Sunday, September 30, 2012

Tau Sar Pao(Steam Red Bean Paste Buns)



 
 
I had a big chunk of red bean paste left in the fridge because of mooncakes attempts last week. I thought if I don't think of something, they will end up in the trash. I don't want that to happen and decided to try my hands on these Chinese buns. I have always thought they are not easy to make until I saw what blogger Happy Home Baking did and the recipe seems easy. Of course the one important thing is the recipe did not call for shortening. I like that. Most of the other recipes I came across either called for shortening or long process of dough starter preparation.

So, I went on to pick up a few essentials from NTUC. Hong Kong Pao Flour - checked! Sugar, instant yeast, baking powder - checked, checked, checked! And the star ingredient - red bean paste : Double Checked!



   I must say I am very pleased with the results. Now, homemade paos made available at the snap of my fingers. The recipe works and I can just make any fillings for these Paos in future - peanut paos (my all time favourite). lotus paste and even savoury ones like chicken!

The Recipe :

300 g Hong Kong Pao Flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp instant yeast
30g sugar
160ml water
1 tbsp corn oil

Store bought red bean paste


- Sieve the flour and baking powder into a stand mixer bowl. Add in instant yeast and sugar and give it a stir to mix it up.
- Using the dough hook, turn on mixer and add in water gradually. Once the dough come together, add in oil and continue to knead till smooth and elastic ( dough does not tear easily when strectched).
- Transfer to a clean surface and shape to a round ball. Place in a clean bowl (slightly oiled) and cover with a damp cloth to proof. Takes about an hour.
- Meanwhile, prepare the lotus paste. I shaped them into equal balls of about 20g. The dough can yield up to 18 buns. Next, cut out baking paper in squares ( about 18 pieces) for the buns to place on when steaming.
- Once the dough is ready ( by now it should have doubled in size), transfer to a clean surface and knead it slightly to release air. Shape it into a long log shape. Use a dough cutter and divide the log into 5 equal parts. Then divide each part further to about 3-4 equal parts depending how big portion the dough is. Some estimation is required here. Basically, the buns will expand when put in the steamer so you don't want to end up with a gigantic looking bun.
- Shape each parts into a round ball. Then, flatten the dough into a round shape and wrap the red bean filling in it. Close the dough up and pinch to seal. Place it on the prepared baking paper with seams facing down. Repeat till all the dough is used up.
- Next, leave to proof for a further 20 minutes. Cover loosely with cling wrap.

Smiley Baker


- Steam over medium high heat for about 12 minutes. Once ready, open the lid of the steamer slowly to avoid water from dripping back onto the buns.
- Serve warm.

I had fun making these. Furthermore, everyone at home likes them. It's worth the time and definitely worth the effort when you see how they bring smiles to the folks at home.

 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Tang Zhong Milk Bread





 There has been a lot of good reviews on the Tang Zhong bread recipe and although it has always been in my to-do list, I just never got down to really use and bake it. The other day, I've got a friend who posted her Tang Zhong bake photos on facebook and that instantly spark off the urge to try the recipe.

So, I went on to prepare the Tang Zhong the night before. The recipe for Tang Zhong is simple. Just add 50g bread flour to 250ml cold water, stir till there is no lumps and put on low fire, stirring constantly till it reaches 65 degrees celcius. I have read that the rule of thumb to Tang Zhong is 1 part of flour to 5 parts of water and if you do not own a thermometer, you have to know when to stop cooking the Tang Zhong. When the mixture starts to thicken and each stir you make leaves a trail, that's when you take it off the heat. Pour it over a clean bowl and instantly use a cling wrap to cover ensuring the wrap touches the surface of the tang zhong mixture so that when it cools, a hard layer will not form or something like that. Once cooled, keep refrigerated up to 3 days.Well, simple enough but when I cooked it, I was like ' is this the right stage?". Nevertheless, it worked.

The recipe for the dough is the recipe that has been tried and tested among bloggers. But the dough is very sticky and in my opinion needs a lot of effort to roll and shape. But the result is amazing Soft and fluffy.

Dough Recipe : ( Makes 2 small loaves using loaf pan)

350g bread flour
3 tbsp + 2 tsp castor sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 cup fresh milk
120g Tang Zhong ( you need to measure out the Tang Zhong prepared)
2 tsp instant yeast
30g butter

- Place all dry ingredients into the stand mixer bowl. Make a well in the centre, throw in all the wet ingredients except butter. Knead with the dough hook till everything forms a rough dough.
- Throw in butter ( cut into pieces) and continue kneading till smooth and elastic. At this stage, the dough will not stick to the bowl. You will need to pinch out a bit of the dough and do a stretch test. The dough should be able to stretch to a thin membrane and not tear easily.
- Transfer dough to a clean surface and shape into a round ball. Place dough in a clean oiled bowl and cover with a cloth to proof. Takes about 40 mins.


- Punch out the air and knead slightly. Divide dough into 4 parts. Let it rest for about 10 mins.
- Roll dough into rectangular shape. Fold the two long sides in, flip to the other side and roll the dough. Flip it back and roll from top to bottom like a swiss roll. Place it into the baking pan. Leave enough space to expand for the rest of the dough.
- Cover and let it proof the second time. Takes another 40 minutes. By now, it should have doubled in size. Brush with egg wash and bake at 170 degrees celcius for about 30 minutes.
- Remove bread to wire rack to cool once out of the oven.

I am using a small loaf pan. The rest of the dough were used for hotdog rolls :).



 I am glad I finally used this method to bake some breads that is soft. Almost perfect for an amateur baker like me.





Sunday, September 23, 2012

My Snowskin Mooncake



If not for the salted egg yolk, I really think there is no punch when you bite into these. Most of the recipes for snow skin mooncakes require shortening, something I am not comfortable with since this is a non bake kinda cake. Anyway, the recipe I attempted is from a blogger. Click here for the recipe. What I replace with is pandan juice instead of strawberry puree. I ended up with a very watery mixture. So, I went on to add in more cooked rice flour until it all come together as a dough. Phew!
I think making these babies from scratch is way too much work. Probably won't attempt this again. Another problem I am facing now is a whole big chunk of red bean paste  sitting in the fridge. Probably won't keep long too. Looks like I might have to think of more tau sar recipes. Ha!Ha!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Golden Pillow & Cinnamon Rolls




 

Why is it known as Golden Pillow locally? Well, I am not sure but after looking at this when it's taken out of the oven, it does resemble a small little pillow. What is hidden inside the bread is actually a wrap filled with curry chicken which makes a delicious dip for the bread when it's open up. The bread is soft and fluffy, the chicken is savoury and spicy. Yum!Yum!
















Everyone just digged in by pulling the bread and started dipping it to the gravy of the curry chicken. This is really a crowd pleaser dish. The whole thing is finished up.

I made this bread from Alex Goh's recipe book again. The texture of the bread is amazingly soft and fluffy. The dough is pepared from his basic sweet dough recipe but it will be too much for golden pillow so I used the extra dough for cinnamon rolls. I will know by tomorrow if the texture stays the same.

Check out the cinnamon rolls as well. Enjoy with my favourite cup of coffee. Heaven!









Thursday, September 20, 2012

Chocolate Cupcakes Revisited



 
I thought the messy frostings ( I know!) would stop everyone from wanting to try but I was wrong because once they took a bite, the ooohhs and aaaahhhs started flowing out naturally. Well, I guess anything chocolate-y is a sure win.
When these came out from the oven, I thought they looked like 'huat koh' because of the way the top 'blossomed'..ha!ha! I think it's because I used a bigger 'cup' instead of the usual small cup cases that fit into a cupcake tray and filled the cup with too much batter.
Cupcakes are really a no fuss kind of bake that anyone can whip up in no time. If you have kids, it's even better to bake your own because at least you know what goes into the cupcakes (if you know what I mean).
For today's bake, here is the recipe :

125g cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
About 2.5 tbsp cocoa powder(or more if you want a more chocolate-y taste)
125g castor sugar
125g butter, room temperature
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp milk

- Prepare a cupcake tray with paper cases.
- Sift the flour ingredients and set aside.
- Cream butter + sugar till combined. Add in eggs and continue to beat till well incorporated followed by vanilla essence. It might look lumpy but it's okay because when you fold in the flour, it will come together.
- Add in flour in 2 batches and mix till combined. Then, add in the milk.
- Once all mixed in, scoop batter to fill the cupcake cases, about 3/4 full.
- Bake in preheated oven of 180 degree celcius for 20-25 minutes. Use a cake tester to check doneness.
- Cool on wire rack and frost with your favourite frosting.

Enjoy!


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Ice-cream cone cupcakes

The prepared cone with aluminium foil to avoid browning


With the cake batter, ready to bake
The chocolate buttercream


Nicely presented with frosting and decorated with choc chips and Pretz Stick


Another shot
 All you need is some ice cream flat based cones and your favourite cake recipe.

Here's my version ( Good for 6 cones) :

For the cake batter :

85g self raising flour
60g castor sugar
60g butter
1 egg
1/2 tbsp milk

- Cream butter + sugar till creamy, add in egg. Once all incorporated, fold in flour in 2 batches and add in milk.
- Scoope batter into the prepared cones. Bake at preheated oven of 160 degree celcius for about 20-25 mins or till cooked (depending on your oven). Use a cake tester.

For butercream : 125g butter
                            30g icing sugar
                            1/2 tbsp cocoa powder, mix with 1/2 tbsp hot water, mix to a paste
                            1 tsp vanilla essence

- Beat butter and icing sugar till soft and fluffy. Add in cocoa paste and vanilla essence.

Frost your cupcake as desired.



Orange Jelly Cheesecake


Well, like any non-bake cheesecake recipes, this one is basically the same. You make the crust, chill and let it set. Then, you proceed to make the cheese layer and arrange your choice of fruit on top. Back to the fridge to set and finally the jello layer. How hard can that be you might say but I don't know, maybe it's me..The steps seems simple enough yet when you attempt it, it can be a challenge especially slicing it. But they taste good. I made this yesterday. Did a few mistakes and encountered a few problems. I used the disposable aluminium foil pan which is too flimsy and the layers broke away from the sides. When the jello layer went in, it just sipped to the bottom by the sides. So, only the middle layers were ok. Nevertheless, it was a good try, learnt a few pointers so the next batch ( which I know I will attempt again!) will be a more improved version.





The recipe :

For the crust : About 8 digestive biscuits
                        50g melted butter

Cheese layer  : 200g cream cheese
                         40g icing sugar
                         1 tbsp gelatin powder dissolved in 40ml hot water
                         1 tsp lemon juice
                         1 tsp vanilla essence

Jello layer     :  1 packet Torteilla brand crystal jelly (orange flavour)
                         1 small can mandarin oranges


Method :
Use a small square cake tin. Grease with butter and line with baking paper with longer sides so that by the time cake is set and done, you can easily remove the cake from the pan.

Crushed the biscuits and mix in with melted butter. Once ready, pour it into prepared pan and pressed it to the base making sure all sides evenly coated. Chill for at least 30mins to an hour.

Beat cream cheese & icing sugar till soft and creamy.Add in the rest of the cheese layer ingredients and mix well. Pour the cheese mixture into the ptrpared crust layer. Smooth the top and ensure all sides covered. Next, arranged the mandarin oranges in rows. Put it back to the fridge and allow to set, at least 4-5 hours.

Lastly, when cheese layer is set, prepare the jelly according to package instructions, allowing enough time to cool before pouring slowly to the top of the set cheese layer. You have to make sure the jelly is completely cool before pouring or else it will melt the cheese and it will be messy. It's best to allow the cake to set till the next day before removing from pan and slicing them in squares or any other creative ways. Just make sure you clean the knife after each cut and dip in hot water to have a smooth finish.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Cheddar Cheesecake

 
 
 
 


This is not my first attempt in baking cotton cheesecake but I must say this is the first time I got this perfect browned top with no wrinkles. How cool is that? I want to just shout to the world - 'I did it!'.
When I saw the recipe, there is no reason not to try it. Firstly because it uses the normal cheddar cheese slices instead of cream cheese. There is no need to buy cream cheese just to  have a decent piece of homemade cheesecake. Bravo! The recipe is from Alex Goh's cookbook. I actually own a few books of his. His recipes are easy to follow and mostly works. Here's the recipe :

A) 130g fresh milk
     40g butter
     6 pieces of cheddar cheese slices

B) 20g plain flour
     15g corn flour
     (sieved together)

C) 2 egg yolks

D) 3 egg whites
     80g castor sugar
     a pinch of cream of tartar or 1 tsp of lemon juice

- Preheat oven to 150 degree celcius. Grease and line a round cake pan with baking paper. Use aluminium foil to wrap the outside of the cake pan. Prepare a bigger extra pan that the cake pan can fit into. Pour hot water into the extra pan.
- Over double boiler, melt ingredients (A). Set aside.
- Meanwhile, beat egg whites & cream of tartar till frothy.Add in half the sugar and continue beating till glossy. Add in remainng sugar and beat till stiff peak stage.
- Combine flours into cheese mixture while still warm. Add in egg yolks. Whisk till well incorporated.
- Take 1/3 of the meringue and mix into cheese batter to loosen up the batter. Then, pour the cheese mixture into the remaining meringue and fold lightly till combined.
- Pour into the prepared cake pan. Place it into the extra pan of hot water and send it straight to the pre-heated oven. Bake for 50 mins.
- Once baked, remove cake from the tin and cool on wire rack.
- Cut and serve as desired.





 
                                                         The cake when cooled




                Nice and yummy
                                                                                        

The texture of the cake is very light and cottony. Love it.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Pandan Swiss Roll








The result is amazing. Love the texture. Soft and moist. I followed the recipe at this blog http://vivianpangkitchen.blogspot.sg/2012/03/pandan-coconut-swiss-roll-chiffon-cake.html . Check it out.

I actually made a swiss roll. So happy that it turned out well. I was quite intimidated at first especially when I have never attempted a roll cake before. To my surprise, this recipe gives a soft and moist sponge because it is baked in water bath. It keeps the sponge from getting too dry and when it cooled, it was easy to roll it up.

For the filling, I whipped some fresh cream with 1 tbsp of castor sugar and 2 big heaped tablespoon of kaya. Try it!

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