Can I Have A Moon Cake That Is Not Round? Hmmm.. Try Short Crust Pastry Moon Cake

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Chinese Mooncake Festival or Mid Autumn Festival is arriving soon on 19-9-2013 (or Chinese Lunar Calendar August 15) and I think most bloggers will blog about moon cakes. There are many many moon cake recipes in the internet and there is no way for me to blog something that I am rather unfamiliar due to my poor shaping skills of moon cakes .

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This year I have a few attempts to shape the moon cake but not really successful. It cracked terribly and I have told members in my Facebook Group“Food Bloggers and Foodies United” that I am not going to issue a post on moon cake I totally do not have any confidence to share with readers about the making of moon cakes.

The next day after I issued the post, one of my relatives gave us a pack of moon cake from Kluang, Johor Malaysia. In the box, it was written clearly Shanghai Moon Cake, and what shocked me is that the shape is elongated and some called it a mouse shape.

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Sorry for my limited knowledge, I never seen Shanghai moon cake in this shape. I posted in my timeline and asked my friends what is that. Surprisingly a number of friends from Southern Peninsular Malaysia knew about this shop and ever tasted this special moon cake before.

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The next day, I cut it and ate a slice, I felt that the taste was very familiar. It resembles the short crust biscuits with the normal moon cake fillings. Therefore, I told my friends that I wanted to pursue another baking adventure based on what I tasted and I wanted to try to “reproduce” the moon cake that I received.

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That morning, there is no body in my house except myself. I just simply pick a short crust pastry recipe and start my adventures. Actually, the short crust pastry resembles the pineapples tart pastry. However, in this illustration, I made a mistake by including sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) in the dough. I shouldn’t need to include this as the fillings will expand when heated and the baking soda make the crack bigger that I do not want to see.

Putting that aside,  I would say that this pastry, or pardon me formally called it “SHORT CRUST PASTRY MOONCAKE” , is definitely worth trying. The soft filling blends extremely well with the melt in the mouth pastry wrapping it. Unlike other moon cake,  it is buttery in flavour and that make me wanted to share with readers this “funny” pastry aims at those who are adventurous to try out new ideas.

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But I have to highlight that, it is just like any pastry, it can’t keep for long. It is best to consume it within two to three days of making it. The wet fillings will make the short crust slightly soggy if you do not consume on time. Well, that is my frankest opinion and I do hope that readers have some confidences on me by baking this short crust pastry moon cake and share with me if it is up to your expectations.


WHAT IS REQUIRED

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  • 80 grams of salted butter, cut into cubes and keep in fridge waiting for later use.

  • 2 eggs lightly beaten

  • 400 grams of self raising flour (sifted)

  • 80 grams of sugar powder

  • 600 grams of moon cake fillings of your choice (in this illustration, I have used both the green tea paste and red bean paste).

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

Pre Preparation

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180 degree.

  • Get ready a baking tray with a piece of baking sheet.

  • Divide the moon cake fillings into 3 portions and roll it into an cylindrical shape of about 6 inches long.

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  • In a big mixing bowl, put in your sifted self raising flour, sugar powder. Add the butter cubes from the fridge. Use finger tips to lightly rub the butter until butter and flour are well mixed resembling crumbs. Rubbing should be light and fast. This resembles the preparation of scones and your can refer HERE.

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  • Make a whole in the centre put in the beaten eggs.

  • Use a fork or a knife to slightly mix the batter. Once the eggs and the flour have form a dough, transfer the dough to a table and knead for 1-2 minutes to ensure it is well mixed.

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  • Divide the dough into 3 portions. In my illustration, my dough weighed about 220 grams per portion.

  • Use a rolling pin to roll the dough in a floured surface into rectangular shape of about 10 inches x 5 inches.

  • Place your moon cake filling on top of the pastry, close the longer ends and roll follow the shape of the fillings.

  • Close the other two ends and ensure the edges are closed.

  • You can reshape to any shape that you want. However, I have opted to use the shape as shown above. Alternative shape is round shape. However, round shape is difficult for serving. So I opted for the oblong shape.

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  • Place the dough in the baking tray. Use a sharp knife to lightly cut lines on top of the dough.

  • Have the first egg wash and send to the oven and bake for 15 minutes.

  • After 15 minutes, take out and have a second egg wash. Baked for another minutes 10 and the moon cake is done.

  • For egg wash, hand beaten 1 egg yolks and add 2 big table spoons of water and 2 drops of oil. Sift and put in a container. Use a brush to lightly brush the dough.

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CONCLUSION

This is another way of serving the moon cake though traditionally, moon cake must be round resemble the moon. Whether this can be called moon cake or other name is up the discretion of the readers.

This moon cake was prepared using short crust pastries and the buttery taste of the pastry is totally different from traditional moon cake but it blends well with the traditional moon cake fillings. It is good to be served as a tea time snack item.

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I hope you enjoy my baking adventures for making this special shape moon cake inspired from the famous Kluang moon cake shop in Malaysia.

This recipe was included in Page 15-17 of the “Easy Mooncake Recipes E-book”. For more mooncake recipes, you can have a copy of Easy mooncake recipes  – A step by step guide” that was packed with 20 recipes, 45 pages at a reasonable convenience fee of USD4.00. The recipes covered various recipes from durian mooncake, traditional baked mooncake and also the less common Teochew mooncake . You can purchase by clicking the link above.You can either pay using Pay Pal or Credit card account. Please ensure that you have an PDF reader like Acrobat or iBooks in your mobile phone or iPad if you intended to read it in your ipad or mobile phone. Should there be any problems of purchasing, feel free to contact me at kengls@singnet.com.sg and separate arrangement can be made.

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Hope you like the post today and do join me in the baking adventures. Bake one for yourself and tell me if it suits your taste buds. Have a nice day and cheers


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King of Fruits + Cream Cheese = Durian Cheesecakes, Game to Try?

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INTRODUCTION

Imagine a bite of cream cheese and another bite of durian flesh, that will be what you are going to get from these cheese cake, soft, smooth, creamy and sweet.

A rather simple chilled cheese cake to make without baking, therefore the natural aroma of the durian are maintained in the cake even days after it was prepared. For this recipe, it is rather flexible except one step that I am rather insistent-handling of the durian flesh. Mastering this step will give you a cheese cake that will impressed your guest. For this step, I beg to disagreed  with any shortcut method(no blending), other than that, you can use your common sense to proceed with the making of the cheesecake.

Steps in preparing the durian cheesecake will involve (preferably in this order to smoothen your flows of preparation):

  • Preparing the biscuit crust
  • Preparation of gelatine
  • Beating the cream
  • Sifting the durian flesh
  • Making the cream cheese fillings
  • Decorating and serving the cake

Though it looks like the step are many, however the times taken are very short. So, don’t be frightened by the steps  mentioned here.

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WHAT IS DURIAN….

To start the post,  it is only fair that I have some introduction on durian as a number of my overseas friends apparently never seen durian before. As usual, per Wikipedia:

“The durian /ˈdjʊriən/ is the fruit of several tree species belonging to the genus Durio and the family Malvaceae. Regarded by many people in southeast Asia as the “king of fruits”, the durian is distinctive for its large size, strong odour, and formidable thorn-covered husk. The fruit can grow as large as 30 centimetres (12 in) long and 15 centimetres (6 in) in diameter, and it typically weighs one to three kilograms (2 to 7 lb.). Its shape ranges from oblong to round, the colour of its husk green to brown, and its flesh pale yellow to red, depending on the species.

The edible flesh emits a distinctive odour that is strong and penetrating even when the husk is intact. Some people regard the durian as pleasantly fragrant; others find the aroma overpowering and revolting. The smell evokes reactions from deep appreciation to intense disgust, and has been described variously as almonds, rotten onions, turpentine, raw sewage. The persistence of its odour has led to the fruit’s banishment from certain hotels and public transportation in southeast Asia.”

picture source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/



WHAT IS REQUIRED

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  • 350 g of assorted biscuits.You can use biscuits of any type and I have used 2 types of biscuits some sugar crackers and some Fox chocolate crunch biscuits. I have chosen to use these 2 types of biscuits as there are slightly sweeten and have been sitting in my kitchen cabinets for quite a while.
  • 150 g of melted butter.
  • 350 g cream cheese at room temperature
  • 750 g of fresh durian flesh (with seeds)

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  • 90 g of granulated sugar or sugar powder
  • 1 cup of whipping cream
  • 6 large teaspoons of gelatine powder 
  • 1/2 cups of plain water
  • 8 inches spring form cake tin or detachable base cake tin. You can refer here for more explanation on the cake tin selection.

For decoration of the cake

  • 10 large teaspoons of gelatine powder 
  • 1 cup of plain water
  • 200 gram of flesh durian tear into smaller pieces.

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

Preparing the biscuit crust….

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  • Microwave heat your butter for 1 minutes and set aside for later use.
  • In a food processor, place your assorted biscuits and blend your biscuits until very fine pieces. The finer it is, the easier it is for you to make the crust . However, if you want to have something to munch in your mouth, you can have your biscuit pieces coarser.
  • Transfer the chopped biscuits into a mixing ball. Gradually add in the melted butter. Stir until well mixed.

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  • Transfer the chopped biscuits into the spring form baking tin. Use a spoon to press firmly against the bottom and against the side such that it is equally spread out. Put in the freezer and refrigerate until later use.

 


Preparation of gelatine…..

This step can be used for both the cream cheese filling and decoration of the cheesecake.

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  • Put the water in a small metal bowl, sprinkle the gelatine in an even layer over the surface and leave to go spongy.
  • Take another bigger metal bowl, put some water and heat it using the smallest heat. Place the first bowl on top of the hot water, stir until all the gelatine are dissolved.
  • Take out, let it cool at room temperature and set aside for later use.

Beating of Cream…

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  • Either hand whisk or using a machine beat the cream until firm peak. Note that your mixing bowl must be dry and free of any oils. Otherwise , it is hard to beat the cream until firm peak. Don’t over whipped your cream. When you over whipped your creams, your can add a bit of fresh cream to make the cream looked fresh again. Shall I refer to you to some links from www.finecooking.com’s video that I have posted in Guaishushu’s Facebook Page here.
  • Scoop out your whipped cream and put it in a fridge.


Sifting of Durian Flesh…

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  • Get hold of 750g of fresh durians. De-seed the durian and put it in a sift. Use a metal spoon to rub against the sift until all the flesh become some meshed durian. Weigh 350 g and keep the leftover in the fridge for making of “durian ice cream” if you want.
  • Put your sifted durian in the fridge as it can oxidize rather quickly. Alternatively, you can just add one scoop of fresh cream that you have whipped and mixed with the sifted durian, it will reduce the tendency to get oxidize. Oxidize will render your colour darker and therefore would have less appeal to your guest.

Note:

There is no compromise to this step. As I am making a chilled creamy cheese cake, I do not wish to have any durian fibres in the cake. It should be as smooth as the cream cheese. No blending and other short cut. Eating a cheesecake with strains for durian fibres will irk your guest.

It is rather difficult to estimate the exact quantity of the raw durian you need as the recovery rates can varies. The durian that you seen in the picture is of rather good quality, yellowish colour, sweet and soft but comparatively small compared to other better quality ones. You don’t need top grade durians as too strong the smell will mask cream cheese flavour. Probably you just need the least expensive durian and your guest will be equally impressive with your final cheesecake. For Singapore and Malaysian readers, I have bought about 1.5 kg of raw durians for about SGD20. You should be able to judge the quality. It is a good buy as I only managed to use half of the durians.

Another side tip. Add equivalent amount of cream to your meshed durian, stir well, freeze it and you will get the durian ice cream. Try it and you will know that only homemade durian ice cream can be that luxurious.. thick and aromatic. Alternatively, pump into a choux pastry and it will become durian puff and if wrapped in a crepe will become durian crepe… 

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Making the Cream Cheese Fillings

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  • Use the same mixing bowl that you beat your cream, put in the cream cheese and the sugar, beat until well mixed and smooth. It will be rather fast and 2-3 minutes will do.
  • Add in the sifted durian flesh and beat at low speed until well mixed.

Note:

Some readers are telling me that they don’t have a sweet tooth and concerned about the sweetness. The sugar content in this recipe is very low considering 90g in the entire cake of about 900g, representing only about 10% of the ingredients. However, if you are still concern about the sweetness, change the granulated sugar to icing sugar powder, start with half of the volume and take a small tablespoon and taste the cream cheese durian mixture, if it is too sweet, just add in the remaining sugar powder in stages until it suit your taste buds.

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  • Take out the cooled gelatine, fold in the durian cream cheese mixture with a spatula or big metal or wood spoon. Ensure that it is well mix and followed by folding in the whipped cream. Stir until well mixed.

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  • Take out the baking tin, pour the mixture and use a spoon to flatten the top and chilled it over night.

Note:

While it is best that you chilled it overnight. However, if you run short of time , you can consider to put it in the freezer for about 1 hour when the mixture start to set or becoming firm and proceed with the next steps of decoration.

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Decorating and serving  the Cheesecake

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The decoration below is for your reference only. As durian and cheese are rather yellowish in colour,  therefore the colour of the cheesecake is quite monotonous. I have topped the cheesecakes with additional tear durian flesh. When it is set, I have made some more gelatine (about 10 big teaspoons of gelatine with 1 cup of water) and put on top of durian flesh. In this manner, the gelatine will help to preserve the durian flesh flavour and avoid it to oxidize.

For the serving, I have cut slices of fresh mango to go with it. The fresh mango will negate the creaminess of the cheesecake and just an excellent combo that I have never thought of before.

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CONCLUSIONS

  • This is not a difficult cake to make but if you are a durian and cheesecake lover, you will definitely like the cake. The cake is very creamy with natural durian fragrance even days after the cake is make. It is smooth and soft as the durian flesh have been sifted to get rid of the fibre.
  • Understand how to make this cake will also give you numerous alternatives of dessert preparation. The addition of cream to sifted durian flesh will be ideal for your durian cream puff using the choux pastry or durian crepes when wrapped it in a crepe.
  • The recipe here is definitely for homemade purposes where the usage of ingredients are rather “hard core” for durian lovers. With the same proportion of raw ingredients I mentioned in this post, this cake will be very costly if you buy it in restaurants or cafe. However, with  a fraction  of restaurant price, you can comfortably have a much better cheesecakes than in other eating outlets.
  • All steps here are rather flexible except sifted  durian flesh which I am quite insistent as the cake should be smooth and  non – fibrous. If you can’t finish the cake, try store it in a freezer, take a portion out, when you crave for it, defrost and tell me what is it like. You would not be disappointed.

Thanks for reading the post and hope you have a nice day. Cheers.

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For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 10th February 2014)  here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit this blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE .

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National Flower Series – South East Asia 6- Myanmar

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National Flower Series – Myanmar or formally known as Burma

It is known that there are two national floral identities for Myanmar. One is Thazin and the other is the Paduak.

Thazin (Bulbophyllum auricomum)

In Burma, the the most beloved orchid of Myanmar is Thazin, (Bulbophyllum auricomum) which blooms with tiny white flowers in graceful sprays that grow out of a small, bright-green, pear shaped bulb. It symbolizes royalties and purities.

Found in Thailand, Burma, Sumatra and Java in lowland seasonal forests as a miniature to small sized, hot to warm growing epiphyte with 3.8 to 3/4″ spaced, ovoid-oblong pseudobulbs carrying 2 to 3, apical, deciduous, rather thin leaves that are often not present at blooming which is on an arching, basal, to 8 3/4″ [22 cm] long, racemose, many [25] flowered inflorescence occuring in the late fall and early winter and has fragrant flowers

This rare, dainty and almost extinct species of orchid is beloved for its simple yet delicate beauty and its remote habitat high up in mountain trees. The likability of the orchid can be seen in the Burmese cultures via songs and the literatures.   

At some point of time, they were so rare that no commoner however wealthy was allowed to wear it in the hair. It was only meant for queens and princesses and special envoys had to go deep into the jungles in Rakhine Yoma mountain ranges to collect some of these orchids for ceremonial purposes. Nowadays, people grow it easily with bulbs collected from the jungles but even then, it is still an expensive flower that brides drape around their high chignons. 

Padauk (Pterocarpus Indicus)

The Padauk (Pterocarpus Indicus) blossoms in tiny fragrant yellow-gold flowers after the first showers in April, coinciding with the Myanmar New Year festival. and the Water Festival (Thingyan). Once in bloom, the entire tree turns gold overnight. 

Due to the large concentration of yellowish flowers in the trees during the blossoming period, Padauk is often confused with Thailand’s National Flower, Cassia Fistula or Golden Shower Trees. Though both trees belong to the Fabaceae family nut Padauk belongs to the Pterocarpus Genus whereas Thailands Golden Shower Trees belong  to the Cassia Genus.

The Myanmar people regard the Paduak tree as the symbol of strength and durability. It was also being featured in the love sonnets fo a 16th century poet king and attached the elements of youth, love and romance to the flowers. The flower plays an indispensable part in traditional and religious ceremonies. The Paduak can be found throughout the country. The wood of the tree is also used for making furniture.

The flowers were worn as beautiful adornments during important racial festivities.

Source : adopted from www.mianmarburma.com and http://www.sanooaung.wordpress.com