A Dorayaki Afternoon

Faith and I share a love for all things red bean. If you are to ask her what bread she would like, she would answer, “Red bean bread.” Yup, we could have such a bread for days and won’t grow tired of it. Then I introduced Dorayaki to her and it was an instant hit with her. I can’t keep purchasing it because it’s a bit on the expensive side. The next best thing I could do is to make it ourselves.

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I have an ulterior motive too in making the dorayaki. I have recently bought a smaller-sized pan from GREENPAN so that I could teach Faith to cook eggs and pancakes with it. And I wanted Faith to make her own dorayaki. The batter is easy to make and you can make life easier for yourself if you use store-purchased red bean paste.

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This is the one I used and can be bought from Japanese supermarkets. I dug out a dorayaki recipe that I have posted in 2011 and adjusted based on it.

INGREDIENTS: For 6 pancakes (depending on the size you make)

Pancakes:
Eggs: 2
Sugar: 100 g
Honey: 1+1/2 tablespoons
Extra-virgin oil: 1 tablespoon
Mirin: 1 tablespoon
Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda): 1/3 teaspoon
Flour: 150 g
Water: 40~60 ml

Extra-virgin oil for cooking
sweetened red bean

:: In a bowl, use a hand whisk and beat the eggs and add the sugar. Mix until the mixture whitens or turns pale yellow. Add the honey and mix until it is completely blended. Add the extra-virgin olive oil and mix. Add bicarbonate sodium and mix. Add mirin and mix. Sift in half of the flour and mix well. Sift and add the other half and mix well.

:: Add water and mix. The amount of water might vary with the kind of flour. I used all purpose flour in this case and used about 50ml of water.

:: Cover the bowl with clingflim and allow the batter to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

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:: Heat a frypan over a medium fire first and then remove from fire. Lower the heat. Once the frypan has cooled down bring over to the heat again. Wipe it with a kitchen paper soaked with olive oil. Make sure you wipe of excess oil to ensure nice golden colour.

:: Pour pancake mixture into the pan. Bear in mind that the size of the panckes must be the same. The amount, whatever it is must be the same. Choose your ladle/spoon well beforehand!

:: When bubbles appear across the surface, turn the pancake over. The cooking time for the other side is shorter than the first side.

:: Transfer the pancake to a plate and cover it with a damp towel to prevent it from drying.

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:: Sandwich the sweetened red bean between two pancakes. Put more read bean paste in the middle. If you are not eating it straightaway, clingwrap it until ready to serve.

Some of the steps that the young one can help include cracking of the eggs, whisking of the mixture, pouring of ingredients into the bowl, etc. We can certainly talk about the use of the weighing scale and the different measurements needed in this case.

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I find this version of the pancake to be on the dense side. I would prefer it to be softer. Perhaps I would try a different type of flour the next time and see if it has any effect on the texture. But still, it’s yummy and the girl gave her thumbs up. Good snack to pack in the lunchbox (though I wouldn’t give it too often. Kekekek..).

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😉

Pumpkin-Chia Seeds Cheesecake

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In a bid to increase Faith’s menu, I made a cheesecake for her. I reckon if it is purely just cheesecake, it will be too much of those cheese for her. Thankfully, Keiko Ishida’s Okashi provides a recipe for a pumpkin cheesecake and I suspect Faith might like since pumpkin is her favourite vegetable. To make it more nutritious, I added a tablespoon of the superfood Chia Seeds.

What you need:
Walnuts 30g, toasted
Digestive biscuits 70g
Unsalted butter, 40g melted
Japanese pumpkin, 250g, skinned and seeded
Brown sugar 90g
Cream cheese 220g
Ground cinnamon 1/2 tsp
Vanilla extract 1/2 tsp
Chia seeds 1 tbsp
Whipping cream 50g
Eggs 2
Egg yolk 1

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I used a 7 inch round cake pan with a removable base.

Toast walnuts for 20 minutes at 150C without preheating. Set aside.

Increase oven heat to 170C. Lightly grease cake pan with a little softened butter.

Place digestive biscuits and toasted walnuts in a food processor and lightly pulse into fine crumbs. Add melted butter and mix well. Transfer crumbs to the cake pan and spread evenly. Press down well and chill in the freezer to set.

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Steam pumpkin for about 15 minutes or until softened. Place cooked pumpkin and brown sugar into a food processor and blend well. Add cream cheese, ground cinnamon, vanilla extract, whipping cream, chia seeds and blend. Add eggs and egg yolk and mix lightly. Do not over-mix.

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Pour cream cheese mixture over set biscuit base and bake for 50 minutes or until the surface is light brown and centre of cheesecake feels springy to the touch. I prefer to use the latter method instead of just referring to the time (I took more than 50 min).

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Gently run a knife along the edge of cheesecake and leave to cool on a wire rack. Cover with cling film and chill in the refrigerator overnight.

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On the day of serving, unmould cheesecake and slice into even pieces using a warmed knife to have those beautiful cut edges.

Have a go at it!

Lemon Meringue Tartlets

What got me baking these tartlets?

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One fine day, da man and I checked out a cafe and I thought I should try their famed passionfruit meringue tartlets. After one bite, I found myself unimpressed -the pastry was hard and for the price I paid, I could have a better experience than that. So, I decided to bake the tarts myself.

Commonly, the crusts of tarts are made from pate brisee, pate sucree and pate sablee. However, my kitchen is really warm and I decided to use the graham crackers crust from Miette whose recipes I love. For the lemon curd, I prefer the lighter version and opted for Dorie Greenspan’s. After topping it up with Italian Meringue and torching it, I was truly satisfied. You would have to allow the different parts of the tartlets time to bind the flavours together in order to get its true taste.

A lot of work, yes. But it’s all worth it.

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For Graham Crackers Base
[Adapted from Miette: Recipes from San Francisco’s Most Charming Pastry Shop]

100g all-purpose flour
20g wholemeal flour
¼ tsp salt
A scant (⅛ tsp) ground cinnamon
85g unsalted butter, at room temperature
55g light brown sugar
1 tbsp honey

1. Sift together both flours, salt and cinnamon in a bowl. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of a standmixer (fitted with paddle attachment), combine the butter, brown sugar and honey and beat until fluffy.
3. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture in three additions, beating just until combined after each addition. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap/ clingwrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling, or up to 2 days.

Preparation for blind-baking:

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and unwrap. Divide the dough to make the portions you IMG_6718need and pat gently into disks. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out each dough disk into a round about 2mm thick and about 1 inch greater in diameter than the pan you are using. Drape the roller-out dough into the tart pan(s), gently pushing it into the bottom edges and against the pan sides to make a strong and straight shell. Trim the edges and against the pan sides. Prick all over the bottom with the tines of a fork and place in the freezer to form up for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 180 C.

To fully blind-bake the shell, line the shells with parchment paper and weight with dried rice, dried beans or pie weights. Place in the oven and bake until golden brown, about 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before proceeding with the recipe.

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Lemon curd
[Source: Dorie Greenspan’s Around my French Table]

1 ¼ cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
about ¾ cup fresh lemon juice (from about 4-5 lemons)
112g unsalted butter, cut into chunks

1. In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan (off-heat), whisk the sugar and the eggs together until blended. Whisk in the corn syrup and lemon juice and then drop in the chunks of butter.

2. Put the saucepan over medium heat and start whisking, taking care to work the whisk into the edges of the pan. If your whisk is too big to clean the edges of the pan, switch to a wooden spoon or a silicone spatula. Keep heating and whisking the mixture without stop. After about 6 to 8 minutes, you’ll notice the curd starting to thicken- it won’t be very thick, but the change is easily perceptible. When the curd is thickened, and most important, you see a bubble or two burble to the surface and then pop immediately, remove the pan from the heat.

3. Scrape the curd into a heatproof bowl or a canning jar or two. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface to create an airtight seal, and let the curd cool to room temperature (it will thicken slightly as it cools). Chill before serving. The curd will keep up to three weeks, refrigerated.

Italian meringue
[Makes about 4 cups]

1 ½ cups caster sugar
¼ tsp cream of tartar
¼ cup water
3 large egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Combine the sugar, cream of tartar, and water in a small saucepan. Stir the sugar to dissolve and begin to heat it over medium-low. Have a heatproof measuring cup sitting nearby.

2. Put the egg whites and vanilla in a standmixer fitted with the whisk attachment. When the sugar syrup reaches 115C, immediately pour it into the measuring cup to prevent it from getting hotter. With the mixer on medium speed, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the egg whites, aiming for the side of the bowl rather than the whisk. When all the syrup is added, turn the mixer to medium high and whisk until the icing becomes thick and holds a firm peak, about 10 minutes in total. Do not continue to beat or the icing will become too thick to spread and pipe.

Linking up with

Tiramisu

I’ve decided to try tiramisu today, using Sheridan’s Irish coffee cream Liqueur. I followed the recipe from Keiko, just that I changed the green tea to coffee and also used liqueur. For each layer of cheese filling, I dusted a thin layer of cocoa powder. I will also be trying other recipes in future and determine which is the best and could match up to the ones in Prego.

This recipe here is from a coffee baking book.
250g of mascarpone
1 packet of ladyfingers
4 eggs
100g of powdered sugar
1 small glass of amaretto syrup
1 large mug of strong coffee
50g of cocoa powder

1. Break the eggs and separate the whites and the yolks into different containers. Use an electric mixer to beat the egg yolks and sugar for 5 minutes. Add the mascarpone and continue to beat for another 5 minutes.
2. Beat the egg whites until stiff and delicately add them to the previous mixture.
3. Mix the coffee and amaretto syrup. Quickly soak the ladyfingers in the mixture and spread them on the bottom of a large mould.
4. Pour in half of the mascarpone mixture. Next, add a layer of coffee-soaked biscuits and then add the rest of the mascarpone mixture.
5. Leave in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours.
6. Before serving, sprinkle cocoa powder on top through a sifter.

The following recipe is what Ken’s aunt gave me.
Instructions:
– 5 to 6 large eggs – to separate the yolk from the white
– Place egg white into cake mixer
– Whip white until stiff (at fastest speed)
– 5 tbsp of white sugar to be added in and whip
– Add 500g mascarpone cheese (approx 125g at a time) into mixer and whip at slow speed
– Mix in egg yolk
– Soak french bread sticks in 4 cups of expresso coffee in a flat blased plate mixed with disaranno amaretta
– Fill corning ware with expresso soaked bread sticks and add an even layer of mixture
– Add a layer of cocoa powder
– Repeat
– 3 to 4 hours in freezer and dust top layer with cocoa powder after freezer

Apple Crumble

Decided to make Apple Crumble for the meeting after tasting what Boss has made for us a few days back. Simple really.

For the topping:
3 apples
100g plain flour
100g caster sugar (can cut on the sugar)
100g ground almonds
100g unsalted butter.
80g walnuts (chopped)

3/4 tsp cinnamon (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
2. Make the topping first. Cut the butter into small pieces and put it into a mixing bowl with the sugar, flour and ground almonds. Use the ‘rubbing-in’ method until they look like small peas. Mix in the chopped walnuts. Set aside.
3. Peel the apples and cut them into chunks and lay them in the pan.

4. Sprinkle the topping over the apples.
5. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

There are various ways to making apple crumble and I think this is one of the non-fuss ways of making it. Eat it with vanilla ice-cream!

Green Tea Tiramisu

I love green tea because it is down-to-earth and refreshing. Somehow, the tea has a kind of detoxifying spirit in it. This day, I intend to do something with the green tea leaves and powder I have. So it’s gonna be green tea tiramisu! I am going to follow Keiko Ishida’s recipe from her book Okashi.

Makes 10 serving glasses or one 27-cm oval dish.

1 Packet lady fingers biscuits

Mascarpone Cheese Filling
2 Egg yolks (about 40g)
70g caster sugar
250g Mascarpone cheese
100g Whipping cream
70g Egg whites
10g Green tea powder + extra for dusting
90g Hot water

1. Prepare mascarpone cheese filling. Combine egg yolks and 30g sugar in a bowl and beat until mixture thickens and becomes pale yellow in colour. Add mascarpone cheese and mix well.

2. Whip cream in a chilled bowl until stiff peaks form. Add whipped cream to the mascarpone cheese mixture and fold through.

3. Make meringue. Place egg white in a clean bowl and beat until foamy. Ad remaining sugar and beat until stif peaks form and egg whites are glossy. Fold into mascarpone cheese mixture.

4. Place green tea powder in a small bowl and mix with hot water a little at a time. Stir until completely dissolved. Quickly dip both ends of each finger in the green tea mixture, then place in prepared oval dish or glasses.

5. Spread half of mascarpone cream cheese filling in a layer over soaked biscuits. Dip more biscuits into green tea mixture and place on top of mascarpone cheese layer. Spoon over remaning mascarpone cheese filling.

6. Dust generously with green tea powder and refrigerate until required. Tiramisu can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

I also get some insights from http://tea-noir.net/2010/02/green-tea-tiramisu-i-would-sell-my-guccis-for/
& http://chezannies.blogspot.com/2007/01/green-tea-ramisu.html

New York Cheesecake

For the crust
5 tbs (75g) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for coating pan
11/4 cups (112g) graham cracker crumbs (about 10 crackers)
2 tbs sugar

For the filling
1.25kg cream cheese, at warm room temperature
2 cups (500g) sugar
1/3 cup (60g) all purpose (plain) flour
2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
1 cup (250ml) heavy (double) cream
1 tsp vanilla essence

Makes 8 – 10 servings

1. To make the crust, preheat the oven to 165C. Generously butter the bottom and sides of a 23 cm springform pan. In a bowl, combine the melted butter, graham cracker crumbs and sugar and stir until the crumbs are even moistened. Transfer the crumb mixture to the prepared springform pan and press evenly onto the bottom and about 4cm up the sides of the pan. Bake until the crust dries out slightly, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

2. To make the filling, place the cream cheese in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat until smooth, about 5 minutes. In a bowl, mix together the sugar and flour. Add to the cream cheese and beat until well blended, stopping frequently to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, beating after each addition and again stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the cream and vanilla and beat until combined. Pour the cream cheese mixture into the prepared crust.

3. Bake until the cheesecake is set and the centre jiggles slightly, 80-90 minutes. Transfer the cheesecake to a rack and let cool in the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.

4. Unclasp the pan sides and remove. To cut the cheesecake, run a thin-bladed knife under hot running water and wipe dry before each but. Cut the cake into wedges and serve chilled.

Barley Soup with Ginkgo Nuts


This is one of my favourite dessert that my mom cooks. I used this recipe from this source.

Serves 3

Ingredients:
50g shelled ginkgo nuts ( I bought the canned one instead due to time constraints)

25g barley

10g dried beancurd strips (fu chok)

50g rock sugar

75ml of water

2 eggs (beaten)

Directions

  1. Rinse the barley
  2. Break the beancurd strips into smaller pieces and soak in water for about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside
  3. Bring water to a boil and add the ginkgo nuts, barley and beancurd strips
  4. Cover the pot and boil for 15 minutes on high
  5. Lower heat and simmer for 1 hour
  6. Add the rock sugar and cook till dissolve
  7. Beat the eggs
  8. Remove the soup from the heat (important that this step is adhered to)
  9. Stream the beaten eggs into the soup before serving.

Rock Melon Sago

Serves 4 to 5
1 ripened rock melon, rind and seeds removed
1 cup sago
1 packet coconut cream (200ml)
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

Syrup
1/2 cup castor sugar
1/2 cup water
2 to 3 pandan leaves, knotted

1. Cut 3/4 of the rock melon into big chunks and process in food processor or blender until smooth. Press blended rock melon through a sieve to strain the juice and remove the pulp. Chill in the refrigerator.
2. Cut the remaining rock melon into small cubes and chill in the refrigerator.
3. Cook sago in a pot of boiling water for about 10 minutes until transparent, stiring occasionally to prevent sago from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Remove from heat and let it stand with lid on for 5 to 10 minutes to let the residual heat cook the sago thoroughly.
4. Pour sago into a sieve and rinse under cold tap water. Drain and set aside.
5. To prepare the syrup, place the sugar in a pot or saucepan with the water and pandan leaves. Heat gently until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

6. Mix the coconut cream, rock melon juice, salt and sago in a large bowl. Add syrup to taste.

7. Ladle into individual serving bowls and top with rock melon cubes.