Sunday, August 31, 2008

Daring Bakers August Challenge - Chocolate Eclairs

My first challenge with Daring Bakers. How I got interested to join Daring Bakers?? I saw a few food blogs, and they were talking about Daring Bakers challenges. Then I decided to check the Daring Bakers website out. Wonderful! I think it is interesting to be part of such amazing group. Well, at that time, I had nothing much to do, so that is why I joined. But seriously, now my new job take away most of my time, I just hope that I can still do it. I was hoping that my first challenge will not be too difficult because the previous challenges, it seems way too difficult for an amateur baker like me...

Chocolate eclairs were selected by Tony Tahhan and MeetaK who are the hosts for August challenge. Eclairs and cream puff are my favorites, and I was so delighted when it got selected. Although I love this pastry, I haven't made them before. I always buy from the bakery shop.

Anyhoo, for this challenge, we were allowed to change one thing of this recipe, either the chocolate filling or the chocolate glaze. I decided to change the chocolate filling to orange custard. Unfortunately, my chocolate glaze did not turn out well. I was disappointed with my chocolate glaze and had to throw them out. In the end, I used chocolate chips and also milk chocolate on a double-boiler (separate).

Although my chocolate glaze was a little disappointment, overall, the eclairs turned out good. My mom was surprised when I told her that made those eclairs. She commented that the eclairs were soft and yummy! thanks mom. :)

Éclairs consist of 3 elements:
- Pâte à Choux, also known as Choux Pastry or Cream Puff Dough
- Pastry Cream
- Chocolate glaze

Pierre Hermé’s Chocolate Éclairs
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts By Pierre Hermé (makes 20-24 Éclairs)

• Cream Puff Dough (see below for recipe), fresh and still warm

1) Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Divide the oven into thirds by positioning the racks in the upper and lower half of the oven. Line two baking sheets with waxed or parchment paper.

2) Fill a large pastry bag fitted with a 2/3 (2cm) plain tip nozzle with the warm cream puff dough. Pipe the dough onto the baking sheets in long, 4 to 41/2 inches (about 11 cm) chubby fingers. Leave about 2 inches (5 cm) space in between each dough strip to allow them room to puff. The dough should give you enough to pipe 20-24 éclairs.

3) Slide both the baking sheets into the oven and bake for 7 minutes. After the 7 minutes, slip the handle of a wooden spoon into the door to keep in ajar. When the éclairs have been in the oven for a total of 12 minutes, rotate the sheets top to bottom and front to back. Continue baking for a further 8 minutes or until the éclairs are puffed, golden and firm. The total baking time should be approximately 20 minutes.

1) The éclairs can be kept in a cool, dry place for several hours before filling.
Assembling the éclairs:
• Chocolate glaze (see below for recipe)
• Chocolate pastry cream (see below for recipe)

1) Slice the éclairs horizontally, using a serrated knife and a gently sawing motion. Set aside the bottoms and place the tops on a rack over a piece of parchment paper.
2) The glaze should be barely warm to the touch (between 95 – 104 degrees F or 35 – 40 degrees C, as measured on an instant read thermometer). Spread the glaze over the tops of the éclairs using a metal icing spatula. Allow the tops to set and in the mean time fill the bottom with the pastry cream.
3) Pipe or spoon the pastry cream into the bottoms of the éclairs. Make sure you fill the bottoms with enough cream to mound above the pastry. Place the glazed tops onto the pastry cream and wriggle gently to settle them.

1) If you have chilled your chocolate glaze, reheat by placing it in a bowl over simmering water,stirring it gently with a wooden spoon. Do not stir too vigorously as you do not want to create bubbles.
2)The éclairs should be served as soon as they have been filled.

Pierre Hermé’s Cream Puff Dough
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé(makes 20-24 Éclairs)
• ½ cup (125g) whole milk
• ½ cup (125g) water
• 1 stick (4 ounces; 115g) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
• ¼ teaspoon sugar
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 1 cup (140g) all-purpose flour
• 5 large eggs, at room temperature

1) In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan, bring the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to the boil.
2) Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, add all of the flour at once, reduce the heat to medium and start to stir the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon. The dough comes together very quickly. Do not worry if a slight crust forms at the bottom of the pan, it’s supposed to. You need to carry on stirring for a further 2-3 minutes to dry the dough. After this time the dough will be very soft and smooth.
3) Transfer the dough into a bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using your handmixer or if you still have the energy, continue by hand. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each egg has been added to incorporate it into the dough.You will notice that after you have added the first egg, the dough will separate, once again do not worry. As you keep working the dough, it will come back all together again by the time you have added the third egg. In the end the dough should be thick and shiny and when lifted it should fall back into the bowl in a ribbon.
4) The dough should be still warm. It is now ready to be used for the éclairs as directed above.

1) Once the dough is made you need to shape it immediately.
2) You can pipe the dough and the freeze it. Simply pipe the dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets and slide the sheets into the freezer. Once the dough is completely frozen, transfer the piped shapes into freezer bags. They can be kept in the freezer for up to a month.

Chocolate Pastry CreamRecipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé

• 2 cups (500g) whole milk
• 4 large egg yolks
• 6 tbsp (75g) sugar
• 3 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
• 7 oz (200g) bittersweet chocolate, preferably Velrhona Guanaja, melted
• 2½ tbsp (1¼ oz: 40g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1) In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a boil. In the meantime, combine the yolks, sugar and cornstarch together and whisk in a heavy‐bottomed saucepan.
2) Once the milk has reached a boil, temper the yolks by whisking a couple spoonfuls of the hot milk into the yolk mixture. Continue whisking and slowly pour the rest of the milk into the tempered yolk mixture.
3) Strain the mixture back into the saucepan to remove any egg that may have scrambled. Place the pan over medium heat and whisk vigorously (without stop) until the mixture returns to a boil. Keep whisking vigorously for 1 to 2 more minutes (still over medium heat). Stir in the melted chocolate and then remove the pan from the heat.
4) Scrape the pastry cream into a small bowl and set it in an ice‐water bath to stop the cooking process. Make sure to continue stirring the mixture at this point so that it remains smooth.
5) Once the cream has reached a temperature of 140 F remove from the ice‐water bath and stir in the butter in three or four installments. Return the cream to the ice‐water bath to continue cooling, stirring occasionally, until it has completely cooled. The cream is now ready to use or store in the fridge.

1) The pastry cream can be made 2‐3 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.
2) In order to avoid a skin forming on the pastry cream, cover with plastic wrap pressed onto the cream.
3) Tempering the eggs raises the temperature of the eggs slowly so that they do not scramble.

Chocolate Glaze
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé (makes 1 cup or 300g)
• 1/3 cup (80g) heavy cream
• 3½ oz (100g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
• 4 tsp (20 g) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
• 7 tbsp (110 g) Chocolate Sauce (recipe below), warm or at room temperature

1)In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove from the heat and slowly begin to add the chocolate, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula.
2) Stirring gently, stir in the butter, piece by piece followed by the chocolate sauce.

1) If the chocolate glaze is too cool (i.e. not liquid enough) you may heat it briefly
 in the microwave or over a double boiler. A double boiler is basically a bowl sitting over (not touching) simmering water.
2) It is best to glaze the eclairs after the glaze is made, but if you are pressed for time, you can make the glaze a couple days ahead of time, store it in the fridge and bring it up to the proper temperature (95 to 104 F) when ready to glaze.

Chocolate SauceRecipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 1½ cups or 525 g)
• 4½ oz (130 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
• 1 cup (250 g) water
• ½ cup (125 g) crème fraîche, or heavy cream
• 1/3 cup (70 g) sugar

1) Place all the ingredients into a heavy‐bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil, making sure to stir constantly. Then reduce the heat to low and continue stirring with a wooden spoon until the sauce thickens.
2) It may take 10‐15 minutes for the sauce to thicken, but you will know when it is done when it coats the back of your spoon.

1) You can make this sauce ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for two weeks. Reheat the sauce in a microwave oven or a double boiler before using.
2) This sauce is also great for cakes, ice-cream and tarts.

Orange custard3 oz orange juice
6 oz milk
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp orange rind
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp custard powder

Boil the milk. Add the custard powder, a little at a time in the milk. Stir to mix. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Cook in low heat until thick.
Leave to cool before proceed on.

I had a fun baking these eclairs and hope ya'll did too.... I think I will probably make these again in the future.... Thanks Tony and Meetak for hosting... Have a great day ahead! :)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Cookie Carnival (August) - Chocolate-Hazelnut Biscotti

Its that time of the month again.. Cookie Carnival by Kate. I almost forgot to make this delicious biscotti... I've been so busy and I just started my new job which take most of my time... But its all good.. I managed to bake today... YAY!!!!!

I never baked biscotti before and I do not like hazelnuts, well mostly nuts except for cashew nuts in my cookies or ice-cream or other desserts. I always thought biscotti should be cut very thinly, but this recipe calls for 2-1/2 inch. Seriously, I am just really bad at measuring without using the ruler or measuring tape.. so I just estimate and cut thicker... Also, I have FORGOTTEN the baking soda and baking powder!!!!! How could this be????? I had it right there, and yet I forgot.. what am I thinking.... LOL.... But they turned out well and that all counts...

Chocolate-Hazelnut Biscotti
Bon Appétit from The Bakehouse, Bloomington, IN

 Makes about 4 dozen.

1-1/2 cups hazelnuts, toasted, husked
3 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line heavy large baking sheet with parchment paper. Grind 1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts in processor. Set aside. Whisk flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in large bowl.

Beat butter and sugar in another large bowl to blend. Add eggs and vanilla and almond extracts and beat until well blended. Beat in flour mixture. Mix in 1 cup whole toasted hazelnuts, chocolate chips and 1/2 cup ground hazelnuts.

Divide dough into 2 equal pieces. Shape each piece on baking sheet into 2 1/2-inch-wide by 14-inch-long log. Place logs on prepared baking sheet, spacing 2 1/2 inches apart (logs will spread during baking). Bake until logs feel firm when tops are gently pressed, about 35 minutes. Cool logs on baking sheet 15 minutes. Maintain oven temperature.

Using long wide spatula, transfer baked logs to cutting board. Using serrated knife, cut warm logs crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices.

Thanks Kate for the delicious biscotti.... Marvelous!!

Have a good day everyone. :)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Kuih Lopes or lopez......

This is known as kuih lopes or just lopes. Made from glutinous rice wrapped in individual triangles using banana leaves and left to boil for a few hours. The rice pieces are then tossed with grated coconut all over and served with palm sugar syrup. Glutinous rice is also called sticky rice, sweet rice, waxy rice, botan rice, mochi rice, and pearl rice. It is a type of short-grained Asian rice that is especially sticky when cooked.

Kuih lopes has been my all-time favorite dessert. Well not any kuih lopes ya know. I always love it when mom made her them. Her lopes is soft and the best (my opinion). I would have 2 or 3 pieces or even more and put a lot of the palm sugar syrup..  So this time, I helped her to make kuih lopes and learnt the way she make it. :) She makes a lot of kuih lopes  because she sells them at her food stall and a lot of time, it is always sold out!!! Both my mom and my grandma are so good at what they do when comes to cooking and they do not need to use measuring cups or weighing scale! I wonder how they do it.. For me, its a must.. hehe..

Soooo... when she soak the glutinous rice in water, she add this thing, I am not sure what it is but mom said it is "abuchang", something like soda (i dun even know if the spelling is right). Well, if you are unable to get this, it doesn't matter. You can omit this and soak the rice until it expand. Here is the pic to show you, how "abuchang" looked like:

Here is the recipe.

1 kg glutinous rice
1 - 2 piece "abuchang"
Banana leaves
a few drops of green color (optional)

1/2 coconut - grated
pinch of salt

Palm Sugar Syrup

2 cup palm sugar (gula melaka), roughly chopped
1-1/2 cup water
pinch of salt
2 -3 pandan leaves

To make the palm sugar syrup, place the palm sugar and water in a small pot. Add a little bit of salt. Heat over low fire till the sugar completely melts and the mixture is slightly thick and sticky. Tie a knot on the pandan leaves and drop in the syrup. Once all the sugar melts, strain the syrup and set aside. You can make the syrup a few days before. The syrup can be kept for a few weeks in the refrigerator. 

For the coconut, use only the white part and steamed for about 30 minutes with a little salt. You may use the desiccated coconut but it won't taste as good as the fresh coconut. But try this, put the desiccated coconut flakes, coconut milk, salt and sugar in a small saucepan under a low fire. mix well and cook just for a short time.

To make the lopes, wash and soak glutinous rice with "abuchang" for at least 1 or 2 hours or until the glutinous rice has expand. Put through a strainer, wash and rise again.

Soften the banana leaves by dipping in hot water. Tear them into 3 inches strips. Then fold the the banana strips into a cone  by the end.  Fill in 2 tablespoons of the glutinous rice and fold compact like you folding a samosa. stack 3 triangles together and tie them up with raffias or rubber-bands.

In a big pot, fill with 3/4 full of water and let it boil under a medium heat. Place all the lopes and let it boil for 3-4 hours. The banana leaves will be soft and so as the rice. About 2 mins before you remove the triangles, add a few drops of the green color and mix well. - to be very gentle and careful not to break the lopes. The green color will make the lopes changed to green color. Once cooked, drain and cool thoroughly.

Discard the banana leaves and cover lopes with steamed coconut and have it with your palm-sugar syrup.. Yummy... 

Enjoy! :)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Kuih Dadar (Coconut Pancake)

I am very sorry that I haven't been updating my blog the past 2 weeks or so. Not becoz I am lazy but I've been busy. I came back to Singapore 2 weeks ago and then I went to Shah Alam(Malaysia) last week. Gosh.. I kinda hate the long traveling part.. tiring... Other than traveling, I also had a job interview in Singapore. (on a quick note, I got the job... yay!!) Anyway now I have to get back on blogging... :) This month, I have so many baking to do and I am so excited to start back working on it.

Well, yesterday early morning, I helped my grandma to make some delicious kuih for my mom who would sell the kuih-muih* at her food stall at Kim Keat Ave (Singapore). I love this kuih because its simply delicious and easy-to-make. The wrap is a combination of flour, eggs, and water or some use coconut milk. The filling is grated coconut, sweetened with gula melaka (palm sugar). Since my grandma do not use any measurement cups or weighing scales when mixing the ingredients, so I have to find the measurements... :)

*Kuih is the term given to various manners of bite-sized food items in Malay. They are usually - but not always - sweet and intricate creations, including cakes, cookies and puddings. It can also be described as pastry, however it is to be noted that the Asian concept of "cakes" and "pastries" is different from that of the Western one. Kuihs, plurified kueh-mueh or kuih-muih in Malay are more often steamed than baked, and thus very different in texture, flavour and appearance from Western cakes or puff pastries. Kuihs come in different shapes, colours, texture and designs. Some examples are filled, coated, wrapped, sliced and layered kuihs. Also, as mentioned earlier, most kuihs are steamed, with some being boiled or baked. They can also be deep-fried, and sometimes even grilled. Kuihs are not confined to a certain meal but are eaten throughout the day. (wikipedia)

Recipe: Kueh Dadar (Coconut Pancake)
90g palm sugar or brown sugar
40ml plain water
200g granted coconut, skin removed
1/3 tsp salt
1 egg

Cook palm sugar with water till palm sugar dissolves. Add grated coconut and salt, stir-fry till mixture is fairly dry. Then add the egg and mix well. Remove and set aside.

100g all purpose flour
1 egg
1/3 tsp salt
1 tbsp pandan juice or green food colouring
150ml plain water
a few drops of vegetable oil

Sift flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the egg, pandan juice or green coloring, vegetable oil and water. Use a hand whisk to mix well and form a batter. Add a little more water if the batter is too thick.

Heat flat-bottomed frying pan and pour in a little oil. Pour enough batter and lightly swirl pan to let batter spread into a thin pancake.

Heat till pancake is cooked then remove and let cool.

Place the coconut filing on pancake (the top part when you cooked it).

Fold the left and right side first before the center part.

Roll the pancake like a spring roll.

Enjoy! :)

Remarks: Coconut filling you can make 1 week beforehand and keep cool inside fridge.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Tricolor pulao

Here it is.. I've made another Tricolor Pulao, and took a better looking picture this time. When I made this pulao the other time for the twins birthday, the picture was horrible that is why I didn't upload the picture here. I think this time, the picture looks better. hehe..

In this recipe, it said 1 onion. I'm not sure big or small one, and since we do not really like a lot of onion in our food so I only used half of the big onion for this recipe. I also added some raisin to give a sweet taste to this delicious vegetable pulao. I've used white long grain rice instead of the basmati rice. We were out of basmati rice at the moment. Basmati rice is a slender, long grain, and the name means fragrant. It has a distinctive and appealing aroma. I found out there is a secret for a perfect pulao!! Wash the rice thoroughly, then soak it briefly. Soaking before cooking softens and moistens the grains, enabling the rice to absorb moisture during cooking, and resulting a fluffier rice. :)

Here is the Tricolor Pulao recipe.

Recipe: Tricolor Pulao (from The world's greatest curries)
Serves: 4-6

1 cup basmati rice, rinsed and soaked for 30 mins
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 dried bay leaves
4 green cardamon pods
4 cloves
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely diced
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/3 cup frozen sweetcorn, thawed
1/4 cup cashew nuts, lightly fried
2 cups water
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/3 cup raisins (optional)

Heat the oil in large pan or wok over a medium heat, and fry the cumin seeds for 2 mins. Add the bay leaves, cardamons, and cloves, and fry gently for 2 mins more, stirring the spices from time to time.

Add the onion and fry until lightly browned. Stir in the diced carrot and cook, stirring, for 3-4 mins.

Drain the soaked rice and add to the contents in the pan. Stir well to mix. Add the peas, sweetcorn, fried cashews and raisins.

Add the measured water and the remaining spices, and add salt to taste. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 15 mins over a low heat until all the water is absorbed.

Leave to stand, covered, for 10 mins. Transfer to a warmed dish and serve.

Have a good day everyone! :)

Friday, August 01, 2008

Sweet and Simple Bakes (July) - Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

This is my first time to join Sweet and Simple Bakes by Rosie and Maria. Well for July's bake it is Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin. Thou, I'm not a big fan of banana, these muffins were very good. We like it when it is warm, so the leftovers in the refrigerator, we just heat it in the microwave for a few secs and served with a glass of milk.

Since I found out about the food events and also group bakers, I just want to join everything.. But I do not think I can do it. That's a lot! haha.. So far, I've joined 4 and 1 is coming up this month and that is Daring Bakers. I think DB is more challenging than the rest.. I've read the previous entries from DB's members, I am not sure, if I can do it, I am only a beginner, making those fancy cakes.. gosh, I may be out of my mind!! LOL... :) So it is this month, it will be my first, cant wait to see what it is going to be!

Anyway, this recipe calls for 3 bananas but I didn't realized that I was left with just 2 bananas. I wasn't sure it turned out well but it did. Yummy!! Its a good thing that we have a digital scale because it will took me forever to do the conversions.. haha .. :)

Recipe: Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

3 very ripe bananas
125ml vegetable oil
2 eggs
250g plain flour
100g caster sugar
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
150g dark/milk chocolate (white chocolate or butterscotch chips/morsels)

Preheat the oven to 200ºC/180ºC fan oven/gas mark 6 and line a 12-bun muffin tin with muffin papers.

Mash the bananas and set aside for a moment.Pour the oil into a jug and beat in the eggs.

Put the flour, sugar, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder into a large bowl and mix in the beaten-egg-and-oil mixture, followed by the mashed bananas.

Fold in the chocolate morsels, then place equal quantities in the prepared muffin tin and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

Check out Sweet and Simple Bakes to see the rest of the bakers. :)

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