A Light and Fruity Dessert For Christmas – Simple Fruit Tart (水果挞)

IMG_2280

UPDATED POST ON 27-11-2014

Have prepare some simple fruit tarts for kids. In view that Christmas seasons is near, I thought it might be a good idea to transform it into a simple Christmas hats to “entertain” the kids. Scroll down for the updated posts.

IMG_2278


 

IMG_43601

INTRODUCTION

When I was assembling this fruit tart, I almost gave up. I have never like to do cake or pastry decorations. My hand will shiver when I am decorating cakes or pastry that need full attentions and creativities. It is a piece of hard work and if I am not careful enough, the whole cake may have to be thrown away. That is stressful and pressurized. At the end, I asked my wife to lay the fruits and we worked out this rather ugly and un-neat fruit tart.

IMG_43661

Fruit tart generally comprises three layers:

1) Layer 1 – pastry to hold the tart. This can be baked or non baked. Baked pastry are generally short crust pastry whereas non baked pastry are pastry that are used for chilled cheesecakes done by pressing biscuits crumbles. You can refer Chilled Ferrero Rocher Oreo Ice Cream Cheesecake for the making of pastry base for chilled cheesecakes.

2) Layer 2 – The fillings can be cream cheese fillings or whipped cream, custard or the more jargon term: Crème Pâtissière or pastry cream.

3) Layer 3 – Fresh fruits of any sort but preferably those will not easily get oxidized or turning brownish black like apples. Though not advisable, but it can still be used with properly jam glaze to prevent the fruits from oxidation.

IMG_44121

Making and assembly a fruit tart is definitely not difficult. Once you have a reliable short crust recipe, you can use it for most tarts, pies, quiche and etc. I only have one short crust recipe and I have used it for my Japanese curry pies, coconut tarts and apple pie. It never fail me. It can be prepared in a rather fast manner if you are able to handle soft cookie liked dough; otherwise, just chill in a fridge before proceeding for moulding.  For this recipe, I used my one and only short crust recipe  that I used for any tarts, tartlets, quiche or pies. As for the fillings, since I have one package of custard flour sitting in my kitchen self, I have used this ready made custard flour instead of start preparing it from raw eggs.

IMG_44051


WHAT IS REQUIRED

Servings: Prepare an 8” fruit tart

IMG_4322

Short Crust Pastry

  • 35 grams egg yolks (lightly beaten)
  • 150 grams plain flour (sifted)
  • 30 grams of icing sugar (sifted)
  • 75 grams of chilled butter cut into cubes
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence.

 IMG_43301

Custard fillings

  • 2 tablespoons of ready made custard powder
  • 2 tablespoons of castor sugar 
  • 600 ml of fresh milk
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence

Custard fillings (Recipe 2) – From fresh egg yolk

  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 cup of fresh milk
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence

Others (not in picture)

  • Adequate mixed fruits of your choice. In this illustration, I have used cherries, grapes, kiwi fruits, strawberries and mango.
  • Some apricot jam (for glazing and optional)
  • One 8” tart tin

IMG_2270



STEPS OF PREPARATION

Preparing the short crust pastry

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degree Celsius.

IMG_4327

  • In a big mixing bowl, put butter cubes and sifted plain flour together. Use the finger tips to rub the butter cubes and flours together until it become crumby. Add in sifted icing sugars and continue to rub until well mix. Add in eggs and vanilla essence, mix slowly until it become a dough. Put it in the fridge to chill for 20-30 minutes. Note that if you are able to handle soft dough, you can by pass this step. In fact I have bypassed the step due to time constraints.

  • Have a clinging wrap on the table, take the dough from the fridge and place on top of it. Put another clinging wrap on top of the dough. Use a rolling pin to roll it into a flat sheet with about 0.5 cm thickness. Transfer the dough to the pie tin and use you hand to press the dough against the sides and make it as even as possible. Use a fork to make some holes in the dough (optional).  Please refer here if you want more detail pictorial illustrations.

crust collage11

  • Baked in the preheated oven at 180 degree Celsius for 10-15 minutes or until the pastry shrinks from the sides of the pastry tin. If you want, you can egg wash your crust (1 egg yolk with 3 tablespoons of water, stir until well mix) to ensure that the crust will not be soggy when the fruit juices sip into the crust. However, in my humble opinion, there is no such a need if the custard is not overly wet and tarts are best eaten fresh.

IMG_43731



Preparing the fillings

This is purely for references on how I cook my custards.  PLEASE COOK YOUR CUSTARDS IN ACCORDANCE WITH YOUR CUSTARD POWDER PACKAGE INSTRUCTIONS. Every brand may be different so it is best that you follow the detail instructions.

TARTS COLLAGE21

  • In a pot, put 2 tablespoons of custard powder and 2 tablespoons of castor sugar, add 600 ml of fresh milk and vanilla essence. Stir until well mixed. Heat the custard mixture under low heat and stir using a wooden spatula or a balloon whisk until it boils. Stir constantly until the boiling custard solution starts to slightly solidify and become custard. Set aside and let it cool. Keep a close eye in this process and the final few minutes can be rather fast. If it is too sticky, add some more fresh milk. Avoid using capsule based pan because it will continue to heat your custard even after you off the heat.

  • If you are not using custard powder but prepare from fresh egg yolks as in recipe 2. Put all the ingredients (egg yolks, cream, milk, sugar and vanilla essence) in a pot. Stir until well mix. Heat it over stove using low heat until it starts to thicken.

IMG_44091


Assembly the tart

The illustration below is for reference only. It is full of flexibility and you can use your creativities to design your own tarts. Google “fruit tarts” will give you many ideas of how a fruit tart look like. I am not good at food decoration and I am just sharing here the method of preparing the fruit tart. Bear with me the ugly fruit tart that I have prepared.

IMG_4345

  • Before assembly, ensure that crust and the custard are completely cool. Spoon the custard into pie crust and level it. Add in your preferred fruits in your desired patterns. When designing pattern, one thing that you should consider is whether it is easier to cut into slices. You would not want to have an extremely beautiful pattern and eventually it is difficult to slice for serving.

IMG_43491

  • If you prefer, you can glaze the fruits. Glazing basically have two reasons. To protect the fruit from drying out and to let it had a shining adorable look. I did not do this as I think it is not necessary at all for home consumption. To glaze, heat up 1 tablespoon of apricot jam with 1 tablespoon of water. Stir until well mix and brush on top of the fruits (not pastry crust).

  • Best served  immediately after it is prepared as a dessert.

IMG_44031

For Christmas Hat Decoration

IMG_2281

  • Beat one cup of fresh whipping cream with 2 tablespoon of icing sugar until firm peak. Set aside for later use.

  • Pump the the cool custard on top the tart shell. Pump the whipped cream on top of custard. Place a strawberry on top of the whipped cream. Pump a little dot of cream on top of the strawberry.  Best served when it is cold.

IMG_2274


CONCLUSION

Fruit tarts are not difficult to prepare. The taste of the entire tart will depend very much on the type of fruits that you selected, the pie crust pastry and the custard. The family were pleased with the tart especially the short crust pastry which is buttery aromatic and crispy. it is definitely a presentable dessert during your Christmas Feast. Why not make this for your Christmas dinner.

IMG_2276

Hope you like the post today. Cheer and have a nice day.

IMG_44141

I am submitting this to the Baby Sumo’s Christmas Recipes Collection 2013 event which is hosted by Baby Sumo of Eat Your Heart Out.

IMG_44001


  • For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 26 November 2014)  here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit the blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE to keep abreast of my future posts.  


 

IMG_43571

These Peanut Butter Balls Are Just Too Addictive–Peanut Butter Almond Balls

IMG_38221

IMG_38671

INTRODUCTION

I am visiting and pinning recipes that are of interest to me especially from my blogger peers. When I am pinning this peanut butter snowballs from In the Kitchen With Jenny, I  like the look of her peanut butter snow balls. A cute small almond bark coated ball with peanut butter in it. After reading her blog about the preparation process, I was very tempted to do it because it looked simple to prepare and since I have all the ingredients with me except almond bark. I thought, I told myself I want to try preparing it..

IMG_38651

After taking the first bite, I am so guilty as it is really a sinful indulgence and addictive. It is creamy and I popped 3 balls into my mouth in the process of preparing it. It is just delicious. It is creamy with some small almonds almond chunks to bite on. I really love it.

IMG_38341

After preparing it, I have decided not to keep in my house and gave away as gifts. I just can’t afford to have these delicious peanut butter balls sitting in my house knowing my love for sweet desserts.

IMG_38461

Since I do not have almond barks. I have modified the recipe with coating of white chocolate to retain the shape. As white chocolate is rather sweet, therefore, i have decided to reduce the sugar content.  In addition, I have added some almond chunks to the peanut butters. I hope you will like my modified recipe and you can always refer to Jenny’s original recipe as stated below. 

IMG_38711

 


WHAT IS REQUIRED 

Recipe adapted from: PEANUT BUTTER SNOWBALLS

IMG_3632

  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter, chunky or smooth
  • 1/2 cup of almonds, chopped
  • 85 grams of butter, softened
  • 200 grams of white chocolates
  • Adequate Christmas colour (green, red and white) sprinkles – not in picture

IMG_38241

 


STEPS OF PREPARATION

Servings : about 20 medium size balls

IMG_3637

  • Cream the peanut butter with icing sugar until smooth. Add soften butter, cream until smooth followed by chopped almonds. Stir until well mixed.

IMG_3643

  • Use an ice cream scoop to scoop up the dough into a plate or tin. In Singapore’s weather, it may be a bit runny but that is ok. Chill it in the fridge for 5-10 minutes before rolling the balls into an even shape.

IMG_3646

  • Take the ball out of the fridge and use your hand to roll  into a ball shape and chill again for 10-15 minutes. A bit lightly harder is okay for your next step of rolling with sugar sprinkles.

IMG_3665

  • Take the balls out from the refrigerator. In a bowl, have some  Christmas sprinkle. Roll the peanut balls in the sprinkles as evenly as possible. After rolling put back to the refrigerator until the next step is ready.

IMG_3670

  • Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a microwavable bowls for 1 minute. Stir until smooth. Use a tooth pick or something sharp to stick into the ball, dip the ball into the white chocolates. If possible, place the dip balls on top of Styrofoam boxes and let it drip naturally. (in this illustration, I have use some balls that did not have sugar sprinkles. However, all subsequent balls were dipped with sugar sprinkled balls. Wait for the chocolates to harden before store in a container. Prefer chill before serving.

IMG_3672

IMG_38691


CONCLUSION

This is an extremely addictive sweet if you are a fan of peanut butter. My wife told me the sugar sprinkles in the balls are funs to bite together with the almonds and creamy peanut butters.

IMG_38631

This whole batch that I prepared were packed and given out as Christmas gifts. For Asians, besides normal cookies and pastries, we seldom take the courage to prepare sweets from Western countries due to the limitation of ingredients. This, I would say is a recommended Christmas gift that you can consider preparing yourself.. Do try and tell me if you are agreeable with me.

IMG_38431

I want to take this opportunity to thank Jenny Unternahrer for this delicious sweets of her. You may also want to visit her original version of peanut butter snowballs coated with almond barks here. Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.

I am submitting this to the “Baby Sumo’s Christmas Recipes Collection 2013 event which is hosted by Baby Sumo of Eat Your Heart Out.

IMG_36741


For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit this blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE .  

group-board-picture72222222222222222[1]

 

If you are a Pinterest user and you are interested to have more recipes, you can join or follow this Pinterest Board set up by me  where there are more than 400 recipes worldwide and pinned by various bloggers: FOOD BLOGGERS AND FOODIES UNITED PINTEREST BOARD 

IMG_38711

Having Oven Baked Ribs for Christmas Dinner? Tony Roma’s BBQ Baby Ribs Copycat

IMG_17941

INTRODUCTION

I don’t usually have Western meals, but one of the Western chains of restaurants that I like very much is Tony Roma’s Ribs, Steak and Seafood Restaurant, an American family restaurant chain world famous for its baby back ribs and other specialties like steaks, BBQ chicken & seafood. I first tasted its ribs 15 years ago in Shanghai when I worked as an expatriate in Shanghai. I loved its soft, tender and juicy ribs. While most Western restaurants serve steak in this part of the world, however, Tony Roma’s serves baby ribs that captures my heart . This is because I do not take any beef or lamb thus making my choice of Western cuisines rather limited.

IMG_18021

Christmas is approaching and I am looking at the Christmas order brochures distributed by the supermarkets. Besides hams, roast chickens, sausages etc., one of the common items is baked ribs. In Singapore, there are two types of baked ribs commonly sold, honey glazed baked ribs and black pepper baked ribs. Prices are about SGD30 per kilogram. I thought it might be a good idea to prepare our own ribs for the Christmas dinner and it can save at least half the cost. In addition, it can be tailored to meet the family’s taste buds.

IMG_17921

Before I search for the recipe, I do not place any hopes on finding one. When I searched, there are lots of recipes and I have selected one that uses oven to bake rather than barbecuing. Surprisingly, the recipe is very simple with minimal list of ingredients. I tried and I can assure that it is definitely a recipe keeper for big festivals, be it for Christmas or any important Chinese festivals such as Chinese New Years.

IMG_18041


WHAT IS REQUIRED

Recipe adapted from: Tony Roma’s Original Baby Back Ribs

Servings: 6-8 adults

IMG_1745

  • About 2 kilograms of pork baby ribs or prime ribs
  • 1 cup of white vinegar
  • 1 cup of tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup of golden syrup
  • 2 teaspoons of white or brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Tabasco pepper sauce (optional and not in picture above)
  • Few cloves or garlic and shallot

IMG_18161


STEPS OF PREPARATION

IMG_1750

  • Pound the garlics and shallots until fine (You can opt to use garlic powder). Place all the ingredients (except ribs) in a sauce pan and bring to boil. Once boiled, simmer it until the sauce has thickened. Rub it on the pork ribs as evenly as possible. Save a few tablespoons for brushing during the baking process.

IMG_1756

  • Marinate the ribs for at least 1/2 day. You can also marinate overnight in the fridge.

IMG_18071

  • Pre-heat your oven to 150 degree Celsius.

  • Get ready 4 pieces of aluminium foil big enough to wrap the ribs. Wrap the ribs as tight as possible. Bake in the oven for 2 hours. After 2 hours, open the aluminium foil and ensure that the meats have shrunk from the ribs by about 1 inches long. This will ensure that the meat are tender, juicy and fall off the bones.

IMG_17821

  • Without wrapping the ribs, rub the baked ribs with additional barbecue sauce (reserved above) and send back to the oven. Baked each sides for 3-4 minutes or until the ribs slightly dries up with small signs of charred sauce (but do not burn the ribs). Sliced the ribs in between the bones for serving. Best served with additional barbecue sauce.

IMG_17961


CONCLUSION

This is an extremely recipe which I will definitely keep for my other festivals. It suits the taste of Asian as there are no exotic herbs and seasonings used. It is sweet and slightly tangy in the meat. The meats were soft, fell off the bone and really melted in the mouth.. Hope you like the post today and do consider to prepare some baked ribs for your family in this Thanksgiving or Christmas 2013. Cheers.

IMG_18121



For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit this blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE .
 

Capture1[4]

If you are a Pinterest user and you are interested to have more recipes, you can join or follow this Pinterest Board set up by me  where there are more than 250 recipes worldwide and pinned by various bloggers: FOOD BLOGGERS AND FOODIES UNITED PINTEREST BOARD

Four-Seasons-JPG29622223222232223222[3][3]

For Four Seasons Blog Hop #26 (Nov 13) where I am the Co-host, please join us for the party where you can get a lot of the family related posts. Please click the above logo to enter your post.

IMG_18141

IMG_17901

My Fruit Cake Is Snowing Heavily–Simple Presentable Fruit Cake With Royal Icing

 IMG_17381
 
INTRODUCTION
 
This is my second post of fruit cake for Christmas 2013. The first post is on ‘TRADITIONAL BOILED FRUIT CAKE” that I have posted on early October 2013. In that post, I have followed strictly the traditional method of preparing the fruit cake but this post, I will share a quick and easy recipe with no prior preparation required.
 
IMG_16771
 
Most bakers will advise to prepare fruit cakes for Christmas as early as possible. Usually, readers will be advised to soak the fruits, bake and let the cake rest for 1-2 months before actual serving during Christmas. However, at times, you may not be able to fruit cake early and you can then consider this quick and easy fruit cake and the outcome is definitely acceptable. 
 
IMG_17241
 
This recipe is my own recipe and without reference to any other fruit cake recipe. It is an easy recipe adapted from the one number baking ratio theory and using “mix and bake” method, meaning hand mixing the dry and wet ingredients. No prior preparation is necessary and extra protection (water bath) is optional. However, if you prefer, you can still soak your fruit earlier at a time convenience to you. 
 
IMG_17301
 
 

WHAT IS REQUIRED
 
Servings: One 8” x  8 “ cake
 
IMG_1569
 
  • 350 grams of self raising flour
  • 250 grams of butter
  • 250 grams of soft brown sugar
  • 500 grams of mixed dried fruits (if preferred, soak in rum as early as you can)
  • 50 ml of alcohol (rum or brandy or whisky)
  • 5 eggs
  • 1.5 teaspoons of mixed spice or cinnamon powder+nutmeg powder
  • 0.5 teaspoon of baking soda

For Royal Icing

  • 3 egg whites
  • 3 teaspoons of lemon juice
  • 4 cups of icing sugar

IMG_17261


STEPS OF PREPARATION

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180 degree Celsius and put a baking tray at the lowest rack with 1 cm of water in it (note that the baking is not done at the lowest rack but at the middle rack)

  • Line the baking tin with baking paper or lightly grease the baking tin.

  • Pour the alcohol into the dried mixed fruits (you can do it after you take your measurements or you can do it as early as you can). For this illustration, I have mixed the alcohol with the fruits immediately after I took my measurements.

IMG_1575

  • Melt the butter in the microwave (about 1 minute). In a whisking bowl, lightly beat your eggs, add in the cooled melted butter and whisk well.
IMG_1579
 
  • In another bowl, sift your self raising flour, baking soda and mixed spice. Add in the brown sugar, mix and make a well in the centre. Pour the cooled butter and egg mixture into the well. Use a spatula to mix well. Add in the mixed fruit and ensure that it is well mixed.
IMG_1739
 
  • Transfer to the baking tin. Bake in the oven at middle rack at 180 degree Celsius for the first 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, down the oven temperature to 150 degree Celsius and continue to bake for another 45 minutes to 60 minutes. Use a skewer to insert into the cake CENTRE and ensure that it comes out clean. LET THE CAKE REST FOR AT LEAST 3-4 HOURS BEFORE actual decoration of the cake. I let this cake rest overnight before I decorated the cake.

IMG_16971


Special Notes

  • As fruit cake is a dense cake, you may have to constantly check the readiness of the cake at the last 10-15 minutes of the baking process. If your skewer comes out unclean after the prescribed baking time, don’t worry, as the baking temperature is rather low, continue your baking until the skewer inserted comes out clean.  Insert the skewer at various positions particularly at the centre to counter ensure the readiness of the cake.

  • If you note that there are slight burnt on the top of the cakes, use something to cover the top of the cake. If you prefer, add about 1 cm tall of water to the baking tray place one rack lower than the baking rack. (e.g if you bake at rack No. 3 from the bottom, place a baking tray with 1 cm of water on rack No.2 from the bottom before your baking starts to conserve moisture of the cake). In this illustration, I have put some water in the baking tray but it is optional.

IMG_17341


Preparation Of Royal Icing
 
IMG_1637
 
  • Beat the egg whites until soft peak. Gradually add in the icing sugar. Add lemon juice after all the icing sugar has been added. If the royal icing is too runny, add in extra icing sugar until you reach the firm/stiff peak or desired consistency. Cover with damp cloth or clingy wrap to prevent icing from drying out.

IMG_16811


Decorating The Cake

IMG_1642
 
  • Spread the icing on the entire cake as evenly as possible. Use the flat spatula or knife to work on icing into fluffy peaks all over the cake. LEAVE CAKE FOR 2-3 HOURS to allow the icing to harden. If you preferred, you can add some colour gel to create some visual effect.

IMG_1649

  • After the icing have hardened, position your desired ornaments on top of the cake. Keep your cake in the refrigerator for about 2-3 weeks.

IMG_16791


CONCLUSION

Isn’t this is a very simple fruit cake and I can assure that the taste wouldn’t not be compromised much at all. Putting some royal icing make it have a traditional or noble look and transforming this simple cake into an elegant occasion cake..  Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.

IMG_17321
 
For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit this blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE .
 

Capture1

If you are a Pinterest user and you are interested to have more recipes, you can join or follow this Pinterest Board set up by me  where there are more than 250 recipes worldwide and pinned by various bloggers: FOOD BLOGGERS AND FOODIES UNITED PINTEREST BOARD

Four-Seasons-JPG29622223222232223222[3]

For Four Seasons Blog Hop #26 (Nov 13) where I am the Co-host, please join us for the party where you can get a lot of the family related posts. Please click the above logo to enter your post.

IMG_17361

Christmas 2013 Series–Yin Yang Chocolate Macadamia Cookies

IMG_15181
 
UPDATED POST ON 21-10-2014
 
No doubt this is one of my favourite cookies.. I seldom prepared as it is quite high calorific and if not because friend have requested to show her helper how to prepare this, I do not I will prepare now…I have made some adjustments to the recipe today based on what I have at home….I have substitute almond nibs with macadamia nuts and instead of prepared in the Ying Yang pattern, I opt to prepare all as chocolate flavoured so as not to confuse her… Ha-ha.
 
IMG_9389
 
IMG_9387
 

INTRODUCTION
 
Christmas 2013 is approaching, time to get ready your cookies for friends and relatives. I will not be going back to my hometown for Christmas this year and I have relatives now staying with me in Singapore whom are going back to hometown soon. I am now busy preparing Christmas fruitcakes, chocolates, cookies etc.. for them to bring back as hand gifts.
 
IMG_15981
 
It may be slightly early for others but not too early. You can save the recipe (advise is to use  “PINTEREST”, an easier way to keep and categorize your bakes, recipes wanted to try or special board such as Christmas To Do), test the recipe and decide if you want to make for your friends or relatives. This will definitely save you a lot of money and headaches to find suitable gift items.  It will definitely be a presentable gift to the recipient and they will be delighted to receive these well thought homemade gifts. This Christmas 2013 and Thanksgiving 2013 series is to give you ideas of homemaking your own gifts or delicacies during these two important festivals.
 
IMG_16081
 
My neighbour gave me one bottle of macadamia nuts and I did not have a chance to finish it. I still have a quite a lot left and immediately come across my mind is to prepare some macadamia nut biscuits. I have chosen a simple recipe and the cookie is definitely well beyond my expectations. Nice texture, not overly sweet with mouthful of macadamia nuts and caramelized chocolate chips. Preparation can be really simple if you do not want to create the Yin Yang effect.
 
IMG_16101
 


WHAT IS REQUIRED
 
Recipe adapted from : Chocolate Macadamia Biscuits
 
Servings: 3 baking trays of biscuits (about 40-50 medium sized biscuits)
 
IMG_1496
 
  • 250 grams butter (soften at room temperature)
  • 227 grams (1 cup) of soft brown sugar – Can reduce by 10 % sugar if desired
  • 227 grams (1 cup) of white castor sugar – Can reduce by 10% if desired
  • 312 grams (2.5 cups) of self raising flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder (not in picture)
  • 2 teaspoons of chocolate molasses (optional, can be substituted with one additional tablespoon of cocoa powder)
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla essence
  • 65 grams (1/2 cup) of macadamia nuts – chopped
  • 80 grams (1/2 cup) of caramelize chocolate chips or chocolate chips
  • 2 piping bags (not in picture – optional)

 

IMG_9383


STEPS OF INSTRUCTION
 
  • Line 3 baking trays with parchment/baking paper and pre-heat the oven to 180 degree Celsius.
IMG_1502
 
  • Cream the sugar and butter until light and pale. Add in one egg at a time, beat until well mixed. 
IMG_1507
 
  • Add in caramelized chocolate chips, macadamia nuts and vanilla essence. Use the machine to stir well. Sift in the self raising flour and mix well. Divide the batter into two portions. Put one portion in the piping bag. For the other portion, add in chocolate molasses and cocoa powder, mix well and place on another piping bag.

IMG_1513

  • Pump the white dough in the baking sheet leaving adequate space for expansion. Pump the chocolate dough next to the white dough. You can create any pattern than you like as the dough is not an overly sticky cookie dough. Bake in the pre-heated oven at 180 degree Celsius for 10-12 minutes. Take the baking tray out, leave the cookies on the hot tray for at least 5 minutes before transfer to wire rack for cooling. Cool completely before store in an air tight container. Repeat the same for the other 2 trays.

IMG_16121


CONCLUSION

This is an addictive cookie. It is crispy and I loved the crunchiness of the macadamia nuts and the caramelize chocolate chips. Family members loved it. When I start eating the cookies, I usually end up eating at least 5 cookies and I doubt if there will be any cookies left by the time my relatives schedule to leave for hometown. Well, recipe is here and I presumed they can bake themselves too… Ok, may be I will bake another batch the day before they left… Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day!

IMG_15451

IMG_9381



  • For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 15 October 2014)  here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit the blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE to keep abreast of my future posts.  

IMG_15641

IMG_15551

IMG_9385

Thanksgiving 2013 is approaching–How About A Zebra Pattern Baked New York Cheesecake

 IMG_12291
 
INTRODUCTION
 
In my humble opinion, baking cheesecake is no easy matter. In fact, it is quite a delicate bake with lots of preparations and protections required but the result is worth the effort. Last weekend, I have decided to bake one of my favourite cheesecake – traditional New York Cheesecake.  Unsure if readers concurred with me, I loved cheesecakes sold in Hilton chain of hotels. I may be prejudiced, whenever I have meeting with friends or business associates at Hilton, I will sure to order their cheesecakes, be it in Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai….. and traditional New York Cheesecake always top my list.  I loved its dense, smooth and creamy consistency.
IMG_12521
 
The challenge to baking a cheesecake is to ensure there is no crack in the cheesecake and there are many factors that can cause the cheesecake to break. Over or under beating of cream cheese, temperature of the cream cheese, over mixing, baking temperature too high, inadequate rest in the oven, baking time too long, inadequate greasing of the baking tin etc.… are culprits to a crack cheesecake.
IMG_12561
I have found one recipe on the internet with many good reviews and one reviewer have provided a review that caught my attention.  Ms. Morena in her review said the following which in essence sums up the gist of preparing a good New York Cheesecake.
“OK – I don’t want to be rude, but this is the deal: this is a perfect recipe, and if it fails for you, it’s your fault, not the recipe’s. A couple of things you should know about cheesecakes: OVERBEATING WILL CAUSE A CHEESECAKE TO CRACK. Beat cream cheese with sugar only until smooth. Proceed with a wooden spoon for the rest of the recipe. OVERBEATING WILL CAUSE A CHEESECAKE TO HAVE THE “WRONG” TEXTURE. Air bubbles, gritty/not creamy texture, etc., are fixed my the same instructions above. OVERCOOKING WILL CAUSE A CHEESECAKE TO CRACK. Do NOT cook this cheesecake until it’s set. Matter of fact, don’t check it at all. Put the cheesecake in the oven, set the timer to 60 min., turn the oven off, and forget it. I mean it! Don’t open the oven, just leave it alone to do its thing. And that’s it. A beautiful cheesecake. Far from bland: this is a PURIST’S cheesecake. It’s great as is, but also a great foil for other flavours. I serve mine with passion fruit pulp or mango puree. (Chantal’s New York Cheesecake, , Review by: Ms. Morena dated  February 25, 2007 )
IMG_12631
 
The cheesecake that I baked still have a small crack. I am unsure of the reason but I believed it may be due to the trapped air when I did my zebra patterns. However, for me that is acceptable and rather immaterial to the entire cake. I have choose to make it slightly different from its traditional look by creating a visual presentation of zebra strips. It is not difficult to prepare but it is indeed refreshing when a piece of zebra patterned cheesecake is placed in front of the diner.
 
IMG_12351

 


WHAT IS REQUIRED
 
Recipe adapted from: Chantal’s New York Cheesecake
 
Servings: One 9” cheesecake of about 5-6cm tall (about 12 standard servings)
 
IMG_1160
For Short Crust Pastry
 
  • 30 grams of self raising flour
  • 65 grams of plain flour
  • 30 grams of castor sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of grated lemon rind
  • 40 grams of unsalted butter, chopped
  • 25 grams of eggs

alternative:

  • 15 saltine or Graham biscuits
  • 30 grams of butter, melted
IMG_1169
For filling:
 
  • 1 kg of cream cheese – softened at room temperature
  • 4 eggs
  • 30 grams of plain flour
  • 15 ml of vanilla essence

IMG_1171

  • 300 grams of white sugar
  • 230 grams of sour cream (see note 1 below)
  • 180 ml of milk
  • 50 grams of dark chocolate sauce (see note 2 below)

Note 1 – As I do not have sour cream, I have used 230 grams of normal whipping cream plus 2 teaspoons of lemon juice plus 2 teaspoons of orange and lemon rinds each.

Note 2 – If you do not have dark chocolate sauce, melt 50 grams of dark chocolate in a microwave oven (for 1 minute) and stir in 1-2 tablespoon of normal cream for whipping.

Others

  • One 9 ‘’ round spring form baking tin
  • Some aluminium foil
  • Baking paper

IMG_12441

 


STEPS OF PREPARATION

Preparation

  • Grease the baking tin adequately and put a baking paper on the bottom of the baking tin.

  • Pre-heat the oven to 210 degree Celsius (for baking of short crust pastry)

Short Crust Preparation

Note that you can choose either use the short crust pastry or biscuit crust as detail later. Biscuit crust is easier as compare to short crust pastry.

IMG_1166

  • Put flours, butter, sugar, and lemon rind in a food processor and blend for 30 seconds. Add the egg and process briefly until the mixture just comes together. Put in a lightly floured surface, roll into a flat piece, cut into the shape of the baking tin. In the baking tin, put a piece of round shape baking paper on the bottom. Put the pastry on top of the baking paper, use a fork to make some holes, baked in the pre-heated oven of 210 degree Celsius for 10 minutes. Cool and set aside for later use.

IMG_1480
Before and after
OR

 


Biscuit Crust Preparation
  • If you have opted to use the biscuit crust pastry, blend the graham cracker until they become crumbs. Add in melted butter and press onto the bottom of spring form pan.

IMG_12651

 


Preparation Of Cheesecake fillings

  • Once the short crust pastry OR biscuit crust is done, use 2 big pieces of aluminium foil to wrap around the baking tin. Set aside for later use.

  • Turn down the oven temperature to 160 degree Celsius and put water in the baking tray (about 1 cm high)

IMG_12601

 


Preparation of Cream Cheese Filling

IMG_1176

  • In a stand mixer, put the cream cheese and sugar in the whisking bowl and beat until smooth and no lumps noted. Add in one egg at a time, beat until smooth. Add in sour cream (or normal whipping cream + lemon juice + lemon rind + orange rind), milk and vanilla essence. Stir/beat until well mixed.
IMG_1482
  • Add in flour gradually and stir until well mixed. Divide the batter to two portions. Stir in the dark chocolate sauce to one portion and ensure that it is mixed thoroughly.

  • Get ready 2 ladles for the 2 batters. Put one ladle of cream batter (ladle No. 1)  on top of the short crust or biscuit pastry in the baking tin. Put another ladle of chocolate batter (ladle No. 2) on top of the cream batter as centre as possible. Put another ladle of cream batter (ladle No.3) on the centre of the chocolate batter. Repeat the same of all the batter until finish. Basically, all odd number layers will be cream batters (ladle No. 1, 3, 5,7, 9…. ) whereas even number layers will be chocolate batters (ladle No. 2, 4, 6, 8, 10……).
IMG_1483
  • Baked in the pre-heated 160 degree Celsius for 1 hour. Ensure that baking tin is wrapped by aluminium foil and baking tray is with at least 1 cm of water. At end of baking, do not be alarmed if the centre of the cheesecake is still a bit runny or not set yet. It will set eventually if the following instructions were followed. If the cheesecake turns brown too fast, use some metal to put on top of the baking tin.

  • After one hour, off the oven. LEAVE THE CHEESECAKE IN THE OVEN (WITH THE DOOR CLOSED) FOR AT LEAST 3-4 HOURS or until the oven temperature drop to normal room temperature.  Chilled in the refrigerator for at least 1-2 hours before cutting into slices for serving.

IMG_12251

 


CONCLUSION

Well, this is a long post. From the time I bake until I have the first bite, it took me more than 12 hours. In fact, I baked in the morning, after I off the oven, I went for my shopping in the afternoon and before I went to sleep, I transfer the cheesecake to the refrigerator. I cut my cheesecake in the next morning. But the wait is worth the effort. I am rather happy as the cheesecake is creamy, dense and smooth. I can still bear with the small crack or imperfection in the cheesecake. Hope you like the post to day and have a nice day.

IMG_12311

 


 For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX here and you can follow me or save your recipe using PINTEREST or visit this blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE .
 

 

group-board-picture72222222222222

If you are a Pinterest user and you are interested to have more recipes, you can join or follow this Pinterest Board set up by me  where there are more than 300 recipes worldwide and pinned by various bloggers: FOOD BLOGGERS AND FOODIES UNITED PINTEREST BOARD

IMG_12581

Christmas 2013 Is Approaching……. Gingerbread Man Biscuits

INTRODUCTION
 
IMG_10711
 
Christmas is approaching, less than 1.5 months away. It is time to start prepare Christmas cuisines. I have a post on Christmas Boiled Fruit Cake in early October 2013 and I believed that is the right time to get ready the fruit cakes for Christmas purposes. More of more post on Christmas cuisines will be coming soon and next in the pipeline will be another fruit cake that I am going to prepare for my relatives to bring back to their home town.
 
 
 
Being an Asian and non-Christian, I don’t really celebrate Christmas though I have fond memories of my childhood years where my brother and I always spent our Christmas eves in one of our families’ friends house.  Prior to the Christmas eve gathering, we were busy buying presents for gift exchange but the dinner we had were not really a Christmas dinner. It is just a normal buffet spread. Therefore, I am rather ignorance on authentic Christmas celebrations.
 
IMG_1029
 
It is common to see gingerbread man in Christmas decorations in the shopping arcades in Singapore and Malaysia but the very first time I got in touch with the gingerbread man was about 6-7 years back where I celebrated Christmas with my family in Kuala Lumpur. At that time, my girl is only 4 years old and in the shopping centre that we shopped, the shopping centre has organised some fun activities for the kids and all kids were invited to participate in the making of gingerbread man. After the activities, she brought back a big gingerbread man and she made and that was the first time I tasted the biscuit.
 
IMG_10651
 
As usual, lets learn together from Wikipedia about the background of this biscuit:
 
“A gingerbread man is a biscuit or cookie made of gingerbread, usually in the shape of a stylized human, although making other shapes, especially seasonal themes (Christmas, Halloween, Easter, etc.) and characters, are quite common as well. Gingerbread dates back to the 15th century, and figural biscuit-making was practiced in the 16th century. The first documented instance of figure-shaped gingerbread-biscuits appearing was in the court of Elizabeth I of England. She had the gingerbread figures made and presented in the likeness of some of her important guests.” (Source:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gingerbread_man)
 
It is fun and easy to make the biscuits. You may want to consider making some of these biscuits as Christmas gifts to your friends. The recipe covers the making of the basic biscuits and will not cover in detail the icing and decorations of the biscuits. I have used some royal icing and pen writing nozzles to decorate the biscuits. That is not perfect as icing is not my area of strength.
 
IMG_10561
 

WHAT IS REQUIRED
 
Recipe adapted from: Gingerbread Men From BBC
 
Servings: Made about 30-40 small to medium size biscuits
 
IMG_1017
 
  • 350 grams of plain flour
  • 4 tablespoons of golden syrup
  • 2 tablespoons of minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of mixed spice (for lapis cake is acceptable)
  • 125 grams of butter
  • 175 grams of brown sugar (optional)
  • 1 egg

Others (Not in picture)

  • Gingerbread man cutter
  • Writing icing (royal icing)
  • Red and green permitted food colouring

Note that in this illustration, I did not add in any sugar as I want it to be just plain biscuits like the saltine biscuits. You can add in the sugar of the quantity that you prefer.

IMG_10771



STEPS OF PREPARATION

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degree Celsius and line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.

IMG_1022

  • Put all the dry ingredients (butter, ginger, flour, baking soda, minced ginger and mixed spice) and pour into the bowl of a food processor. Blend until the mix looks like breadcrumbs. Add in lightly beaten eggs and golden syrup. Continue to blend or pulse until the mixture sticks together become the dough. Take the dough out and roll into 0.5 thickness flat sheet.

IMG_1027

  • Use the gingerbread man cutter to cut out the shapes and place on the baking tray and leaving some space between them. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes or until the biscuits turn light brown. Leave on the tray for 10 minutes before moving to the wire rack for cooling. Let it cool completely before decorate the gingerbread man.

IMG_1033

  • Get ready 9 tablespoons of royal icing (I bought the ready made icing) and divide into 3 portions. Add some red colouring to one portion and green colouring to another portion. Stir well and you should have 1 portion of white icing, 1 portion of green icing and 1 portion of red icing. Put the icing in three icing bag with either a pen writing nozzle or cut a small hole in front of the icing bag. Decorate the gingerbread man to your desired pattern. If the purchased icing is too dry (meaning hard to pump out), add a “DROP” or two of water to the icing before pumping. Store in an air tight container for up to 2-3 weeks.

IMG_10581


CONCLUSION

For me, I love the taste of the biscuits. It is quite addictive though it is just plain biscuit with cinnamon and ginger aroma. Pumping of icing is my weakness and I am sure you can create much better looking gingerbread man than me ..May be it is time for you to get ready making some gingerbread man biscuits as your Christmas gifts. Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.

IMG_10351


For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit this blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE .
 

group-board-picture7222222222[2]

If you are a Pinterest user and you are interested to have more recipes, you can join or follow this Pinterest Board set up by me  where there are more than 250 recipes worldwide and pinned by various bloggers: FOOD BLOGGERS AND FOODIES UNITED PINTEREST BOARD

Four-Seasons-JPG29622223222232223[2]

For Four Seasons Blog Hop #25 (Nov 6) where I am the Co-host, please join us for the party where you can get a lot of the family related posts. Please click the above logo to enter your post.

IMG_1067