Edible Potted Moss

26 Feb

Honestly I had been planning this dessert for years. The idea was first planted in my head when I watched the TV show of Heston Blumenthal making potted plant Tiramisu a few years ago. At the time Heston’s recipe was intimidating for me. I didn’t even think to try it. Last year when I saw the flower pot ramekins in the shop, Heston’s creation came back to my mind again. I bought the ramekins and thought I would put them to use one day. After that I didn’t have a clear idea of what I was going to make, also because I didn’t have much time, I put the ramekins in the cupboard and forgot about them completely. Until recently I bought a new toy – whipping siphon gun, a clear idea was formed in my mind and I finally decide put it into action.

My idea was to make a dessert with elements – chocolate mousse, chocolate soil and matcha sponge. I started searching recipes for those elements. Because the idea was inspired by Heston I particularly looked for his recipes. To my surprise he only used water and chocolate to make chocolate mousse. I was intrigued by his recipe since I have learnt water will seize the chocolate. Water in the chocolate is always a big no-no. After I watched his video I decided to give it a go. The result was interesting – water didn’t seize the chocolate but created a smooth and creamy texture. However I am not sure if it is he chocolate I used or the ratio issue, my chocolate mousse wasn’t thick enough. Even tough I had been whisking it for a long time, the mousse was like the custard consistency. If you are interested please find his recipe here.

To make the chocolate soil I adapted Heston’s Tiramisu recipe and replaced some ingredients with something else that I can find. It was tasty and it can be added to any dessert for some texture.

Chocolate soil

  • 200g caster sugar
  • 80g dark chocolate, roughly chopped (70% cocoa solids)
  • 1/4 cup puff rice
  • 60g white chocolate
  • 20g cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  1. Put 75 ml cold tap water and the sugar into a saucepan and place the pan over a high heat. Bring to the boil and continue to heat until the syrup at the side of the pan begins to colour.
  2. Remove from the heat and immediately add the chopped dark chocolate. Whisk to incorporate, continue to whisk until the liquid has completely crystallised.
  3. Pour the dark chocolate crystals onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and allow to cool.
  4. To caramelise the white chocolate, preheat the oven to 190ºC. Place the white chocolate on a baking tray lined with baking paper and place in the oven for 15 minutes. After the first 5 minutes, begin to stir the chocolate every couple of minutes until fully caramelised. Remove it from the oven and let it cool. Don’t turn off the oven.
  5. Put the puff rice int a baking tray and toast in the oven until they are lightly brown with some nutty flavor.
  6. Blend the crystallised dark chocolate and caramelised white chocolate with the cocoa powder, toasted puff rice, and the salt in a food processor until they are crumbly.

Macha Sponge

  • 1 Egg
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 10g plain flour
  • 25g butter melt
  • 60g milk
  • 1/2 tsp matcha powder
  1. Whisk all ingredients together and put the mixture in the whipping siphon gun.Charge with the gas and shake vigorously. Leave it for 2 hours.
  2. Squeeze the mixture from the whipping siphon gun into a plastic or paper cup. Microwave it on high heat for 40 seconds. Take it out from the microwave and let it cool (the cakeshould be very airy  and spongy).

To assemble

Chocolate mousse should be set in the ramekins in the fridge for a few hours. To serve, add the chocolate soil on top of the chocolate mousse. Tear a piece of matcha sponge and add it on top. Tadda does it look like a real moss plant? 🙂
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Earl Grey Tea Cake with Lemon Tea Icing

22 Jan

I drink tea but I don’t particular drink tea every day. Earl grey is my favorite black tea. Every time I drink it, its fragrance and unique taste still linger in the cup and in my mouth  afterward. I was super excited when I saw the recipe. I had never made tea cake before. The idea of using tea in baking excites me. The most exciting thing is this recipe comes from a professional french patisserie – Nicolas Pierot. I couldn’t wait to try it.

Now I can tell you the cake was amazing! Earl Grey is the hero of the cake, it shone through in every single crumb of the cake. It didn’t only make the cake smell nice but also taste nice. The cake itself wasn’t too sweet. The lemon icing added some sweetness and sourness to the cake- a perfect balance! The cake texture was light and smooth. Taste wise or texture wise this cake was perfect. I fell in love with Earl Grey again from head to toe. 🙂 I can’t recommend more so I’ll go straight to the recipe now.

Earl Grey Tea Cake with Lemon Tea Icing

By Nicolas Pierot

Cake

  • Caster sugar 270g
  • Egg 4
  • Earl grey tea leave 10g (good quality tea has a better taste)
  • Plain flour 230g
  • Baking powder 6.5g
  • Cream 120g
  • Unsalted butter 85g
  1. Preheat the oven at 160C.
  2. Grease the cake pan (25cm*12cm*7cm, or similar size) and dust with flour, or line the cake pan with baking paper.
  3. Mix the flour and baking power in a bowl, set aside.
  4. Beat the egg and sugar together until it is thick and creamy.
  5. Add tea and cream in a sauce pan and heat up. Add the butter and stir until it melts completely. Remove from heat.
  6. Sift the flour mixture into the egg mixture, mix well. Strain the tea mixture and add it to the flour and egg mixture, mix well but don’t over mix.
  7. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake pan and bake for 60-65 minutes or until the test skew comes out clean.

Lemon tea icing

  • Icing sugar 300g
  • Lemon juice 70-80g
  • Earl Grey tea bag 1(2g)
  1. Preheat the oven at 60C.
  2. Add the lemon juice and the tea bag in a sauce pan, bring to boil. Remove from heat and let the tea infuse the lemon juice for a few minutes.
  3. Measure the icing sugar in a mixing bowl. Add 60g lemon tea in the icing sugar (make sure the ratio is sugar:liquid = 5:1, some lemon juice might be lost during cooking, therefore prepare more than 60g lemon juice). Mix until all the sugar is incorporated and the mixture is thick and sticky.
  4. When the cake is ready, remove it from the pan and put it on a baking rack on top of a baking tray. Pour the icing on the cake and let it drip down to the sides. If some ares are not covered then use a palette knife to spread the icing. Only a thin layer is required to cover the cake.
  5. Put the cake in the oven for 20 minutes. The icing should dry out and a thin crust should cover the cake. (I did like the icing very much, I spread a thick layer of icing so my cake looked a bit white. Normally the wet and sticky icing make it difficult to store or transport a cake but this technique solves these problems – I love it!)img_4523img_4525

Strawberry and Coconut Cake

6 Jan

Strawberries are in season again! This year we have picked the biggest strawberries ever! They were juice and sweet.My 22 moth old daughter not only enjoyed running in the strawberry field but also enjoyed eating the delicious strawberries. 🙂

We have picked almost 3kg strawberries. Apart from eating fresh a great way to consume the strawberries is to use them in baking. This recipe is adopted from a magazine, but I bumped up the volume a little bit to make a thicker cake. Yes because I had too many strawberries! However I must say I was too generous on strawberries and also cut them in big pieces, so they sank to the bottom of the cake. You might cut down the amount of strawberries or cut them smaller. The cake was moist and fruity. The strawberry cream cheese icing was sweet and delicious. This cake brought the sunshine on the plate!

Strawberry and Coconut Cake

  • 150g butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1½ cup plain flour
  • 1½ tsps baking powder
  • ½ tsp ground cardamom
  • ½ cup desiccated coconut
  • 1 cup plain yoghurt
  • finely grated zest 1 orange
  • 2 Tbsps orange juice
  • 18 medium strawberries, hulled and quartered

Strawberry Cream Cheese Icing

  • 150 g cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 100 g butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups icing sugar, sifted
  • 3–4 strawberries, hulled and crushed with a fork
  1. Grease a 22cm springform cake tin and line the base and sides with baking paper.
  2. Preheat the oven to 170°C bake.
  3. Beat the butter and sugar until light and pale. Whisk the eggs together and gradually beat in until very well combined. Mix the flour, baking powder, cardamom and the coconut together. Gently fold into the butter mixture along with the buttermilk, orange zest and juice and the strawberries.
  4. Pour into the tin and smooth the top. Bake for about 1 hour until golden and the cake is pulling away from the sides of the tin. A skewer inserted into the centre should come out clean.
  5. Let the cake cool completely before removing from the tin.
  6. Icing: Beat the cream cheese until smooth, then add the butter and beat again until light and fluffy. Beat in the icing sugar. Beat in half the strawberries, then add enough of the remaining pulp to make a thick but spreadable icing. You may not need to add all the strawberry pulp.
  7. Spread over the cake and decorate with shredded coconut and fresh strawberries.

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Peanut Butter Bliss Balls

1 Jan

HAPPY NEW YEAR! I just want to share something simply but delicious on the new year’s day. Do you want some sweet treats require no baking, no cooking or no fuss, so you have more time to enjoy this holiday season? Read on.

This is my take on my aunt in law’s bliss ball recipe. She called them “bumble bees” – what a lovely name! I chose a healthy approach by removing butter, refined sugar but using medjool dates, coconut oil and peanut butter instead. Medjool dates have slightly higher level of sugar than the normal dates, therefore I don’t need to add more refined sugar. Peanut butter not only adds flavor but also acts as a binding agent. These bliss balls are sweet, crunchy and delicious! They are gluten free, dairy free and refined sugar free. Last but not least, they are very easy to make. A jar of these little gems was a great Christmas gift. 🙂

Peanut Butter Bliss Balls

  • 1 1/2 cups pitted Medjool dates
  • 2 Tbsps peanut butter
  • 2 Tbsps coconut oil
  • 2 cups puffed rice
  • 2 Tbsps shredded coconut, plus more for coating
  1. Blend the dates in a food processor until they are pasty.
  2. Add peanut butter, coconut oil, puffed rice and shredded coconut and then hit pulse for a few times until all ingredients mix well and form small clusters.
  3. Use hands to shape the mixture into balls, coat with shredded coconut. If the coconut doesn’t stick on the balls, then use your hand to slightly squeeze the shredded coconut and the ball together.
  4. Keep the bliss balls in the freezer for a couple of hours so they can firm up.

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Coconut and Pineapple Mousse Cake with Mirror Glaze

22 Dec

Olga Noskova is the new internet sensation in the cake industry, especially her mirror cakes. The mirror glaze is not a new technique. It has been used in lots of French style desserts. However Olga is using bold colors to bring it to the next level. Bright colors, high contrast and glossy surface make her cakes so unique. Not just outside, inside her cakes have layers of different textures and flavors. They are so attractive and inviting!

Since her fame has stormed all over the world, you can find lots of tutorials of mirror cakes on the internet. Of course Olga’s recipe still remains as a secret. A couple months ago I was lucky enough to snatch a space for the first mirror cake class in my current city. It was my first time to experiment the mirror glaze technique. Surprisingly it is not difficult (much easier than fondant)! Color combination and the way that you pour the glaze make each cake truly unique. I adore this technique!

Last week I made this coconut and pineapple mousse cake with mirror glaze (inspired by the pina colada cocktail). It had a layer of sponge cake at the bottom and a layer of pineapple jelly, filled with coconut mousse. Because I am not 100% happy with each element, I am not going to post the recipes here. But I was very happy with the color. It was bright and pretty! I didn’t plan to put on the sugar pearls but I had to use it to cover the crumbs that I accidentally dropped on the cake – oops!

I am going to share this mirror glaze recipe that I learned from the class. Merry Christmas to everyone! 🙂

Mirror Galze

  • 220 Wilton Bright White Candy Melts or white chocolate
  • 140g (1/2 cup) sweetened condensed milk
  • 200g (1 cup) sugar
  • 245g liquid glucose
  • 100ml water, plus 60ml water
  • 16g (4 tsps) powdered gelatin
  1. Bloom gelatin in 100ml of cold water
  2. Combine the glucose, 60ml water and sugar in a heavy bottom sauce pot and bring to a boil
  3. Add the bloomed gelatin and the condensed milk and whisk smooth
  4. Pour the entire hot mixture over the chocolate and whisk until smooth
  5. Pour through a strainer into a clean container and color as you like
  6. Blend with a stick blender to ensure there are no air bubbles present
  7. Pour over cakes once it has cooled to 28 to 32Cimg_4134img_4138img_4147

Mango Mousse Cake

18 Nov

My birthday was in last week. Throwing a big party wasn’t my thing. What I really wanted was to have some time for myself and do something I really enjoy, namely baking. I took a day off from my boring office work and stayed at home. I spent all day to make this mango mousse cake. Why mango? Because mango is one of my favorite fruit. Why mousse cake? Because I am intrigued by the French style mousse cakes. They have different layers with different textures and flavors.

I was inspired by the Mango Bliss by Cakelets and Doilies. I have changed the recipe a little bit and added one more layer.My cake had three layers – sponge cake, mango jelly and white chocolate flourless biscuit, filled with mango mousse and topped with mango glaze. Mango is not in season at the moment so I used canned mango pulp instead. Because it was sweetened I reduced the sugar amount in my recipe. I did buy a fresh mango and planned to use it for decoration however it was bad when I opened it – how disappointing it was! I used the leftover egg white to make some meringues for decoration. I did make some mistakes, like the sponge was a little bit dense, the flourless biscuit was over whipped. However I was happy with the cake overall. It was so rewarding when saw the beautiful layers when it was cut open. After my husband tried it he smiled at me and said “I am mango overloaded.” haha…

My recipe isn’t perfect, so I’d not suggest you follow. I put it here purely for my own record. 🙂

Mango Mousse Cake

Makes 9inch cake

Mango Jelly

  • 200ml mango pulp
  • 6g gelatin powder
  • 2 Tbsps water

Bloom the gelatin in the water. Heat up the mango pulp in the saucepan, not boiling. Add the gelatin and mix until it dissolves. Pour the mixture into a pan lined with plastic food wrap. Put the jelly in the freeze until it is set.

Sponge Cake

  • 90g egg whites
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 54g (3) egg yolks
  • 40g plain flour
  • 20g corn flour
  • 35g unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  1. Preheat the oven at 175C. Line the bottom of the cake pan with baking paper.
  2. Whisk half of the sugar, egg yolks, butter, lemon juice and lemon zest together. Sift plan flour and corn flour into the mixture, mix well.
  3. Whip the egg white and the remaining sugar until it reaches stiff peak. Fold the egg white into the batter, mix well. Pour the mixture into the cake pan and bake until it is cooked through.

Sugar Syrup

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/8 cup caster sugar
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice

Add water, sugar and lemon juice to a saucepan and boil until it is syrupy. Set aside to cool.

White Chocolate Flourless Biscuit

  • 1 egg yolks
  • 2 egg white
  • 30g sugar
  • 100g white chocolate
  1. Melt chocolate on double boiler.
  2. Beat the egg yolks with half amount of the sugar until fluffy and mix with the melted chocolate.
  3. Beat the egg white and the remaining sugar until soft peak.
  4. Combine tow mixtures together and pour in a pan. Bake at 175C for 10-15 mins.

Mango Bavarian Cream

  • 12g gelatin powder
  • 4 Tbsps water
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 250ml mango pulp, room temperature
  • 400ml whipping cream
  1. Bloom the gelatin in the water.
  2. Whisk egg yolks and sugar in a heatproof bowl until pale and creamy. Add mango puree, and whisk to incorporate. Place bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water, whisk constantly, until the mixture reaches 85C. Remove from heat.
  3. Stir gelatin into the mango mixture until gelatin completely dissolves. Strain the mixture through a sieve into a bowl. Place the mixture over a bowl of water with ice. Stir mixture until it cools to room temperature.
  4. Meanwhile, whisk cream to firm peaks (be careful not to overwhip). When the mango mixture cools completely, carefully fold whipped cream into the mango mixture with a spatula until combine.

To assemble

Line the 9 inch mousse ring with plastic food wrap. Put the sponge cake at the bottom. Spread a thin layer of mango bavarian cream. Put the 2nd layer – mango jelly in. Spread another thin layer of mango bavarian cream. Put the 3rd layer – white chocolate flourless biscuit in. Fill the mousse ring with the rest bavarian cream. Smooth and level the top. Put in the freezer for at least 4 hours.

Mango Glaze

  • 100g white chocolate
  • 9g gelatin powder
  • 100ml mango pulp
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 100g liquid glucose
  • 70ml whipping cream
  1. Bloom the gelatin in the water.
  2. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over, not touching, simmering water. Stir occasionally to assist the melting. When the chocolate has melted, remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
  3. Combine mango pulp, sugar and glucose in a saucepan over medium heat, stir until sugar and glucose dissolves, and mixture starts to boil. Remove from heat. Add the gelatin and mix until it dissolves. Stir in cream and pour the mixture over the chocolate, mix well. Use the glaze when it is around 30C.
  4. Wrap the mousse ring with a hot towel for 30 seconds. Remove the towel and then slide the mousse ring off the cake. Pour the glaze on the cake in a circular motion. Allow the glaze to drip dry. Store the cake in the fridge.

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Dark chocolate parfait and plated in two ways

23 Oct

I have been watching a lot of reality cooking shows. I admire the contestants who can undergo a huge amount of pressure but still create amazing dishes. They do not only create delicious food but also put up gorgeous plating. One of the dish that I have seen a lot recently from the cooking show and I want to make is the parfait. Although I haven’t tried it before but I determined to make it and present it just like the contestants!

I have done some research for the recipes. They all make a large quantity that can server 4-6 people, but I only want something as small as serving 2 people. I cut down the quantity of the ingredients and made up my own recipe. I wasn’t sure if the ratio of the ingredients had been changed and the parfait might not set properly. What I could do is to run it from my gut and hope for the best. At the end they came out perfectly! They were silky and smooth. The texture is between mousse and ice cream.

One more thing I have learnt from the cooking shows is the texture of the food is very important. One dessert normally has 3 or more elements on the plate. Restaurant quality desserts can have 5 to 10 elements! To make it more interesting a soft element is always accompany with a crunch element. I am just an amateur home cook therefore I just use what I can find from my pantry to whip up the crunchy elements. The first one was biscuit crumb. It is self-explanatory – crush a biscuit until is crumble. The second is LSA praline because I didn’t have any nuts but some LSA (ground linseed, sunflower seeds and almonds) instead. I simply poured some sugar syrup on the LSA, let it cool and harden. I only had 2 elements in the plates but the presentation had been transformed to a different level. I was very happy with the plating. The simple chocolate parfaits were much attractive after some simple decorations. 🙂

Dark Chocolate Parfait

Made 4 x 6.5cm half circles

  • 1/2 tsp gelatin, 1 tsp water
  • 50g dark chocolate
  • 2 Tbsps sugar, 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup cream
  1. Bloom the gelatin in the water, set aside.
  2. Melt the chocolate in the microwave at 10 second interval until it is completely melt.
  3. Combine the sugar and water in a pan on high heat, stir until the sugar dissolve. Continue cooking until it becomes syrupy.
  4. Beat the cream until it reaches soft peak.
  5. Beat the egg until it is fluffy, gradually pour in the sugary syrup along the side of the bowl and continue beating.
  6. Add the gelatin to the pan that cooks the sugar syrup. Use the residual heat to melt the gelatin. If it is not hot enough then put it on low heat to melt.
  7. Beat the gelatin to the egg mixture. Add melt chocolate and continue beating.
  8. Fold in the whipped cream and mix well.
  9. Pour the mixture into the silicone mold. I used 6.5 cm diameter half circle mold. Put it in the freezer to set (4 hours or more).