Monday, April 13, 2009

Patisserie Cream/Pastry cream/Vanilla Custard

Used as a filling for tarts, puff, napoleon, cakes and other pastries

- 5 egg yolks
- 100gr sugar
-25-30gr cornstarch/ 50-70gr all purpose flour(I prefer cornstarch as it produces smoother texture)
- 1tsp vanilla essence
- 500ml milk/cream
- 1tbsp butter

- Whip the egg yolks with the sugar and vanilla until it turns pale yellow.

- Add in cornstarch,adjust the amount depending on the thickness of the cream
- Meanwhile, in a medium sauce pan, bring milk and butter to shimmer
- Gently pour 1/2 the milk mixture into the egg yolk batter and give it a quick stir
- Pour the egg yolk back to the milk sauce pan, turn to medium heat and continue stirring until the cream starting to thicken
- Immediately remove from heat, keep stirring constantly to form a smooth,thick and shiny cream.

- Pour into a container,covered with plastic wrap if not in use
- The cream can be stored in the refrigerator up to 3 months
- Beat before using to get rid of any lumps that may have formed

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Puff Pastry

I came across many recipes and studied carefully on the video instruction. Unfortunately, I couldn't complete the whole process due to the butter popping out of the flour dough in the middle of the way. What turned out later on was a very hard ( like rock), chewy, and dense texture. It's my second time experimenting this puff pastry and I admit it's such a hard work for such a tiny and weak baker like me. Honestly,you must have strong muscles in order to take the total control of the dough.But trust me, I'm not gonna give up on this ( because there are many delicious recipes based on puff pastry waiting for me). I'm going to rest my arms and grab some already-made-pastries on the grocery store.
The first half of the process is posted below.The second half will be updated later ( if I succeed*cross my finger*)

- 250g all purposed flour
- 100g unsalted butter( is best)/margarine/shortening
- 2-3 drops vinegar/ lime juice
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 130g water( or half melted butter and other half water)

- Mix all the dry ingredients to gether
- Gradually add in water, kneading continuously for 10-15 minutes or until it forms a smoth, soft and elastic dough ( the dough won't crack when expanding). It's much better if you have a bread machine or stand mixer so you can save some energy for the next step

- Put the butter in a seperate container, using the pestle and pinch down the butter several times.By doing this, the butter will be much easier to handle in the rolling process

- Sprinkle with some flour to prevent sticking, transfer the butter to the floured surface and form it into a small square.

- Transfer the round dough into a floured working surface

- Dividing the dough into four parts, then rolling out into the four-angle-star, leaving the middle thick

- Place the butter in the center

-Carefully and tightly wrap it up by folding over the four points

- Spread out the dough gently into a even rectangle(I should have rolled it into a more proper shape), there is now 1 layer of butter in 2 layers of flours.

- Bring two sides into the center, leave a small space in the middle ( My mistake was right here, I did not leave a small space, the dough was so stiff that butter leaked out on the next roll)

-Then fold one side over

- Wrap it with a plastic wrap and rest in the fridge for 5-10 minutes
The videos below have very clear and detailed step-by-step instructions by expert chef I found very helpful.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Green Tea Chiffon cake

I bought the 10" Angel cake pan yesterday and was so eager to try a new chiffon recipe with that( next time will definitely be angel food cake *evil grin *). Voila!The first Chiffon with green tea flavor turns out perfectly: tall, soft, fluffy,fragrant and moist. One thing I find super annoying is that the color is ugly brown,it does not even look like a smooth coffee color ( I want a beautiful green !!*sigh*) I know the powder is not right( feeling regret that I threw 12 bucks for this tiny little package),have no choice but using up the all of them before grabbing a new one.

- 5 eggs, seperated
- 1tsp cream of tartar/ salt
- 130-150gr sugar, divided into 2 parts
- 1tsp baking powder + 130gr all purpose flour + 20gr corn flour, mix well

- 80ml warm water + 3 tsp green tea powder + 4tbsp oil + 2tsp rum, mix together

- Preheat the oven to 330F/170C
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together the egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy

- Gradually add in sugar in 3-5 separate addition while beating at high speed until it fully develops its stiff peak form

- In a small mixing bowl, cream egg yolk and the rest 1/2 sugar until the color turns pale yellow

- Quickly stir in green tea mixture

- Add in flour, turn the speed to the lowest and give it some quick stirs.It should have a nice and smooth consistency

- Take 1/3 portion egg whites and fold into egg yolk batter, using a spatula to fold until the egg whites and egg yolk mixture just until they incorporate

- Pour this batter back to the egg whites bowl, fold very gently and carefully ( about 15 strokes) so the batter can keeps its volume. When there is no more striping, stop folding

- Put the batter into greased angel cake pan, remember to shake the pan several times to release excess air bubbles
- Bake for approx 45 minutes, or until inserted skewer comes out clean

- Let it cool on the wire rack

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Since 3 pieces/$1.75 is way more than affordable, also, it's no longer available in Cosco,my uncle's friend, a crazy fan of madeleine, sponsored ( to be exact, she is "investing")me a new Madeleine mold .In return, she expects to taste Starbuck or Cosco- like Madeleines straight from my oven . I googled every trusted website and forum for the best recipe. There are bunches of them out there, you can't tell which one is better than which by just looking at the photos . Fortunately, I pulled out one of the recipe I found most familiar to my experience of making pound cake so i gave it a try( I already forgot the link).Luckily, the first batch came out just so perfect. The Madeleines have puffy centers, golden crispy edges, dense texture inside, with a sweet orange buttery flavor just as I expected.

INGREDIENTS: (make 2 dozens)
- 120g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- 100-120g (1 1/4 cup) powdered sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 100g ( 1cup) all purposed flour
- 1tsp vanilla
- 1 tbps fresh orange juice/ lemon juice/or 1tsp lemon extract

- Preheat the oven to 350F/180 C
- Grease and flour the Madeleine mold

- In a mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugar at high speed until light and fluffy ( approx 3-5minutes)

- Beat in egg, one at a time, until creamy

- Mix in orange juice and vanilla
- Adjust to lowest speed, gradually add in flour until a thick batter is formed

- Spoon the batter into the mold

- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown

- Wait for 10 minutes for the cakes to cool down, then using a small fork to take the cakes out

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Pickled Mustard Greens ( Dưa muối)

I learned it from my uncle-in-law's mother. Elders are sure having excellent experience on these traditional recipes

- 3lbs mustard greens
- 1 bunch scallions
- 8 cups of warm water
- 8 tsp salt
- 3tsp sugar
- 3tbsp white vinegar
- 1tsp crushed alum (optional)

- Dry the mustard greens in the sun for an entire day, or until the vegetables dry and appear to have shrunk slightly. It's currently winter at my place so I placed them near the heater.

- Wash thoroughly,cut them into 2" length, then drain well

- Cut the scallions into 4" length, mix the scallions and mustard greens together

- In a large bowl, dissolve together water, salt, sugar, white vinegar, and crushed alum ( Keep the vegies green and crunchy) , it should taste salty, a little sour and just little sweet
- Place the vegies into the container, try to press it as hard as possible so they can absorb the saltiness easily
- Pour in the water mixture, sealed with the lid
- Place the container in a warm place for 3 days. After 3 days, transfer the greens and the liquid to jars and refrigerate. They will keep in the refrigerator for several months

**Variation of Pickled Vegie

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Basic Sponge cake (2)

Adapted from Khai Tam's food blog
This cake uses whole egg's method and does not include baking powder,thus, suitable for birthday cake or swiss roll

- 4 medium eggs
- 90-100g sugar
- 95g all purpose flour + 5gr corn starch, sifted ( or substitute with 100gr cake flour)
- 20gr melted butter/ oil
- vanilla (optional)

- Preheat the oven to 350F /180 C
- Beat eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl in high heat for approx 4-5 minutes or until light and fluffy

- Using the spatula, fold in flour gently enough for the eggs and flour to incorporate, don't over mix because the mixture will collapse,

- Add in melted butter and vanilla,mix well

- Pour the batter into the greased pan,bake for 15-20 minutes or until the toothpick inserted and comes out clean
- Un-mold the cake, let it cool in the wire rack

Illustrating video

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Spicy baby clams with rice cracker(Hến xúc bánh đa)

This appetizer/snack is very expensive in the restaurants ( about $7 for a tiny bowl).Since I found that frozen mini clams in available the market, I was drooling. So I went of with one pack and finish up everything in one night =D Although it's not as good as the one I tried in the restaurants ( because they had a very special house sauce to have with), it indeed satisfies my craving for clams. Besides, I discovered something really interesting from my uncle (again! ). As I can never finish up the Vietnamese coriander and I thought fresh vegies cannot be store in a long time,they usually end up in the rubbish bin . The other day I came to my uncle house to have some Fetal duck egg(hột vịt lộn) and saw very fresh coriander. My uncle said if they are dead, soak them in cold water for several hours . It's true!
It's my withered coriander just bought from the market

After soaking in water

- 1 pack ( 200gr) frozen mini clams,thawed

- Shallot, garlic, onion, 3 small chilies

- Vietnamese Coriander,thinly sliced
- Roasted peanut,grinded
- 1 sesame rice crackers, toasted ( or eventually microwave for 1-2 minutes)

- Fish sauce, seasoning powder, salt, olive oil

- Rinse the clams to get rid of any sand, drain well.
- In a medium pot, heat oil over high flame, add shallot, garlic and onion until they turn yellow.
- Add in clam and stir well . Seasoning with fish sauce, seasoning powder and salt.
- Continue to stir for additional 2 minutes or until the clams get a bit dry.
- Add vietnamese coriander, chili pepper and mix well. Sprinkle with roasted peanut,serve with toasted sesame rice cracker.