Sunday, January 23, 2011

in the mood for lemon tart.

When it comes to lemon desserts, people are divided into 2 camps. either they hate it or they love it. I've eaten my fair share of horrid lemon desserts; the usual complaint being it being far too sour to be palatable.
I am very particular when it comes to the lemon curd; it cannot be too sour nor can it be too sweet. fortunately, this tart has just the right balance. The custard is seductively smooth and creamy almost like eating the lemony version of a creme brulee.
For this lemon tart, I took the recipe from here: I halved the filling recipe for the lemon curd and it made just enough to fill about 6 eight cm diameter tartlets. The filling will soften the pastry over time so it's best to eat the tart as soon as possible. When making custard type tarts, I like to wrap the tart mould in aluminium foil and let them stand in a roasting pan filled with warm water. I find the filling will bake and set more evenly but that's just me :)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

the humble chocolate chip cookie.

O Chocolate Chip Cookie, how do I adore you? Let me count the ways..
I've always felt every good baker should have an awesome chocolate chip cookie recipe up his or her sleeve. I've tried out so many recipes before but this remains my favourite one. They are thin, but not too thin and best of all - they are giant sized. You want them to be soft and chewy so overbaking them is a big no-no. Definitely good for sharing but you won't want to share once you take the first ecstatic bite :)


4 and 1/2 tbsp of butter
5 ounces of 70% dark chocolate chopped into rough chips.
1 cup plus 2 tbsp of plain flour
1/2 tsp soda
1 tsp vanilla
1 large egg
1/2 cup of white sugar
1/2 cup of brown sugar


1. Cream butter and sugar till light. Add the egg and vanilla.
2. Stir in flour and soda.
3. Toss in the chocolate.
4. Chill at least 30 mins (Some people suggest overnight or even up to 3 days but I do not like how dry the cookie dough will become).
5. Drop by tablespoons into golf sized mounds on cookie sheet.
6. Bake at 150 C for 12 min. Cookies will still look slightly undone but will firm up as it cools.

Monday, January 17, 2011

thoughts on macarons.

Here are some macarons I made over the weekend. The beige ones are filled with pink vanilla buttercream. I used a whole vanilla bean for the cream but it still tasted bland to me. Which reminds me why I don't like buttercream - I think next time, I'll do it as a white chocolate-vanilla bean ganache. But the texture of the macaron shell though was lovely, it simply melts in your mouth.
My favourite flavour by far has to be the orange ones filled with salted butter caramel. I really have to stop myself polishing off the whole lot :)

Remember my very first attempt making macarons? Those horrid brown ones only serve to remind me what a long way I've come.
I still have not resolved the air pocket problem though... after trying the french meringue method a gazillion times, I've always encountered a gap, ranging from slight to very obvious, between the shell and the foot. Reading across all the info by macaron makers online, I found at least two who said they have never resolved the air pocket when it comes to the french method but when they used the italian method, they do not get hollows. I will try the italian method next month when my thermometer arrives.
Anyway, hollow or not - these bottoms of these shells can be pressed slightly to make way for the filling and when bitten into, I don't think anyone is gonna notice. I've tried macarons at two places in Brunei - the first had really glaring air pockets and the second had textures really tough and chewy which wasn't ideal.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

in the mood for blueberries.

Yesterday, while in the grocery aisle - I came across some fresh blueberries. I must confess that I'd never had a fresh one before; up till now - I've always used frozen ones for baking. The blueberries were mildly sweet - I had expected them to be sour so that was quite a pleasant surprise. Immediately - I thought of whipping up some of my favourite muffins.
There are many versions of blueberry muffins, but I enjoy the ones made with butter and not with oil. The addition of sour cream makes these muffins oh so moist and tender. I've forgotten where the recipe comes from, however, it's taken from a book of scribblings LOL.

2 cups plain flour
1/2 tsp baking soda.
1/2 cup softened butter
3/4 cup sour cream
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 carton blueberries.

1. Cream butter and sugar till fluffy. Add the eggs.
2. Then, add the vanilla and sour cream - beat till incorporated.
3. Stir in the dry mixture and then toss in the blueberries.
4. Fill muffin liners about 1/2 full, then bake at 175 C for about 20 minutes till a golden crust forms on top.
5. Remove from oven and dredge top with icing sugar if desired.