Monday, September 24, 2012

Land of Dinosaurs

When my boy celebrated his 5th birthday in early March with a Monopoly cake, I remembered my sister-in-law asking whether I know how to make a dinosaur cake for my little nephew. I told her then that I will practice how to make one for his 4th birthday. I wanted to try out using modelling paste as the usual fondant is too soft and can't hold its shape well. But I didn't have the time (or maybe too lazy to practice) prior to making the actual birthday cake. As usual, I relied on the internet and googled on "how to make dinosaur using fondant". I chanced upon my saviour, A Baked Creation - exactly what I'm looking for and there's even a step-by-step tutorial on making T-Rex & Stegosaurus. This was 4 days before the birthday party! Imagined the stress and anxiety if the cake flops and how disappointed the birthday boy would be ;(

It was a right choice to use modelling paste as the dinosaurs keep in shape, whereas my test-dinosaurs using fondant looked miserable. Alrighty, I can be more adventurous and creative in my future fondant figurines! Nevermind that I had to stay up till the wee hours for 2 days @@ and can't think straight!

Modelling Paste
Ingredients/ Method:
a) 200gm white marshmallows
2tbsp water
500gm icing sugar
2 tbsp Crisco shortening

b) 1 tsp Gum Tragacanth (can get it from Phoon Huat)

1. Put marshmallows with 2 tbsp water in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 30 secs.
2. Stir marshmallows till they are fluffy using spatula. Add half the icing sugar and mix well.
3. Grease hands with shortening and knead the remaining icing sugar into the fondant.
4. Weigh 225gm of fondant with 1 tsp gum tragacanth and knead till well mixed.
5. Add colour gel to the modelling paste as desired.

a. Keep fondant wrapped in cling wrap and store in ziploc or airtight container. Can keep up to 2 months.
b. Modelling paste turns hard fast so prepare it only when you are ready to use.

So presenting my Land of Dinosaurs, which I'm pretty satisfied with the outcome and of course the excitement from the birthday boy's face when he saw the cake was most rewarding! Happy blessed birthday to my cutsy nephew KH! Also special thanks to the 2 men in my house for throwing ideas on how the cake should be and placing the dinosaurs on the cake <3 p="p">


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Pink Lady & Granny Smith

What's with Pink Lady and Granny Smith? Some of you may already know, they are fanciful names for different variety of apples. Both are named feminine and originated from Australia. I wonder whether all apples are female? When I was young (or not too long ago), apples are just either red apple or green apple, or China apple or USA apple. Anyway it's interesting to read up some history on these 2 ladies on wikipedia (Pink Lady or Granny Smith) or the offical website on Pink Lady. Isn't it good that the peripheral of baking is knowledge?

I've digressed. I'm sharing 2 recipes using these apples for my recent bakes. The Apple Frangipane Tart is highly recommended!

Pink Lady Apple Cinnamon Roll

Ingredients/ Method

Water Roux (Tangzhong)125g water
25g bread flour

1. Cook 125g water with 25g bread flour at medium low heat, keep stirring until becomes thicken and no lumps left. Cook until 65 deg C, or if you do not have a thermometer, cook until mixture resembles baby porridge.
2. Transfer to clean bowl and cover with cling wrap to prevent skin forming.
Note: Water roux can be stored for 2 days, and if colour turn dark grey, to discard.
Apple Cinnamon Fillings
2 Pink Lady apples, peeled cored and cubed (can used any apples)
30g brown sugar
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg powder

1. Add all ingredients into a pot and cook on medium-low heat until apples are soft and mixture looks 'gluey'.
2. Set aside to cool.

(A) 210g bread flour
56g plain flour
20g milk powder
42g sugar
1/2 tsp salt
6g instant yeast
30g eggs
85g water
84g water roux (refer to water roux recipe as above)
22g butter

(B) 15g butter, soften

1. Put all the ingredients (A) except butter and knead until it form a dough.
2. Add the butter little by little and continue the kneading process until smooth and elastic and the dough does not stick at the side of the mixing bowl.
3. Proof for 40 minutes in a clean bowl cover with cling wrap.
4. Take half the dough and flatten it with your hand and roll it out in longish shape with a rolling pin about 25cm x 20cm.
5. Brush butter on the surface of the dough then spread apple cinnamon fillings dough evenly, leaving about 1-inch gap around the dough.
6. Roll it up like a swiss roll and seal it tightly.
7. Cut into 8 equal portions using lightly floured knife.
8. Place dough in a round cake tin and cover with a cling wrap. Leaving enough space between each roll to allow them to double in size later.
9. Repeat for the remaining half of the dough.
10. Proof for a further 40 minutes.
11. Bake at 180 deg C preheated oven for 15 minutes.

Apple Frangipane Tart
(adapted from Joyofbaking, with modifications)

Ingredients/ Method
Frangipane (Almond Cream)
1/2 cup (50gm) almond meal
1 tbsp (12gm) all purpose flour
25gm caster sugar (original recipe uses 50gm)
3 tbsps (40gm) unsalted butter
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract/ vanilla bean paste
1/8 tsp salt

1. Place almonds, sugar and flour in a food processor and process until finely ground.
2. Add the remaining ingredients and process until you get a smooth paste.
3. Transfer into a small bowl, cover and refrigerate.

3 Granny Smith apples, peeled cored and sliced.
20gm caster sugar
20gm brown sugar

Pie Crust (Pate Brisee)
1 1/4cups (175gm) all purpose flour
1/2 tsp (2gm) salt
1 tbsp (14gm) caster sugar
1/2 cup (113gm) cold unsalted butter, cubed
1/8 to 1/4 cup (30 - 60 ml) ice water

**The original recipe uses the processor for preparing the pie crust. As my processor is the mini type, I used rubbing-in method instead.
1. Place flour, salt and sugar and mix well.
2. Add the cold butter and using fingertips to rub-in butter with flour mixture until resemble coarse meal.
3. Slowly add in water to the mixture and knead till the pastry just holds together when pinched.
4. Gather pastry into a ball and cover with cling wrap. Refrigerate for about an hour or until firm.
5. Roll the pastry on a lightly floured surface, 12 inch (30cm) circle.
6. Transfer rolled pastry to a parchment lined baking sheet.
7. Spread frangipane evenly over the pastry, leaving a 2-inch (5cm) border.
8. Arrange the apple slices even over the frangipane layer, leaving a 2-inch (5cm) border.
9. Fold the border of pastry up and over the apples, sealing any cracks. Brush the pastry crust with milk.
10. Sprinkle the caster/ brown sugar over the crust and apples.
11. Place the rack in the center of the oven.
12. Bake in pre-heated oven at 190 deg C for 50-60 mins, or until the apples are tender and the crust is golden brown,
13. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Soya beancurd pudding

Whilst everyone has been making this dessert, I was quite laid-back. I did tried the real thing 老伴豆花 when the craze was at its hottest, but no I didn't stay in line for at-least-half-an-hour, my office colleagues have their way of collating bulk orders for almost anything! You would have guessed that it didn't wowed me then, and I still stand firm with the traditional beancurd pudding.

Anyway, I saw many bloggers posting this dessert and also because the recent Diner en Blanc, which sparked so much controversy, there was even a Make and Eat Tau Huay Day. Looking at so many tau huays made my heart go wobbly for some tau huay too! I've succumbed to temptations and here you go, my first attempt and I'm lucky it's a success! Judging from many bloggers' comments, I too followed Anncoo's recipe which is really easy. The most difficult part is getting the ingredients, especially instant jelly powder which is not available at the supermarket. I'm copying the recipe here for my future reference.

Ingredients/ Method
(Recipe adapted from Anncoo Journal)

3 satchets UNISOY Instant Organic Soya Milk Powder (no sugar added)
40g sugar
40g Coffee-Mate powder
20g instant jelly
100ml water (at room temperature)
900ml water

1) Mix all ingredients with 100ml water and set aside.
2) Boil 900ml water and remove from stove thereafter.
3) Mix the soya milk mixture into the boiled 900ml water and stir with a whisk.
4) Pour into mould and let it set. (Do not stir)
5) Chill in fridge before serve.

*Passed the mixture through the sieve 2 times before pouring into the mould to make the texture smoother.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Cake good for a Sunday gathering

White peach & plum 

Sorry guys that I'm missing from my blog for such a long time, and though I can't promise that there will be regular updates from now but I will try my best. I miss blogging and baking.

During this time, there's hardly any baking for me. Except for trying out a brioche recipe together with my friends months ago, I've not try out any new recipes. To play safe, I did a Fruit Pastry Cake which I'd baked a few times before for a family gathering today. It feels good to be baking again :) I won't be posting the recipe, but if anyone is interested, you can refer here.