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!!