Peach Galette with Rye and Spelt Flour

DSC_0057 copySummer is here and that means an abundance of sweet summer fruits! And using seasonal fruit means that you don’t need to do much to make the most of them. Galette is a great way to showcase the ingredients and it can look so professional just by the way the filling is arranged, even though it’s deceptively easy to make!
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The pastry for galette is pate brisée, which is wonderfully flaky and buttery. For this recipe, I’ve used a combination of rye, spelt and wholemeal flour for nutritional value, and it creates a very slight earthy flavour to accompany the tartness of the fruit.
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Pastry, fruit and a sprinkle of vanilla sugar and maybe a drizzle of honey…that’s it! Easy.
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There are several types of “pate” doughs, so their uses can be confusing. Here is a quick guide to the most common:

  • Pate Brisée (flaky pastry – used for pies and galettes)
  • Pate Sucrée (sweet shortcrust pastry – used for tarts)
  • Pate Sable (sweet with a sandy texture, from the addition of egg and ground almonds – used for tart bases and biscuits)
  • Pâte feuilletée (puff pastry – used for mille feuille)

DSC_0117 copyPâte Brisée
Yields 1 large galette

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup rye flour
  • 1/2 cup spelt flour
  • 1/4 cup wholemeal plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup (110g) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
  • 1/8 to 1/4 cup ice water
  • 3 large peaches, sliced
  • 1 tbsp vanilla sugar
  • egg, beaten
  • honey, optional
Method
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, salt, and sugar. Add the chilled, cubed butter and, squeeze the cubed butter between your fingertips until it resembles coarse sand.
  2. Add 1/8 cup of ice water and mix together the dough with your hands until it holds together when squeezed. If needed, add more ice water by the tablespoon until the dough reaches this consistency.
  3. Form dough into a disk, and refrigerate at least 1 hour before using. Dough may be stored up to 1 month when frozen.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  5. Roll out the refrigerated dough to a circle about 3mm thick. It is easier if you roll it out on parchment paper so it can go straight into the oven.
  6. Arrange the sliced peaches on the dough, fold the edges in, egg wash the edges, and sprinkle vanilla sugar all over.
  7. Bake for 40 mins until pastry is golden. Serve with a drizzle of honey.

Chocolate Raspberry Brownies

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Chocolate and raspberries together make brownie perfection!

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I love the ways these turned out – so creamy and rich! And the slight tartness of the raspberries complement the sweetness so well. The raspberries can be replaced by your favourite add-ins. I’d recommend cherries, walnuts, white chocolate pieces or macadamia nuts – get creative!

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The important thing to remember is not to overbake brownies. I have done it on one too many occasions and the result is a disappointing, dry cake. You also don’t want a mouthful of sticky dough, so try to get the balance right. The aim is a soft, moist interior and a deliciously crunchy top.

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Chocolate Raspberry Brownies (makes 9 squares)

Ingredients

  • 185g unsalted butter
  • 185g dark chocolate
  • 85g plain flour
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 3 large egg
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • handful of raspberries (can be frozen)

Method

  1. Line a 20cm square tin and preheat the oven to 180c
  2. Melt the butter and dark chocolate in the microwave and set it aside to cool slightly
  3. Whisk the eggs and sugar until thick and light
  4. Add the cooled chocolate mixture to the eggs and fold together
  5. Sieve the flour and cocoa powder into the mixture and fold gently
  6. Add the raspberries and fold
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for about 25 mins. If the middle is still wobbly, keep baking for another 5 mins and keep checking – make sure not to overbake!

Eating my way around NYC (part 2)

A few weeks in NYC and I feel like I understand how a food business can be successful. Just get on the social media bandwagon and become overhyped. Some places deserve the attention, but others….not so much.

Clinton Street Bakery:

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2014-09-14 10.33.40When you ask a new yorker where to go for brunch, Clinton St will be on top of that list. The over hype means that queues start forming before 8:30am on the weekend before they open their doors at 9am. We arrived at 8:45am and still had to wait an hour for the second seating. The Fried Chicken and Waffles, which came with maple butter was bland – not well seasoned or flavoured, but very crispy, and the waffles were the best I’ve had in NYC – fluffy and oh-so-satisfying with the maple butter. The Huevos Rancheros consisted of simple ingredients but did not combine to be anything spectacular. The Southern Breakfast: sugar-cured bacon with cheese grits, fried tomatoes and poached eggs. I never understood the concept of sweet and savoury with bacon before, but now I do. Crispy, sweet, just delicious. Each component of the dish was cooked perfectly but again, it did not come together well.  Overall, over hyped but I might need to come back to try their famous pancakes before I finalise my judgement.

Totto ramen:

2014-09-15 19.26.23Busy, even on a Monday evening, this place had to be good! And I was not disappointed. The broth! Thick, flavourful, delicious! I had the Paitan ramen with pork($9.75), which had a small amount of pork and char siu, which comes with most bowls, topped with LOTS of spring onions and a piece of nori. Surprisingly, the noodles came al dente, which I didn’t particularly like, but is the way the dish is supposed to be. The ramen in the other dishes are served soft.

Murray’s Cheese Bar:

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2014-09-17 19.20.59Burrata, with pesto, grilled artichoke and toast ($14). The burrata was served chilled, was firm and incredibly creamy inside. For me, they overdid the olive oil drizzling – I would have liked to have done my own drizzling. But overall, simple ingredients, good dinner. I also had a bite of my friend’s mac and cheese with fried onions. It was delish but simple. Not particularly unique or memorable.

Smorgasburg on a Saturday:

2014-09-27 15.26.10The Hibiscus doughnut ($2.75) from Dough was so soft, the icing had a nice tanginess to it, and the dried hibiscus was interesting – sweet and slightly chewy. However, if the dough was flavoured too, it would have been 5 stars. I have high expectations, I know. There are other intriguing icing flavours on offer including Tropical Chilli, Chocolate Salted Caramel, Toasted Coconut etc.

2014-09-27 15.40.08Mighty Quinn’s BBQ Lil Brisket ($5). The outer edges of the brisket had a good smokiness to it, but the majority of the meat did not have this flavour. For me, it was slightly dry, but the worcestershire-type sauce was delicious – slightly sweet and tangy. Just a piece of advice: the Lil brisket is so much more worth it than the big brisket, which had a similar amount of brisket in just a larger bun for $10.

Woorijip (12 W 32nd St):

2014-09-07 Woorijip Korean RestaurantQuick stop Korean food. There’s a buffet priced by weight with a hot and cold section, and already boxed dishes behind heated cabinets. We tried the kimchi fried rice, which did not have much kimchi but was nicely spiced. We also had fishballs with rice cakes. This was very filling – too many rice cakes for my liking, but the sweet spicy sauce was delicious. We also had the spicy chicken, which was lightly battered and not too hot. These 3 dishes was plenty for 2 people at ~$14.

Gluten-free Clementine & Almond Cake

First world problems – too much choice on the internet. I was originally going to try Nigella’s clementine and almond cake recipe, but extensive browsing on the internet swayed me for an alternative version that involves whisking the egg whites to stiff peaks and then folding into the batter – I’m impartial to a light and airy cake.

2014-08-02 18.55.15The use of the whole fruit, peel and all, fascinated me, as I like strong flavours in my cake. Isn’t it so disappointing when you bite into a lemon or orange flavoured cake and all you can taste are faint hints of extract? Well this cake takes fruity flavours to a whole other level. Cooking the clementines first brings out the sweetness of the fruit and reduces the tart flavour. The fruit adds a sweet and not overpowering flavour to the cake, and the citrus pairs so well with the almonds.
2014-08-02 18.54.31The ground almonds gives the cakes some texture, but it remains very light and moist from the beaten egg whites. Don’t be deceived by the photo above, I can’t emphasise enough how light the cake is despite it being gluten free.2014-08-02 19.04.06However, I’m still curious to try Nigella’s original recipe, which looks denser and more satisfying… 2014-08-02 Almond, clementine GF

Notes:

  • Cake rose well and then sank, possibly from opening the oven before it was set, so leave the cake in the oven for at least 30 minutes
  • Since this is a nut based cake, it browns quickly so cover with foil after about 30 minutes, once the cake has set.

Ingredients

  • 370g clementines, with skin on
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 180g caster sugar
  • 225 g ground almonds
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • sifted icing sugar to decorate
  1. Wash the clementines, cut a cross shape at the top of each fruit to allow steam to escape, and place on a plate in the microwave for 6-7 minutes until soft. Once ready, cut into small pieces and discard pips. Allow to cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180C and line a 9-inch cake tin.
  3. Place clementines in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Add egg yolks and sugar until it doubles in size. Fold in the ground almonds and baking powder.
  4. Whisk egg whites in a clean bowl until stiff peaks form. Add a third of the egg whites to the clementine mixture to loosen it. Fold the rest of the egg whites into the mixture, and pour into the cake tin.
  5. Bake at 180C for 50-55mins. Cover with foil after 30 minutes.

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Chocolate Meringue Cake

When I suggested this Chocolate Meringue Cake to a friend for a recent dinner get-together, the response was an emphatic “woahh…let’s do that!” – absolutely no doubt. Just look at the chocolate-y, sugary goodness!

2014-07-29 20.41.45The meringue was not too sweet, but it added a nice crunchy texture to the cake, and the berries cannot be forgone, since it goes well with the chocolate and cuts through the sweetness.2014-07-29 20.41.26

Notes:

  • I overbaked the cake base, since I used a larger pan. I would reduce the cooking time to 15 minutes, since I found that the meringue took at least 30 minutes to harden.
  • I would suggest serving this warm, and place berries on the cake just before serving otherwise the meringue will soften.

Chocolate Meringue Cake

Adapted from The Artful Desperado

For the cake:

  • 225g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 170g unsalted butter, chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 65g brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 43g all purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, sifted
  • 43g almond meal

For the meringue:

  • 4 eggs whites
  • 95g super fine sugar
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon cornstarch, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa
  • 40g dark chocolate, melted

Berries to serve (I used strawberries, blueberries, red grapes)

Cake
1. Preheat the oven to 325F. Lightly grease a springform 8 inch pan (I used 9 inch, but smaller is better for height and texture of cake), place some parchment paper on the bottom and set aside.
2. Place butter and chocolate in a small pot over low heat and warm enough to melt them. Turn off the heat let it stand for a bit.
3. In a large bowl place the eggs, egg yolks, brown sugar, and vanilla and mix or whisk for about 5 minutes until the mixture is pale and has doubled in size (it should look really frothy and thicker). Add the chocolate/butter melted mixture, flour, baking powder, and almond meal and gently fold until combined. Place batter in the cake tin and bake for about 30 min JUST until set – DO NOT COOK FULLY! We need to add the meringue so it should 3/4 done (it’s ok if it’s looks a bit “raw” still). Remove from the oven, set aside.

Meringue
Start the meringue as soon as you take the cake out of the oven. Not before, as meringue can’t sit.

1. Increase temperature in the oven to 350F
2. Place egg whites in a CLEAN bowl (no grease, no water) and beat them to soft peaks. Slowly add the sugar (about 1 tablespoon at at time). When you’re done with the sugar, add the vinegar and beat until meringue is nice and glossy. Add the cornstarch and cocoa and gently fold. Finally, slowly drizzle the melted chocolate and place the whole thing on top of the cake. Don’t mix the chocolate as you want natural swirls to happen!
3. Place the cake with the meringue back in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until the meringue feels dry. Remove from the oven when done and let is stand outside for a bit.

Matcha, Canary Melon Entremet

After being drawn into the craze of matcha desserts online, I bought a few bags of the stuff a while back, and although it is touted for its antioxidant powers and various health benefits, I’m not a huge matcha tea drinker. The extremely fine powder is difficult to dissolve so I’m always left with lumps of powder at the bottom of the cup…

Matcha1So with the abundance of matcha powder sitting at home, I decided to make a matcha entremet: matcha genoise sponge, Canary melon, and matcha mousse.

I love experimenting with not-so-obvious flavour combinations, so I paired the matcha with melon. The melon that I used, and is always mistakenly labeled as Honeydew melon in the supermarkets, is in fact a Canary melon. It is the rugby shaped, yellow melon with a white-ish flesh. In this dessert, it adds a nice sweetness to balance the bitterness of the matcha.

This was my first attempt at a genoise sponge and you can’t go wrong with Pierre Herme’s recipe. It’s the perfect basic recipe. I just replaced some of the flour for matcha powder and reduced the sugar by a smidge. The texture of genoise is drier than most cakes since it is usually brushed with syrup. It is a good, sturdy base for stacked cakes and had just the right amount of sweetness, but since I sliced the sponge in half, one side had a messy jagged edge.

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I had a little trouble with the mousse, involving curdled egg yolks, so I improvised with what I had, and the flavour turned out amazing. In many store-bought matcha mousse desserts, the green tea flavour is lost in all of the creaminess, but this mousse had a very strong matcha flavour.Matcha3

Notes for my next attempt:

  • Be aware of the texture of each layer – use firmer layers at the bottom, which will make cutting the entremet neater. I would not use melon slices next time, it made the cutting very messy! Possibly substitute with melon puree, syrup, mousse or jelly.
  • Brush a syrup (matcha flavour) to soften the genoise sponge and enhance the matcha flavour.
  • Use 3 gelatin leaves for a firmer mousse.
  • Bake the sponge in individual layers so the edges are more defined.

Genoise sponge

Adapted from Pierre Herme’s Desserts. This makes double the amount needed for this recipe, so I baked and then froze the other half

  • 56g unsalted butter
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar (I eyeballed it and used about 5/6th of a cup)
  • 165g all purpose flour
  • 8g matcha powder
  1. Line a 30cm square pan with parchment.
  2. Bring a pot of water to simmer. Melt butter and set aside. It should be warm when you need it
  3. Whisk egg and sugar together and place bowl over simmering water. Keep whisking until temperature reaches 130-140F/54-60c. About 4 minutes.
  4. Take off heat and whisk on high for 5-8 minutes until triple in volume, light and airy. It should form ribbons when lifted from the bowl
  5. Stir 2 tbsp of batter into the butter to prevent the butter from sinking in the batter.
  6. Sift flour into the egg batter and gently fold
  7. Then fold in the butter
  8. Bake at 350F/176C for 20 minutes until top is golden, springy and toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Transfer to wire rack to cool. Unmold after 5 minutes and cool completely
  10. Slice in sponge into two layers, then cut 3 equal rectangles – giving you 6 equal rectangles. Since we only need 3 layers, freeze the other 3 layers for another time.

Matcha mousse

  • 300ml milk
  • 100g sugar
  • 2 gelatin leaves (next time I would use 3 leaves, see notes)
  • 330ml double cream
  • 10g matcha powder
  1. Soak the gelatin leaves in cold water for 5 minutes.
  2. Whip the double cream until stiff peaks form and place in the fridge.
  3. Heat the milk, matcha powder and sugar until boiling. Remove from heat.
  4. Squeeze out excess liquid from the gelatin leaves and place in the matcha mixture. Stir to dissolve, and let it cool completely until it is set.
  5. Whisk matcha mixture with the whipped cream.

Assemble:

Layer genoise sponge, then melon slices, then matcha mousse, and repeat. Top with last sponge and a layer of mousse. I used sifted matcha powder and white chocolate for decoration.

Mont Blanc

French pastries seem to be the epitomise the skills of a baker. So I have been longing to try as many as possible – just to prove to myself that I can do it.

This week was the Mont Blanc – traditionally, a meringue base, with whipped cream and piped sweet chestnut cream. But as my family are not a huge fan of meringue, I’ve altered the traditional pastry to include pate sucree (sweet shortcrust pastry) and chocolate.

Mont blanc3The addition of chocolate add a richer flavour to the milder flavours of the cream and chestnut, and the pate sucree holds it together and gives a more substantial mouthful.

I used dried chestnuts, which were soaked overnight, boiled in the pressure cooker for 25 minutes, drained, then food processed with the drained juices, and sugar, to a pipeable consistency.

Pate Sucree

Adapted from Pierre Herme’s Desserts. This recipe makes 4 times more pastry than for my 12 muffin sized tarts. Extra dough can be frozen.

  • 250g unsalted butter, softened
  • 169g sifted confectioners sugar
  • 49g ground blanched almonds
  • 2 large eggs, room temp lightly beaten
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 396g all purpose flour
  • 50g, chocolate chopped

 

  1. Beat butter on low with paddle attachment until creamy. Add sugar, almonds, egg, salt. It may looked curdled, which is alright. Add the flour in 3 additions, whilst mixer is still on low, until dough just comes together. This happens in a matter of seconds. Do not overbeat.
  2. Divide into 3 or 4 pieces depending on size of tart. Press into a disk and refrigerate for 4 hrs-2days (or frozen for 2 months)
  3. Butter a tart ring and place on parchment paper
  4. Working on a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/16 to 1/8 inch (0.16-0.3cm) thick. Lift dough often and ensure surface is floured. Alternatively, roll out between cling film. Roll dough onto rolling pin and into tart tin. Do not stretch the dough as it will shrink later. Patch up any cracks with off cuts.
  5. Prick dough all over with fork (unless tart is to be filled with runny filling), and chill for 30 minutes.
  6. Bake blind with parchment extending over the top of the tart for 18-20minutes in preheated oven at 350F/176C. Remove baking beans, add chopped chocolate and bake for another 5-7minutes.

Vanilla whipped cream

  • 300ml double cream
  • 1 vanilla pod, scraped
  • 1.5 tbsp confectioner’s sugar

Ensure the cream and bowl are very cold. Whip all ingredients until stiff. Be careful not to overwhip, otherwise the texture of the cream splits. This can happen in a matter of seconds.

Assemble:

Pipe a mound of vanilla cream onto the middle of the pate sucree, leaving an edge for the chestnut cream. Using a wilton 233 piping tip, pipe the chestnut cream around the vanilla cream.