Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Our Sunday lunch

After seeing batter baker's half & half pizza, my hands were itching to make them too! Originally intend to make it for the kids' snack after class, but I took too long to do my 'marketing' in the morning. By the time I reached home, the class had almost ended and making the pizza from scratch took a slow-motion me a 2.5 hours. Undoubtedly, we had late lunch again! As we had a movie to catch, we had to literally take our half-an-hour afternoon nap straight after our lunch. Me can't survive without afternoon naps, especially on Saturdays and Sundays!

I've copied batter baker's pizza base recipe for my future reference, and doubled her recipe as well to make 2 pizza.

Pizza Base
Recipe for 1 thin 12" (30cm) pizza base.
(Slight modifications on the baking steps.)

120ml lukewarm water
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp instant yeast
2 tsp olive oil
200g bread flour
1/2 tsp salt

1. Sprinkle sugar and yeast over water. Set aside for 10 min till frothy.
2. Add in the rest of the ingredients and mix till a dough forms.
3. Knead till smooth and springy (about 20 min by hand, 10 min by machine).
4. Place the ball of dough in a large flour-dusted bowl.
5. Proof for about 30 min or till it doubles in size.
6. While you wait, prepare the pizza topping.
7. Generously flour your work surface.
8. Tip out the dough and flour the top.
9. Press or roll out dough to a 12" circle. If dough keeps springing back on you, let it rest for a few minutes.
10. Prick the dough with a fork (so the dough won't balloon in the oven).
11. Place dough on a pizza stone sprinkled with bread crumbs or cornmeal, or on a greased and floured baking pan.
12. Bake at 220 deg C for about 10min.
13. Remove from oven and top with your favourite ingredients.

Pizza Toppings
(for two 12' pizza)

250g mozarella cheese
200g pizza topping cheese
Pasta sauce (can refer to batter baker's, but being lazy I use the usual spaghetti sauce)

1st half:
(a) 1 canned pineapples, drained & cubed
(b) 150g Pinic ham, cut into small squares
2nd half:
(a) 1 pkt Shitake mushroom, sliced & sauteed
(b) 1 pkt basil leaves

1. Brush the pizza base with little olive oil (this is to prevent the base from becoming soggy.)
2. Spread pasta sauce generously on the pizza base.
3. Next, spread half of mozarella cheese and followed by the ingredients.
4. Add the balance mozarella cheese and put back to the oven and continue to bake for another 10 mins at 220 deg C, or till brown.
5. Slice and ready to serve.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Mini egg tarts

This is my second attempt to make egg tarts within 2 weeks using different recipes. The reason why I did not post it earlier is because the first attempt was a failure and I had to feed the bin. It was a dim sum style/ puff pastry type of egg tart that I tried, and using a recipe from a local magazine. I think I fail big time, both the pastry as well as the egg custard. I wonder how reliable the magazine recipe can be or is it because of my lack of skill in handling the puff pastry? Anyway the next time I'm going to make the dim sum egg tart will be using recipe from the reliable blogs; I've book-marked a few that look so good that you would want to eat them from the screen.

Now that lil Zak goes for his montessori class on every Sunday morning at my neighbour place, I had the luxury of time to do some baking. Further, I can share my bakes with my neighbours and their kids after their class. This helps in a big way as earlier I had 'problem' of finishing my bakes...kekeke. Thankfully, these egg tarts using recipe that I got from Cook.Bake.Love were very well received, and the little kids came back asking for more! I'd doubled the recipe and it produced 45 mini tarts and with about 15 tart cases left over, which I kept in the fridge unbaked.

Easy & Delicious Egg Tarts
(makes about 45 mini egg tarts)

300g plain flour
2 tbsp custard powder
2 tbsp milk powder
1 tbsp sugar
50-60g egg (1 egg)
200g butter

Rub-in Method (cold butter) - I used this method
1. Cut cold butter into small cubes.
2. Combine flour, custard powder and milk powder and mix well.
3. With fingertip, rub in the cold butter, add sugar, mix well.
4. Add beaten egg, mix to form a soft dough (do not knead).
5. Wrap with cling wrap and refrigerate before use.

Easy Method (melted butter) - For reference only.
1. Melt butter.
2. Combine all dry ingredients and mix well
3. Add melted butter and beaten egg.
4. Using a pair of chopsticks mix to form a soft dough.
5. Wrap with cling wrap and refrigerate before use.

280g water
120-140g sugar
200g beaten egg (3 large eggs or 4 medium eggs)
80g evaporated milk
Few drops pure vanilla extract (optional)

1. Heat up water and sugar till sugar dissolved. Let cool.
2. Add beaten egg, evaporated milk and vanilla extract and mix well.
3. Sieve 3 times.

1. Roll into ball and press the dough into tart moulds. (I did not measure the dough for each tart.)
2. Spoon in the fillings till 80% full. (I poured mine almost 100% full.)
3. Bake in preheated oven at 180C for 20 mins.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Mooncake or not?

These days the monthly Aspiring Bakers event is one that gave me the little push to continue baking 'something'. So far, the theme of each month had been very interesting and it really serve as a good on-line encyclopedia for all who loves baking. Kudos to Small Small Baker who initiated this splendid AB, and to all hosts who spent so much time and effort to compile all entries every month!

Being the 8th month of the lunar calendar, naturally it's Aspiring Bakers #11: Mid-Autumn Treats (September 2011) and hosted by Happy Home Baking. Of course, I'm submitting this post for this month's AB event. BUT....

Back to the title of this post.... I'm not very convinced that mine is a mooncake, though what I've "researched" from wikipedia skewed towards the answer "yes". What is a mooncake? Crust - can be chewy, flaky or tender, glutinuous rice, jelly. Filling - can be lotus seed paste, five kernels, durian, chocolate, etc. Shape - can be round, rectangular, piglet, cute cartoon characters, etc. Not wanting to do the snowskin mooncakes which I did previous years, and have not got the time to try baking traditional mooncakes, I did mine using 老婆餅 (wife's biscuit) recipe and shaped using the mooncake moulds/plunger that I just bought from Elyn of ShopnBake. The previous set of mould/plunger was given to my sis-in-law, and I only ordered this new set and collected on Sunday. You'll see how I always do my things at the last minute (oh no...)!

You will decide whether this is a Mooncake or not?

Anyway, Wishing all 中秋節快樂 or Happy Mid-Autumn Festival 2011!