oink

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Tag: Dessert (page 1 of 5)

oink’s guide to … Copenhagen! Conditori La Glace has the best tasting Danish pastries

While I was in Copenhagen, I told myself that I must stuff my face with lots of Danish pastries. I love Danish pastries, and I also had my fair share of disappointment. Especially in Singapore, no one does really good Danish pastries – they are usually commercially made and they don’t taste very nice.

I braved the morning rain and after walking in circles for almost half an hour, I finally managed to locate Conditori La Glace – the oldest confectionary in Denmark. Opened its door in 1870, Conditori La Glace has been serving delicious cakes and pastries. This historical café is beautiful, laced with history. I got there really early (I was their second customer) hence there was a limited pastries and cakes on display. And unfortunate for me, the staff at the counter did not really speak English so I did the “look what’s nice, point and order”.

While I was waiting for my pastries and tea to be served to me, I stared at the walls of Conditiori La Glace. It was decorated with family pictures from different generations. Every picture is telling a story about this café. At the same time, I started to notice all the cakes are rolling out to the display counter. I could only wish for a bigger stomach to have a taste of all the cakes.

When my pastries were at the table, I noticed I ordered two similar looking bakes. Still I was excited to sink my teeth in them. Though the pastries were not warm up, the moment I bit into them, the puff pastry just shattered. I love the custard centre which was creamy and not too sweet. And to my surprise, I don’t mind the marzipan icing. I personally detest almond-based product but the icing was pretty good and it complimented the puff pastry.

I enjoyed my breakfast at Conditiori La Glace so much that I returned a couple days later for afternoon tea. Despite the rain, there was a long queue and it was impossible to go in. This left me quite sad, as Conditiori La Glace really made the best Danish pastries I ever tasted.

Conditori La Glace
Skoubogade 3, 1158 København K
+45-3314-4646 (No reservations)
Opening hours: 8.30am to 5.00pm (daily)

oink’s guide to … Copenhagen! I was not prepared for the gloomy wet weather

After a few days in Norway and Evie back to work, I travelled to Copenhagen, Denmark. The reason why I chose to go to Denmark was because later the week, Evie and I would be going to Legoland. So yes it was about convenience.

Once I landed in Copenhagen, it was quick a train ride to my hotel. I have chosen to stay in WakeUp Copenhagen as it was apparently a 15-minute walk from Copenhagen Central Station. All I can tell you is whoever timed the walk did not have to pull a large suitcase. As I arrived really early, I couldn’t check-in. I was told that if I upgrade my room, I could get an immediate check-in. I was tired and cold so I forked out the extra dough for a two-hour nap.

When I awake, it was nearly noon. My first stop was the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotetek museum. Before I view the exhibits, I needed to fill my stomach. Located in the Winter Garden, the museum’s café served up hearty Danish fare. When I arrived at 1.30pm, the café was almost fully packed. After studying the menu, I chose a dish which comprised of two types of herring, boiled egg, onion and capers (DKK98/ S$21). This was accompanied by traditional Danish dark rye bread.

I never had herring before so I didn’t have much expectations and I was unsure if I would even like the dish. In the end, I love it. The herring was pickled hence it was not fishy yet the structure of the fish remained and did not disintegrate. When I saw the rye bread (which was another first for me), it looked cardboard dry. But it was not. With a smear of butter, the bread was chewy and flavourful. I topped the bread with a bit of herring, onion, capers and egg, it was absolutely delicious. I never thought I would like pickled fish that much. The plate did not look like a lot, but I was stuffed. A great start to my Copenhagen trip.

After lunch, I wasted no time and started going around the museum. Established in 1888, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotetek museum is an art museum founded by brewer Carl Jacobsen (his father is responsible for Carlsberg beer). The museum houses a wide collection of Egyptian, Greek, Etruscan and Roman arts. They are also noted for French impressionists and Danish Golden Age paintings. If you are a fan of the arts, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotetek museum is worth checking out.

Once I am done with my little art trip, I did a random walking tour around the city. As I strolled, the rain started, and it was quite difficult and slippery to walk on cobblestone, I seek refuge at a chained Danish pastry shop – Lagkagehuset (which also happened to be on my eating list).

At Lagkagehuset, you will be swarmed by the choices. There are so many delicious looking pastries. To order, you will first need to get a queue number from the machine. The server will call out your number and you will then tell him or her what you want. After changing my mind several times, I settled for a strawberry tart. The tart was made up of a chocolate shortcrust pastry, filled with pastry cream and topped with fresh strawberry and almond. When you are wet, unprepared for the gloomy wet weather, this strawberry tart cheered me up (and my cup of hot latte too). That said, the long wet walk back to the hotel was horrible. I need more tarts.

Ny Carlsberg Glyptotetek
Dantes Plads 7, 1556 København
+45-3341-8141
Opening hours: 11.00am – 5.00pm (Tue-Sun)
Adult: DKK75/ S$16/ US$13Lagkagehuset
DK-1450 København K
(They have quite a few outlets in the city. This particular one that I went is the nearest to the town hall and my hotel)
Opening hours: 7.30am – 7.00pm (Mon-Fri), S7.30am – 6.00pm (Sat-Sun)

Bite-size treats: pâte à choux

Ever since I conquered my fear of making choux pastry, I bravely moved forward and made my first attempt at pâte à choux aka cream puff. I adore cream puffs – they are like little nuggets that are simple in flavour yet every bit delicious. And whatever sizes they come in, I love them all – the smaller ones, you can pop them in your mouth like tic-tac while the bigger ones will tend to leave cream all over my mouth (which I don’t see it as a bad thing).

Another reason that I dragged making cream puff is the pastry cream (that is needed to fill the pâte à choux). This is the time where knowledge does not work to my advantage. After hearing horror kitchen stories, watching enough food channels, I uncovered how easy it was to burn/ overcook the pastry cream. With this fear, my pastry cream always turns out to be runny. And piping runny pastry cream into pâte à choux is a nightmare. Oh yah, I hate piping too. I never know how much cream to pipe into each puff.

To banish this nightmare, I eliminate piping the cream into the puff. Instead I sliced the top of the puff and spoon in the cream. In this way, no matter what state my pastry cream is, I know it will make it into the puff.

Pâte à Choux
(Adapted from David Lebovitz’s Ready for Dessert)
The key to making pâte à choux without any drama or panic is to get all your ingredients in place (mise-en-place) and measured in precision. This also means getting your baking tray lined and spoon ready to scoop the batter. In this way, making cream puff will be more an assembling job.

Makes about 25-30 pastries

Ingredients
1)      1 cup water (250ml)
2)      115g unsalted butter, cubed
3)      2 teaspoon granulated sugar
4)      ½ teaspoon (kosher) salt (table salt is fine)
5)      140g all-purpose flour
6)      4 large eggs (the egg should weigh 54g-56g without shell)

Methods
-        Preheat the oven to 220oC and line a baking tray with either parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
-        In a medium-sized saucepan, add in the water, butter, sugar and salt. At this point, place the flour near the stove as you will need to add it in once the mixture comes to a boil. On a medium heat, bring the mixture to a boil, stirring it occasionally with a spatula to help the butter to melt.
-        Once the butter is melted and the mixture begins to boil, quickly add in the all-purpose flour and stir rapidly with the spatula. Keep stirring until the mixture forms a smooth and thick paste and begins to pull away from the sides of the saucepan.
-        Remove the saucepan from the heat. Using the same spatula, you can pat down and spread the paste to help it cool faster – do this a few times for 2 minutes.
-        Using a spatula, vigorously beat in the eggs one at a time, making sure each egg is completely incorporated before adding in the next one. You can use a stand-mixer (with a paddle attachment) for this step but I think it is unnecessary as you are just loading more things to wash. Unless you are doubling the recipe, you can easily accomplish this step by hand.
-        Using a levered ice-cream/ cookie scoop (mine is a 2 teaspoons scoop), place the paste on the lined baking tray – each puff needs to be 3” apart. You need to give sufficient space in between each puff as they will triple in size once they are in the oven.
-        Place the baking tray in the oven and bake for 25 – 30 minutes (depending on the size of your puff) or until they are golden brown. You can rotate your tray after 15 minutes to ensure the puffs are browned on top and sides.
-        Once baked, remove the tray from the oven. Using a paring knife, gently poke one side of the puff to release its steam and let it cool completely on a wire rack.
-        Once cooled, you can fill the puff with pastry cream* or whipped cream.
-        To fill in the pastry cream, slice the top of the puff horizontally (I usually use a serrated knife). Do not slice all the way through so that you have a “lid”. Using a teaspoon, scoop in 2 teaspoons of pastry cream/ whipped cream into the puff – the amount of cream should be in proportion with the size of the puff. You also need to be careful and not overfill the puff with cream as it might make it soggy.
-        Before serving, if you bother, sieve some icing sugar on top of the puff.

*If you are using the King Arthur Flour’s pastry cream recipe, you need to double the recipe.

Eat your fruits: apple crumble

I don’t like to eat “common” fruits. I am not trying to be a difficult eater. My theory is that there are so many different types of fruits, why are we restricting ourselves to just apples, pears and oranges (my definition of common fruits in my part of the world). In addition, my parents fed me with these fruits for a good decade – I am sick of them.

However on a rare occasion, I will hit jackpot and discover a variety of apples or oranges that I have yet to try. I was shopping for the ingredients for my apple crumble that I uncovered Italian Modi® apples*.

I almost gave this apple a miss as it looks exactly like a Red Delicious (which by the way is the worst apple on Earth). I gave the apple a sniff and it smell good. While some people pinch and poke fruits to test its freshness, for me is smell. If the fruit exudes a strong fruity smell, I know it will be good. Modi apples are a cross breed between Liberty and Gala apples. Hence they are sweet, crisp and juicy which are the traits of Liberty and Gala. The flesh of Modi apple startled me – it is yellow. I always associate yellow flesh with mushiness. But it was not mushy at all. And I quite like the sweet and subtle tart flavour. I thought this will be a great addition to my apple crumble.

For my apple crumble, I like to use a combination of eating and cooking (Granny Smith, Golden Delicious) apples. In this way, you get bits of soft fruits yet with a bite.  Furthermore cooking apples tend to be really sharp so adding apples like Modi helps to counter-balance the tartness. The beauty of the crumble is that you can use any leftover fruits (aka the forgotten fruits in that dark corner of your fridge), and you can prep the ingredients and bake when it is time to serve.

The end result is you will get juicy plump fruits topped with crisp crumble. Depending on the fruits you used, you will also a hint of sourness to cut through the richness of the brown sugar caramel. Making apple crumble is also a great way to get kids or adults who don’t like fruits to include them in their diets.

Apple crumble
I like to add nuts like walnuts, pecans in my crumble for crunch and flavour. If you have nuts allergic, you can easily omit them. It will not impact the flavour greatly.

Serves 4 people

Ingredients
Apple filling
1)      450g-488g apples (This is about 3 apples. I used the ratio of 2:1 – 2 Granny Smith apples to 1 Modi apple; you can use Golden Delicious but I find them at times mushy and expensive.)
2)      1 tablespoon lemon juice (slightly less than half a lemon)
3)      30ml apple cider/ apple juice (2 tablespoons)
4)      15g unsalted butter, melted
5)      20g all-purpose flour
6)      30g brown sugar
7)      ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
8)      A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
9)      A pinch of (kosher) salt (table salt is fine)

Crumble
1)      60g old fashioned rolled oats (not the quick cooking ones)
2)      40g walnuts or pecans, roasted and chopped (¼ cup)
3)      30g all-purpose flour
4)      ¼ teaspoon (kosher) salt (table salt is fine)
5)      ¼ baking powder
6)      30g cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
7)      30g brown sugar

Methods
Apple filling
-        In a medium-sized bowl, mix in the dry ingredients – flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg (if using) and salt, and set aside.
-        In a large bowl, pour in the lemon juice and set aside.
-        Prep the apples – peel, core, quarter and halve each quarter in wedges. Chopped the wedges into 0.5” chunks. Put the chunks of apple into the bowl of lemon juice. This will prevent the oxidation of the apples.
-        Add in the melted butter, apple cider (or apple juice) and the dry ingredients mix in the large bowl of chopped apples, and mix well. Make sure every piece of the chopped apple is coated with the thick brown sugar syrup. Once this is done, cover it with a tea towel or cling film, and put the bowl in the fridge to rest while you prepare the crumble.

Crumble
-        Preheat the oven to 180oC.
-        In a large bowl, except the butter, add in all the ingredients and mix well. Once mixed, add in the butter.
-        Using either your fingers (make sure they are clean and dry) or pastry blender, rub the butter in the dry ingredients. I like to use my fingers as I can break down any lumps by rubbing it against both hands. It is important not to overwork the mix as it may clump up especially when the butter starts to soften.
-        Once the butter is rubbed in, set the crumble aside. Don’t be overly concern if you have small bits of lumps.

Assemble
-        Butter a 7” baking loaf pan** – in my case, I used a 7” oval-shaped casserole dish. You can use any oven proof pan – you just need to make sure it can contain the apple crumble and fill it to the brim.
-        Remove the apple filling from the fridge and give it a good mix. Add the apple filling into the casserole dish, make sure to pack the apples as tightly as you can. Remember to add in any remaining syrup in the bowl into the casserole dish.
-        Once the apple filling is added in, sprinkle the crumble evenly on top of the apple filling. If you spot any gaps in between the apples, fill it with the crumble. Make sure the crumble is packed tightly – you may want to gently pat it down. An important note – you need to ensure the sides of the casserole dish are sealed with crumble – this is to prevent any liquid from bubbling to the surface and leave you with a soggy crumble.
-        Place the casserole dish in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes – the crumble should be golden brown and crisp.
-        Once done, remove from the oven to cool slightly. Serve warm with a dollop of vanilla ice cream or custard.

*Modi apple is pretty pricey. When I bought it from Cold Storage, it was $0.95 an apple. This apple is only available from September to May, so go grab some.
**A little trick – I used my casserole dish to melt the butter needed for the apple filling (in the oven over the low temperature of 100oC). After you have poured the melted butter in the filling, there is always a bit of leftover in the dish. Using a paper towel or hand (make sure the dish is cooled), wipe the leftover melted butter all over the dish. In this way, you do not need to wash an additional pan and you get to butter your dish.

King Arthur Flour’s berry cream tart

I hate pies and tarts. Rather I hate making them. I do love the process of getting the crust done – the rubbing of butter into the flour (oh and it’s good for your skin too), getting the dough together. However I drag when it is time to roll the dough. Firstly, I don’t have a huge workspace to roll out the dough (size of a chopping board). And the weather in Singapore is not helping – the kitchen tends to be humid which is nightmare when rolling out high fat content dough. The final process of placing the rolled out dough into the pan is nerve wrecking. I always make sure I have some leftover dough so I can do some patchwork.

When my food stylist friend B gave me punnets of fresh berries, I needed to figure out what to do with them. The berries were juicy and sweet – I could just pop them in my mouth non-stop. But she has given me so much and I need to use them fast (raspberries and blackberries really don’t last long in the fridge). I don’t want to make jam. So my only solution – a tart.

I flipped through a couple of cookbooks – some of the recipes just scared me. And finally, I settled on King Arthur Flour’s berry cream tart. I am a huge fan of KAF – the day I found out that Singapore is selling KAF’s flour could be the happiest day of my life. King Arthur Flour’s Baker’s Companion is also my best friend. This is one cookbook I can rely on for easy to follow recipes – savoury or sweet.

I am not going to kid you that making this tart was easy. I was glad it didn’t give me a heart attack. There were moments where I thought this tart was not going to make it. After I blind baked the tart, part of the parchment paper was stuck on it (I might have gone overzealous with my pie weight), and I needed to do some “emergency” patchwork (note: always keep the leftover dough). And when I remove the tart tin, and my crust was intact, I almost cry (the trick is be brave and be swift in removing the tin). This was one scary tart.

However as I started to assemble the tart – spreading the pastry cream, putting the berries on top and seeing how pretty the tart is – my risen blood pressure just went down. When I brought the tart to my friends’ office, everyone was going “wow” and everything was demolished. No crumbs no cream was left.

King Arthur Flour’s berry cream tart
(Adapted from King Arthur Flour’s Baker’s Companion)
There are two major component to this tart – pâte sucrée (which is a sweet pastry that falls between a piecrust and a cookie) and pastry cream. I would suggest that you make pâte sucrée first as the dough needs some time to rest. While it is resting, you can work on the pastry cream. I believed the key to making a good pie or tart is courage. It is not about whether you have the skills to roll out the dough in that perfect round shape. It is about taking that first step to make everything from scratch, and brave enough to attempt.

Make one 9”-10” tart

Pâte Sucrée
Ingredients
1)      150g pastry or all-purpose flour (I like to use half and half – pastry flour helps to achieve that crumbly texture)
2)      1 teaspoon malt milk powder (Horlicks) (optional)
3)      40g caster sugar
4)      ¼ teaspoon salt
5)      115g cold, unsalted butter, cubed
6)      1 large egg yolk
7)      1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8)      1 tablespoon of (iced) water

Methods
-        In a mixing bowl, whisk the flour, malt milk powder, sugar and salt together. Rub in the cubed butter till you almost achieve a sandy texture.  At this stage, I don’t want my mixture to be too sandy – I actually quite like it if there are some lumps of butter.
-        In a measuring cup or a small bowl, whisk the egg yolk and water together.
-        Add in the vanilla extract into the flour mixture – you can either mix it with your hand or with a fork.
-        Slowly pour in the water and egg mixture into the flour mixture. Do not add everything into the mixture. You might not need that much liquid. The dough should be crumbly yet hold together when squeezed tightly.
-        Wrap the finished dough in cling film and let it rest in the fridge for an hour before you roll the dough out.
-        Once rested, remove the dough from fridge and let it set to the room temperature for a few minutes before you roll it out.
-        Preheat the oven to 190oC.
-        Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough ensuring that it is able to cover the tart pan. Once the pan is covered with the dough, roll out or cut off the excess dough. Do not throw away the excess dough, you might need to cover up any patches.
-        Prick the pie crust all over with a fork.
-        To prepare a blind-baked, ready to fill crust, weigh down the pie crust by lining it with parchment paper and fill it with pie weights.
-        Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the crust is set.
-        Gently remove the weights and parchment paper, and return to the oven to bake for another 6-8 minutes, until golden brown. If you are as careless as me (yay), and some of the pie crust is stuck to the parchment, use some of the excess dough, flatten it as thin as possible and patch up any holes.
-        Remove the tart from the oven and cool before releasing the tin and filling it with cream.

Berry cream tart
Ingredients
Pastry cream filling
1)      40g granulated sugar
2)      1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3)      2 teaspoon cornstarch
4)      ¼ teaspoon salt
5)      1 large egg
6)      1 cup milk
7)      42g unsalted butter, softened
8)      ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping
1)      570g of blueberries, blackberries and raspberries (you can also use sliced strawberries)

Glaze
1)      ½ cup apricot jam, melted and strained

Methods
Pastry cream
-        In a heatproof bowl, whisk the sugar, flour, cornstarch, salt and egg together.
-        In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a boil. Slowly add the hot milk to the egg mixture, whisking continually to make everything smooth.
-        Pour the liquid back into the saucepan, return to heat and bring back to a boil.
-        Stir constantly with your whisk – the mixture will thicken quickly and whisking will help to prevent it from getting lumpy.
-        Once the pastry cream boil in the centre or what I like to call burp in the middle of the saucepan, remove it from the heat, and stir in the butter and vanilla extract.
-        Pour the pastry cream in a bowl and place a plastic wrap on the surface to prevent skin from forming, refrigerate and use when needed. If you like, before you pour the cream into the bowl, you can pass it through a sieve. This will help to ensure a smoother pastry cream (and get rid any “scrambled egg”).
-        Once the tart is ready, pour the pastry cream into the tart shell. Using an offset spatula or a knife, gently smooth the surface of the tart.
-        Place the berries neatly on the tart. I did a few rows of blueberries, then a row of raspberries and a row of blackberries. Though I love a rustic tart, this is the one time I feel the need to be orderly and neat.
-        If you are not going to serve the tart immediately, add the glaze to keep the berries looking their best.

Glaze
-        Melt the apricot jam, thinning it with a little water if necessary. Strain or scoop out any solids.
-        Brush the glaze over the berries to seal the top of the tart.

oink’s guide to … Perth! Koko Black

Started in Melbourne, Koko Black is a delightful chocolatier which recently made its way to Perth. Besides the wonderful array of chocolate treats, Koko Black’s salon also featured delicious tea-time snacks.

Koko Black

Though it was not the first time I dined in Koko Black, I went there with a purpose – to meet my webby friend and fellow food blogger – The Food Pornographer (TFP). TFP and I have been exchanging conversation via twitter and emails for almost a year. Her website always left me hungry, and made me miss Perth very much. We bonded over our love for instant mee (specifically Mee Sedaap), and we graduated from the same university and she is one of those few people who will understand when I start to blabber about semiotics and discourse. The biggest reason why I am such a big fan of TFP is her approach towards food – besides overwhelming her readers with a lot of food shots, she is brutally honest about her gastronomical experience.

I arrived early and struggled to find a seat. I was unclear of the seating system – the signage said “wait to be served” while the waitress told me to just grab any table which was available. After a while, I managed to find an empty table. While waiting for TFP and her partner Jac to arrive, I studied the menu and knew what I want – Alice lamington. Lamingtons, originated from Australia, are essentially butter sponge cakes, coated with chocolate icing and desiccated coconut. You can eat it on its own or filled it with cream.

Iced chocolate (A$7.90)

Once TFP and Jac arrived, we quickly ordered our drinks and food. Beside the Alice lamington, I also got myself the famous iced chocolate. It was huge and it was topped with two big scoops of ice cream. It was every chocolate-holic’s dream. As it was my third cup of liquid chocolate of the day, I did not manage to finish my drink – I am such a failure.

Alice lamington (A$4)

The Alice lamington was everything I wanted – it was not too sweet, the cream was delicious and it had a good dollop of sour cherry jam which cut through the richness. Thanks to TFP, I have been dreaming about Alice lamington and I was so happy to finally sink my teeth in one.

Queen of Hearts (A$39)

TFP and Jac shared “Queen of Hearts” which comprised of sandwiches, sweet and savoury tarts and of course Alice lamington. They both generously shared their tea snacks with me but I was stuffed from my lunch and the iced chocolate. Judging from their faces, I think it was safe to say everything on the plate was delicious.

Jac had to leave early for her weekly netball hockey game, and TFP and I stayed at Koko Black to chat. I thought it was pretty amazing that we both chatted like we were old friends. Our conversation was not just about food, but also our daily lives. I was glad to make this last minute trip to Perth and catch up with a wonderful (new) friend.

Koko Black
Claremont Quarter, 23 St Quentin Avenue Claremont WA 6010
+61-8-9284-2049
Opening hours: 9.00am–6.00pm (Mon), 9.00am-10.00pm (Tue-Thu), 9.00am-11.00pm (Fri, Sat), 10.30am-6.00pm (Sun)

Lara Ferroni’s baked cinnamon sugar doughnuts

When I was a kid, it was always a rare treat when my parents brought me to the confectionary – there were so many things to see and smell. Cakes were decorated with Doraemon, Hello Kitty, freshly baked buns from the oven and like any kids, my favourite was doughnuts on a stick.

I do not know who came up with this way of eating doughnut. Sugary cake bread on a stick means parents don’t have to worry the doughnut would fall onto the ground and the kids won’t get their hands dirty. It is genius.

Now as an adult, I will still go to Four Leaves and sneak in a pack of their sugary doughnuts and start munching on them. It just takes a few minutes and the whole packet is empty.

I have always wanted to make doughnuts. But I don’t want to fry them. I don’t want to mess up my kitchen and seeing all that oil goes to waste is such a shame. So I was very happy when my friend, Biona showed me a recipe on baked doughnuts by Lara Ferroni.

It is not difficult to make the dough as most of the work will be done by the stand mixer. The only thing you need to have is patience – waiting for the dough to rise can be quite torturing.

If you do not have a cookie cutter, you can use the rim of a jar and a shot glass or simply use a small glass (you don’t really need the hole in the middle). Do eat the doughnuts while they are warm – they are so light and fluffy, you need to have some self control and stop yourself from popping all of them into your mouth.

Baked cinnamon sugar doughnuts

Baked Cinnamon Sugar Doughnuts
(Adapted from Lara Ferroni’s Doughnuts)

Makes about 24 doughnuts

Ingredients
1)      1 small egg
2)      25g caster sugar
3)      ½ cup (120ml) whole milk, heated to 46oC
4)      1 ½ teaspoon active dry yeast
5)      ½ teaspoon salt
6)      1 teaspoon vanilla extract
7)      250g – 300g all-purpose flour
8)      60g unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes

Toppings
1)      60g unsalted butter, melted
2)      100g caster sugar mixed with 1 tablespoon of cinnamon

Methods
-        In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the egg and sugar on medium speed until blended. This will take about 1 minute. Add in the warm milk, yeast, salt and vanilla extract and blend.
-        Reduce the speed of the stand mixer, slowly add in about 120g of flour and beat until the dough is thick and pulls away from the side. If the dough looks wet and sticky, add in more flour till thickened. This process will take awhile.
-        Switch the mixer to the dough hook. On medium speed, add in the cubed butter one at a time, and beat until no large chunks of butter are left at the bottom of the bowl. Don’t worry if you see bits of melted butter at the side of the bowl. Once we add in the remaining flour, everything will be incorporated.
-        Reduce the speed of the stand mixer and add in the rest of the flour bit by bit until the dough gathers around the hook and clean the side of the bowl. You might need less or more of the flour stated. Hence it will be good to standby some flour at a side.
-        The dough should be soft and moist but not overly sticky.
-        Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead gently until the dough no longer sticks to your hands.
-        Lightly grease a mixing bowl.
-        Transfer the dough to the bowl and turn to coat. Cover with a damp tea towel and let it rise in a warm spot until doubled in size or about an hour.
-        Punch down the risen dough and roll out to ½” thick. With a doughnut cutter, cut out 3” diameter with 1” diameter hole (I used 3” and 1” cookie cutters).
-        Preheat the oven to 200oC and line the baking sheets with parchment.
-        Place the doughnuts 1” apart on the baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap, let it sit in a warm spot until nearly doubled in size or about 20 minutes.
-        Bake until the doughnuts turned light golden brown – around 5-8 minutes. Be very careful not to over-bake the doughnuts. Over-bake doughnuts are hard and chewy.
-        Once the doughnuts are out from the oven, lightly dipped it in the melted butter and coat it with the cinnamon sugar. I like to use chopsticks for this. If you don’t have chopsticks, you can use a tongs.

Walters Mandler Chocolate Chip Cookies

During the Lunar New Year, my friend Evie who is based in Norway, brought me a lot of Norwegian chocolate. Anyone who been to Norway knows the must-buy souvenir is Freia chocolate. I rarely like milk chocolate but the ones Freia are sick good. My favourite is Walters Mandler.

Freia goodness!

Freia’s Walters Mandler is made up of milk chocolate and salted almonds. While you are chewing on the milk chocolate, you get the sudden hit of salt and the crunch from the nuts. This combination is lethally good. And this got me thinking if I could translate this into a cookie. The answer is yes and it is dead simple to do.

Salted hazelnuts?

All you need is your favourite chocolate chip cookies (CCC) recipe and some sea salt flake. My current favourite CCC recipe is from David Lebovitz. The recipeis simple and the best part is you don’t have to bake everything. You can keep some of the dough in the freezer and use it as and when the craving strikes.

Salt on cookie dough

Walters Mandler Chocolate Chip Cookies

Walters Mandler Chocolate Chip Cookies

(Adapted from David Lebovitz’s Ready for Dessert)

I would like to thank David Lebovitz for answering my message on recipe sharing. I caught him at a bad time (he was (or is) moving house and I am grateful that he took the time to reply my message. Thanks David!

Makes about 48 cookies

Ingredients
1)      350g all-purpose flour
2)      ¾ teaspoon baking soda
3)      1/8 teaspoon of (kosher) salt or ¼ teaspoon of fleur de sel or Maldon sea salt flake (and more for sprinkling)
4)      225g unsalted butter at room temperature
5)      190-200g brown sugar
6)      1 teaspoon vanilla extract
7)      2 large eggs at room temperature
8)      225g nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds, hazelnut*), toasted and coarsely chopped
9)      400g bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped or 340g chocolate drops

Methods
-        In a bowl, mix together the flour, salt and baking soda.
-        Using a stand (or hand mixer) with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, brown sugar and vanilla together at medium speed until smooth.
-        Add in the eggs one at a time until thoroughly incorporated, then stir in the flour mixture, nuts and chocolate.
-        Once mixed, cover and keep the dough in fridge for at least 2 hours.
-        Divide the dough into the quarters. Line the work surface or a chopping board with cling wrap, and shape each quarter into a log about 23cm long and wrap it in cling wrap. Repeat the same for the remaining dough. Refrigerate until firm, preferably for 24 hours. I like to keep my dough in the freezer and use what I need.
-        Preheat the oven to 175oC and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon baking mats.
-        Slice the logs into discs of 2cm thick and place them 8cm apart on the prepared baking sheets. If the nuts or chips or dough crumbled out, push them back in. Sprinkle a tiny pinch of fleur de sel or Maldon sea salt on top of the disc (I have not try putting (kosher) salt on top as I assumed it will just dissolve once baked).
-        Bake and rotate the baking sheet midway until the cookies are very lightly brown in the middle. This takes about 10 minutes. If you are using the dough directly from the freezer, you might need a longer baking time of 12-15 minutes**.
-        Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets until firm enough to handle, then use a spatula to transfer them to a wire rack.
-        The dough can be kept in the fridge for a week and in the freezer for a month. The baked cookies will keep well in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

*To make the cookies saltier and stay true to the “Walters Mandler” style, you can use salted almonds.
**The baking time really depends on how you like your cookies. I tend to like them under-baked and chewy. What I do is I will put in one cookie in the oven, bake it until instructed time, cooled, and taste and see if I like the texture. From there, you can adjust the baking time accordingly.

oink’s guide to … Kuala Lumpur! Snowflake

After our dinner at Soo Kee Restaurant, we made our way to Pavillion where Amy was dying to introduce me to Snowflake (Taiwanese Dessert Secrets).

Snowflake

Snowflake’s specialty is shaved ice dessert which you can also choose toppings such as taro balls, tapioca pearls, sweet potatoes, red beans and so on, to go with it. At times, they do have limited edition flavour combination. And I got the Japanese edition on that night while Amy went for her favourite Sesame Sensation.

These are what we ordered

The Japanese version consisted of matcha flavoured taro balls, red beans and tapioca pearls with shaved ice. I regretted ordering it – the taro balls were bland and have hardly any taste of matcha. For a dessert, it was lacking in the “sweet” department.

Sesame Sensation

On the other hand, Amy’s Sesame Sensation was sensational. Beside the similar toppings, her shaved ice was doused with finely grated peanuts, making it tasty and flavourful. And the black sesame flavoured taro balls were a delight. I could taste the black sesame without being overpowered by it. The taro balls and the peanut shaved ice just go so well together.

I liked the Sesame Sensation so much that on our last day in Kuala Lumpur, I dragged Aggy back to Pavillion to have one last bite (despite the fact that I was really full from lunch).

Before you start making plans to go to Snowflake and have Sesame Sensation, unfortunately they have discontinued it. On the website, Snowflake said they will bring it back, so do check it out for updates.

Snowflake – Taiwanese Dessert Secrets
Level 4, Pavilion KL (outside Padini Concept Store)
Open hours: 10.00am – 10.00pm (daily)
(They have outlets around Malaysia, do check their website for details)

Pizzeria Mozza’s caramel copetta with marshmallow sauce and salted spanish peanuts

What a mouthful of words! Still I have to say, this dessert was (almost) life changing. At Pizzeria Mozza, the appetizers were pretty good, pizza was alright (just very salty), but the dessert. When I first ordered this, I was drawn to the caramel copetta (which is some form of gelato based on my understanding) and marshmallow sauce. The salted Spanish peanuts were the game-changers. They added depth and flavour to the creamy and sweet copetta and marshmallow sauce. And to my surprise, the wafer biscuit beneath this treat remained crisp. It may seem wrong to say this, for my next visit to Pizzeria Mozza, I will just order the appetizers and dessert.

Pizzeria Mozza
10 Bayfront Avenue, Marina Bay Sands (opposite the Theatre)
+65-6688-8522
Opening hours: 12.00pm – 11.00pm (daily)

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