Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Vanilla & Matcha mille feuille

I made puff pastry for Andy because he wanted to make a French biscuit that required puff pastry. (I forgot the name of it but the sweet and crunchy biscuits were very nice... so good that they were gone before we had a chance to take photos...)

With the left over puff pastry, I made mille feuille. One with vanilla custard cream and the other with matcha (green tea) custard cream. The puff pastry puffed up a little too much for mille feuille (I should have rolled the pastry thinner... ;( ... ), but they tasted great, anyway.

As I've mentioned many times in the past, I love green tea, and green tea custard is not an exception! It's so good... and a great variation of vanilla custard. Mix one tea spoon of green tea powder with one tea spoon of water, and add the mixture into the vanilla custard.

Enjoy an European style dessert and a taste of Japan at the same time! ;D

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Chestnut tart

As I mentioned on the previous post, now I've got a lot of chestnut jam, I will be making quite a few chestnuts stuff. :D

First off, it's a chestnut tart! I put a generous amount of chestnut jam in the filling. The tart is simple but the combination of the sweet pastry and dense, moist, aromatic chestnut filling is for me a perfect winter treat.

A few slices of that and a hot milky tea in front of TV.., what else do we need...?

Ingredients:

Sweet pastry 1 (see here)
Chestnut jam 200g (see here)
Almond powder 100g
Egg 1
Sugar 50g
Cream 50g

1. Prepare the sweet pastry. Line the pastry on a 9 inch tart tin. Prick the bottom of the tart case with a fork. Rest it in the freezer.
2. Preheat the oven to 180ºc. Make the filling. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
3. Pour the mixture into the tart case. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Chestnuts foraging


The other day we went for chestnut foraging. We found an awesome spot! Not only were there a looooot of chestnuts on the ground, but also some chestnuts were falling from the trees while I was picking them. We got four big shopping bags full of chestnuts (we could have got more..., but we thought we shouldn't be greedy...)

Back in the kitchen, I took the chestnut out from the spiky shells (ouch ouch ouch..., it was a real pain on our fingers!) and peeled the hard shells. The whole preparation even before cooking took 3 days!

Most of the chestnuts were made into chestnut jam. Now I've got 8 pots of jams to use for my breads and cakes!

I've already made some chestnuts bread. They are now back in stock on The World of Sweets - Bakery -, better be quick or they will be all gone! (... and the good new is..., the delivery is FREE* too!)


*Ipswich and surrounding areas only.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Croissant with raisin starter

After making the tiny croissants, I had an urge to make proper croissants.

This time I decided to use no yeast but my raisin starter. For the raisin starter, I do the same as the raisin yeast, then combine the liquid with the same amount of flour. I feed the starter for 3 days (I do 'water : flour = 1:1').
I've explained it very simply here but the makings of a starter is a bit more complicated than that and needs a great deal of attention... I'm still experimenting in order to achieve 'the one'. Anyway..., hopefully I will be able to share the details of the raisin starter on another post some time soon.

So... back to the croissants! The process of folding a sheet of butter is very similar to puff pastry. I have made an illustration below to show you how to do it. Hope that will help. ;) One thing to remember is to work quickly in order to keep the butter cold. We don't want the butter to melt into the dough.

After hours of preparation, I finally got my croissants! They weren't as airy as French ones, but still nice and crisp, very good indeed! I say they are more like 'Le Croissant au Japon' (forgive my french...;D). They were so addictive that I had a few for breakfast and five (or maybe more... I lost count...) for lunch... They didn't make it for dinner...

I shouldn't think about the amount of butter I consumed from them..., well, I don't care... I went for a run the following morning anyway...;)

Ingredients:

Raisin starter 200g
Flour 400g
Milk 200g
Sugar 50g
Butter 40g
Salt pinch
Butter (for folding in) 230g

1. Take the raisin starter out from the fridge to bring it to room temperature.
2. Combine all the ingredients and knead in the standing mixer for 10 minutes.
3. Leave it in the fridge overnight.
4. Prepare butter for folding in the dough. Wrap the butter with cling film and make a sheet of 20cmx 20cm square. Rest it in the fridge.
5. Take put the dough from fridge and roll it out to 40cm x 40cm square.
6. Fold the butter in (see below for how to do it). Chill in the fridge for 1 hour.
7. Repeat the process two more times.
8. Wrap the dough in a cling film and rest it overnight.
9. Roll out the dough to 3-4mm thickness. Cut each edge so that you have a nice rectangle shape.
10. Cut the dough into triangles. Make a small cut on the short side.
11. Roll the triangle from the wide end to the pointed end. Place the croissants on a baking tray, cover with a cling film, and leave them for 3-4 hours.
12. Preheat the oven to 200ºc.
13. Egg wash the croissants and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until the croissants are lightly brown.




Friday, November 16, 2012

Nata de coco

When I was a kid a thing called Nata de coco became massively popular in Japan and I loved it, but I haven't seen it for a while and totally forgotten about it until a few weeks ago... I went to a local Asian food shop and found a jar of Nata de coco. I was like..."...what's this? Na..ta...de...coco...?!, wow! Nata de coco!" I bought it immediately. :)

So..., what is Nata de coco? It is a sweet chewy coconut gel product, which is often served with ice cream, jelly, or fruits.  (I don't really know a great deal about it.. maybe you can go on Wikipedia...).

I made a tropical looking jelly with Nata de coco. I added a bit of banana flavouring into a coloured jelly (It's a blue banana!) and topped it up with cream, apricot jam and coconut flakes.

The unique texture and exotic flavour of Nata de coco reminded me of my childhood breakfast..., (my mum used to give this to us with yoghurt....) Aah, nostalgic... ;)

源氏パイもどき… (Genji Pie)

There is a snack called 源氏パイ (Genji Pie) in Japan, which is a sweet heart shaped small pie. So..., I made an attempt to create something similar to that with my left over puff pastry. (Have you seen my ultimate apple pie?)

I made long strips of pastry (approximately 1cm x 20cm), sprinkled brown sugar on them, and then rolled each short end so that they meet in the middle.

The pies became a bit thicker than the original 源氏パイ, but they were nicely crisp and tasted quite like it. Not bad... :D

Why not try them next time you have some puff pastry left? ;)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The tiniest croissants

With the leftover puff pastry for my Ultimate apple pie I made these tiny croissants. They were the smallest croissants I've ever made, eaten or even seen!

Look at the size of pine corn behind! They were so cute looking like a toy. I wanted to leave them on the table as a display but they went into my belly instead...

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Ultimate apple pie

Today we visited Andy's friend and his family and I brought this ultimate apple pie.

I've been thinking about what to make without eggs the whole week because Andy's friend doesn't eat eggs, and I eventually settled on the ultimate Autumn & Winter classic, apple pie.

We cut the pie after the amazing food Andy's friend's wife cooked for us. The prawn curry and mushroom rice was so tasty! I loved it when we had the pie, their 5 year-old boy grabbed the pie, ate it and gave me a big smile. Not only that, he tried to eat my piece too! I take that as a big compliment for my apple pie. :D

Thanks so much to the Kumar for the lovey time.

Ingredients:

Puff pastry 1 (see here)
Apple confiture 150g (see here)
Apple 5
Sugar 50g
Lemon juice 1 tbsp
Raisin 2-3 tbsp
Almond slice 2-3 tbsp
Apricot jam 3 tbsp
Water 1 tsp

1. Cut apples into small pieces, and cook with sugar and lemon juice in a pan over medium heat until the liquid from the apples is reduced and thickened.
2. Preheat the oven to 190ºc. Make puff pastry. Roll out the pastry onto tart tin.
3. Spread apple confiture on the bottom of the pie. Put cooked apples and raisins on top. Sprinkle almonds.
4. Decorate the top of the pie with remaining pastry. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes or until the pie is golden.
5. Mix apricot jam and water and put in the microwave for 30 second. While the pie is hot, glaze the pie with thinned apricot jam.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Chestnuts Swiss roll

From my older posts some people might know by now that I'm a big fan of Swiss roll. And here we are again..., another day with a slice or two of mouth melting Swiss roll.

This time I went for a taste of Autumn and Winter, chestnuts! I added a good amount of chestnut jam in the sponge as well as in the butter cream in the middle.

I probably put a little too much of butter cream in the middle (because I'm a greedy monkey...) so I struggled to roll up the sponge a bit but it did taste amazing...

Even though I knew exactly how much butter and sugar went into the whole cake, I could not resist the second piece... (well anyway, I have a policy that I don't care about the calories when it comes to cakes and sweets...)

Have you seen my other Swiss rolls and the recipe?
Grape jam Swiss roll
Blackberry and cream cheese Swiss roll

Monday, November 5, 2012

Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary!

Two years ago, we flew to Las Vegas and got married. Lots of things, some of which I've never thought of on our wedding day, have happened in two year. Baby... house... etc...

Thank you, Andy, for being the awesome husband, the best friend, and the coolest dad for Lana.

I love you. XXX

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Three tier cream cake

For dessert at Steve's party, I made a super creamy vanilla sponge cake. I wanted the cake to be simple but also look a bit special, so I did three tiers. :)

I baked two sheets of sponge cake (the same sponge as the Swiss roll sponge), and made big Swiss rolls for the bottom and middle tiers. I put vanilla flavoured whipped cream in the middle and decorated also with a generous amount of cream.

It was creamy! Super über creamy! Cream with a nice and light sponge, just how I like it! I love cream...I am a cream monster. I must have had a quarter of the bottom tier...  It did definitely fill my cake hole.

Thanks to Steve for a lovely eveing and awsome fireworks!

Bread bowls

Yesterday we had a fireworks party at Steve's and I brought some edible bowls for his vege chilli beans (which was the best vege chilli I've ever had!)

The bowls were made of wholemeal bread. I covered a china bowl with foil and shaped the bread dough into a long thin sausage to wrap around the bowl. After the first bake, I took the china bowl and the foil out, glazed the bread bowl with egg and bake it again to give a nice shine.

The bread bowls looked like medieval pots... Andy kept coming back to the kitchen with a bowl and funny walk pretending to be a man from medieval times.

I had Steve's chilli in my bowl, went back for a second bowl before I ate it. ;) It felt quite liberating to eat the bowl but I was so full after destroying it.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Rye bread with dates

I made another rye bread with my rye flour sourdough starter. This time I added some dates and date syrup. Unlike last time I used rye flour only, which I think made the bread even denser.

I baked in a mini loaf tin and the bread came out so solid and dark that it looked like a brick. I thought "If I get hit by this, that could actually hurt me..." Cutting the bread was tough too. I felt like I was sawing the bread rather than cutting...

Anyway, the bread tasted good. Because it was quite hard, I needed to chew more, which made me eat less. (good good... :D) I also tried dipping into my pumpkin soup. That was amazing! The unique flavour and bit of saltiness of rye flour brought the sweetness of pumpkin very well.

All in all, these rock hard mini loaves weren't not bad at all. ;D

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Sweet potato and apple pie

Winter is coming... It's time for nice comforting treats so I made these mini pies filled with sweet potato cream and apple confiture.

I make the fillings and puff pastry myself but if you can't find time to do all that, use a ready made puff pastry and apple jam. (I don' know if you can find sweet potato cream in a shop... maybe you've got a time to make sweet potato cream yourself?) Then all you've got to do is to roll out the pastry and put the jam and cream... and bake!
The super cute and tasty pies will be ready in less than a hour. Glaze the pies with thinned apricot jam to make it pretty. ;)

I like these mini pies a lot but I think Andy liked them even more... He kept going back to them. What a nice complement to a baker. :D