Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Non Bake Blueberry Cheesecake



For the whole month of February, I didn't do any baking, my energy level is super super low that I just wanna rest on bed or sofa doing nothing, not even read books or watching TV program. I wanted to give some support to Ellena of Cuisine Paradise since she is hosting Aspiring Bakers for February, however is just seem 有心无力 (have the heart but no strength to do it).


Although how restless am I, I know I can't excuse myself for not making birthday cake for my mum which her birthday is 10 days after mine :). So I decided to make a simple cake for her, non bake version that easy for me to manage. Although I do not have a heart shape cake pan, I decided that I can do a simple heart shape deco to show some support to Ellena.



My initial plan was making a non bake green tea cheesecake, however after adding the green tea powder in a small portion of batter, I tasted it and found that the green tea taste is very very mild, almost can't taste it and tasted bitter, not nice at all. Cracking my head, looking for the stock that I have and I found 1 can of blueberry pie filling that I bought sometimes ago. So plan changed, I decided to change the cheesecake flavour to blueberry :).


I am submitting this to Aspiring Bakers #4 : Love In The Air (Feb 2011) hosted by Ellena of Cuisine Paradise.

Recipe modified from 我爱乳酪蛋糕 by 福田淳子.

Biscuit Base:
100 gm Digestive Biscuits - crushed with roller
40 gm melted butter

Mix them together and press into an 7" springform tin. Chill it.

Cream Cheese Filling:
250 gm cream cheese
50 gm Icing sugar
50g yogurt (I replaced by sour cream)
1/2 lemon, squeeze out juice (I dun have lemon so I replaced by 1/2 tsp vinegar)
200 ml whipped cream - whipped till medium peak
1 tbsp gelatine powder + 70 gm water
250g blueberry pie filling + 20g water (blend into puree)

Method:
1. Measure water into a bowl and sprinkle in the gelatin (without stirring with a spoon). Set aside to allow the gelatin grains to swell (10 mins) before setting the bowl over a pot of simmering hot water. Stir with a spoon and once the gelatin melts, remove the bowl from the pot and set aside to cool to room temperature)
2. Beat cream cheese with icing sugar till well combined.
3. Add in fresh milk and mix till well combined. Add in gelatine mixture and mix well.
4. Fold in whipped cream and divide mixture into 2 portions.
5. Fold in blueberry puree and mix well.
6. Put into the fridge to let it set for 2 to 3 hours.

Topping: Adapted from HHB.
75ml water
1.5 tsp gelatin powder
60ml Ribena blackcurrant juice cordial

1. Measure water into a bowl and sprinkle in the gelatin. Set aside to allow the gelatin grains to swell (10 mins) before setting the bowl over a pot of simmering hot water. Stir with a spoon and once the gelatin melts, remove bowl from the pot and stir in 60ml of Ribena. Set aside to cool.
2. When completely cooled, pour mixture over the cheesecake slowly and freeze for several hours or overnight until set.

Verdict?
This cake is light cheesy and refreshing, tasted so much like ice cream since I freezed the cake, everyone given thumbs up.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Chocolate Ice Cream Philadelphia Style



There are many things happened during this period that making me feel extremely busy. Moreover my health isn't in good condition that I hardly want to do anything :(. Hope life can get back to normal soon and I will regain my energy to do some baking and do regular blogs visiting.

I have not planned to post this up soon, or rather post anything up due to my low engery level. However, I received comment from a memeber that I know through a forum. She tried 2 of my recipes that I posted up in my blog, chocolate ice cream and walnut banana ice cream, both are ice cream and she raved much that given me a lot of encouragement, same like others who left good words in my comment box. So, I am posting this chocolate ice cream for her, gguppyy, hope you will try this recipe soon :).


I always thought that I need to have ice cream maker in order to achieve creamy and non icy texture for ice cream. Even though I know that I can use mixer to whisk a few times to break the ice but I had once tried on the banana walnut custard ice cream cake, the birthday cake for my grandma (I had lost the photos so not able to post it up ), even though I had whisked thrice but I still felt the icy texture. Thus, I never cross my mind to make ice cream at home until I saw this Sicilian Chocolate Gelato and so nice of Angie to provide me with the link on "how to make ice cream without a machine" by David Lebovitz. Since dear daughter has been asking for ice cream after her every swimming session, this triggered me to give it a try on homemade ice cream. Instead of using recipe of Sicilian Chocolate Gelato, I picked the recipe from The Sweet Spot as I need to clear the whipping cream.

One down side about homemade ice cream, it melt much faster than commercial ice cream, probably due to no stabilizers added? I believe that freezing the ice cream in long hours will helps to harden the ice cream more and delay the melting take place. However I dun have chance to keep this ice cream in long hours, dear daughter finished it real fast. Anyone has any other tips to prevent the homemade ice cream from melting fast?

Recipe adapted from The Sweet Spot and originated from David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop.

Ingredients : (make about 1/2L)
250ml whipping cream
20g unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Valrohna)
85g unsweetened chocolate, chopped (I used Lindt milk chocolate since I need to clear off)
125ml milk
45g sugar (You may increase to 90g if you are using unsweetened chocolate)
1 tbsp kahlua (I omit since this was made for dear daughter)

Method :
1. Whisk together cream, cocoa powder, sugar and salt in a large saucepan. Heat the mixture, whisking frequently, until it comes to a full, rolling boil (Beware of burnt, make sure you get to the bottom and sides of the saucepan)
2. Remove from heat and whisk in the chocolate until it’s completely melted. Then whisk in milk. Add in Kahlua (optional).
3. Pour mixture into a blender and blend for 30 seconds, then pass through a strainer.
4. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. (as I do not have ice cream maker, I just freezed and whisk the ice cream for total 3 times. Troublesome but worth it.)

Verdict?
The ice cream tasted rich and creamy like commercial branded ice cream. The sweetness is just nice for me, yummy! I actually wanted to whisk another one or two times to see any difference on the texture but, dear daughter finished the whole tub of ice cream within the next day, she dun even bother to leave some for me, her poor mum only got to tasted a few spoons after the photo shooting :(.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Oreo Chocolate Butter Cream Cake



My husband received a birthday invitation from one of his good friend for his daughter, he checked with me whether can I make her a cake, of course I won't say no to him since he rarely ask for it.


The request for the cake : chocolate cake base, prefer pink in color and 1.5 to 2 kg cake.


Wendy, I know you are going to say OREO AGAIN? Hahaha.... I just love to use oreo cookies in my bake :).


Chocolate Sponge Cake : (for 10" cake pan)
7 eggs (50g each averagely)
150g caster sugar
29g golden syrup
1/4 tsp salt
44g oil
44g cocoa powder
146g plain flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
29g milk

Method:1. Put the pot on the fire, pour in the oil immediately to heat up and off the fire when the oil start to warm.
2. Add in the cocoa powder and stir well to dissolve the cocoa powder with oil and set aside.
3. Mix eggs, sugar, salt in the mixing bowl and whisk in high speed till thick and creamy, increase the volume unitl the color turn pale.
4. Add in golden syrup and whisk in medium speed until ribbon stage.
5. Mix in the sifted flour and baking soda, whisk in low speed for 3 circles to let the flour mix into the egg mixture. Then turn to medium speed and whisk for about 20 circles (about 20 seconds) to mix well.
6. Fold 1/3 to 1/2 of the batter into cocoa mixture and mix well. Pour the mixture back to the remaining batter, add in milk to mix well.
7. Pour the batter in the cake tin till 60-70% full.
8. Bang the cake tin on the table lightly to reduce some air bubbles
9. Bake at lower heat 160 degree upper heat 180 degree for 35 -45 mins or until skewer comes out clean.
10. Invert cake onto a cooling rack until completely cooled. Remove cake from pan and serve.

Recipe for chocolate butter cream adapted from the flower shaped cake that I have made previously.

Chocolate Butter Cream :450g butter (soften)
58g sugar
200g melted chocolate
3 packet oreo cookies - crushed

Beat butter and icing sugar till light. Then pour in melted chocolate and mix till evenly mixed and pour in crushed oreo cookies.

Frosting :250g whipping cream
some pink coloring

Beat whipping cream and pink coloring until stiff.

Assembly :
1. Slice cake into 3 and apply chocolate butter cream onto each layer.
2. Frost the cake with pink whipping cream.
3. Decorate the cake as your desire.

Verdict?
The cake is soft, fine and spongy and the chocolate butter cream sweetness is just nice, tasted greatly with oreo cookies. This cake had received great review from the guests, most of them given me an impressive look when the host announced I am the cake maker. I felt shy but at the same time, proud and satisfaction heeheehee...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Pineapple Tarts



If not because of Wendy of Table for 2 or more, I will never think of baking pineapple tarts myself. I never fancy pineapple tarts, I used to enjoy eating pineapple tarts but not recent years. Dunno why I just lost interest in pineapple tarts, probably because I need to keep my stomach for other more interesting CNY goodies :). I do still eat some during each CNY but only for homemade, those offered by colleagues that baked by them or their mum, must entertain a bit mah heeheehee...

When Wendy was baking her 1st batch of pineapple tarts, she told me about it and shared with me which recipe she was using. Next day, she MSN me and raved about how good were the pineapple tarts and she is going to bake more. I was tempted by her, she was so convincing that making my heart and hands so itchy, thinking that since I never bake pineapple tarts before then I should give it a try.

I was planning to get store-bought pineapple jam but Wendy kept assuring that it is actually easy to make the jam, her jam was done within an hour. I was thinking, since this may be the 1st and only one time that I will bake the pineapple tarts myself, then must well make it from scratch.


I went to hunt for the Morris pineapples that recommended by Wendy at a few supermarkets but not able to locate, I told myself to give a last try at wet market, if still not successful in hunting means I am fated to use store-bought jam. When I was in the fruits store, I immediately spotted the Morris pineapples, thanks to the picture that Wendy has provided in her blog. I asked the store keeper to choose two most unriped pineapples and so nice of him trying to look for the biggest for me. When he helped me to deskin the pineapples, I saw the pineapples were so pale in color, near to white color rather than very light yellow. Suddenly I felt very uncertain, I checked with the store-keeper and his replied was these type are better if meant for pineapple tarts.

Wendy is 101% correct, cooking the jam is not difficult at all, and best is dun even need to keep watching like hawk or keep stirring it, like she mentioned, I just need to stir it only once every 5 mins. This is unlike what I heard from others, it is tedious to cook the pineapple jam as you need to keep stirring and stirring and stirring. Wendy's notes are so detailed, if you read and follow her notes, you do not even need to throw a single question and the success rate is 100%.


My two pineapples weighed 1.5kg after deskin, much lesser than Wendy's, the store-keeper was so "generous" when deskin the pineapples, skin with lots of fresh :(. Since the pineapples are lesser so I reduced the sugar accordingly for 1.5kg pineapples.


The dough is definitely not easy to handle, quite sticky and took me sometimes to do the wrapping. As my estimation is lousy, Wendy asked me to use a tsp of pineapple jam, a tbsp of dough. However I think I used bigger portion of tsp and tbsp, ended up the pineapple tarts are quite big, I weighed the pineapple jam balls, roughly 8g each and dough, 15g each. I also do not know what went wrong, is it because the tarts are too big? My tarts actually went out of shape during baking, not round as Wendy's. Those tarts in the photos are most rounded and presentable among all :(.

Ingredients :
for pineapple jam :
2 Morris pineapples (weigh 1.5kg total)
330g
1 small cinnamon

For step to step method, notes and photos, pls refer to here. I got about 650g of pineapple jam after cooked.

for dough :
250gm butter (salted) - I used unsalted
75gm caster sugar
170gm dairy whipping cream
50gm cream cheese
3 egg yolks
400gm cake flour
30gm corn starch

One more yolk for glazing

Method :
1. Cream butter, sugar and cream cheese together.
2. When it comes together, pour in cream and whip on medium speed (I used speed 2 on my stand mixer) for 10 minutes. Scrape the sides from time to time. It may look lumpy, don’t worry, later it’ll turn all creamy.
3. Beat in egg yolks for 1 minute.
4. Sift both flours and pour half of it into buttery mixture. Mix on low speed until it comes together and pour in the remaining flour and beat until it comes together. Do not over mix.
5. Let dough sit for 10 minutes minimum before you start wrapping your jam with it.

For step to step photos and notes, pls refer here.

Verdict?
Like what Wendy has described, the tart is not very fragile and does not crumble in hands but still, melt in mouth type. It tasted good that once out from oven, I popped one after another, total 3 pineapple tarts in my mouth. However for my taste bud, I would prefer if it has more buttery taste, may be next time should use another brand of butter. For the pineapple jam, the sweetness is nicely sweet with some tartness, truely a thumbs up.


I may be busy again for the coming week so would also like to take this opportunity to wish all my baking buddies, friends and readers
Happy Lunar New Year, Gong Xi Fa Cai!
新年快乐, 万事如意!

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