Friday, 25 May 2012

Peanut Butter & White Chocolate Blondies

This is my first attempt baking blondies. I would not have baked them if not for Maisur's constant pestering. We saw  Rachel Allen baking these on her show recently. Since then, Maisur could not stop asking  me when I would be baking them because he said they looked delicious.

They sure are delicious. They taste even better the next day as the peanut butter flavour develops & the sweetness becomes less intense. And when served with a scoop of ice-cream, the taste is just heaven!

Peanut Butter & White Chocolate Blondies
Recipe by: Rachel Allen

• 125g plain flour
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 100g butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing (I used unsalted butter & added 1/4 tsp salt.)
• 150g crunchy peanut butter (I used creamy peanut butter.)
• 175g light brown sugar (I used 150g.)
• 1 egg, beaten
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 75g white chocolate, chopped (I used mocha chocolate chips.)

1. Preheat the oven to 170C/gas 3. Butter the sides of a 20 x 20cm square cake tin and line the base with greaseproof paper.
2. Sift the flour and baking powder into a small bowl and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, cream the butter and peanut butter together until very soft. Add the sugar, egg and vanilla extract and beat until well combined. Add the flour, baking powder and the chopped chocolate and mix well.
 4. Place the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 25–30 minutes, or until golden brown and almost firm in the centre.
 5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin, before removing and cutting into squares.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Oreo Strawberry Chiffon Cake

Chiffon cake is one cake that I've not baked for a long time. Again, the last time was during my cake-baking course at BITC  when I had a lot of practice making a couple of flavours. Recently, when I saw Sonia's beautiful Pumpkin Chiffon Cake & then Rima's interesting Blueberry Oreo Chiffon Cake, the urge to bake  chiffon cake returned...... And since my kids love strawberry flavour & oreo cookies, I thought I'd try Rima's recipe first to bake Oreo Strawberry Chiffon Cake. I'm pleased it  was a hit with my family, including my siblings & their families!

During the baking class back then, I remember the challenge that my classmates & I faced in trying to produce a perfect chiffon cake was the beating of the meringue. I remember some friends had to  throw away their meringue when it became too stiff. So I was quite anxious how my meringue would turn out this time....

True enough, the minute I stopped whisking the meringue, I knew that I'd over beaten it. So it was quite a challenge to fold it into the egg yolk mixture without over mixing them. I refrain myself from over mixing the mixture & the result is, a chiffon cake with quite a bit of large air holes..... not so pretty for a chiffon cake. I could even see some white speckles which I think were the meringue left uncombined with the egg yolk mixture. 

As far as taste is concerned, I discovered that it depends on when it's eaten. When I had my first bite about 2 hours after taking it out from the oven, I thought it was quite sweet & the strawberry flavour was quite mild. My sister commented that it was quite dry, 'not as moist as the one from Prima Deli'. For someone who has not eaten store-bought chiffon cake for a long time, I thought the texture was alright.... However the next day, the overall flavour & texture improved. It was not as sweet & the strawberry flavour was more intense (although I would add more strawberry paste the next time) & it was definitely more moist. Overall, I agree with Rima, this recipe is awesome!

Strawberry Oreo Chiffon Cake
Inspired by Rima
Recipe from Chiffon Cake Mini by Dapur Aliza

6 egg yolks
100g strawberry yogurt
150g flour
4g baking powder
100g caster sugar
3g salt (about 1/2 tsp)
100g vegetable oil

6 egg whites
1g cream of tartar
100g sugar
50g oreo cookies – cut into tiny pieces (I used regular oreo, filling removed.)
strawberry paste & pink colour

1. Preheat oven to 150deg C.
2. Whisk egg yolk with sugar until pale in colour. Add in yogurt & oil. Then add in sifted flour, baking powder & salt. Finally, add in flavouring & colour.
3. In another clean & dry bowl, whisk egg white with cream of tartar till foamy. Slowly add in sugar a little at a time & continue whisking until soft peak.
4. Scoop 1/3 meringue into egg yolk mixture & fold in gently & lightly . Once combined, pour egg yolk mixture into meringue & continue to mix gently & lightly.
5. Pour half of the mixture into a 22cm tube pan & sprinkle half of oreo cookies. Then pour the rest of mixture & sprinkle the rest of the oreo cookies.
6. Bake for about 50 minutes. Once baked, remove pan from oven, overturn it & leave to cool completely. Remove cake from pan & slice to serve.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Of wasted life & egg tarts......

I've never made egg tarts at home. The last time I had a hand in making them was during may pastry-making course at BITC. I didn't like the pastry. I've tried the store-bought ones a couple of times but they didn't excite me.  Last week, Amir asked me if I knew how to make egg tarts & if I could make some one day. That request came after a friend told him he would have wasted his life if he had not tasted egg tarts! Haha... Really....?

On Monday morning, I searched for a recipe & decided to use Wendy's. Started mixing the dough right after I'm done with typing & printing the recipe. By afternoon, these delightful tarts were already out of the oven.....  And these yummy-looking tarts sure did excite me! 

Just look at the tarts! Aren't they beautiful....? Of course they don't look like the ones out there, neat & uniform, but I just love the rustic look. On top of that, they are so delicious & very addictive!! This recipe is definitely a keeper. Thank you Wendy for sharing!

Alright, before I leave you with the recipe, let me just share with you my experience with baking these tarts. I baked them in two batches, one on Monday & the other yesterday. I thought the pastry for the first batch was a bit too thick. Other than that, they were perfect. I only managed to take one picture of the first batch using my phone when it was just out of oven, before I left the house to run some errands. You may take a look at it on my  Facebook Page. I also baked them at 200 deg C for about 25 minutes. For the second batch, the dough  was a bit too thin so much so the custard for some shells seeped through even before I could put the tray into the oven. I also baked them at 200 deg C for the first 10 minutes & reduced it to 180 for the next 15 minutes. The tarts turned out to be more fragile than the ones from the first batch. A bit more baking time would be good... So the next time I make this tart, I'll make sure that I roll out the dough to a medium thickness & bake them at 200 dec C, just as recommended by Wendy. Do read Wendy's post where she shared some tips on the thickness of the shells.

Egg Tart
Recipe by Wendy of Table for 2...Or More.
(I made about 22 tarts.)

250g plain flour
2 tbsp castor sugar
1 egg yolk
150g butter

150g castor sugar
150 ml hot water
250 ml milk
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
3 large eggs
1 egg white

  1. For pastry, cream butter, egg yolk & sugar until well blended.
  2. Add flour & mix gently until well mixed. (Do not overmix or the pastry will be tough. If dough is sticky, add flour, a tsp at a time just until dough is not sticky.) Cover dough with plastic & leave to rest for about 20 minutes. (I added this step based on my knowledge on pastry making.)
  3. Roll out pastry in between 2 sheets of plastic into thickness of about 4mm. Cut out pastry into circles using pastry cutter.
  4. Gently press pastry into  tartlet pan.
  5. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  6. For filling, beat all eggs lightly & set aside.
  7. Dissolve sugar in hot water. Add in milk, salt & vanilla.
  8. Finally, add in eggs & mix until well blend.
  9. Strain custard mixture & pour into cold tart shells.
  10. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 (with fan) / 200 deg C for 25 minutes.
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