazy to do the decoration mentioned below.
3) Bake at 200C for 10mins.

PS: For Custard Cream, please note to temper the eggs first..and cook it at low heat till the custard thickens.

I've re-tested my version of the bread bun and it still stayed very soft the next day, just as i would like it to be.

Custard Cream Bun

1 Sweet Dough (please refer to above)

Custard Cream:-
448g milk
22g butter
112g sugar
28g warm water
2 eggs
42g custard powder
28g flour

some beaten egg (topping)
some custard cream
some warm water

1) Custard Cream:- Boil water with butter and sugar well. Stir warm water with egg, custard powder and flour well, stir into milk, mix well. Pour out and let it cool.
2) Make a sweet dough as mentioned above.
3) Divide the fermented dough into 16 portions. Put in custard cream, wrap into a triangle. Put in greased container to ferment for 30mins until double size.
4) Brush beaten egg on top, pipe some custard paste for decoration. Custard paste can be made by mixing the ingredients of custard bun. Bake at 200C for 10-15 mins.

The above is the original recipe from the book. Because it is a translation from Chinese, i think it is not very clearly written in English. If you know the basics of bread making and custard making, i am sure you will understand it means, if not, please feel free to ask..enjoy! :) I've also added my version to the bread buns in blue text.

Gotta go..and watch dvds..hahahaha...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Part 2 : The Birthday Cake

I've finally completed my daughter's birthday cake! Didn't turn out the way i designed it though.. It was hard work and plus i didn't decorate it very well, ie, my 'workmanship' was rather untidy imo. What is supposedly 3-tier ended up looking like one very tall tier..LOL! I didn't cut each level cake to the right size i guess. :P Everything is edible (except the candles & ribbons) and the fondant is homemade MMF. I made the MMF using the mixer last night - which is definitely much easier than hand-kneading and less-messier too! Surprisingly the red and the black turned out quite dark quite unlike the icing on my cookies. I didn't add that much coloring either. The cake doesn't look very 'Venetian' either..:(...actually i think it looks more like the some flag?!!? hahahahaha... Oh well, my first time doing a 3-tier lesson well learnt..

i like this pic..the cake on the table with photos of my 'baby' at different age..:)

the BIRTHDAY CAKE : 1st tier: Chocolate cake with peanut buttercream frosting. 2nd tier: Vanilla cake with lemon buttercream frosting. 3rd tier: Vanilla cake with strawberry buttercream frosting. All covered with homemade MMF.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Part I - Birthday Venetian Theme

My daughter's 18th birthday is coming and she wants to have a 'Venetian Theme' for her birthday cake. I've designed her cake but too shy to post it up yet..hahahaha..until the end product, ie, the final cake turns out well like my drawing, then i will post it together with the cake...:D

I made these batch of decorated cookies in the shape of mask and fan...cos that's only what i can think of...hahaha..and that's all i saw selling at the shops in Venice when we were there! LOL! So, these mask & fan cookies will be part of the cake. for the stars and hearts, i got tired of having to cut the cookies to mask & fan manually (yup..without any cookie cutters), that i took out the star & heart cookie cutters and cut the rest of the dough into the respective shapes!

Decorating cookies is hard work! Just decorating these few cookies took me like 4 hours to decorate and that doesn't include the baking of the cookies or even cutting the cookies into shape etc?! Tiring.. And again, my piping skills sucks! This is my first time doing decorated i didn't even know it would be SOOOOOO tedious!

Here are the various photos of the decorated masks...

Here are the fans, stars and hearts..

You can see from the photos that some i didn't pipe well and evenly cos i was getting very tired...and it was like 11+pm and i was still piping....:(

And my daughter piped most of these (see photo below)...esp. the creative ones she did it..not bad i would say! She did the basic template of the mask & fan for me as a guide to manually cut out the cookies. :)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Wolfberries & Sweet Osmanthus Jelly

I came upon this book about rice dumpling while hanging out at Page One with my son on Wednesday. In it, was this recipe..yup strange..and i thought it looked simple and tried it..afterall, i was 'tempted' by Saresha with Osmanthus Jelly a few days earlier..

It's easy to do and my daughter said the texture is right (yup, she is my food critic), but i find that maybe i put too much osmanthus or what, but it is quite 'leafy'..and i had to spit some of the flowers/sprigs out. I asked the 'Master' (i try not to ask any 'Masters' unless i have absolutely no!)..and he said he uses osmanthus sugar and hence only a bit of the flowers. I have yet to find osmanthus sugar, which i think only sell at Chinatown area..cos i can't find anywhere else in town area...

Monday, June 8, 2009

猫山王 durians

sorry...i love these photos i took. nothing to do with baking, but i hardly take nice photos imo, so i really like these durian photos so i just had to upload them to my! *Burp*..oops sorry....yup..and i also just ate all of them! LOL! They are really yummy...

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Ginger Cake

I've never tasted ginger cake before, so i am not too sure how it taste like or if i do like it since other than using ginger to stir-fry and in curry, i don't really like any sweet chinese ginger dessert..even though it is supposed to be good - "get rid of air in the stomach & body" as what my mom would always say! (Yup..during the confinement period after giving birth, one is not suppose to bathe/shower for the entire month and can only wipe yourself with water boiled with ginger!?..and must eat all these ginger stuff like vinegar-ginger pork legs, ginger fried pork, strictly no water but only red-dates-logan-drink..etc etc!?!..yup..i didn't follow not to shower for entire month?! Ew...but i have friends who did though..) The only ginger i do eat are preserved ginger slices but that must be eaten along with century eggs.

Anyway since i had a whole can of black treacle which is going to expire in july, and the ginger cake recipe which i have, requires 125ml of black treacle which is just great (cos it is almost half of the can..hahahaha)!

I wanted to do everything quickly, so i read the recipe in a haste and then measured everything quickly and mixed the batter which i found too runny but didn't suspect anything. I put it in the pan and then into the oven (1 min). I was still thinking about how liquid the batter is and checked my book and realised i missed out 1/2 cup of flour! I quickly took the pan out of the oven, pour it out into the mixing bowl and sift in another 1/2 cup of self-rising four and found the batter still quite runny. So i went to read the book again, line by line..and omg! required only 1 cup of self-rising flour and 1-1/2 cup of plain flour! :P!!! So that means, i added extra 1/2 cup of self-rising flour.. so i compensated by just putting in another cup of plain flour. Well, serves me right for not reading recipe properly!

The cake turned out alright but it did cracked a lot on the surface..i don't know if it is because the mess i made or what..but..overall, the inside of the cake is moist & dense. The icing is good for the hot weather here imo since it doesn't melt and 'crystallize' really quickly! Seriously, i find the cake tastes like gingerbread except in its cake form. The lemon ginger icing compliments the cake beautifully actually. But still i find it weird cos to me this flavor i always associate it with gingerbread house or gingerbread man during Christmas..LOL!

The book mentioned that this recipe is best served two or three days after baking so the flavors have time to develop.

Because i didn't pay attention to the other ingredients when reading this recipe (other than the black treacle!), i will type out this recipe as my!

Ginger Cake
(taken from the Essential Baking Cookbook)


125g (4oz) unsalted butter
1/2 (175g/6oz) cup black treacle (can be replaced by golden syrup)
1/2 (175g/6oz) cup golden syrup
1-1/2 cups (185g/6oz) of plain flour
1 cup (125g/4oz) of self-rising flour
1 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
3 tsp of ground ginger
1 tsp of mixed spice
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 cup (165g/5.5oz) firmly packed soft brown sugar
1 cup (250ml/8floz) milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
glace ginger, optional to decorate

Lemon & Ginger Icing

2 cups (250g/8oz) icing sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
30g (1oz) unsalted butter, melted
3 tsp milk
3 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon rind

1. preheat the oven to moderate 180c (350f). Lightly greased a deep 20cm (8 inch) square cake tin and line the base with baking paper.
2. combine the butter, treacle and golden syrup in a saucepan and stir over low heat until the butter has melted. Remove from heat.
3. sift the flours, bicarbonate of soda and spices into a large bowl, add the sugar and stir until well combined. Make a well in the centre. Add the butter mixture to the well, then pour in the combined milk and eggs. Stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture is smooth and well combined. our into the tin and smooth the surface. Bake for 40-60mins or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted in the centre of the cake. Leave in the tin for 20mins before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.
4. For the lemon and ginger icing, sift the icing sugar into a small heatproof bowl and stir in the ground ginger, butter, milk lemon juice and rind until the mixture forms a smooth paste. Stand the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl does not touch the water. Stir until smooth and glossy, then remove from heat. Spread over the cake with a flat-bladed knife, Decorate the top with glace ginger, if desired.

Note: If black treacle is unavailable, you can substitute the same amount of golden syrup. This delicious ginger cake can be served the day it is baked but it is best served two or three days after baking so the flavours have time to develop. It will store well for up to a week in an airtight container or can be frozen, uniced, for up to three months. It can also be served uniced and decorated by lightly dusting the top with sifted icing sugar.

World Peace Cookies

This has been one of baking 'to-dos' since i bought Dorie Greenspan's book "Baking from My Home to Yours". Also, everyone has been raving about these it's a must try! This morning, i finally had the mood to make the dough and refrigerate it..since i hate any dough that needs refrigeration cos that means i have to make sure i had to work really fast, ie, before the butter melts in the hot weather (yesterday @ 36c & today @ 32c after it rained!!), plus i do not have air-conditioning in my kitchen *pout*..

Her recipe can be found at and metric measurements (which i like) can be found at Dorie Greenspan's blog.

Cookies turned out ok..well, it's not so sweet since you can taste the fleur de sel in it sometimes and it's a bit odd when you first taste it because of the sweet & salty mixture but it does makes you want the second helping. I added almonds chip in since my husband loves anything with nuts in it!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Isabel's Portuguese Sweet Bread

Recipe from Tartelette! The bread tastes really good! I am surprised that such a simple recipe can result in a good bread texture!

It's a very simple recipe and with not much kneading either. Weather here is atrociously hot at 36c! Nothing else i feel like baking or wanna bake since any type of frosting will melt in this type of & humid! So, when i saw Tartelette's site with this recipe, i decided to bake it since it took me a short time to prepare and the proving time also shortened because of weather! Check out her site and she has a sweet story behind this recipe! :)

Isabel's Portuguese Sweet Bread
(recipe by Helen @ Tartelette)

1 package yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
3/4 warm milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Dissolve yeast in warm milk and add the sugar, butter and salt; stir until butter is melted.
Add the eggs, previously beaten slightly.
Add 1/2 the flour to the milk/sugar/butter/salt, and mix until smooth.
Continue to add remaining flour to make soft dough. Remove it from the bowl and place on floured board.
Knead until smooth and satiny (about 15 mins.). Shape into a ball and place in buttered bowl.
Cover and let rise until double in size (2 hours).
Punch risen dough down and divide it in 10 pieces Place in a greased pan (8-9 inches round). Let rise in warm place until double in size (1-1/2 to 2 hours).
Bake in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

NOTE: i did milk wash & sprinkled some brown sugar on top.

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