Monthly Archives: February 2012

[Kawaii] Love & Creme Chantilly Swiss Roll

I spent the last part of my work day meeting a Japanese magazine editor who’s here on a visit. With the help of the tour guide, I tried my hardest to speak to her. But it wasn’t the same as conversing with her directly, sans third party. So through my widest smile, hand gestures and head nods, we became friends, language barriers aside, I knew she liked Singapore, she knew I was excited to show her around. We had ice cream, with gula melaka (palm sugar) and adzuki beans. Talk about an appropriate coincidence.

I then really wished I could upload an intersect into my brain and be multilingual. Lost? You need to watch an episode of Chuck pronto.

Seriously though, is there a brain capacity on the number of languages one can learn without scrambling your brain? It’s hard enough for me to wrap my tongue around the different Chinese dialects, let alone a whole new foreign language. I spent a long time referring to a head as coconut and vice versa in Malay. Suppose they are the same shape… And they’re both gooey inside.

I’m in the midst of confirming a trip to Japan this Summer. Perhaps it shall present itself as a golden opportunity to pick up some touristy Japanese. My new Japanese friend has kindly offered to show me around, so maybe I’ll astound her with how adept I’ve become with the language…or just be really, really, really good at smiling and reading hand gestures.

Creme Chantilly Swiss Roll

1 x Sponge Roll
1 x Creme Chantilly

To Assemble

1) Trim off 2cm of the the sponge from each of the four sides. Eat.Mix3 tbsp warm water and 1 tsp of vanilla extract. Brush over the sponge.

2) Spread all the creme chantilly on the remaining sponge until it’s 1cm from the edge.

3) Pick up the side of the baking paper closest to you and roll it in, towards you. Using the paper as a guide, keep rolling the sponge until you reach the end. Put it straight into the fridge to set. Enjoy!

Sponge Roll

For a 25cm x 25cm tray…

4.5 egg yolks
4.5 egg whites + 1.5 egg whites (separate bowls)
120g GF flour blend, rice-flour based
1/2 tsp + 1/2 tsp cream of tartar (separate)
90g icing sugar
90ml water
60ml oil
1 tsp vanilla extract

1) Line a 25cm x 25cm baking tray with parchment. Preheat oven to 170°C.

2) In the bowl of a standing mixer, whisk the egg yolks and 50g of the icing sugar until thick and lightened in colour. Add in the vanilla and water. Beat until well mixed.

3) Add in the oil and mix well until emulsified. Add in the flour and whisk until fully incorporated.

4) Spoon 3 tsp of the egg yolk mixture into the a separate bowl. Repeat so you have 2 bowls of egg yolk mixture. Add in 1/2 tsp of GF flour blend and 1 drop of desired food colouring (I used pink and red) into each bowl and mix well.

5) In a clean, grease-free bowl, whisk the 1.5 egg whites with 1/2 tsp cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. Divide the egg whites evenly between the two bowls of egg yolk mixture. Gently fold to incorporate. Using two teaspoons, create heart shapes on the prepared baking tray. Bake for 1 minute. Remove from oven while you prepared rest of sponge roll.

6) In the same clean, grease-free bowl, beat the remaining 4.5 egg whites until foamy. Gradually add in the remaining 40g icing sugar and 1/2 tsp cream of tartar and beat until stiff and opaque. Fold gently into remaining egg yolk mixture. Pour over the heart shapes and level the batter to ensure it bakes evenly. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before filling with creme chantilly.

Creme Chantilly

1 3/4 cup whipping cream, very well chilled
1/4 cup icing sugar
Seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean, or 1 tsp vanilla extract

1) In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the cream, icing sugar and vanilla seeds until thickened and holds it’s peak. Do not overwhip of the cream will split. Either use immediately or chill in fridge to firm up before using.

 

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Filed under Cakes, Recipes

Plum Tray Bake with Lavender & White Chocolate Custard

Holiday plans work like coffee for me. Gives me that instant high, feeling all excited, imagining a whole new world of endless possibility.

Then there’s work.

Work isn’t bad. Work gives us the financial support for such day dreams of glorious sightseeing, late mornings and waking up in a place that allows you to be a new person; even if it’s just for a week. Work also makes the holidays so much better, it’s a bonus really! It’s like you paid the same amount as the dude next door, but because your job works you that much harder, you feel this much better. Score!

I like to make believe my work week gets lifted to loftier heights when I manage to squeeze in a bake session. Probably makes it even better when I feel utterly inspired and do something like whisk dried lavender flowers into my creme patisserie. And then it gets way groovier when I now have dessert sorted for the movie marathon with my man tomorrow.

What? It’s not Friday yet?!

Plum Tray Bake with Lavender & White Chocolate Custard

250g cream cheese, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup caster sugar
4 eggs
160g unsalted butter, softened
120g brown sugar
1 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp GF flour blend
1/4 cup GF oat flour (or  sorghum or buckwheat flour)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
400g plums, re-seeded and sliced about 1cm thick
1/2 cup sliced almonds

1) Preheat oven to 175°C. Line a 18 x 28cm baking pan with greaseproof paper.

2) Add cream cheese, vanilla, caster sugar and 1 egg to the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 2-3 minutes until smooth.

3) Place butter, brown sugar, flour and remaining 3 eggs in a clean bowl and beat for 2-3 minutes until creamy. Spread the flour mixture in the tray followed by half the cream cheese mixture, swirling gently to combine. Top with half the plums. Repeat the process with remaining flour mixture, cream cheese mixture and plums. Sprinkle the sliced almonds over the cake and bake until golden. About 50-60 minutes.

4) Remove the plum tray bake from the oven, allow to cool, dust with some icing sugar and serve warm with custard.

Lavender and White Chocolate Custard

1 cup milk
300ml thickened cream
4 egg yolks
2 tbsp cornflour
1/3 cup caster sugar
1 tbsp dried lavender flower buds
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g white chocolate, chopped

1) Heat milk and cream in a medium saucepan until almost boiling. Meanwhile, whisk the flour, sugar and egg yolks together int a bowl until lightened. Slowly pour the hot milk/cream into the egg yolk mixture, all the while whisking to ensure the yolks don’t screamble.

2) Return the mixture to the pot and cook over a medium heat, whisking constantly. Add in the vanilla and dried lavender flower buds. When mixture begins to bubble, remove from heat immediately, whisking vigorously. Fold in the white chocolate until it has all melted. Run the custard through a sieve to remove lumps and flower buds. Serve with tray bake.

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Filed under Cakes, Chocolate, Custard, Fruit, Inspired, Recipes

Vanilla Bean & Nutella Cupcakes


There’s a photo of my parents on the magnetic board that’s propped on my desk. My dad’s got his hands in the air, mid clap, his mouth wide open, cheering. Mom’s got the biggest smile on, the kind that gives mega-watt a run for her money. This was taken at my sister’s wedding. I must’ve done something right, because that photo was taken right after I gave my bridesmaid speech.

Sitting right above that photo is a gingerbread plushie magnet, you know, the slightly loopy one from Shrek. It was a gift from a very proud boy who congratulated me on riding the roller coaster twice, and even managed to put my hands up in the air. I whined, and begged to turn around, but we all knew I wanted to ride on it. And conquer it twice I did!

Right at the bottom of the board is a piece of paper I’ve been diligently checking off the boxes on. See, I’m on a shopping ban (no shoes, bags, clothes & accessories) and every day I come home without a shopping bag, I get to tick off a box. I’ve got 2 more months on it and I’m still going strong. Let me tell you though, I’m not sure how creative I can get with my wardrobe much longer.

I feel like I need to add a photo of these cupcakes on the board. I’m rather proud of them, especially since vanilla cupcakes haven’t always been particularly cooperative. Sure I’ve had some luck with them, but it’s the one things I bake with trepidation each time. Will they leave the cake liners? Will they be soggy on the bottom? Will they taste like flour?

Buttery, dense but still tender, perfumed with vanilla with a dash of chocolate from the Nutella; they’re actually less scary than I thought they’d be!

And the frosting reminds me of the smoothest vanilla bean ice cream.

Eat and be happy that the weekend is upon us!

Vanilla & Nutella Cupcakes (adapted from the Butch Bakery Cookbook)

2 cups GF flour blend
1.5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, room temp
12 tbsp Nutella, room temp

1) Preheat oven to 170°C. Line a a 12-hole cupcake tin with paper liners.

2) Mix flour, baking power, baking soda and salt together. Set aside.

3) In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add in the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the flour mixture and the buttermilk alternately in 3 additions, starting and ending with the flour. Beat on high for 30 seconds.

4) Divide evenly between prepared cupcake tin and dollop one tablespoon of Nutella into each cupcake.Bake for 22 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool before frosting.

5) To frost, fill a piping bag fitted with a star tip with the vanilla bean buttercream, and pipe rosettes on top of each cupcake!

Vanilla Bean Buttercream

1 x Swiss Meringue Buttercream, without the white chocolate
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped. Use the pods for vanilla sugar

1) Beat the buttercream together with the vanilla seeds until mixed through. Use immediately.

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Filed under Cupcakes, Frostings, Recipes

[Love Letter] Pancakes

Dear Pancakes,

I love it when you’re fluffy

I love it when your edges are slightly brown

I love the way butter melts over you

I love how maple syrup always complements you

I love pairing you with caramelized bananas

I love it when you’re dotted with blueberries

I love how you’re always a part of slow mornings, newspapers and dreamy skies

I love how I get get a whole stack of you all to myself

I love the million ways to eat you

Mostly, I love how you always start my day off right

It’s rather crazy to imagine how something as humble as a pancake has sparked countless conversations between me and the people around. There’s been times where we’ve been so disappointed with a certain spot’s pancakes that the whole group has decided to boycott the establishment. Then there has been the debate on which joint serves up a better pancake. And how do you even decide what makes a pancake better than another? Do box mixes count? Is it really a crime that the hotcakes from Maccas is up on my list of good pancakes? What the hell is a flapjack? Can we even include crepes in our pancake hunt?

Fluffy, lightly golden, unsalted butter, hint of vanilla, real maple syrup. Fulfill that; and I don’t really care where you got your pancakes from.

Yet, I haven’t met a gluten free pancake out there. Much less meet one that I like. And for the sake of my sanity, I decided to make my own. Lucky I had company to help consume some of the pancakes. This recipe makes…a lot of pancakes.

Clinton St Baking Company Cookbook Pancakes (adapted to gluten free)

2 cups GF flour blend
1/2 tbsp + 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
3 large eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups whole milk
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
blueberries, chocolate chips, sliced bananas optional

1) Measure and sift all dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl; flour, baking powder, sugar and salt

2) In another bowl, whisk together the yolks,milk, melted butter and vanilla, until combined. Whisk wet ingredients into dry ingredients.

3) Whip egg whites in a bowl of a stand mixer until soft peaks form (soft in the middle). Carefully fold half the egg whites into the batter, before folding in the remaining whites. It should look like whitecaps in the ocean with foam on top.

4) Heat a griddle (I use a non-stick frying pan) until hot. Grease with unsalted butter (I used an oil spray). Drop 1/4 cup of pancake batter on the frying pan and cook until bubbles start to appear on the surface. If using, add the toppings to the pancakes now before flipping over.

5) When pancake is golden brown on both side, remove with a spatula. Repeat with remaining batter and filling.

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Filed under Breakfast, Recipes