Making Basil Tea and Summer Fruits Terrine
Before you read any further, I have to say that this recipe is a bit of a failure. I had made it because I was amused by the last comment on this grape terrine.
So now you have the choice of ignoring this whole post and just whiz past it, or we can go through what I did wrong and see what could’ve been done better.
Basic fruit terrine recipes consist of fruits set in a solution of gelatin and water or flavoured drinks (fruit juices, champagne, etc), as written in this recipe by Joy of Baking. But because I had intended to submit this as part of the vegan challenge, I swapped the gelatin for Agar powder (made from the components of an algae’s cell wall) which effectively brings us to:
Mistake # 1: Using Agar powder.
When agar sets, it doesn’t have the elasticity that is required for the finished product to be able to be cut without falling apart. When set, agar is much more firm than jello or gelatin, and in a way, more “brittle” - it crumbles very easily. I would recommend using a gelatin substitute that actually has the texture (or similar to that) of jello.
And so, moving on with the recipe:
* Prepping the fruits:
There are no specific list of ingredients here, just use any fruits that are in season. I also used some basil leaves.
Peel and cut them to your preference.
As for the * jelly solution, you’ll need:
[ 2 packets of Agar or any other vegan/vegetarian gelatin substitute + The amount of liquid specified by the packet of your jelly substance + flavourings (sugar, honey, lime juice etc) ]
I’m using basil-infused tea for the liquid in this terrine, which can be easily substituted with any other drinks, in the amount that is required by the Agar-powder packet (which in this case was 3 cups).
Heat up your liquid and cook the jelly/agar/gelatine according to the packaging.
I also added some basil seeds to the liquid mixture just for the sake of texture.
Prepare some ice cold water in a container nearby.
Take an 8x4 inch loaf pan.
Pour a layer of jelly mixture and dip it in the cold water to set. then layer your first fruit.
Pour some of the jelly mixture on the fruits so that they’re submerged.
Mistake # 2: Overcrowding the fruit.
I used too much fruit slices in one layer, therefore the jelly mixture cannot seep in properly in between the spaces (or lack thereof). As a result, when cut, the fruit pieces falls off from the terrine because they’re not suspended properly in the terrine. Definitely space out the fruit pieces so that they’ll actually be able to move around as they float.
Keep repeating this step (fruit, jelly, fruit jelly) until you’ve filled the container.
When you get to the last layer, make sure that all the fruit pieces are submerged - push down or take some out if you have to.
Then chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours.
To unmold, either place in hot water or use a hair dryer to loosen the terrine from the sides of the loaf pan. Invert onto your serving plate and unmold. If not serving immediately, return to refrigerator.
Enjoy! (I guess?) :D
Making Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
We’re taking a short break from the vegan challenge to make up for an unfulfilled food wish. A friend of mine sent in a request to my tumblr inbox using Yahoo!mail
and apparently I didn’t get or missed the notification and so did not read it until I scrolled down a bit a few days ago. After the belated apology, I’m betting that I’m already too late in replying with this but for the sake of my conscience, I decided to do it anyway. So Bharathi, I’m so sorry! I hope this could be of some use to you in any way.
Carrot Cake (recipe from Joy of Baking):
[4 large eggs + 1 1/2 cup granulated white sugar + 1 cup vegetable or canola oil + 2 teaspoon vanilla extract + 2 cups flour + + 1 teaspoon baking soda + 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder + 1/2 teaspoon salt + 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon + 2 1/2 cups finely grated carrots ] *Not in this cake: 1 cup walnuts.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven.
Butter or spray two - 9 x 2 inch (23 x 5 cm) cake pans and line the bottoms of the pans with a circle of parchment paper ( I actually just lightly flour my cake pan and line the bottom and the cake came out alright).
Making the cake:
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon powder. The whisking will aerate the mixture without you having to sift the flour. Pretty nifty.
Crack the eggs into another bowl and, using an electric or a handheld mixer, beat the eggs until frothy and pale.
Gradually add the sugar into the eggs until the mixture turns pale and thick.
Add the oil in a steady stream and beat until the oil emulsifies into the mixture.
Add in the flour and beat just until incorporated. Do not over beat or your cake will collapse (it will sink in the middle part).
Fold in the grated carrots into the mixture using a large spatula. Do not over mix. If you’re unfamiliar with the folding technique, then check out the video :)
Evenly divide the batter between the two prepared pans and bake in the middle rack for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. After about 5-10 minutes turn the cake upside down, remove the pans and parchment paper.
Cool completely before frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting (for this cake):
[ 8 ounces cream cheese + 3 tablespoons carrot juice + 1 1/2 cup icing sugar + 1 teaspoon vanilla extract ]
**For the original frosting recipe, you can click the link and follow the one written there. I used a slightly different one, just because I didn’t have butter on hand (the horror!)
In a bowl, using an electric mixer or with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese on low speed, just until blended with no lumps.
Gradually add the carrot juice, vanilla extract and icing sugar and beat, on low speed, until fully incorporated and smooth.
Carrot cake + Frosting + OPTIONAL:Garnish (Roasted nuts or Toasted Coconuts)
Place one cake layer onto your serving plate. Spread with about half the frosting.
Gently place the other cake onto the frosting and spread the rest of the frosting over the top, and if you have leftover, over the rest of the cake.
I garnished my cake with some toasted coconuts on the sides. Toasted nuts thrown over the top is good too.
Making Strawberry Galette
Don’t let the name intimidate you. A galette is basically a flat pie without the tin. Swap the strawberries for any fruit (or a combination of fruits) that’s in season. Pretty easy and only takes a while to make, especially if you’re using frozen pastry. And I dub this “incredibly appropriate” to eat during the sweltering summer months, especially with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.
Strawberry Galette (recipe from Martha Stewart)
For the Shortcrust Pastry:
[ 2½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the surface + 1 1/8 teaspoon salt + 1 teaspoon sugar + 8 oz (1 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces + 1/3 cup ice water ]
Pulse the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor to combine. Or you can do it old school and use your hands.
Add the butter and pulse until the mixture forms coarse crumb (If using hands, rub the pieces butter of into the flour). Add ice water and pulse until just combined (the dough will still be crumbly).
Shape dough into a disk, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least one hour (or overnight).
Preheat the oven to 180C/ 350F/ gas Mark 4.
On a floured surface, roll out the dough to a 1/4 inch thickness.
Cut out a 10-inch round and transfer to a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
For the galette:
[1 pound strawberries, hulled + 1/4 cup sugar + 1 tablespoon water + 2 teaspoons cornstarch ]
Cut the strawberries lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Reserve end pieces for another use.
Toss slices with 1/4 cup of sugar, water and the cornstarch.
Immediately arrange them in concentric circles on the dough. Start 1 inch from the edge, overlapping slices slightly.
Fold the edge of the dough over the fruit. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
To Finish Off:
[1 large egg yolk + 2 tablespoon water + 1 tablespoon sugar + 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces]
Whisk together the egg yolk and water. Brush the dough with the egg wash and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar.
Dot berries with the butter. Bake until the crust is golden brown – 40 to 45 minutes.
Now, you can either transfer this straightaway to a serving plate and serve warm with cream or ice cream
or you can kick it up a notch by toasting some sliced almond and scattering it on top or just simply dusting some powdered sugar (or both!)
Making Ichigo Daifuku (いちご大福)
Wagashi is a name for traditional Japanese confections that are usually served with tea. There are three basic kinds of wagashi; freshly made Namagashi (生菓子), semi-fresh Han-Namagashi (半生菓子) and dry Higashi (干菓子). Out of the three, I’d have to say my favourite is the namagashi because different shapes and designs are made every season in order to reflect the various faces of Japan’s four seasons and the beauty that comes with it.
So for my first attempt at making a namagashi, I made Ichigo Daifuku (いちご大福), or Strawberry Mochi. I’ve decided on this one because first, though this is in no way culinary-related, I’ve always thought “Ichigo” was a rather masculine-sounding word for strawberries and I kind of like the sound of it and wanted to make something with the word Ichigo in the name.
Second is because this is probably one of the relatively easier wagashi to make and it looks pretty to boot. I’ve already made the Anko beforehand (referring to the post about burnt lip and Rain) but you can always buy pre-made ones. If the Anko is a bit too sweet for your liking, you can substitute it for Shiro-an (white sweet bean paste).
Oh, and before I forget - for the love of humanity, please don’t be as silly as I was and assume that glutinous rice flour = rice flour. They’re not the same thing. I learnt this the hard way when I practiced making it last night (which I’m glad I did, because I’ve never bothered to before with other recipes) with rice flour and ended up with a lumpy, rubbery and rapidly congealing mess of a mochi.
Ichigo Daifuku (recipe from Bossacafez):
[1 cup glutinous rice flour + 1/4 cup icing sugar + 2/3 cup water + 1/2 cup anko (adzuki bean paste) + 6 strawberries + combination of corn flour + icing sugar for dusting ]
Preparing the strawberries:
Wash strawberries and remove the calyxes.
Wrap a strawberry with about a spoonful of adzuki bean paste and round them to make a ball. Make 6 balls.
Making the Mochi:
Put 2/3 cup of water and 1/4 cup of sugar in a heat-resistant bowl and mix well.
Add glutinous rice flour in the bowl and mix well.
**To cook the dough, you can either:
- Put the bowl in the microwave and heat the dough for two minutes. Stir the dough. Heat the dough in the microwave again until the dough inflates and stir the mochi quickly,
Do it the traditional way, which is to steam the dough above briskly boiling water covered with a lid that’s been wrapped with a clean cloth or tea-towel.
Leave the dough to steam for 10-15 minutes.
Dust a flat pan or a board with some corn flour. Also, dust hands with some flour.
Remove the hot mochi from the bowl to the pan by hands.
Dust hands with more flour and divide the mochi into 6 pieces by hands.
The mochi is hot and sticky, so be careful not to burn your hands.
Make 6 flat and round mochi. Brush off excess flour and put a piece of strawberry and adzuki filling on a mochi piece and wrap it by stretching the mochi.
Round the daifuku to neaten them up. Repeat the process until all the dough has been used up.
Making Cream Filled Chocolate Cupcakes
I am the emotionallyvolatilebear meme personified. Seriously. I thought I’d get that bit of confession out of the way before I start rambling about this gorgeous chocolate cupcake recipe. In the past, I have not exactly been discreet about being iffy with Martha Stewart. I’ve always thought her recipes are excruciatingly dainty and technique-oriented, making it impossible for me to comprehend. And the fact that she has Angie and Wes (at least, it was Angie and Wes back in 2006, which was the last time I watched one of her shows. Did the lineup change?) in the backstage kitchen passing out pre-made goodies on her show (instead of realtime cooking) didn’t make her look any better in my eyes. But I’ll be damned, she definitely writes some of the best dessert recipes. I know this because I have a DevArt friend, Kate, who’s an avid fan (and has also been a guest star on the show which makes her exponentially cool). She makes the best desserts and swears by Miss Stewart’s recipes. So today, when my teeth is practically itching for some chocolate-y goodness, I didn’t really hesitate when I chose to follow her One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcake recipe, and boy am I glad I didn’t. This cupcake, along with the chocolate frosting recipe that I’m posting below, will extract some of the most sinful sounds from those who eats it. Ye have been warned.
[ 3/4 cup cocoa powder + 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour + 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar + 2 large eggs + 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda + 3/4 teaspoon baking powder + 3/4 teaspoon salt + 3/4 cup warm water + 3/4 cup buttermilk + 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil + 1 teaspoon vanilla extract ] OPTIONAL: 1 teaspoon coconut extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line standard muffin tins with paper liners; set aside.
Sift together cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl.
Add eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla (and coconut extract, if using), and mix until smooth, about 3 minutes.
Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl to assure batter is well mixed
Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling each until 2/3 full.
Bake until tops spring when touched (about 25 minutes), rotating pan once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
[ 9 ounce semisweet chocolate + 1 cup heavy cream ]
In double boiler melt the chocolate and stir in the cream. Set aside to cool.
Take a cupcake and make a hole on the top with a toothpick. Pipe in some whipped cream (or buttercream), making sure to not overfill the cupcakes. Spread the chocolate glaze generously on top.
I’m not going to lie. I’m in love with the photo above. I was so caught up in trying to replicate one of those eclair pictures; the one with the pristine shaped pastry, glossy chocolate glaze and fluffy white filling that I completely overlooked the one above until I was skimming through the 137 pictures and as luck would have it, my keyboard got semi-jammed at this particular one. Granted, it underwent a considerable amount of post-editing, but this picture will be one of my favourites for a very long time.
And as for the eclair itself, my train of thoughts went something like this;
The other night Karina told me she wanted to get a watch for her father’s birthday, to which I promptly suggested getting a Tag Heuer. I then went on to look up the price list of Tag Heuer watches and saw that two of them were priced at $19,700. We both laughed off the idea and wondered who would be pretentious enough to get such a watch (with pink gold, apparently)? Only one name came to my mind. Charles “Chuck” Bass; and then I chuckled to myself, remembering an episode where there was a scene where a waiter put a “RESERVED” sign next to a plate of eclairs for Mr. Bass. I was inspired.
Not exactly the most coherent, but that’s the unadulterated truth.
Éclairs = [ Pâte à choux + Cream filling + Chocolate Glaze ]
Pâte à choux
[ 100g unsalted butter + 300ml water + 140g plain flour, sifted + 4 large eggs ]
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees C. Grease 2 baking sheets.
Bring the water and butter to a boil in a pan. Tip in the flour and stir with a wooden spoon to form a ball of soft dough. Take off from the heat. Cool for 5 minutes.
Transfer into a mixing bowl and with a paddle attachment on, beat in the eggs into the dough one at a time, waiting until each egg becomes incorporated before adding another until a smooth glossy paste form.
Spoon into a piping bag with a 2cm plain or ridged tip. Pipe 8-10 eclairs to each baking sheet, making sure to leave plenty of space in between each.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, swapping the sheets midway.
Set aside to cool on a cooling rack.
I decided to go with the classic filling of pastry cream instead of opting for whipped cream. You can just as easily switch the two, or mix one part pastry cream to one part whipped cream for a lighter pastry cream.
[ 300ml milk or half-and-half + 3 large egg yolks + 50g sugar + 2 tablespoons cornflour + 2 tablespoons flour + 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean ]
Beat the egg yolks and sugar until a pale and creamy. Sift in the flour and cornflour and mix into the egg mixture.
Bring the milk and vanilla to a boil over low heat.
Temper the egg mixture by putting 1-2 ladles of milk into the egg mixture and whisking to prevent lumps from forming. Return the egg-milk mixture into the milk in the pan and whisk until thick. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
[ 100g dark chocolate + 2 tablespoon cream ]
Microwave the chocolate and cream on high for 1 minute and stir until all the chocolate is melted and the mixture turns glossy.
Spoon the cooled pastry cream into a piping bag with a plain tip.
Slit each eclairs half way or make a hole on both ends using the tip of a spoon.
Pipe in the filling.
Spoon the glaze over the eclair, or just dip the eclair into the chocolate glaze.
*OPTIONAL: sprinkle some crushed pistachio on top.
Making Banana Tarte Tatin
I sat through a grueling midterm yesterday and was looking forward to sleep in on the weekend when I remembered that earlier during the week I agreed to take some food pictures for Graha. I had to make the puff pastry from scratch. At 10PM. He owes me big and he knows it. I’m thinking lunch at our usual Korean BBQ place will cover for this favour very nicely indeed.
So angst aside, this is Jamie Oliver’s recipe for banana tarte tatin. You can always swap the bananas for any other fruits; stone fruits, strawberries, or go for the classic by using apples. If you have frozen puff pastry available then this recipe; the prep and cooking will take about 30 minutes. And it’s unbelievably good served warm with ice cream.
Banana Tarte Tatin:
Caramel & Banana:
[ 60g unsalted butter + 160g caster sugar + 1 teaspoon zest of orange + 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder + 4 bananas ]
Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4
Cut your butter into cubes and put into a sturdy deep-sided baking tray approximately 19 x 30cm
Place the tray on a low heat, let the butter melt, then add the sugar and stir constantly until completely combined
Continue to cook for about 5 minutes or until the sugar has all dissolved and the mixture is golden and caramelized. By the time this happens the mixture will be roasting hot so be very careful and whatever you do, DON’T be tempted to put your fingers in the mixture as you’ll give yourself a nasty burn
Meanwhile, peel the bananas, halve them lengthways, and lay them carefully on top of the golden caramel
Remove from the heat, then sprinkle over the cinnamon and finely grate over the zest of half your orange
Dust a clean work surface and rolling pin with flour
Roll out your puff pastry (homemade or store-bought) until you have a rectangle shape (or any other shape) about the same size as your tray and about 0.5cm thick.
Drape your pastry over your rolling pin and carefully lay it on the baking tray, gently tucking it around the bananas to make sure they’re well covered, with no gaps
Using a knife or fork, prick the pastry a few times
Place the tray at the top of the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden
Serve warm with some ice cream, crème fraîche or any other fluffy dairy product you like. I served mine with some whipped cream and honey with an extra pinch of cinnamon.
Making Lemon Meringue Pie in a Jar
A friend of mine gave me a link for desserts in jars and I thought they were absolutely ingenious. It’s a great use for those jars that have accumulated from the jams and/or exotic dish pastes you’ve bought (because there’s no way in hell you’ll ever be able to make them). And it just seems more personalized to serve a person their own individual dessert in jar rather than have them cut a piece from one dish. Anyways, I thought lemon meringue pie would be good inside a jar, partly because I was too lazy to make a cake. And this really is the express recipe, only requiring about 30 minutes because there’s no fussing about with making a shortcrust pastry and the leftover lemon curds can be used for…just about any other desserts.
Lemon Curd (recipe from Simply So Good):
[ 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened + 1 cup sugar + 2 large eggs + 2 large egg yolks + 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice + 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest ]
First things first: separate the eggs and juice the lemon. You might want to pass the lemon juice through a tea strainer once just to get the seeds and pulp out.
In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer for about 2 minutes. Add the eggs and yolks and beat another minute. Mix in the lemon juice. The mixture will look curdled, but it will smooth out as it cooks.
In a medium, heavy saucepan, cook the mixtue over low heat until it looks smooth. The curdled appearance will begin to disappear as the butter in the mixture melts. Increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens. It should take about 15 minutes. It should leave a path on the back of a spoon when you run a finger through it and will read 170 degrees on a thermometer. Don’t let the mixture boil.
Remove the curd from the heat; stir in the lemon zest. Transfer the curd to a bowl. Press plastic wrap on the surface of the lemon curd to keep a skin from forming and chill the curd in the refrigerator
To make the pie in a jar, all you need is some crackers (Graham, or any other kind for that matter) and use the leftover egg whites from the lemon curd recipe to make a meringue.
[ 1 1/2 cup of crackers + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter + 1 tablespoon sugar ]
Crush the cracker using a food processor or a rolling pin. Add in the sugar. Melt the butter and mix until combined. Set aside.
[ 2 large egg whites + 110g caster sugar ]
Put the egg whites in a large clean mixing bowl. Beat them on medium speed until soft peaks form.
Turn up the speed and add the caster sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, beating 3-4 seconds between each addition. Don’t over beat or the meringue will weep (turns watery). Set aside.
Preheat the oven at 180 degrees C.
Prepare your jars. Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of cracker mixture into the bottom of the jar and press down to make a firm base.
Use a piping bag to fill the jars with the lemon curd until up to 2/3 of the jar height.
Use another piping bag to pipe the meringue on top of the lemon curd layer.
Put in the oven until the meringue firms and browns.
Making Strawberry Mille Feuille
On Thursday, the 10th of February Eka asked me to post a step-by-step for Strawberry Mille-Feuille. Now, although the word “Mille Feuille” means “a thousand leaves”, when cooking that usually translates to “big trouble”.A “thousand” anything means you’re going to have to layer. And that can either mean you’re going to end up making a large number of crepe (mille crepe) or making puff pastry, which is the case in this recipe. If you have frozen puff pastry available to you, then I envy you. For the rest of you who for some reason can’t get your hands on the goods, then follow through the recipe I’ve included below and keep your fingers (and toes!) crossed :)
As for the dessert itself, “Traditionally, a Mille-feuille is made up of three layers of puff pastry (pâte feuilletée), alternating with two layers of pastry cream (crème pâtissière), but sometimes whipped cream, or jam. The top is usually glazed with icing or fondant in alternating white (icing) and brown (chocolate) strips, and combed. Alternatively the top pastry layer may be dusted with confectioner’s sugar, cocoa, or pulverized nuts (e.g. roasted almonds).” [source: Wikipedia] and so naturally, this post will include all three recipes for pastry, cream, and glazed fruit.
Puff Pastry (recipe taken from Artisan Sweets)
[ 390g all purpose flour + 1 teaspoon salt + 90g unsalted butter + 210ml cold water + 300g unsalted butter, softened ]
Now the step-by-step instruction is rather long, so I’m hoping that you’ll go to the blog where the recipe is from and read it from there. Purrddy pleaaase? Thank you! :)
Just know that by the end of following the recipe to the letter, you should end up with a dough that has striations/lines of butter-dough-butter-dough, which looks stupendously beautiful,because you’ll know that you’ve done it correctly. All that butter will help the pastry puff and rise and become delicately crunchy and just…superb.
From then you just need to cut the pastry into any shape you like and stick them in the oven at 140 degrees Celsius for about 15 minutes.
[ 300ml milk + 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise + 3 large egg yolks + 50g sugar + 20g all-purpose flour + 20g corn flour ]
In a medium-sized stainless steel bowl, whisk the sugar and egg yolks together until pale. Sift the flour and cornstarch together and then add to the egg mixture,mixing until you get a smooth paste. Set aside.
In a pan, combine the milk and split vanilla bean on medium heat until boiling. Remove from heat and add slowly to egg mixture, whisking constantly to prevent curdling.
Place the egg mixture back into a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until boiling, whisking constantly. When it boils, whisk mixture constantly for another 30 - 60 seconds until it becomes very thick and it is hard to stir.
Remove from heat and immediately whisk in the liqueur (if using). Pour into a clean bowl and immediately cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a crust from forming. Cool in the fridge.
Now you know there’s nothing wrong with just slicing up some fresh strawberries and sandwiching it between the cream and the pastry, but if you include this step, it will really kick up the dessert a notch.
[2 handfulls of strawberry + 3 tablespoon powdered sugar + juice of 1/2 a lemon]
Cut the strawberries into halves. In a pan, toss with the lemon juice and powdered sugar.
Turn the heat on high and caramelize for 2-3 minutes until glossy. Take off from heat and set aside.
Take a piece of pastry, spread some pastry cream and spoon the strawberries on top. Repeat again and then finish off with a dusting of powdered sugar.
Failed Macaron Attempt
The elusive macaron has claimed another victim today.I just mourned away 3 batches of failed macarons. It all started well enough; I had some leftover ground almonds that needed to to be used and thought, why not attempt to conquer Macaronland for the second Valentine’s day post? I’m also dedicating this post to Eka (who goes bonkers for macarons, in a good way) for her birthday tomorrow. But since it’s shite, I’m not sure if I should still dedicate it…So anyways, I set about trying to find a foolproof recipe around the internet and decided to use Cannelle Et Vanille’s recipe. First of all I want to say please don’t make this post a reason to not try her recipe. The mistakes done here are my own and not to be pointed at the recipe. Now, I shall write the recipe down and add my own experiences with it in italics and bold.
[100ml egg whites (approximately from 3 eggs) + 25g granulated sugar + 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice + 225g powdered sugar + 125g almond flour + 15g cocoa powder] OPTIONAL: 1 teaspoon chilli powder and extra for sprinkling. <— This is my take on it; the original recipe has Cocoa nibs for topping.
Separate the egg whites at least 24 hours prior and even let them sit at room temperature for a few hours before starting to make the macarons. This will help them get rid of some moisture and become more acidic, which will help form a stable meringue.
[I didn’t separate the egg whites a day before, for the sole reason that I wasn’t sure I’d have the time to make it tomorrow. I’ve flagged missing this step as a possible contributor the the catastrophe]
Whip the egg whites and the lemon juice until they are almost fully whipped.
Sprinkle in the sugar while still mixing. Continue to whip to a full meringue.
[Followed instructions to the letter. End result was stiff and glossy]
Sift the powdered sugar, salt, almond flour and cocoa powder into a bowl. Add the meringue into the dry ingredients and fold until a shiny mass is formed. We want it to spread a bit but not too much.
[Okay, to be honest, I did this Cajun style and sieved the dry ingredients (powdered sugar, salt, almond flour and cocoa powder) straight into the meringue and then fold it in. Do you think this is where I screwed up? I really have no idea]
Pipe the macarons onto a silicon mat. Let the macarons dry at room temperature for 20 minutes or so.
[As you can see, I did get to the “shiny mass” part. I piped it onto a piece of parchment paper and gave the tray a tap to let all the air bubbles out. I also let it dry at room temperature for 20 minutes]
[I sprinkled some extra chili pepper on top while it’s still tacky. By the end of 20 minutes, the shells have developed a “skin” that’s supposed to help it rise and make the little “feet”]
[So far so good; the shells have flatten out and they look somewhat uniform in size, so the next stage was to put it inside the oven and Bake them at 300F (150 degrees C) for about 16 minutes]
So tell me then, how THIS little picture of perfection came out to be…
And the worst part was, it happened again and again to the next two batches. When the first batch came out mangled, I panicked and searched the internet why macarons would crack;
Some sources said because the heat was too high, the other said because there was too much moisture in the mixture. I was like “A%%^$%ISjdsdkjf09s8efsodf!!*”
The second batch I put inside the oven at a slightly lower temperature and I kept watch. At first it looked like it was going to be okay…then the first cracks started appearing and my heart sunk.
The third batch I decided to leave out to dry a little longer (30 minutes instead of 20). No avail. The result was a cracked mess.
At this point I was on the floor weeping.
Okay, maybe not. But I was feeling pretty miserable.
Then I thought to myself, “There’s no way I’m going to throw all these away!” and decided to be sneaky. So I made some Chocolate Ganache
[ 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips or pieces + 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream]
In a heavy saucepan, melt chocolate chips with cream over low heat.
and then I started dipping the shells into the ganache to cover up the hideous cracks. Then I sprinkled some more chili powder on some and dust confectioner’s sugar on the others. Then I sandwiched some whipped cream between the shells and stashed them in the fridge for the next day’s nibbles.
So if you decide to try making macarons and they don’t quite turn out the way you wanted them to, remember this handy cheat. Or you can always crumble them onto trifles or ice cream.
All is well, no wastage :)
Making Red Velvet Cake
Here’s the classic Red Velvet Cake with Chocolate Frosting to kick off what would hopefully be a string of posts for Valentine’s day dessert ideas. To be honest, I was inspired to make this because I remembered that badass Dr. Yang chose it for her wedding cake. I wanted to do it justice and have the colour just right. Nowadays the RVC has been tainted with one tablespoon too many red food colouring that it almost looks toxic. I mean come on; you want an alluring, luscious shade of red. Not that of a firetruck’s. This is a very decadent cake; with silky vanilla buttercream filling and smooth dark chocolate frosting. Definitely one that guarantees a very,very good end to the evening.
Now you’ll have to pardon the rather bad quality of the step by step images because a cousin of mine borrowed my camera and promised that he’d bring it back today, only that he didn’t. Well he did, but he brought it over at 7 PM. By then it’s pretty much useless. I couldn’t bring myself to take a picture of it with the camera phone so I had to take the picture of the cake the next day to do it justice.
Don’t be intimidated by the seemingly long recipe. I took it from Martha Stewart’s website. Just follow through and you’ll be rewarded. You can make these as individual cupcakes, or as one big cake. I used a square baking tin and cut out circles to make individual sized cakes.
And no, this is not under 300 cals.
Red Velvet Cake:
[1/3 cup cocoa + 3 tablespoon red food coloring + 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract + 1/2 cup butter, softened + 1 1/2 cup sugar + 4 egg yolks + 1 cup buttermilk + 1 teaspoon salt + 2 1/4 cup sifted cake flour + 1 teaspoon baking soda + 1 teaspoon white vinegar]
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 standard 12-cup cupcake tins or a square baking tin with baking papers and set aside.
Mix the cocoa, food coloring, and vanilla together in a small bowl and set aside.
Beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl, using a mixer set on medium-high speed. Add the yolks and beat for 1 more minute.
Add the cocoa mixture and beat to combine. Stir the buttermilk and salt together and add it in thirds, alternating with the flour.
Mix the baking soda with the vinegar and blend into the batter.
Fill each cupcake tin with 3 tablespoons batter, or pour the batter into the square baking tin and bake until a toothpick inserted in the cupcake center tests clean — about 15-20 minutes
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
[ 3 cups confectioner’s sugar + 1 cup butter + 1 teaspoon vanilla extract + 1 to 2 tablespoons whipping cream ]
In a mixer, mix together sugar and softened butter. Mix on medium speed until well blended and then increase to high and beat for another 3 minutes. Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 more minute, adding more cream if needed, to reach spreading consistency. Use to spread on the cupcake or to sandwich the cake layers.
Cooked Chocolate Frosting
[ 240ml milk + 3 tablespoons flour + 1/8 teaspoon salt + 8 ounce dark chocolate + 240g butter + 360g confectioner’s sugar + 2 tablespoon cocoa + 1 teaspoon vanilla extract ]
Whisk milk, flour and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat until mixture begins to thicken and bubble. Set aside to cool.
Melt the chocolate and set aside to cool.
Beat the butter, sugar and cocoa powder until light and fluffy. Beat in the cooled chocolate, milk mixture and vanilla until smooth and fluffy. Use to cover the entire cake.You’d do a much neater job of this than I did, I’m sure.
Transfer to a plate and serve immediately or chill in the fridge.