Carrot Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese Filling

20160317-203719-74239195.jpgFirst let me tell you what this is, it’s a carrot cake that’s packed with spices and nuts with a cream cheese filling inside, topped with mascarpone cheese frosting, caramelized pecans and chocolate crumbs.

Oh yeah, drooling yet?
This is the first time I’ve made carrot cake, I’ve always love carrot cake with their cream cheese frosting but never made them… Now since easter is coming, why not make a carrot cake, in a bundt cake form.

Now let’s get started!

20160317-215848-79128221.jpgFirst thing first is the cream cheese filling, the ingredients are sugar, lemon zest (I used lemon sugar that I made some times ago), lemon juice, egg and.. Of course, cream cheese.
Oh and I forgot some vanilla…

20160317-222154-80514800.jpgCream the cream cheese with the sugar until fluffy. This will be so much easier if your cream cheese is in room temperature so remember to take them out before begin baking!

20160317-220608-79568250.jpgNext the egg, lemon juice and vanilla. Mix them until all combined.

20160317-220927-79767633.jpg The cheese filling is done! What I did next is that I put the cheese mixture into a pipping bag to make it easier to fill into the pan, more on that later.

20160317-221026-79826630.jpgNext up the carrot cake, the ingredients for the carrot cake are brown sugar, flour, oil, spices (cinnamon, allspice, ginger and freshly grated nutmeg), salt, baking powder, baking soda and I used vanilla powder but feel free to use vanilla extract, nuts, grated carrots, apple sauce and eggs.

20160317-222101-80461266.jpgNow let’s talk about the star of the show, of course it’s not a carrot cake without the carrot. One thing I suggest you to do is to grate your carrot first then weigh them. I actually used just 1 big carrot for this recipe since it’s more than enough for this carrot cake. And also I did not bother to peel them, I just grate them right away.

20160317-223453-81293031.jpgAnd also I used pecan and walnut for an extra crunch inside the carrot cake. Chopped them into smaller pieces. You can use your favourite nuts really, just thought pecan and walnut are a bit more traditional and earthy for this carrot cake.

20160317-224612-81972225.jpgThe assembly of the carrot cake is super simple just first, combine sugar with wet ingredients which are eggs, oil, applesauce and vanilla.

20160318-010323-3803234.jpgThen the dry ingredients in 2 additions to make sure no lumps of flour in the batter. Whisk them till smooth and fine.

20160319-125955-46795371.jpgInto the rabbit hole it goes! What, wait no. Sorry.
Mix the grated carrots with the batter.
Love the vibrant colour of a carrot…

20160319-154657-56817253.jpgThen the chopped nuts, mix them until everything has mixed in.

20160319-154834-56914603.jpgOn a buttered and floured bundt tin, fill it with carrot cake mixture about ¼ of the way full, then pipe the cheese mixture in the middle.

I tried my best to put the cheese just in the middle and not touching the side of the pan, this is why I put my cheese mixture into a pipping bag. Makes it way easier and neater.

20160319-160807-58087126.jpgAaand fill it with the rest of the carrot cake batter. Remember not all the way up since it will rise.

Off to the oven!

20160320-211936-76776880.jpgnext up the mascarpone frosting on top.
The ingredients are vanilla, sugar, milk, ricotta cheese, and a bit of cornstarch to adjust the thickness of the frosting.

I was going to make it into cream cheese frosting but I thought the cheese flavour will be over whelming since the inside of the carrot cake already got cheese filling so I choose mascarpone cheese which got a lot subtle and creamier flavour.

20160320-213147-77507553.jpgCook everything except for the cornstarch until the sugar has melted then adjust the thickness with some cornstarch. You may need little or not at all, depending the thickness of your mascarpone cheese.
Just cook until the consistency coats the back of a spoon, and remember to not make it too thick since it will thickens up even more in the fridge.

20160320-213722-77842124.jpgOh yeah it’s all set and let the drizzle action going on…

20160320-214049-78049090.jpgMore? Oh, I hear ya! Drizzle drizzle some more.

20160322-003707-2227311.jpgTopped with some caramelized pecan and chocolate crumbles. I’ll put the recipe down below!

20160322-004431-2671435.jpgEaster is right this week! Will be spending the day at the church. It is the day to remember that Jesus died for us…

Anyway, I don’t know wether it is too in your place but here, every easter time, the sky turns gloomy and usually it rained! At least it has been for the last 6 years (just when I realise this fact).

20160322-010236-3756650.jpgI love easter colour! All pastel and subtle.. That’s the second thing I love about easter. Their colour theme.. After Jesus’s sacrifice, of course.

20160323-221007-79807173.jpgLet’s see the inside of the carrot cake shall we?

20160323-222932-80972232.jpgOh yeah the carrot cake is moist and sweet but the cream cheese just balance it off! If you like cheese as much as I do, I think the filling is the prefect ratio of carrot cake to cheese, but if you think that it’s better to have a bit more carrot cake to cream cheese, just half the recipe of the cheese filling down below!

20160323-224058-81658371.jpgHave a good one everybody!

And happy easter!

20160325-003148-1908168.jpg

Carrot Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese Filling
Makes 1 cake 20cm in diameter

Ingredients:

Cream cheese filling
• 350g cream cheese (at room temperature)
• 60g white sugar
• Zest of 1 lemon
• 1 egg
• 3 tbsp lemon juice
• 1 tsp vanilla extract

Carrot cake batter
• 170g brown sugar
• 2 eggs
• 120ml vegetable oil (or any other flavourless oil)
• 65 g applesauce (I used sweetened and smooth one)
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 155g all purpose flour
• ½ tsp baking soda
• 1 tsp baking powder
• ½ tsp salt
• ½ tsp cinnamon
• ¼ tsp allspice
• ¼ tsp ground ginger
• ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
• 130g grated carrot
• Chopped pecans and/or walnuts (optional)

Mascarpone frosting
• 200ml milk
• 50g mascarpone cheese
• 70g white sugar
• ½ tsp vanilla extract
• 1 tsp corn starch (might need more if too runny)

Chocolate crumbles and caramelized pecan toppings
• 50g unsalted butter (cold and cut into cubes)
• 30g all purpose flour
• 5g cocoa powder
• 15g brown sugar
• ¼ tsp salt
• ¼ baking powder

• 10 pcs pecans
• 30g white sugar
• ¼ tsp salt

How To Make It:

1) Make the cheese filling: cream the cream cheese and sugar until smooth, add lemon zest, egg, lemon juice and vanilla. Mix until all incorporated and smooth. Put in a pipping bag.

2) Make the carrot cake batter: whisk the brown sugar with the eggs, oil, applesauce and vanilla extract. Sift in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice, ginger and nutmeg in 2 addition making sure no lumps of flour still in the batter. Add the grated carrot, mix then the chopped nuts. Mix just until combined.

3) Fill a buttered and floured (or sprayed with non-stick spray) pan with ½ of the carrot cake batter then pipe the cheese mixture around the tin just in the center or the tin. Once all pipped, add the rest of the carrot cake batter.

4) Bake at a preheated oven at 180°C or 360°F for around 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool

5) Make the chocolate crumbles: in a bowl combine butter, flour, cocoa powder, sugar, salt and baking powder and rub the butter with the dry ingredients until resembles crumbs. Spread them on a lined baking tray then bake at 180°C or 360°F for around 20 minutes then lower the temperature to 150°C or 300°F for another 20 minutes. Let cool.

6) Make the candied pecans: in a pan, melt the sugar until the edges goes golden brown or caramel colour (this method is called dry caramel, be careful because this burn quickly!). Mix in the salt then the pecans then stir until all the pecans are coated and cook for 2 more minutes or until your desired colour of caramel. Put each pecan on a silicon mat or grease proof paper.

7) Make the mascarpone frosting: First dilute 1 tablespoon of the milk with the corn starch and mix until dissolved. In a pan, heat the remaining milk,mascarpone and sugar until the sugar has all melted, add the corn starch mixture then continue to cook it until it has boiled. Remove from heat then let cool in the fridge.

8) Assemble the cake by drizzling the cooled mascarpone frosting on top of the carrot bundt cake, put pieces of caramelized pecans and topped with the chocolate crumbles.

Galette Des Rois {Pithivier Filled with Almond Frangipane}

20160224-105536-39336090.jpgQui sera la reine ou le roi?
Who will be the queen or the king?

A classic french pastry that is traditionally eaten at L’ephiphanie. Similar to the cake eaten during mardi gras, the king cake. Traditionally in galette des rois or the king cake there will be a trinket, or a bean (called la fève in french) where will be put inside the cake and who ever get the bean or trinket in their piece of cake will be crowned the king or the queen for the day.

This recipe is super easy and fast. Well here I’m cheating by using ready made puff pastry but if you choose to make it from scratch, you should make the puff pastry a day or two before. Or alternatively, you can make a rough puff which is a faster version of classic puff pastry. I like to use this recipe for a quick rough puff pastry.

20160223-195138-71498095.jpgFirst component to make for this galette des rois is the almond frangipane. And to make the frangipane first you need to make crème pâtissière or pastry cream.

The ingredients are egg yolks, vanilla pod (or good quality vanilla extract), sugar, flour and corn startch and milk. Basic ingredients to make pastry cream.

20160223-203737-74257435.jpgScrape the vanilla bean from the vanilla pod, put the vanilla seeds and pod into the milk then heat them just until simmering.

20160223-204301-74581409.jpgCombine the yolks, sugar, flour and corn starch then whisk until all has combined.

20160223-205030-75030147.jpgOnce the milk has come to a simmer, slowly pour them to the yolk mixture while whisking so that the egg won’t scramble.

20160223-210838-76118936.jpgPour them back into the saucepan then whisk constantly until the mixture thickens.

I mean.. Look at those vanilla bean specks. My kind of foodporn.

Anyway, cover the top with cling film touching the top of the pastry cream so a skin won’t form on the pastry cream. Chill it in the fridge.

20160223-211718-76638589.jpgNext up is the almond part. This part will need softened butter, brown and white sugar, almond powder, corn starch, egg, vanilla extract and rum.

20160223-214239-78159902.jpgThis part is all about mixing everything up. I even use the same bowl with the one I use to whisk the yolks for the pastry cream. Less dishes to wash, right?

Just combine the butter and sugar,
Whisk
Add the corn starch and almond powder,
Whisk
Then lastly the egg, vanilla and rum.

20160224-003738-2258892.jpgRemember the pastry cream we made earlier? It’s time to take them out once chilled. It’s gonna be stiff and looks like a blob of jelly, so just whisk it until it gets creamy again.

Again, I didn’t even bother to transfer the cream from the pan, just cover with cling fling then pop it into the fridge. Less dishes to wash! Seriously. Washing dishes is not a fun thing at least for me.

20160224-004133-2493960.jpgNow just combine the almond mixture with the pastry cream to make the frangipane.

20160224-012034-4834213.jpgI’ve wrote in the beginning that I’m using ready made puff pastry. Seriously, I don’t normally like to use ready made stuff, if I can make it my own, I will. But puff pastry from scratch is just a pain in the butt, also takes a long time.

20160224-012525-5125044.jpgSo here what I did with the puff pastry, I stick 2 sheets of puff pastry together just by brushing the surface with some water, then roll it thinner.

All I wanted to do was to double the layers of the puff. I made a set of those then cut it with a circle cutter.
So you’re going to have 2 circles of doubled puff pastry.
Prick the puff with a fork.

20160224-013330-5610842.jpgPut the frangipane filling in the middle then brush the sides with some egg wash.

20160224-013437-5677785.jpgNext up, put the other circle of puff pastry on top then just simply seal the edges.

20160224-194601-71161411.jpgI used a fork to make a scallop pattern on the edge of the galette. This will make the traditional edge of a galette des rois also helps to seal it better.

Although I did not do a very good job because a little bit of the filling ooze out. But it’s not a problem really.

20160224-200050-72050320.jpgSmear the top of the galette with an egg wash for a golden top.

20160224-211827-76707794.jpgScorch the top with the back of a knife. Here I made the traditional pattern but you can do any pattern you like.

And… Bake!

20160224-212250-76970555.jpgClassic french pastry is rustic but still taste out of this world. That’s why French pastries have a special place in my heart… ❤️
I love french pastries that much that I learn the language french.. Just because..

20160227-231006-83406373.jpgLook at that layers though! Yes I did notice that the middle of the galette curved… Here are my problems, I did not fill it enough because I was afraid that it will leak too much, and why? It’s because I made the filling way too runny.
Note to self, incorporate more pastry cream to almond cream….

20160227-231454-83694297.jpgBut this galette des rois taste amazing nevertheless. No doubt about that.

I glazed the top of the galette des rois with some honey (heated just until it’s runny enough to be brushed on top of the galette).

Don’t forget to crown the king or queen to whoever get the trinket or bean.

20160227-231738-83858357.jpgAnd I’m sure you want to see the inside so here you go! The almond filling with the crispy puff combination is the best. You can never go wrong with this one.

I’ve said it before and i’m gonna say it again, I LOVE french pastry with almond on it. Financier, almond croissant, frangipane tart, gâteau amandine, macarons.. Oh the list goes on.

20160227-233845-85125248.jpgHave a great one everybody!

20160227-234511-85511711.jpg

Galette des Rois recipe
Make 1 cake of 23 cm in diameter

Ingredients:
• 4 sheets puff pastry (20x20cm)

• 1 cup milk
• 1 vanilla pod/ 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 50 g white granulated sugar
• 3 egg yolks
• 10 g all-purpose flour
• 12 g corn starch

• 70 g unsalted butter (softened)
• 30 g white sugar
• 40 g brown sugar
• 1 pinch of salt
• 75 g almond powder
• 15 g cornstarch
• 1 egg
• 1 tbsp dark rum (optional)
• 1 tsp vanilla extract

• 1 egg (beaten for the egg wash)
• Honey/ agave nectar (heated slightly)

How to make:
1) Make the pastry cream: split vanilla bean then scrape out the seeds, put it into the milk pan then heat them up just until it comes to a simmer.

In another bowl whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch and flour.

Slowly stream the heated milk into the yolk mixture while whisking.

Strain the mixture right back into the pot (to remove the vanilla pod) then heat them back up while constantly whisking until the mixture has thickened.

Cover the top of the pastry cream with cling wrap (touching the surface of the pastry cream) then put it in the freezer to cool faster.

2) Make the almond cream: beat the softened butter with the white and brown sugar until fluffy then add the cornstarch, salt and almond powder, continue beating then add the egg, rum and vanilla, keep beating for 5 minutes or until the batter thickened slightly.

3) Whisk the chilled pastry cream until it gets creamy again then combine the pastry cream with the almond cream.

4) Brush a little water on 1 side of the puff pastry then stick another layer of it, dust with flour then roll it until it fits the round cutter. Then cut a circle of the puff pastry, prick them with fork all over the layer. Repeat with the other 2 layers or puff pastry.

5) On a baking paper, put 1 layer of puff then put the almond frangipane in the middle. Brush the side with egg wash then close the top with another layer of puff pastry. Push alongside the circle to seal then using a fork or a blunt knife, make scallop pattern by pushing the fork onto the sides of the galette des rois (see picture above).

6) Brush the top with egg wash then make the pattern of galette des rois on top.

7) Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C or 390°F for 20 minutes then lower the temperature to 190°C or 375°F for another 35 minutes or until golden brown all the way through.

8) Immediately brush the top with warm honey once out of the oven.

9) Serve warm and enjoy!

Red Velvet Monkey Bread

20160210-171915-62355860.jpgValentine is coming!!! Yeaay time for more red-pink-purple themed dessert.

I love making a themed dessert, and for valentine I came up with this red velvet monkey bread filled with cream cheese and drizzled with cream cheese strawberry yogurt for good measure.

Ow yeah it does sounds awesome. And there’s a secret ingredient on it that will makes this extra fluffy.

20160210-172611-62771095.jpgYep! Sweet potatoes. Don’t believe it? Wait ’till you try and make some.

Usually, potatoes or sweet potatoes are used in making a fluffy yummy doughnut and I thought, why not make it into a monkey bread?

So boil or roast the sweet potatoes then go ahead and mash them until smooth.

Remember to mashed the sweet potatoes first then weigh it into the exact amount.

20160211-163455-59695266.jpg And for the rest of the ingredients are
Flour, mashed sweet potates, coco powder, butter, egg, yeast, salt, sugar, warm water and red food colouring.

20160211-163653-59813561.jpgFirst thing first is to activate the yeast, pour in half of the warm water (mine has already been mixed with the food colouring) and a tablespoon of sugar. Leave it until it started to bubble.

20160211-163844-59924115.jpgNext, combine the flour with the coco powder, salt and sugar in a big bowl.

Once combined, rub in the butter into the flour.

Next add the mashed sweet potatoes and continue to roughly mix it in.

Make a well then pour in the warm water, food colouring and activated yeast.
Knead the dough until it no longer sticks to the bowl (it might be still a little tacky).

20160211-164601-60361706.jpgRub some oil (I use vegetable oil) all over the dough just to prevent it from sticking to anything.

20160211-164921-60561374.jpgLet it proof for about 1 hour in room temperature or 30 minutes in a warm place until it has doubled in size.

20160211-165714-61034986.jpgNow on to the cream cheese filling.

Suuuper simple. Just mix together softened cream cheese, icing sugar and vanilla extract.

20160211-184731-67651598.jpgWhisk them until all smooth and creamy!

Put in the fridge until ready to use.

20160211-184844-67724887.jpgNow on to the assembly!

We got the red velvet bread dough, cream cheese filling, melted butter and the coating sugar.

Oh, also don’t forget to butter your cake pan so you can get it out easily.

20160212-185552-68152020.jpgTake a piece of the dough, put a small dollop then try your best to wrap the cream cheese.

And yes you WILL messed up the first ones but you’ll get the hang of it.

20160212-185834-68314767.jpgCoat the bread pieces with the coating sugar.

The coating sugar is super simple to make too, just mix skimmed milk powder, vanilla powder and icing sugar then add 3 drops of red food colouring. Then just mix everything the best that you could, I found that by rubbing them together is easier. You may get some lumps, just sift them to get rid of it.

OR

Take some coloured sugar then mix it with milk and vanilla powder.
Or just use regular granulated sugar and mix.
I just don’t want the red colour to fade by the white powder.

20160212-185951-68391617.jpgThrow the pieces to the pan. I put some dollops of cream cheese filling in between and drizzle a bit of butter on top.

20160212-190126-68486375.jpgThis one is missing something… Something sweet.. Cheesy.. And yummy..

Oh yea by the way this is why buttering a generous amount of butter on the pan is important, I had a bit of trouble getting my monkey bread out since there are some cream cheese filling poking out.

20160212-190932-68972632.jpgYup! It needs a yummy sweet icing.

This one is made from the leftover cheese filling, mix with a bit of strawberry yogurt to balance out the sweetness and a bit of milk to thin it down.

20160212-193811-70691467.jpgOw yeah, this is the money shot 📷

Drizzle drizzle.. Loads and loads of it!

20160212-204504-74704929.jpgLook at that vibrant colour!

Perfect to share with your love ones.. ❤️

20160213-093532-34532460.jpgAnd the bread pieces are soft with the smooth cream cheese inside.

Oh yeah, this one could be my valentine.

20160213-093717-34637357.jpgI love how the red pops out and make it extra special.

And that oozing cream cheese icing…

20160213-213232-77552431.jpgTake a piece and share it with your love ones!

20160213-213404-77644390.jpgIn case you’re wondering the inside looks like, here you go! Fluffy and soft bread. Well it is a bit hard to rip the bread with one hand and take a photo with the other one.

20160213-213736-77856779.jpgHappy valentine and have a good one everybody! ❤️

20160213-214215-78135448.jpg

Red Velvet Monkey Bread with Cream Cheese Yogurt Icing
Makes 30cm bunt pan size monkey bread

Sweet potato bread dough ingredients
• 500 g bread flour
• 75g sugar
• ½ tsp salt
• 1 tbsp coco powder
• 7 g bread yeast
• 175 ml warm water (around body temperature)
• 50 g unsalted butter
• 300 g mashed sweet potato
• 1 large egg
• 2 tsp red food colouring

Cream Cheese filling & icing ingredients
• 250 g cream cheese (at room temperature)
• 150 g icing sugar (i)
• ½ tsp vanilla extract
• 100 g icing sugar (ii)
• 2 tbsp yogurt (I used strawberry flavour)
• 1 tbsp milk

• 50 g butter (melted)
• 50 g milk powder
• 150 g icing sugar
• a pinch of vanilla powder
• 5-7 drops red food colouring OR pink coloured sugar

How To Make
1) Activate the yeast by pouring half of the water into the yeast and add 1 tbsp of sugar into it. Leave it until bubbly.
2) In a large bowl, mix the flour, the rest of the sugar, salt and coco powder until all combined.
3) Rub in the butter just until it has roughly incorporated.
4) Add the mashed sweet potatoes and roughly combine it.
5) Make a well in the middle then pour in the activated yeast, the rest of the warm water and the food colouring. Knead until the dough has come together and becomes soft.
6) Oil the bowl then let the dough proof in it for at least 1 hour in room temperature or 30 minutes in a warm oven (around 70°C).

7) Make the cream cheese filling by whisking together the cream cheese, icing sugar (i) and vanilla extract until smooth. Set aside around ½ a cup of the cream cheese filling for the icing. Put in the fridge for about 30 minutes – 1 hour to harden it a bit.

8) Make the coating sugar by mixing the milk powder, icing sugar and vanilla until combined then add the food colouring and rub the sugar and colouring together until it changes colour, sift any clumps (or leave it, it doesn’t matter).

9) Coat the pan with generous amount of butter.
10) Punch back the dough, take a bit of it, flatten it then put a little dollop of cream cheese in the middle. Pull the sides of the dough to the top then seal it. Dip the ball of dough into melted butter then the coating sugar. Put it into the buttered pan, repeat until the dough has all gone.
11) Bake at a preheated oven at 180°C or 360°F for around 30 – 40 minutes depending on your oven. Let cool slightly before removing it from the pan.

12) Make the cheese icing by mixing the cream cheese filling with icing sugar (ii), yogurt and milk.

13) Once slightly cooled, take it out of the oven then drizzle the top with cream cheese icing.

Pear Almond Tart

20160120-222517-80717677.jpgI love any french pastry that includes almond on it. I love macarons, financier, pithivier, any dessert with frangipane and also I can eat almond croissant for breakfast everyday (setting aside the calories). I love the flavours and the texture and everything about it.

Actually, I’ve made this pear almond tart around last october. I’ve been meaning to post it but another dishes comes up and I’ve been keeping this one in my archive.

Now it’s time to share this awesome dessert!

On to the cooking then.

20160124-022050-8450682.jpgFirst thing first is the pastry crust. I’ve made this a couple of time and I’ve explain the how to make the perfect buttery and crispy crust for the tart on my earl grey creme brûlée tartlets recipe.
But here I’ve decided to tweak the recipe a bit.

Start with some cold butter, sugar, salt, milk, egg yolk and flour.

20160124-022141-8501992.jpgCombine the sugar, salt, flour and butter in a bowl.

Now this part is my favourite thing to do in making shortcrust pastry…

20160124-022239-8559631.jpgWhich is rubbing the butter and flour together.
I have no idea why but I love love love to do this.

You need to combine it until it looks roughly like coarse sand.
I like to stop until most of the butter has been incorporated but there’s still some big chunks on it. Just to be sure I did not work the butter too much.. Need to keep it cold to make a great pastry.

20160124-022341-8621486.jpgNow that’s done, put in the yolk and mix them up.

Be sure not to over work it!

No one wants a tough base on their tart. Don’t knead it, so that the gluten doesn’t develop.

20160124-022831-8911661.jpgWrap the dough in some cling film them put in the fridge for 30 minutes.

This process helps to relax the dough, again, in order to not resulting in a tough pastry

20160124-022729-8849371.jpgOnce chilled, roll them into the desired thickness then fit it into a buttered and floured tart pan, prick the bottom of the base with fork to prevent the air being trap and making a bump on the base while baking.

Put it back into the fridge until needed

20160125-132951-48591334.jpgNow on to the poached pear.

The ingredients are super simple. You’ll need pears (of course), sugar, water, cinnamon and vanilla.

I would definitely recommend using cinnamon sticks but turns out I’m out of those. For the vanilla I’m using powdered vanilla which works great but if you want to use vanilla pods, it’s up to you, I just felt that it’s kind of a waste since we’re not using the seeds (won’t show anyway in the final product).

20160125-133424-48864309.jpgJust peel and core the pears, cut them in half, throw it into the saucepan with water, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon.

Boil it until the pears begin to soften.

20160125-133938-49178093.jpgMeanwhile the pears are cooking, let’s make the almond filling!

The ingredients to make the filling are eggs, almond powder, vanilla extract, rhum, corn flour, sugar and softened butter.

This part couldn’t be any easier, just dump everything in a bowl then whisk them until incorporated.

20160125-135301-49981155.jpgPour the almond filling into the tart case.

Cut the poached pears into quarters and slice them diagonally into thin slices, then arrange them immediately on top of the almond cream.

Got to be honest here, this is the first time I’ve made this pear almond tart in this size, usually I made some in personal sizes but I thought making big ones will look better in photo. Also it’s the first time I’m using this tart pan. So.. As you may notice, the almond filling just fills up half of the pan. I just realise that the tart pan’s side is that high and I end up not having enough almond filling.

Anyway, The recipe below is for the portion of slightly shallower tart pan, you can see the size below.

20160125-144155-52915886.jpgBake the pear almond tart until golden brown and I put some glaze on top of the whole thing, especially on the pears to make it extra shiny.

For the glaze I’m using some mirror glaze. But you can use apricot jam, marmalade or honey mix with a bit of water just to make it easier to apply, but it won’t be as shiny though.

And dust with icing sugar!

20160125-144512-53112546.jpgAnyway, this photo was taken before I got into the real food photography stuff. Before I use any props to enhance the photo. Still the good ‘ol fashion photo of food.

20160125-145600-53760081.jpgLook at how shiny it is! I just wish I’ve got enough fillings to fill it all the way up.

I wouldn’t mind a thick filling of almond cream… Loooooooove almonds in french pastry.

20160125-145804-53884069.jpgI’m sure you want to see the inside of the pear almond tart. Here you go!

I hate how when I watch or read a recipe that seem so good but they don’t show how it look on the inside… Why?! Why are you torturing me?! Let me see the filling!!

But of course, as a fellow food blogger, I kinda know why not.. Some of the possible reasons are either it doesn’t look as good as the outside, or they forgot to take a picture of it, or the pictures are bad so they decided not to post it, or it was meant to be for someone (how can you give someone a cake that has been cut?), probably so much more reasons.

I guess what I’m saying is that I wish to see the inside of the food and don’t like if they don’t show it, but I might do it later in the future (or any previous post) so as a disclaimer I’m just putting it out there.

20160125-205603-75363733.jpgOh yeah, you can see the buttery crispy crust with the sweet vanilla and rhum almond filling and cinnamon poached pear… All comes together to one rustic piece of pie….

20160125-205900-75540046.jpgA piece of pear almond tart for you and the rest is for me.

20160127-101554-36954116.jpgHave a great one everybody!

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Pear Almond tart recipe
Makes 1 tart diameter of 23cm height 2cm

Crust ingredients:
• 200g pastry flour
• 1tsp salt
• 60g sugar
• 75g unsalted butter (cold)
• 1 egg yolk
• 25-30 ml milk (use 25 first, if need more add the rest)

Filling ingredients:
For the poached pears:
• 2 pears
• 80g sugar
• 1 cup water
• 1 cinnamon stick
• ½ tsp vanilla powder/ 1 tsp vanilla extract/ ½ vanilla pod

For the almond cream:
• 100g unsalted butter (room temperature)
• 100g almond powder
• 10g corn flour
• 80g powdered sugar
• 1 egg
• 2 tsp vanilla extract
• 1 tbsp dark rhum

Decoration:
• to glaze: mirror glace/ apricot jam/ marmalade/ honey (diluted with a bit of water)
• powdered sugar

How to make:
Make the base:
1) Combine flour, salt and sugar in a bowl then add the cold butter, rub them together until resembles coarse sand. Add the egg yolk and milk, mix just until combined, wrap the dough in cling film, put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
2) Butter and flour the tart pan. Roll the chilled dough then fit it into the pan, prick the bottom base with fork then put in the fridge until ready to use.
Poach the pears:
3) Peel and core the pears then cut in half.
4) Combine the sugar, water, cinnamon and vanilla then the pears.
5) Boil just until the pears start to soften. Once boiled, let cool to touch.
Make the almond cream:
6) Cream the butter then add the almond, corn flour and sugar, beat until combined and creamy.
7) Add the egg, vanilla and rhum, mix until combined
Assembly:
8) Pour the almond cream into the tart shell.
9) Cut the pear halfs into quarter then slice horizontally into thin slices.
10) Put directly on top of the almond cream, repeat until full circle.
11) Bake at 180°C or 360°F for 30-40 minutes until the almond cream is golden brown.
Finishing:
12) Take out, let cool slightly then brush the top (especially the pears) with the glaze of your choice.
13) Put a plate smaller than the pan in the middle then sift some powdered sugar on the sides.

Salmon Pesto Cream Soup with Bread Bowl

20160111-140138-50498883.jpgFirst thing first, Happy new year everybody!!! This is the first post of 2016.

Although this is not a festive new years theme food, but why not (still) celebrate the new year?

Anyway, this food is more rustic and comforting since it’s still the winter time (or rainy season in my case). A great winter warmer meal that’s great eaten in the cold days.

This soup is actually a last minutes dump everything I got kinda soup since i’ve made the bread bowl but haven’t decided what will goes inside, and once I opened my fridge, turns out i don’t have that much of a food supply.
And yes, this post is mostly about making the bread bowl from scratch.

Let’s get started on the bread bowl, shall we?

20160112-210252-75772675.jpgFirst, dump all the dry ingredients which are flour, yeast, sugar, salt and wheat in a working surface then mix it together until all has combined.

Well of course you can mix it in a bowl but I just feel like making this in the counter is easier.

20160112-210342-75822456.jpgNext, make a well in the middle and pour in the warm water, butter and egg, mix until all incorporated.

Now I am making a wholewheat bread bowl, but if you want, you can just omit the wheat bran to make regular white bread bowl.

20160112-210417-75857356.jpgKnead the dough until the gluten developed, you can tell by when it’s no longer sticky, and when you poked the dough, it will spring back.

20160112-210450-75890196.jpgNow it’s time to let the yeast do their work! Let it rest for about 1 hour in room temperature or 30 minutes in a warm oven at about 70°C.

20160112-210536-75936751.jpgSplit the dough into the desired size.

I just weigh them in total then split it into two.

Put on a baking tray lined with parchment paper then let it rest for 10 more minutes in warm place until it rise again.

20160112-210946-76186170.jpgOnce risen, bake in the oven.

This is the most important part! Spray water all over the bread after 10 minutes of baking. This form a crusty crust that makes a good barrier so that the soup won’t leak, also makes it better because it’s crispy!

20160112-221717-80237969.jpgNow on to the soup.
As I’ve said before, I don’t really have the step by step pictures of how to make the soup because this post is more about the bread bowl, well actually also because I made a base soup then decided to add something more and went scavenging on my fridge and totally forgot to take pictures if it.

Anyway, to make the soup, cut the onion and zucchini into little dices.

20160114-191050-69050584.jpgNext, sauté them butter, then add the flour. This will thicken the soup later.

Cook until the flour has dissapear

20160114-191214-69134723.jpgAdd in milk bit by bit. If you put it all at once, it might make the soup goes lumpy because the roux (the butter and flour mixture) haven’t completely absorbed the milk.

Next thing is to add the pesto.
I made my own pesto because I have a basil tree on my garden, and every time as it has grown too high that it started to bend, I just make it into pesto! Maybe I’ll post the recipe sometimes in the future.

Then, put the salmon pieces in. It will take a little time to cook so just cook it for an additional 3 minutes.

20160114-191346-69226466.jpgCut the top of the bread,hallow out the inside to make the bowl, then pour in the hot soup straight into the bread bowl!

You got yourself a great winter warmer soup!

20160114-191555-69355195.jpgDon’t throw away the bread insides. You can use it for coutons, bread pudding, bread crumbs, stuffings and many more really.

20160114-192127-69687516.jpgAhh.. What’s a better way to go through a cold winter day with a bowl of warm soup. Seriously, I think soups are my most preferred dish.

Maybe my favourite.. But I don’t like to say that a particular food is my favourite because, how can you have a favourite?!? Food is love, and love does not choose…

Okay I’m talking gibberish right now. Sorry.

20160114-192357-69837581.jpgAnyway, I hope 2016 is a bigger and better year.

I haven’t made my new year resolution. Don’t think I’m gonna this year. Because I know me (and most probably every person that make resolutions), I’ll be super optimist and write every resolutions that comes in mind not thinking about wether it’s achievable or not, then completely forget about it 2 weeks later.

20160114-192446-69886660.jpgOne thing that I hope that I can do this year is make a youtube account of the video step by steps from this blog.
Well for me, it is easier and more fun to learn something from watching the step by steps. That’s why I can binge watch youtube for a good amount of time.
I don’t have the camera yet so I guess it has to wait. And in case you’re wondering, I still take pictures of this blog with my phone.

20160114-192555-69955176.jpgHave a good one everybody!

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Salmon Pesto Cream Soup with Bread Bowl
Make 2 servings

Bread Bowl Ingredients:
• 300 g bread flour
• 6 g instant yeast
• 30 g sugar
• 1 tsp salt
• 30 g wheat bran
• 150 ml warm water (around body temperature/36°C)
• 1 small egg
• 45 g unsalted butter

Salmon Pesto Soup ingredients:
The ingredients that I didn’t put any measurements on is adjustable to your liking
• 30 g butter
• Onion
• Zucchini
• 30 g plain flour
• 600 ml milk
• 50 ml cream
• Pesto
• Salmon pieces

How to make:
1) To make the bread bowl, combine flour, yeast, sugar, salt and wheat bran in a bowl or counter. Make a well in the center.
2) Put warm water, egg and unsalted butter in the well then mix everything until combined.
Start beating (if using a mixer with a dough hook) or kneading (if done manually) until the gluten in the dough is developed, you can tell by the look of the dough that it’s soft and smooth, no longer sticky and when you pressed the dough with you thumb, the dough will spring back.
3) Put the dough in a bowl, cover with a damped tablecloth then rest it on a warm counter for an hour or in a warm oven (temperature of 70°C or 158°F) for 30 minutes.
4) Once proofed, punch the dough to inflate then weigh the whole dough (mine was 628 g), cut into 2 pieces (314g each) then shape it into a ball.
Put them on a lined baking tray, and let it proof for another 10 minutes in room temperature.
5) Bake them in a preheated oven at 100°C or 212°F for 10 minutes, spray the whole bread with water then bake them some more at 180°C or 360°F for another 30 minutes.
6) Once baked, let cool, cut off the top part then hallow out the inside of the bread.
7) To make the soup, cut the onion and zucchini into dices.
8) Sauté the cut veggies with some butter until slightly cooked then add in the flour, cook until the flour has gone.
9) Pour in the milk little by little adding more once the milk has all absorbed by the roux (butter and flour mixture), once all the milk has been incorporated, add in the cream, keep stirring until thickens.
10) Add the pesto then the salmon, cook for about 3 more minutes.
11) Pour the hot soup into the bread bowls then serve!

Chewy Ginger Cookies

20151212-005249-3169780.jpgChewy cookies is always on my cookie preference book. Regardless what kind. This one is great not only because it’s chewy, it’s perfect for the holiday season!

This cookies use spices like ginger (of course!), cinnamon and allspice. But you can omit or add more spices if you want. Like for example nutmeg, cardamom, cloves, or even a ready made mix of spices like pumpkin spice! And also it has molasses that is a traditional adding in gingerbreads.

Let me tell you a story of how I found where they sell molasses here in Jakarta, Indonesia.
So the first reason I want to find molasses was because I want to make my own brown sugar, as some of you probably haven’t know that you can make brown sugar simply by mixing regular white sugar with molasses, adjusting the molasses to make light or dark brown sugar. Brown sugar and molasses is not something that you can find in the grocery stores and supermarkets here in Indonesia. Nor does treacle or molasses in any other name (if there’s any). So I went to all the baking stores that I know to find them but they don’t seem to sell or even know what it is.
My molasses searching journey continues to me browsing the internet where to buy molasses, at first I expect to find some online baking stores that actually sell them. But no… I can’t seem to find any baking stores or some sorts that sell them. I keep my journey in the internet until I stumble upon a website of a cow farm who actually sell molasses. Yep, a farm that commercially sell cows (and molasses apparently). Turns out they use molasses to feed cows as a supplement or something. So I go ahead and contact the guys to ask wether is it the molasses I was searching for or is it just for cows? And turns out they supply molasses to the food industry also. So yeah, I go ahead and order some. By I mean some, is the smallest quantity they sell as they were a bulk supplier, the 18kg gallon size molasses. So now, I got a big gallon of molasses on my pantry for the sake of me making my own brown sugar and as long I got white sugar, I can make brown sugar anytime… With 18kg of molasses……

That being said, I search some recipes that requires molasses in the making and I decided to make this one! Perfect for the holiday and I can use my overwhelming supply of molasses. Win win.

20151212-015831-7111426.jpgThe ingredients needed are white sugar and brown sugar, flour, butter, molasses, spices, baking soda and egg white.

20151212-022434-8674046.jpgCream the two sugars and butter until light and creamy then whisk in the egg white.

20151212-170812-61692027.jpgStir in the molasses until all combined.

20151213-192904-70144401.jpgSift all the dry ingredients then stir until a dough forms.

20151213-195113-71473083.jpgWrap them in cling wrap then store in the fridge for at least 2 hours, best overnight.

20151213-195331-71611179.jpgOnce chilled, make an even round then coat them with light brown sugar. This is optional of course but it gives a good crisp to the cookies.

Then bake them!

20151213-195710-71830516.jpgThis cookies are chewy and crispy on the edges once they’re out of the oven but becomes soft and chewy the next day.

So if you prefer the chewy crispy cookies, bake them when you’re craving for it. The dough keeps a good long time in the fridge so you can store them then bake them whenever you want a batch of warm chewy ginger cookies!

20151213-200223-72143858.jpgFor me, I like the soft and chewy cookies better so I bake all of the dough and eat them the next day!

20151213-200455-72295314.jpgThis cookies are perfect for the holiday! Serve them with a hot cup of tea, or coffee if you prefer. But I’m always more of a tea person.

20151213-200650-72410394.jpgThis could be a great Christmas gifts for your friends or family too. Pack them in a cute packaging then give them away!

20151213-201117-72677367.jpgI mean for me… Edible gift is a great great gift!

20151213-201218-72738545.jpgAnyway, I’ve got some recipes I wanted to try for the holiday. Let’s hope that December didn’t end super fast so I get the time to post them here 😜

20151213-201422-72862357.jpgHappy holiday and have a good one everybody!

20151213-201552-72952937.jpg

Chewy Ginger Cookies
Made around 20 cookies of 10cm in diameter.

Ingredients:
• 60g unsalted butter
• 35g white sugar
• 40g brown sugar
• 1 large egg white
• 3 tbsp molasses
• 125g all purpose flour
• 1 tsp baking soda
• 1 tsp ground ginger
• ¼ tsp allspice
• ½ tsp cinnamon
• ¼ tsp salt
• light brown sugar (optional)

How to make:
1) Cream the butter, white and brown sugar together until light and fluffy.
2) Whisk in the egg white just until incorporated, then stir in the molasses.
3) Sift the flour, baking soda, ginger, allspice, cinnamon and salt into the batter, mix just until combined and no dry ingredients left streaking through the dough.
4) Wrap the dough in plastic wrap then store in the fridge for at least 2 hours, best overnight.
5) Once chilled, make round balls out of the dough then roll into light brown sugar (optional), put them on a baking tray with parchment paper line them with some space because they will spread.
6) Bake at 180°C or 360°F for 10-12 minutes.
7) Serve them immediately for crispy and chewy cookies or wait until the next day for soft and chewy cookies.

Marbled Matcha Chiffon Cake {Decorated for Christmas!}

20151205-133052-48652134.jpgChristmas is coming!!! Yes. Yes. Yes. I looooooove holiday seasons.

It’s 20 more days to Christmas! Although I never received any presents on Christmas (sad.. I know, but it’s not really a thing on my family) but I still love gather around with my family during Christmas. I love the atmosphere, the decorations on public places, the soothing jazzy Christmas songs.

My family and I usually spends Christmas (if we’re not traveling anywhere) at the church. It is a celebration to commemorate the birth of Jesus after all.

But the thing that I’m super excited about is all the Christmas themed dessert!!! As i’ve said on my ghost meringue post, I looove making things with a theme. And Christmas theme is a good theme.

And although this dessert is not necessarily a traditional Christmas dessert, but I found a cute cake topper with a Christmas theme so I thought I should make use of it.

Let’s get baking then, shall we?

20151205-133134-48694398.jpgFirst thing first, whip the egg whites with the sugar until stiff peaks.

20151205-133218-48738569.jpgNext, with the same beaters, whip the yolks with sugar until pale and fluffy.

20151205-133252-48772826.jpgIncorporate the whipped egg whites and yolk, fold them together.

20151205-133326-48806899.jpgSift in the flour and baking powder, then fold just until no pockets of flour left in the batter.

You really don’t want to over mix the batter or else it will be all dense and it won’t rise in the oven. Just keep folding and turning the bowl as you mix.

20151205-133400-48840538.jpgLastly, pour in the melted butter, fold just until the butter has incorporated.

20151205-133504-48904389.jpgIn another bowl, dilute the green tea powder with some hot water, mix until no clumps of green tea left.

Next, take some of the batter and fold it into the green tea until all incorporated.

20151205-133550-48950510.jpgPour the green tea batter into the chiffon batter then give it a little fold (just like 3 or 4 times) just to make the marble effect on the chiffon.

Don’t overdo it because it will get swirled even more when poured into the tin.

20151205-133634-48994704.jpgPut the batter into a chiffon pan and bake.

20151205-133708-49028146.jpgWhip some whipped cream until stiff peak and fold in green tea that has been diluted with hot water.

I used good european whipped cream here. It does make a difference in the dish as it will cover the outside of the cake.

20151205-133759-49079143.jpgI mean.. It’s the holiday! Why not go all the way with some good quality ingredients? And maybe while you’re at it, also use good quality green tea powder and don’t try to cheat it like what I did.

20151205-135813-50293438.jpgWhoopsie got a crack there. It’s okay though since we’re going to cover it with whipped cream.

Once the chiffon cake has baked, cool it upside down on a wire rack.
This prevents it collapsing and it makes unmolding easier later on.

Flip it into a cake board/the plate you want to present it on with the bigger end on the bottom.

20151205-135940-50380964.jpgI’ve always thought that the hole in the middle is a waste.. Less cake portion to eat…
So I decided to fill them up! And also so that I can put mr Santa Clause and mr Rudolph in the middle.

20151205-201447-72887182.jpgSay hello to the holiday mascot.

So all I did was I fill the hole of the cake with a bit of whipped cream, adzuki, then more cream. Cover the outside and then decorate. Lastly, I topped the hole with these little guys.

20151205-201549-72949100.jpgMerry Christmas everybody!!! Let the bell jingle! Oh the Christmas songs…. Love love love this holiday.

20151205-201636-72996388.jpgAlthough when Christmas comes, it means that the change of year will come soon.. I still looove december.

20151205-201943-73183780.jpgI topped the cake with sifted green tea and caramelized peanuts for more decorations.

20151205-202021-73221885.jpgLet’s cut it and see what’s going on in there, shall we?

20151205-202059-73259867.jpgFluffy, moist and marbled inside.

Can you see the green tea whipped cream and adzuki inside? It makes cutting a bit messy but damn it’s good! It’s a nice twist on a chiffon cake.

20151205-202451-73491509.jpgGreen tea marbled chiffon cake that’s fluffy, light and not overly sweet, filled with adzuki and frosted with light green tea whipped cream.

20151205-202608-73568631.jpgHave a great one everybody!

20151205-202704-73624518.jpgGreen Tea Chiffon Cake Recipe
Makes 1 serving of 25cm in diameter cake

Ingredients:
The chiffon cake
• 5 egg whites
• 5 egg yolks
• 100g sugar
• 90g cake flour
• 4g baking powder
• 5 g green tea powder + 15ml hot water, dilute into paste
• 10g butter, melted

Decoration
• 200 ml heavy cream
• 40g sugar
• 2g green tea powder + 15ml hot water, dilute into paste
• Adzuki beans
• Christmas decoration

How to make:
1) Whip the egg whites with half of the sugar until stiff peak.
2) Whip the egg yolks with the remaining sugar until yolks turns pale and fluffy.
3) Pour the whipped yolk into the whipped whites, fold until almost combined, sift in half of the flour and baking powder, once all incorporated, sift the rest then fold until no clumps of flour left.
4) Drizzle the melted butter, fold.
5) To the diluted green tea, add 2 spoonfuls of the batter then fold.
Pour the green tea batter into the white batter then fold for 3-4 times to create marbled effect.
6) Pour on a prepared chiffon pan, bake at 230°C or 450°F for 15 minutes, then at 180°C or 360°F for another 40 minutes.
7) Once baked, cool it upside down on a wire rack before taking it out of the pan.
8) Prepare the frosting by whipping the heavy cream with sugar until stiff peaks. Then fold in the green tea paste until combined.
9) Put the chiffon cake on a serving plate and decorate by piping along the top of the cake in a zigzag motion then cover all of the sides of the cake, using a scraper that has a design on the sides, scrape along the side of the cake, giving it not so much pressure so it gives a nice design.
10) Put the rest of whipped cream in a pipping bag, pipe a dollop of the cream inside the hole of the cake, adzuki beans then more whipped cream all the way to the top.
11) Sift some green tea powder on top, lastly topped with the Christmas decorations you prefer.