Pineapple Tarts for Chinese New Year 2015, the year of Goat

I haven’t updated this blog for the longest time! I went through a lot of changes in my life for the past 2 years, and thus blogging was like a past for me. I used to own a lot of blogs in different niches, and blogging was both a passion and a way of making extra income. However, blogging has been slowly fading away and I have come to a point if I should keep this blog. LOL!

On top of that, it’s quite challenging being a single mom with a full time job. With my limited free time, I have to allocate well for my kids, myself and my work. In short, 24 hours is not enough. 😛

Anyway, I decided to bake some Chinese New Year goodies this year for friends and family, including my daughter’s classmates and teachers. Pineapple tarts are our favorite and first to be baked for CNY this year. Since 2015 is the year of Goat, I thought of shaping the tarts as goats, besides making piggies, rose tarts and oranges. I used the same pineapple tart recipe, but shaped the goats as shown below:

 

0581Prepare the following tools, including a craft knife, a pair of tweezers, small brush, flower cutter, a circle cutter, some black sesame, and almond bits.

 

0631Roll both pineapple paste and pastry dough into balls, with the dough being slightly bigger.

 

1131Flatten the pastry dough and wrap the pineapple paste in it, and gently shape them into an oval.

 

1221Tilt a round cutter at 45 deg and cut a semi-circle on the dough. Then cut a straight line with a craft knife, as shown in the photo.

 

1281 Place it in a cupcake liner and add 2 pieces of almond bits as horns.

 

1351Cut a small flower with the cutter and top in on the tart as decoration. Then, add 2 small ovals as its ears.

 

1381Add black sesames as its eyes and brush some yolk (egg wash) on its cheeks and the top of the head, just beneath the “flower cut out”. Bake the tarts at 160 deg for 20 minutes

 

1091Besides goats, my mom and I fixed some rose pineapple tarts too.

1111This is the tool used for clamping the rose petals. It’s pretty easy.

So, here’s what we got after 20 minutes of baking:

1581Goat and rose shaped pineapple tarts.

I shaped some piggies and Mandarin oranges too since they look pretty cute to be given away as goodies.

 

1031Pineapple tarts, shared as rose, Mandarin orange, goat and pig.

Happy baking for Chinese New Year peeps!

 

Japanese Condensed Milk Bread

This is a recipe which has gone viral recently and highly shared in Facebook. Thus, I searched and found the recipe from Nasi Lemak Lover and you can also find it in Japanese and Chinese.
Makes : 18 cm chiffon pan (I used 16cm chiffon pan)

Ingredients:

  • 200g high protein flour
  • 15g condensed milk
  • 120 milk
  • 20g castor sugar
  • 3g instant yeast
  • 20g salted butter

Filling

  • 20g condensed milk
  • 20g salted butter

Topping

  • Almond flake, dried fruits or any nuts
  • Icing sugar

 

Method:

  1.  Mix all ingredients for bread dough in the bread maker (except butter)
  2.  Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, add butter and knead till smooth.
  3.  Let the dough proof until double in size in about 40 minutes.
  4.  Once it has completed first proofing, take out the dough from the bread maker
  5.  Punch out the air in the dough.
  6.  By using a rolling pin, flatten the dough to a rectangle size approximately 12″ x 8″

bread1_1bread2Cut into four strips. Apply filling on the dough strip and stack up layer by layer.

bread3Cut the stacked dough into small portions.

bread5

My girl helped me to bake this and she made a small one in a cupcake liner.

Grease the chiffon pan and arrange the dough in the pan. Let it proof for 40 minutes or until double in size. Egg wash the top of the dough and sprinkle some almond flakes and dried cranberries. Then bake in a preheated oven at 170C fo 25 minutes. When it’s done, sprinkle some icing sugar on the bread once it has cooled down.


So there you have it:

 

Japanese condensedbread
Japanese condensed milk bread

 
Japanese condensed1
The tiny bread baked in a cupcake liner. How cute it is!

Scones

I love scones. I haven’t never tried baking one until now, and I wonder why it took me so long! Maybe it’s because I’m out of strawberry jam for years. 😛

 

scone1 copy
Anyway, the recipe was shared by a friend and I found the same recipe in youtube, which is a great tutorial for baking novice.

Ingredients:

500g self-raising flour

1/4 tsp salt

50g caster sugar

110g unsalted butter (soften)

300ml milk

 

Please click on the youtube link for instruction and you will have freshly baked scones in no time. It’s quick and easy!

 

scone2 copyScones

Best to be taken with butter and strawberry jam.Yummy…

Mermaid Fondant Cake

I haven’t tried making 3D figurine with fondant but I decided to take the challenge of making one for my daughter’s birthday. It was not hard shaping the mermaid but I didn’t add CMC powder in the fondant and thus the figure sank and got out of shape slightly as it dried in a couple of days.

fondant cake copy

 

 

Mermaid cake

Instead of making 6 layers rainbow cake, like what I did previously, I hid 3 layers of colored cake as the inner circles. The buttercream melt in our hot weather and covering the cake with fondant, for a first timer, was very challenging! LOL!

 

fondant cake1 copy

My girl said the cake was too sweet. Of course, it’s fondant!

Double Espresso Chiffon

I am planning to bake some birthday cakes in coming months, if time permits. I have just found a new full time job and will be extremely busy from now onward, so I was hoping to try out a few recipes and use one or two of them for the birthday cakes. I stumbled upon this recipe while looking for coffee chiffon. Instead of using instant espresso, I used the real espresso. LOL! The cake smells awesome!

The only thing I will modify in this recipe is the sugar level. It is too sweet to my liking. I shall post the original recipe here and try baking this again in lesser amount of sugar.

Ingredients:

Coffee Batter
8 egg yolks
2 tablespoons instant espresso (I used real espresso diluted with hot water till 3/4 cup)
¾ cup hot water
2 ½ cups cake flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 ¼ cups sugar (next time I will use only 1 cup of sugar max!)
½ cup vegetable oil (use a light oil such as canola)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Meringue
8 egg whites
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
¾ cup sugar

Instruction (originated from the blog)

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Prepare a 10-inch ungreased 2-piece tube pan.

  2. Separate egg whites from egg yolks and place egg whites in a clean, grease-free mixing bowl. Set aside.

  3. Add the instant espresso to the hot water and stir to dissolve.

  4. In a bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and 1 ¼ cups sugar.

  5. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the oil and dissolved coffee. Whisk well to combine.

  6. Add yolks and vanilla and whisk until smooth and well blended. Set aside.

  7. Using the wire whip attachment of a stand mixer, start whipping the egg whites at medium speed until frothy. Slowly add the cream of tartar. Do not add the cream of tartar all at once, rather, add it in small amounts so that it doesn’t clump and settle at the bottom.

  8. Still on medium speed, gradually add ¾ cups sugar to the egg whites. Continue to whip until medium to stiff, but not dry, peaks. The meringue will look glossy, not dry, but neither should it be too runny or soft.

  9. Gently fold a small amount of egg whites, around 1 cup, into the coffee batter to aerate and loosen up the batter.

  10. Add about 1/3 of the meringue into the coffee batter, cutting and folding with swift strokes to combine and taking care not to deflate the meringue. Turn the bowl clockwise each time the batter is folded over.

  11. Add the remaining meringue into the batter. Cut and fold to combine with the batter. Add the last third of the meringue and continue cutting and folding until well blended. Do not over mix.

  12. Pour the batter into an ungreased tube pan. Bake for about 45 minutes. Cake is done when it springs back when lightly touched.

  13. Remove cake from oven to cool.  It must be inverted immediately and suspended above table or countertop.

 

I decided to give frosting a pass this time as I was making a trial cake. On the actual birthday cake, I shall try normal whipped cream frosting which is easier to be prepared.

double espresso chiffon copy
Double espresso chiffon

5 Thousand Starter Dough Bread

This recipe is originated from this Chinese blog and you can also refer to translated version at Victoria Bakes. I will only post the ingredients as reference and please refer to the Chinese blog on how to shape the buns. It’s not hard at all if you are familiar shaping with tangzhong recipes, nevertheless it’s a sticky dough.

Ingredients (I halved the ingredients listed)

  1. Starter dough
  • 210g bread flour
  • 90g cake flour
  • 24g caster sugar
  • 6g instant dry yeast
  • 240g water

 

2. Main dough

  • 210g bread flour
  • 90g cake flour
  • 96g caster sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 24g milk powder
  • 90g egg
  • 54g water
  • 72g unsalted butter, softened

 

You can keep the starter dough refrigerated overnight and bring it out to room temperature before mixing it with the main dough.

5kdough bread copy
5K starter dough bread

 

The buns are soft on the first day and got slightly harder on subsequent day. However, as comparing to straight dough method, it was still pretty soft and yummy.

Kaya

I love kaya and it has been awhile since I last made one. I can easily buy pandan coconut jam here in Bangkok but I still prefer the brownish Malaysian coconut kaya. There are 2 recipes which I follow by heart. One of them is from Desperate Housewife, which uses a double boiler method, and another one is from Raya Malaysia, which is faster and easier. I chose the latter for today’s kaya.

Ingredients:

  • 5 eggs
  • 200g sugar
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream
  • 3/4 coconut milk
  • 3 pandan leaves tied into a knot (I replaced this with a teaspoon of pandan extract)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon of corn starch + 1 1/2 tablespoon of water (mix well)
  • Caramel — 50 – 75g of sugar

Here’s my step by step preparation:


Prepare the ingredients


Whisk the eggs


Add in coconut cream, coconut milk and sugar and mix well.


Filter the mixture with a strainer by pouring it into a non-stick pot.


Add in a teaspoon of pandan extract or 3 pandan leaves tied into a knot.


Cook in low heat and keep stirring!


Add in cornstarch mixture to thicken the kaya. Lumps will be formed when the kaya is cooked but don’t worry about it.


In the mean time heat up the 50 – 75g of sugar in a pan / pot until it melts into caramel.


Mix the caramel with kaya and stir well. The kaya should turn golden brown but mine was only light brown. 😛 Then turn off the heat.


Let the kaya cool down before transferring it to a blender. Blend the kaya for a couple of minutes to remove all the lumps. It should be silky smooth by now.

Transfer the kaya into glass bottle. Kaya is best to be refrigerated and it will stay fresh for a week.


Here’s my homemade kaya.


Kaya and butter toast

Roller Coaster Year 2013

It’s reaching the last quarter of year 2013, and I have been through more than I have anticipated for a year, just by this year alone. As bad as it may be, I don’t see myself going downhill yet, or maybe I just refuse to being down and feel sorry about lots of things which had happened. I’m going to have a great time in the last quarter of 2013, if God permits.

Firstly, I must work better on my health. No more late nights chasing series or reading, and I will hit the sack for a better morning, each day! Then it’s all about eating and exercising. And then comes parenting. A fitter mother, both physically and mentally, is always a better mommy. :)

Spam Buns, Our All Time Favorite

My gal once said, mommy, I don’t like the bread you buy from the stores. I only like the buns and bread you bake. Argh….so sweet. But she makes the mother busier. :)

Once of my regular bakes, probably like one in 2 weeks will be Spam buns. I know Spam is bad but then how to resist this delicious meat?

spam buns with or without sesame
Spam Buns, with and without sesame.

 

I baked a bunch last night and we had them as breakfast this morning. Kids enjoyed them, obviously. What’s your favorite bake?

Piggy Meat Floss Buns

I got this idea from a pic shown in Facebook, which were lotus paste moon cakes shaped as pigs. I would love to try making moon cake but I can’t find alkaline water here, so I decided to bake meat floss bread instead. The buns were made by using Hokkaido milk bread recipe, which is my kids’ favorite so far.

wmpig buns1 copy
The kneading process was done with a bread maker and after the first proofing, take out the dough and punch out the air.

wmpig buns2 copy
Split the dough into equal sizes. I cut a portion of the dough into smaller pieces to make tiny piglets.

wmpig buns3 copy
Shape them into round buns. Cover and let them proof in room temperature for 15 minutes (2nd proofing)

wmpig buns4 copy
After the 2nd proofing, flatten the dough with a rolling pin.

wmpig buns5 copy
Place meat floss or any fillings of your choice.

wmpig buns6 copywmpig buns7 copy
Seal well and place the sealed area down.

wmpig buns8 copy
Proof the buns in an enclosed (non heated) oven for 40 minutes (3rd proofing)

wmpig buns9 copy
Egg wash the buns and cut 2 triangles on them with a pair of scissors. Preheat the oven at 180C

wmpig buns10 copy
Add ham as nose and black beans as eyes. Then bake the buns at 180C for 15 minutes.

So here are the pig buns.

wmpig buns12 copy

 

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