Friday, January 30, 2015

Cute Piggy Hotdog Buns~Oink Oink!

One of my friends asked me if I could shape my bread into piggy shape. I thought it shouldn't be too difficult and did it with the Hokkaido Milk Bread dough. You can find the recipe here.

Just before the final proofing, the dough is to be shaped into the piggies.
While shaping, remember to cover the dough with a damp cloth to prevent the dough from drying up.

How to do:

1. Cut the hotdogs into size approx 4cm length.
2. Cook the hotdogs in the oven at 170degree for approx 5-10min
3. Remove the hotdogs from the oven and let them cool for easy handling.
4. When the bread dough is ready for shaping, cut approx. 40g of dough which form the main body of the pigs.
5. Shape the dough into round and flatten it into a circle with a roll pin.
6. Place the hotdog in the center and wrap the dough around the hotdog and pinch the edge of the dough together. This should form a longish bun shape.
7. Place the shaped bun onto the baking tray with the pinched side downwards.
8. Cut 5 small portions of dough and shape them round, approx pea size to form the legs and nose.
9. Use 2 tooth picks to fix the nose onto one end of the main bun body.
10. Press the rest of the 4 small round dough to body to form the legs.
11. Use 2 more tooth picks and poke into main body, above the nose to form the eyes.
12  Take another small portion of dough and roll into a thin thread and fix onto the body as tail.
13. Finally, use a small sharp scissors to cut an inverted v above the eggs for the ears.
14. Let the pigs go through a final proof for approx. 20min and egg wash the body of the pigs before baking.
15. Bake in a preheated oven at 170degree for approx. 20min or till the pigs are brown.

piglet-bread-bun
:: The egg washed piggies before baking ::

pig-hotdog-bun
:: Don't forget the little details like the tail ::

Pigs-bread-buns-in-bowl
:: Piggy Hotdog Buns ::

When the buns are done, remove the tooth picks from the buns by twisting while pulling gently out

Cute-Pig-Hotdog-Bread-Bun
:: Hello from my piglet bun ::


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Longan Beancurd Tarts ~ A Light & Delicious Dessert

During one of the Xmas dinner last year, a friend of mine who also recent got into baking, was asking me about the egg tarts that I made. Her hubby loves egg tarts, she, however, prefers the less sinful counterpart ~ Beancurd Tarts.

That one was my first timing hearing about beancurd tarts.. And I thought.. that sounds like a wonderful idea since I love beancurd too! So I went online to Google a bit more info about this wonderful sounding dessert and realise this is actually quite a famous tart made popular by LE Cafe which is also famous for their pineapple tarts..  yeah.. I know I am a bit of a mountain tortoise here.. LOL!

I spent some time testing out the amount of gelatine for the beancurd to get the consistency I wanted and finally made this yummy dessert.


Tart shell recipe is the same as my egg tart post here.

This recipe made about 6 tarts.

Tart shells are baked in my Morris tabletop oven.


Ingredients:

For the Tart Shell
45g unsalted butter, softened
22g icing sugar
15g beaten egg
90g all purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt


For the Beancurd Filling
150ml non sweeten soya milk
1 tbsp icing sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract (can omit if preferred)
3/4 tsp gelatine powder
1 can of longan

*I used non sweeten soya milk because I prefer to adjust the sweetness level myself.
Normal sweeten soya milk can be used with which sugar should be omitted.



How to do:

1. Beat the egg and strain through the sieve. Weigh out 15g and set aside for later use. The rest of the egg can be used for eggwashing the tarts later.
2. Sift the flour and salt together and set aside for later use.
3. Cream the soften butter till it is smooth and pale yellow. I used hand whisk.
4. Add icing sugar and continue to cream till light and fluffy.
5. Add in the 15g egg and continue to mix till well combined.
6. Fold in the flour in 3 installments using a spatula till the mixture becomes a soft dough.
7. Shape the dough into a cylinder shape, wrap in cling wrap and place in the fridge for about 15 - 20min.
8. Remove the dough from the fridge and cut the dough into 6 equal portion.
9. Shape them into a ball and placed in the tart mould.
10. Press the dough ball in the center against the mould and push it up against the wall till its full height. After baking, the crust will expand slight above the mould and it is easier to remove from the mould.
11. Usr a fork to poke holes at the base of the tart shells. This is to prevent the base from rising during baking.


:: Poke holes at the shell base to prevent rising ::

15. Place them in a preheated oven and bake at 160 degree for 7min.

16. Take out from the oven and egg wash the tarts. The holes of the base will close up considerably after egg wash.
17. Put back into the oven and bake for another 5min or when the tart shells turn slightly brown.
18. Remove from oven, unmould once the moulds are slightly cooled down enough for hands to handle. Continue to let them cool on a metal rack.


Longan-Beancurd-Tart-Shell
:: Beautifully unmould tart shells ::

19. Mix the soya milk and icing sugar together.
20. Pour out about 50ml of the sweeten soya milk and sprinkle the gelatine powder on top. Let it sit for about 10min.
21. Stir to dissolve some of the gelatine powder, then and pour the mixture into a saucepan on low heat. Continue to stir till all the powder is dissolved.
22. Pour the rest of the soya milk and vanilla extract into the saucepan, stir will heating up till just before boil.
23. Pour the mixture through a sieve.
24. Place the tart shells on a flat plate or tray and put a longan in the center and pour the soya milk mixture into the tart shells.
25. Put into the fridge and chill for a few hours.

They are ready to serve once the beancurd is set.

Longan-Beancurd-Tart
:: Dainty looking longan beancurd tarts ::

Longan-Beancurd-Tart
:: Firmly set beancurd in the tart ::

I have never eaten LE Cafe Beancurd tarts so I can't compare but I am pretty satisfied with my own version. :)


*********

Hosted by Miss B of Everybody Eats Well In Flanders 
and co-hosted by Charmaine of Mimi Bakery House

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Yummy Egg Tarts ~ Rice Cooker or Oven Bake

Ever since I learnt how to bake cake using a rice cooker, I am very intrigued by what other things that a rice cooker can make. So I asked my best 'know~in~all' friend, Mr Google and one recipe shouted out at me: Egg Tarts!

Eggs tart is a very good candidate for testing of recipe since my family members love egg tarts.

During my first attempt, I tried to act smart and grease my moulds. End up I had a hard time getting the tarts out of the moulds. After reading up more tart baking, I realise that the trick to get them out easily is NOT to grease the moulds. The 2nd time, I did not grease the moulds and the egg tarts come out nicely with a gentle knock.

Recipe adapted from My Mind Patch.


Made about 4 tarts. Can double or triple the recipe for more tarts.

These tarts are baked both in my Toshiba Rice Cooker and Morris tabletop oven.


Ingredients: 


For the Crust
30g unsalted butter, softened
15g icing sugar
10g beaten egg* 
60g all purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt


For the Egg Custard Filling 
30g beaten egg*
15g fine sugar (reduced sugar from original recipe because my family like it less sweet)
50g milk
Pinch of salt


* I used one medium sized egg and weigh 10g for the crust. The rest are used for egg custard filling.


How to do:

1. Beat the egg and strain through the sieve. Weigh out 10g and set both portion aside for later use.
2. Sift the flour and salt together and set aside for later use.
3. Cream the soften butter till it is smooth and pale yellow. I used hand whisk.
4. Add icing sugar and continue to cream till light and fluffy.
5. Add in the 10g egg and continue to mix till well combined.
6. Fold in the flour in 3 installments using a spatula till the mixture becomes a soft dough.
7. Shape the dough into a cylinder shape, wrap in cling wrap and place in the fridge for about 15 - 20min.
8. While the dough is in the fridge, start preparing the egg filling.
9. Gently stir the ingredients for the egg filling together till well combined. 
10. Put the egg filling mixture through the sift to remove lumps and bubbles.

*******

11. Remove the dough from the fridge and cut the dough into 4 equal portion.
12. Shape them into a ball and placed in the egg tart mould.
13. Press the dough ball in the center against the mould and push it up against the wall till its full height. After baking, the crust will expand slight above the mould and it is easier to remove from the mould.
14. Pour the egg custard into the shaped tart shells.
15. Place them in the rice cooker and select bake function and set for 60min.
16. After 60min, check if the tarts are cooked. They are cooked if the crust slightly shrink from the wall and the custard is firmed. If not ready, press bake function and set for another 5 or 10 min and check for its doneness. My tarts took about 70 min in my rice cooker.

The tarts can also be baked in my oven for 20min at 160 degree. Do watch closely the tarts at about 12 - 15min, if the custard begins to balloon up, it means the oven temperature is too hot. Leave the oven door ajar so that the balloon subsides. If the custard balloons up too much, it will sink down in the center part when cool.


Egg-Tarts-In-Rice-Cooker
:: Egg Tarts Baked in Rice Cooker ::

So what is the main difference between baking in oven and rice cooker? Those baked in the oven have more browning, firmer and crisp. Those using rice cooker will not achieve the browning and the crust is softer. I also don't have the issue of ballooning custard for the tarts in rice cooker.


Egg-Tarts-Oven
:: Egg Tarts Baked in Oven ::


Saturday, January 17, 2015

Gula Melaka Huat Kueh (椰糖发糕) ~ Palm Sugar Prosperity Steam Cake

Huat kueh (发糕) is really part of my childhood memories. I remembered my mom buying for us whenever there's Pasar Malam (night market) near my house. The piping hot huat kuehs were soft, moist and somewhat chewy. They are also a staple item on the prayers table during festivals. 'Huat' means prosperity and thus, we Chinese really love the connotation of this steam cake.

As we grew older, while these huat kuehs remain a staple on the prayers table, we don't really eat them anymore. Nowadays, my mom buy them from neighbourhood cake shops and they are pretty hard, nothing like the ones we ate last time. So they normally ended up in the dustbin after prayers.

And the story goes that my mom left a huat kueh on top of the fridge after prayers and totally forgot about it. By the time she suddenly remembered it, it was 4 weeks later. Much to her amaze and somewhat disgust, the huat kueh still looked the same as it was 4 weeks ago with no signs of mold or ants eating. Food that doesn't decay or ants touching them after so long normally raise an alarm bell. It made her wondered how much preservative or weird stuff they put into the huat kuehs to keep them this way.

After sharing with me this story, I thought perhaps it's time for us to make our own huat kuehs and at least we know what we put inside these cakes. And late last night, I chanced upon this recipe that used gula melaka (palm sugar) & coconut milk which I already have inside my fridge. The steps looked simple enough, so I started my first attempt at making these huat kuehs in the middle of the night.

This recipe called for self-rising flour which I did not have at home, so I made my own using all-purpose flour. According to a few websites, self-rising flour is essentially flour with baking powder and salt already added to it.

Another small hiccup happened half way through my preparation, I realised after mixing half way that what I had was coconut cream and not coconut milk so my batter was very thick. Based on the photos on the blog where this recipe originated, it looked much watery. I added more water to my batter to thin it.

According to my mom, if the huat kuehs opened/cracked up nicely after steaming, then it is considered successful. And perhaps lady luck is on my side, even with the small hiccup, my first attempt resulted in a rather nicely cracked up cake (or at least for one of it).


Recipe adapted from Guai Shu Shu 

*I have halved the recipe and yield two 7cm by 5cm(H) cupcake cases.

These cakes are steamed in the steamer.

Ingredients:

125g self-rising flour #
70g gula melaka (palm sugar)
1/2 tsp baking powder
100ml coconut cream
80g water
1tbsp oil 
Red coloring (optional)

 # I made my own self-rising flour by whisking together 116g of all-purpose flour, 1+ 1/3 tsp of baking powder and 1/8 tsp of salt


How to do:

1. Melt the gula melaka in coconut cream and water, stirred till well-mixed. I used water bath as I am afraid I might burn the gula melaka and I don't have a microwave oven.


2. Sifted the self-rising flour and baking powder into the gula melaka mixture. Add the oil and stirred till well-mixed.

3. Place the cupcake cases into the steamer and pour the batter into the cases till about 95% full. I placed the cupcake cases in the steamer first as they are rather flimsy so it will be difficult for me to move them after pouring the batter in. 

4. Use a lighting greased knife or scissors to cut a cross sign on top of the batter. I believe this is to help with the cracking.

5. Steam in the steamer using high heat for about 30 minutes or till the skewer comes out clean when insert into the middle of the cake. 

For prayer purposes, we always have a red dot in the middle of the cake. This is optional as it does not affect the taste of the cake.

And here we are, my first huat kueh 'smiling' nicely at me:

Palm-Sugar-Prosperity-Steamed-Cake
:: Gula Melaka Huat Kueh ~ 椰糖发糕 ::


*********


Hosted by Miss B of Everybody Eats Well In Flanders 
and co-hosted by Charmaine of Mimi Bakery House




Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Tiny Cups of Happiness - Honey Joys!

Few years ago, I have tasted this lovely cornflakes snack when visiting my Malay friend during Hari Raya. It's funny that I never had this snack during Chinese New Year visiting to my family and friends. And yet, some friends had been telling me that this was actually quite a popular snack for the kids during Chinese New Year.

Oh well, since I don't get to eat them at relatives and friends' places during Chinese New Year, I might as well do it myself.  As I started looking around for recipes, it was to my surprise that this snack actually has such a lovely name: Honey Joys! 

Most of the recipes available are quite similar. And I had gone through quite a few of them before deciding on my own concoction. The ingredients for making these tiny cups of happiness are very simple: cornflakes, butter, honey & sunflower seeds.


Honey Joy Ingredients:

50g cornflakes 
15g unsalted butter
1 tbsp honey
30g sunflower seeds


This recipe makes about 32 tiny cup of happiness.
They are baked in my Morris tabletop oven.

How to do:

1. Place the butter and honey into a mixing bowl and melt them over water bath. Stir till well combined.
2. Lightly crush the cornflakes into smaller pieces
3. Toss the cornflakes and sunflower seeds in the honey butter mixture.
4. Scoop the tossed up ingredients into the mini baking cups.
5. Bake in preheat oven at 140 degree with fan on for 10 minutes.
6. Let them cool and store in airtight container.

honey-conflakes-sunflower-seeds-cookies
:: Honey Joys ~ Happiness Overload ::

At the request of my hubby who is a chocolate addict, I did a chocolate version just for him. Not sure what is the name for the chocolate version but I shall call it 'Chocolate Joy'!

Chocolate Joy Ingredients:

50g cornflakes
15g unsalted butter
60g semi-sweet chocolate
Some colour sprinkles 

This recipe makes about 25 tiny cup of chocolate happiness.
No baking is required.


Chocolate-Honey-Joy
:: Chocolate version of Honey Joys ::


How to do:

1. Break the chocolate into small pieces and melt them with butter in a mixing bowl over water bath. Stir till well combined.
2. Lightly crush the cornflakes into smaller pieces
3. Toss the cornflakes in the chocolate butter mixture.
4. Scoop the tossed up ingredients into the mini baking cups.
5. Sprinkle some color sprinkles on it (this is to jazz up the appearance, can omit if desired)
5. Place in the fridge for about 15 - 20 minutes or till they are set.
6. Store in airtight container.


*********


Hosted by Miss B of Everybody Eats Well In Flanders 
and co-hosted by Charmaine of Mimi Bakery House

Monday, January 12, 2015

Heavenly White Cake ~ Japanese Style Strawberry Shortcake

For some strange reasons, I always find Japanese Strawberry Shortcake very romantic. Perhaps it's the contrast of pure white cake frosting with the bright red strawberries that is just so pretty to look at. And the sweet taste of soft, fluffy cake with a tinge of sourness from the strawberries is just how one could relate to when comes to falling in love.

It is definitely one of my favourite cakes and for the longest time, I wanted to master the baking it. I have tried a few times one recipe that is widely shared by quite a few bloggers, but the sponge cake often sinked or fell flat. I suspect it was my folding in flour skill that failed me or perhaps I did not fully understand what the ribbon stage meant.

Anyway, I am doing quite a bit of baking of pineapple tarts which uses egg yolk only and left with a lot of egg whites. So I was searching around for recipes that utilize egg whites only and chanced upon this recipe which the author named it 'Heavenly White Cake'. Just by the name, I like it already.

I tested out the recipe and the cake rised beautifully. It is also very moist and yummy. I loved it and decided to use it as the base cake for my strawberry shortcake.

:: Strawberry White Cake ::


White Cake Recipe adapted from Allrecipes.com

*The original recipe is for baking in 15 x 10 x 1 inch pan. I have adjusted the recipe for my 6 inch by 3 inch (height) round pan.

This cake is baked in my Morris tabletop oven.

White Cake Ingredients:

138g sifted cake flour (sift the flour 1st before weighing)
2 tsp baking powder
3/8 tsp salt
85g soften butter
100g sugar
150ml milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

50g sugar
2 medium sized egg white


How to do:

1. 
Line bottom and sides of the 6 inch round pan with parchment paper, set aside for later use.
2. Sift the sifted cake flour. baking power and salt together for three times and set aside for later use.
3. Place the soften butter (cut into smaller cubes) in a mixing bowl and cream it until smooth. You can either use a hand whisk or a mixer at the lowest speed.
4. Gradually add 100g sugar and continue to cream together till light and fluffy.   
5. Add the sifted ingredients from step 1 in about 4 installments, alternating with the milk and mix till well combined.
6. Add in vanilla extract and mix till well combined.
7. Cover mixing bowl with the flour mixture with cling wrap and set aside for later use.
8. Preheat the oven at 170 degree (if you have not already done so) 

9. In another mixing bowl, use the mixer to beat the egg whites until foamy.
10. Add 50g sugar and continue to beat till the meringue mixture becomes white and attain soft peak.
11. Add the meringue in step 8 to the flour mixture in step 6 and gently fold in the meringue till they are just combined.
12. Transfer the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth the surface of the batter.
13. Drop the cake pan on a hard surface twice to release any trap bubbles of air.
14. Bake in the middle rack of the oven at 170 degree for 60 - 70 minutes. Insert a skewer into the cake and if comes out clean, the cake is done.
15. Invert onto a cooling rack and cool completely. Be careful as the cake is very soft and fragile when it is hot.
16. After cooling, cover with cling wrap and put inside the fridge for about 2-3 hours or more. Chilling the cake makes less fragile and easier to layer and frost.

*******

Filling & Frosting Ingredients:

A packet of strawberries 
1/2 tbsp honey
120ml non-diary whipping cream (I use Whip Topping from Redman)

How to do:

1. Pick out similar size and beautiful shaped strawberries. Quantity depends on how you want to decorate the top of the cake.
2. For the rest of the strawberries, cut into quarters (i.e. 4 small chunks each)
3. Add 1/2 tbsp cool down boil water to the honey and mix well. Soak the strawberries into the honey water for about 5 minutes. I have included this step as my strawberries are on the sour side. 
4. Pour the non-diary whipping cream into the mixing bowl and start beating with a mixer at high speed till it attain stiff peak.

*******

To assemble:

1. Slice the the cake into half horizontally.
2. Remove the top layer and set aside for later use.
3. Spread some whipped cream onto the surface of the bottom layer and place the cut strawberries on it. Cover strawberries layer with more whipped cream.
4. Replace the top layer and frost the sides and top of the cake with more whipped cream.
5. Use the whole strawberries set aside earlier for decorating the top of the cake.


strawberry-fillings-strawberry-shortcake
:: Generous strawberry fillings ::

:: Moist & fluffy strawberry white cake ::


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Hosted by Miss B of Everybody Eats Well In Flanders 
and co-hosted by Charmaine of Mimi Bakery House

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Wholemeal Milk Bread - A Healthier Alternative

Due to health reasons, my parents only eat wholemeal bread. However, we have no control over the percentage of wholemeal flour vs bread flour for the wholemeal bread we bought off the shelves.

This is also one of the reasons why my mom and I have decided to get a breadmaker. I have tried the recipe that comes from the instruction menu of Song-Cho breadmaker. It turned out ok.. but a bit on the dense and coarse side. Can't really say we enjoy it very much.

I have tried and tested a few other recipes but failed quite miserably. One thing I noticed for wholemeal bread is that the dough is normally more sticky and watery than normal bread dough. This is especially true if the wholemeal flour makes up of a high percentage of the recipe. I used the breadmaker to knead for a very long time but the dough just doesn't seem to come together. And because the dough is too watery, there's not enough structure to support the bread when it proof and often collapse before it goes into the oven.

I was on the verge of giving up making wholemeal bread till I chanced upon this recipe.

This recipe produces nice fluffy wholemeal bread. This recipe used ratio of more 50% wholemeal bread vs bread flour. While I would love to have higher content of wholemeal flour, I am happy with this recipe for now since those recipes with higher wholemeal flour content fail.

Recipe adapted from Little Corner of Mine

*I have halved the recipe to test if this recipe works for me.

This bread dough is partially knead my Song-Cho Breadmaker and baked in my Morris tabletop oven.

Ingredients:

200ml milk
14g butter (melted or soften)
2 + 1/4 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
114g wholemeal flour
85g bread flour
1 tsp yeast

How to do:

1. Pour the ingredients into the bread barrel according to the sequence from top to bottom up except for yeast. 
2. Place sugar and salt in the different corner of barrel.
3. Make a well in the bread flour and put the yeast into the well.
4. Select menu '5. Sweet' on the breadmaker & press start.

5. I stopped the machine after it completed it Rise2 with the intention to mould them into buns. However, when I took out the dough, it was still quite fluid and sticky, can't hold it shape well. So I proceed to kneading it with my hands on a lightly floured surface. It took me about 45min of kneading before I am satisfied with the texture of the dough. It is still soft but able to hold its shape better. It also become less sticky.

The ingredients above fill about four muffin cups and one 4.5 inch cake pan (3 buns).

6. Allow the dough to go through another round of proofing till it doubled in size. I followed the original recipe method of putting 2 bowl of hot water at the lower rack of the oven and place my muffin cups and cake pan on the middle rack for proof. It took about 20 minutes to almost double in size.

7. Remove the muffin cups and cake pan from the oven and start to pre-heat the oven at 170 degree celsius. Meanwhile the dough will continue to proof at room temperature till it double in size.

8. Bake in my oven for about 15 min.

:: Wholemeal Bread ~ 3 Buns in 4.5" Cake Pan ::

:: Soft & fluffy like white bread ::

I will attempt this recipe again and hopefully find a suitable mode on breadmaker to knead the dough fully so that I won't have to work my muscle.