28 Nov 2012

a chocolate tart

Now that summer holidays have begun, I can finally start making all those things I bookmarked throughout the year. 'Brown' is a recent addition, during one too many procrastination sessions. 

Who can resist the combination of caramel, chocolate and banana? (Except maybe Mrs. Roddick who hates real chocolate. Heh.) 

I rarely bake tarts as lining the pastry can be really frustrating. Especially, if using the fragile pate sucre. But since I bought crumpet make-shift tart rings for the chocolate delice, I thought why not. Lining them becomes easier with practice. Out of five tarts, my fifth tart was the best looking.

Although it took me a while to get this done, I took away many tips that I could use again. One of them is that dry caramelising in a thin shallow frying pan is so much better than the wet method in a saucepan. To get rid of the hardened caramel, just add water to the pan and let it sit for a while. 

I had to make a few amendments but, generally followed the recipe to the tee. If you want to give it a shot, the recipe is here in Japanese.

Components (composition order):
Chocolate pate sucre
Caramel sauce
Flourless chocolate sponge
Chocolate banana ganache
Caramelised banana agar
Whipped cream
Caramelised pecan & walnut pieces
Dutch cocoa powder & thyme (garnish)

Instagram photos 1 / 2 / 3 / 4

15 Nov 2012

quiet mornings

I've made a fair amount of pancakes and I don't follow a particular recipe anymore.

My rule of thumb, if the batter's too thick, add more milk.
Too thin? Some more flour.

Here's what I do nowadays - eyeballing measurements.

Whisk one egg, a spoon of castor sugar, a splash of oil/butter and more than half a cup of milk until well combined. Sift in half a teaspoon of baking powder and enough self-raising flour to form a batter that is neither too thick of thin. Cook on medium-low.

11 Nov 2012

baking away

Procrastibaking - A word I wished I invented myself as I seem to do it all the time as exam period rolls around. But alas, is a word coined from the brilliant Ayla Erdogan, in university magazine, FARRAGO (Edition 8 2012).

Enjoying the time-wasting process, baking for grandma made the whole reason to procrastibake albeit more legit (thick skinned statement haha). Another batch were these viennese whirls. To fill up the container, I made a chocolate batch with the following adjustments: 65g icing sugar, 2g instant coffee granules (finely ground), 20g dutch process cocoa, 113g plain flour and topped each with a chocolate chip. See instagram photo here

After baking the remnant biscuit dough from the chocolate delice episode, these biscuits have been a household favourite. Made crunchier with sliced almonds and brown sugar, I suspect these will taste better with some peach jam or half dipped in melted dark chocolate. 


Almond crunch biscuits
adapted from Eamon Sullivan's biscuit recipe
makes around 40-50 x 5cm rounds

200g plain flour
50g almond meal
150g cold unsalted butter, cubed
100g caster sugar
pinch of salt
1 large cold egg

1 large egg yolk
around 55g almond slices
brown sugar, for sprinkling (optional)

Process flour, almond meal, butter, sugar and salt in a food processor until it resembles large breadcrumbs. Add egg and process until mixture comes together. Empty contents on a lightly dusted bench top and gently knead into a smooth ball. Flatten into a disk, cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes*.

Preheat oven to 175°C and line a large baking tray with non-stick baking paper.

Dust bench top again and roll the rolling pin over it. Roll the dough** into 2-3mm thick and cut with a floured cutter. When the dough has been cut, brush several pieces with egg yolk and top with almond slices. Make sure you press them gently in the dough to stick. Sprinkle with brown sugar if desired***. Repeat with remaining dough.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

*If the dough is still soft, refrigerate it a bit longer.
**I usually work with half the dough at a time to avoid it from becoming too soft.
***Brown sugar does not stick very well this way, so brush some egg yolk on top of the almonds before sprinkling