Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Meringues


this will have to be short.
i did these meringues a couple of days ago. okay more like last saturday. because i had so many egg whites left over from making scones, kueh lapis, and pineapple tarts. despite giving my grandma a container worth almost 20 egg whites, i STILL have a lot. so meringues it was.

i had wanted to try Okashi's recipe, something like macaroons (which i'm not a fan of). it called for almond powder and egg white powder which i had but the process seemed to troublesome. besides, i was simultaneously making pineapple tarts at that point in time. so i decided to stick to something simple and at the same time test out a new piping bag method and my piping skills. hehe. this is one of the later few batches when my piping got better.

i had used Wokking Mum's recipe but modified it to suit my own preference because i don't have a sweet tooth.

i had almost 7-8 egg whites rather than the 4 egg whites in the recipe and i cut the sugar to 200g instead of the 250g. but it was still pretty sweet for me and my friends and family. one downside about baking meringues is that they take almost 2 hours to completely dry out in the oven, without turning brown.

i used the Rowenta preset oven mode i think it's menu 13 for meringues which was preset to 100 degrees Celsius for 2 hours. i took out a couple of batches before time because my mom wanted to use the oven and i had a whole lot of meringue to bake but they were fine. at least an hour in the oven i should think.

tip: store IMMEDIATELY after removing from baking sheet or they'll start to melt and get sticky!

this makes quite a whole lot which i managed to share with my church people as well as my cousins so they were gone by Sunday ^^ very easy to eat because they're so light and crisp. ^^

Meringue (makes ~100-200?)

Ingredients:
6-7 Egg Whites
200g Sugar (i would reduce it further the next time i make)
1/2 tsp cornflour
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

Method:
1. Whisk egg whites till fluffy and bubbles appear

2. Add Cream of Tartar and whisk till soft peaks (whipped egg whites will droop)

3. Add sugar gradually and whisk till stiff peaks (forms sharp peaks)

4. Fold in cornflour in swift motions

5. Pipe onto baking tray lined with baking paper (do not grease)

6. Bake at 100 Degrees Celsius until dry (will make a hollow sound when you knock the bottom and should not dent when poked with a toothpick/satay stick)

note: i baked it at rowenta oven's preset mode at 100 degrees celsius and approximately 2 hours. (i took out some after 1.5 hours and it was okay.)

7. Remove by plucking from baking sheet and store immediately.

i shall try huge meringues the next time i make theses which should be pretty soon!

24/01/2012:
i tried huge meringues a couple of weeks ago and it was quite the disaster because it took FOREVER to dry. over 2 hours. i removed it and kept it in the container tgt with it's smaller peers and the next day when i checked, it's moisture caused the other smaller meringues to become sticky and weep. :'( so i will stick to smaller pipes.

one more update: baking more meringues now and used 10 egg whites with 200g sugar.
because of it's massive scale i'm using all three racks in the Rowenta oven and the same menu 13 with rack3 which means 115 degrees celsius. NOT a good idea. taking v long to dry as well and the meringues have mostly browned. ideally stick with two racks at one time so perhaps i'll have to make meringues in batches of 5 egg whites next time.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Philadelphia 3-Step Mini-Cheesecake


it's the last day of my holiday (okay technically not so because i just don't have class today) and last night i impromptu-ly decided not to go back to hall and stay home today and go back tonight instead. i'm a home-girl really. secretly it is also because i wanted to experiment with another method of making pineapple tarts - my third method since the last post and so i'm pretty much ready to update on the pineapple tart progress perhaps tonight or later. i'm almost there ^^

As i'm typing this post right now, these little cupcakes are being chilled in the fridge and because of a mistake i made during the entire process i feel pushed to write this post early.

although i've been baking for almost 12 years, i've never done any baked cheesecake before (gasp). i usually stick with no-bake cheesecakes - i've done Florence's Mango Cheesecake at Do What I Like as well as Strawberry Cheesecake from Rei's All That Matters. Another Cheesecake I enjoy making (and people love) is no-bake Oreo Cheesecake from the Kraft Food's website.

I originally decided to do that today and even started on the base by crushing the oreo biscuits with my Kenwood. for some reason, i decided to save that for another day and did mini baked cheesecakes instead. and i had to do a cheesecake today because i had a block of opened, but barely used cream cheese in the fridge which needed to be used soon. considering that i would start schooling and staying in hall during the weekdays, it was only logical for me to use it up today.

so the recipe stated to bake at 350F (also 175 degrees Celsius) for about 20 minutes till the centre was set and cooling it before chilling in the fridge. Mistake: i over baked it. i visualized a caramelized top cheesecake and wanted to bake it till it was nicely browned and i guess i completely forgot about the need to chill it at the end. so just as i was reaching 20 minutes i saw that it was still pale, i turned down the temperature to 170 and baked it longer, turning it down even more to 165 after it cracked!! it rose so much it cracked!! :( it was then i remembered then it still needed to set in the fridge later and perhaps it shouldn't be cooked for so long. :( too greedy, too ambitious sigh.

anyhow, i removed it from the oven and let it cool for abit before popping it in the fridge. :/ let's see how things go. i greedily ate one after it baked (and not cooled) as well just to see how it would taste. it was really good but i think it'll be better chilled. (^^') hehe.

i halved the recipe because i only wanted to use up one block of cream cheese and save my other two blocks for oreo cheesecake another day hehe.

recipe states that it makes 6 (after cutting it by half) but i had enough batter for 9. and i cut the sugar because my family and i are not fans of sweet stuff and i'm a mild health nut so i tend to reduce the sugar amount in recipes and it usually still taste fine. ^^

Philadelphia 3-Step Mini Cheesecakes (adapted from Kraft Recipes)

Ingredients:
8 oz Philadelphia Cream Cheese (1 block)
1.8 oz Caster Sugar (recipes calls for 2oz)
1/4 tsp Vanilla Essence
1 Egg

6 Whole Oreo Cookies

Method:

HEAT oven to 175 degrees Celsius. Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with mixer until well blended. Add egg; mix just until blended.
PLACE 1 cookie on bottom of each of 6 paper-lined muffin cups (or as many as required); top with cream cheese mixture.
BAKE 20 min. or until centers are almost set. Cool. Refrigerate 3 hours. Peel kiwi; cut into 6 slices, then cut each slice in half. Place 1 kiwi piece on each cheesecake. Top with berries. (i skipped this step)

note: because the top cracked plus the caramelization of the little cupcakes i've posted only the interior of the cake. will update with pictures if i try this recipe again.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Honey Buns!


i was browsing through my old blackberry pictures a couple of days ago and found a picture of really pretty baked 9-bun bread which i had completely no memory of baking. i must have done a lot of baking during the holidays before uni started. heh.

anyhow it looked so good that i started to browse the usual stash of blogs that i go to in an attempt to recall which recipe i tried and i found it!

i only changed one thing, which was to cut down on the amount of honey (i put~35g) because i had left over brown cinnamon sugar from making cinnamon rolls during christmas and i decided to use it as a filling for these buns and didn't want it to be too sweet.

the Rowenta oven that i'm using right now has a bread proofing/rising/baking function which allows the dough to rise at optimal temperature yada yada.. but i didn't use it and let the dough proof on it's on because i secretly think it's a waste of electricity to turn on the oven just to let the dough proof at a warmer temperature when you can just put it in somewhere warmer like i usually do. ^^

the buns were amazing and the best part was it kept well for about 1-2 days before getting a little tougher and drier which was easily fixed by warming it up in the toaster. tastes good alone or with a slab of butter. :)

okay enough of the ranting. recipe below :)

Honey Buns adapted from Happy Home Baking
Ingredients
(makes 9 buns)

300g bread flour
4g (about 2/3 tsp) salt
4g (1 tsp) instant yeast
1 egg lightly beaten plus enough milk to make 200g
50g honey
30g unsalted butter


Method:

  1. Place all ingredients except the butter in the pan of the bread machine (according to the sequence as stated in the instruction manual of your bread machine). Select the Dough function of the bread machine and press start. After about 8mins of kneading (the ingredients should form a smooth dough by now, otherwise add in 1 tablespoon of bread flour if the mixture seems very wet), add in the 30g of butter. Let the machine continue to knead the dough. After the kneading cycle has stopped (20mins), Stop and Restart the machine. Continue to let the machine knead for another 10mins.
  2. Stop the machine and remove dough from the bread pan. Shape the dough into a smooth round and place in a lightly greased mixing bowl , cover bowl with cling wrap and let it rise till double in volume for about 60 ~ 90 mins.
  3. Remove dough and give a few light kneading on a lightly floured work surface. Press out the trapped air as your knead. Divide into 9 equal portions and shape them into rounds. Cover with cling wrap, let the doughs rest for 10mins.
  4. Flatten each dough into a round disc and press out the trapped air. Shape and roll into a smooth round ball.
  5. Place doughs seams side down on a 20cm by 20cm square baking tray (lightly greased with oil or butter or line it with parchment paper). Loosely cover with a damp cloth or cling wrap and let doughs proof for 45 ~ 60 mins or until double in size.
  6. When ready to bake, brush the surface of the dough with milk. Bake at preheated oven at 200 degC for about 15 ~ 20 mins until the bread is golden brown all over. Cover the surface with a sheet of aluminum foil if the surface browns too quickly. Remove from oven, unmold immediately and let cool on wire rack.
Recipe adapted from 简单又好做,小烤箱面包
















Kueh Lapis




my pride and joy ^^*

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Grandmother & Kueh Lapis






i've been baking with my grandma for the past two days, practicing and mastering her famous Kueh Lapis.

my grandma is an amazing baker and cook. i recall in the past during the CNY period, she would be churning out orders and orders of kueh lapis, and each one came out perfect, one after another. she would place them overturned on the cooling rack and they filled the dining table (huge btw) and we had to open an extra table to cool them. the entire house would be filled with the lapis scent which subsequently defined what my cousins and i identify as the chinese new year smell. ^^

that aside, she used to make her own yummy buttery pineapple tarts with her own pineapple jam. my brother has fond memories of this because of the pineapple juice produced during this process which we get to drink for awhile.

according to my mom, she used to produce amazing chiffon cakes as well. i guess because i grew up in such an environment and maybe it's the genes, i don't know but i share the same passion as grandma and she's my inspiration. <3

as she was getting older a couple of years ago, she gradually stopped taking in orders for Kueh Lapis and started making solely for our own consumption and to give close friends and family. she stopped making soon enough after her Baby Belling stopped working and complained of being too old to bake. probably because i had been baking since i was eight (yes hence the blog name), i somehow naturally decided to pick up from there and attempted pineapple tarts first (with ready-made filling) before i ventured to kueh lapis the next year. i've been practicing kueh lapis for quite awhile now, esp during my 8 months holiday last year. i've failed a few times, succeeded a couple of times, and did average most of the time.

now, my family can be quite picky with the kueh lapis, especially when it's compared with my grandma's. some like it drier, some like it moist. some like it sweeter some complain it's too sweet. well i guess we can't please everyone. :) but anyhow, i usually make it to suit my grandma's palette. she's the best person to judge it and as long as she says it's nice, the rest of my family will usually agree :D hehehehe.

so as i was saying, grandma came over the past two days to watch and teach me make the kueh lapis, to ensure that i did all the steps right and stuff. so i'm proud to say... i think i'm pretty stable now. :D one thing i learnt from grandma these couple of days was to clean up along the way. she really cleans up along the way. REALLY. like i would feel bad because she just kept washing everything after use and i absolutely hate washing. usually i would wash while waiting for the oven to preheat, or while waiting for the layers to cook. i recall there was this time that i washed so many dishes that my thumbnail hurt.

one more thing that i realized was that my grandma really keeps everything clean. and makes a lot of space. very systematic. i guess i've got a lot to learn!

now i smell like kueh lapis i should go shower soon. hehehe. will update on the progress of both my pineapple tarts and kueh lapis this couple of weeks as i fulfill a couple of orders with CNY just around the corner!!