Friday, January 31, 2014

Caramel pineapple upside down cake ~ awesome-liciousss ^^


I had very much wanted to share this delish recipe the 1st time I made it late november last year! But the pictures.. ahhh.... never mind.

Since I knew I was going to make them again, I thought I would have better pics.. alas, the pics from the 2nd bake (a few weeks back) and the 3rd bake 2 nights ago was just as bad (oh why do I do this all the time and bake at nights????!!!!)! I give up, so please excuse my pics and get on with this fabulous recipe ^^

Caramel pineapple upside down cake (recipe adapted from simplyrecipes)
~ makes 2 8-inch round cakes
2 scant cups brown/white sugar
1 cup / 227g unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup / 80 ml heavy/whipping cream, room temperature
1 -2 tbsp rum
3 pinches of sea salt, add to own taste

2 big tins of pineapple rings, drained

227g unsalted butter
100g sugar
4 egg yolks
1 tsp rum, optional
200ml sour cream
240g flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder, sifted
4 egg whites
60g sugar

1. Prepare caramel. Cook sugar, butter, cream and rum on medium heat. Do not stir. Bring to a boil and stir in sea salt, and remove from heat. Divide and pour into 2 greased 8-inch round baking tins, or 1*8-inch square tin and 2*8-inch loaf tins. If you encounter this problem where the caramel looks weird ie. caramel and oil separates, or maybe crystallized sugar.. it's ok. Get rid of crystallized sugar by straining the liquid. If you want a gorgeous caramel flavor and color (like I did), cook the sugar to a nice coppery-color (be careful, not black or burnt!), then add butter, cream, rum and sea salt.. read this.

2. Arrange pineapple rings in the baking tins filled with caramel.

3. In a bowl, beat butter and 100g sugar till light and fluffy (don't overbeat!) Add egg yolks one at a time and beat till well combined. Mix in rum..

3. Sift flour+baking powder, and fold into butter mixture in 3 batches. Mix in sour cream till combined. Batter should be nice and smooth now.

4. In a clean bowl, beat egg whites till frothy, and slowly add in 60g sugar. Beat till soft peaks are formed.

5. Fold in egg whites gently into cake mixture in 2 batches. Divide and pour mixture into the cake tins.

6. Bake in a preheated oven of 170C for 50-55 minutes, or till the skewer comes out clean. Remove and turn out cake onto a platter to cool. I love eating it straight from the fridge ^^

I first made this cake for big pig's 1920s whodunit-party. Pineapple upside down cake was the IT cake in the 1920s. And boy, did I receive rave reviews for it! Of course, "AWESOME" was one of them! ^^

Well, I personally find this ooey-gooey cake fabu-licious too! It's the decadent caramel, I swear!


ong lai cake ~ wrapped up in gold ribbon for family & friends ^^ 

Gong Xi Fa Cai

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Kumquat jam ~ nastar rolls and tarts ^^

Kumquats are in season again ^^. And buoyed by kumquat lady, mel's enthusiasm, I couldn't resist and bought 2 tubs of kumquats late December. But before I knew it, they were getting over-ripe and I had to do something about it. That's how this open-faced jam tart (using shortcrust pastry + salted butter) came about.. ^^||

Of course, I also took the opportunity to perfect the kumquat jam in anticipation of a possible attempt at kumquat nastar rolls. And discovered that the jam is somewhat more balanced and yummier with the addition of cinnamon! Trust me on this ^^

Kumquat jam (adapted from melspantrykitchen)
Kumquats, halved and deseeded
Cinnamon powder, to taste

1. Weigh kumquats. Then weigh the same amount for water and half the amount for sugar. ie. kumquats:water:sugar ~ 200g:200g:100g

2. Boil kumquat halves, water and sugar till kumquats turn soft and glossy.

3. Remove and puree kumquat, drained of syrup.

4. Cook kumquat puree with a few pinches of cinnamon powder till nice and dry, or till jam doesn't stick to the sides of the pan.

5. Refrigerate overnight before use.

Well, that practise and mel's advice sure helped in getting the right texture and taste in my 2nd attempt in perfecting kumquat jam for making kumquat nastar rolls. I could actually roll it  into rounds just like with pineapple jam.

Here's my maiden attempt at kumquat nastar rolls ~ not so nicely shaped, but the taste.. delish! And the kumquat jam/filling stayed nicely intact ^^ I'm sorry but I'm too lazy to re-write the wonderful kumquat nastar rolls recipe shared by mel@melspantrykitchen.. so hop over to mel's. ^^

And this is what you make with leftover jam ~ kumquat jam tart.. again, haha! ^^ Just use your favorite shortcrust pastry, and use salted butter for best match with kumquat jam! Because I love lots of buttery, flaky crust, I made a closed jam tart this time ~ just the way I like it! ^^

Btw, I'm serving those oddly-shaped nastar rolls for cny.. fingers crossed no one would notice how "uniquely" shaped it is! ^^

Monday, January 13, 2014

Delicate coconut crisps

I'm starting early.. clearing the fridge, that is. ^^

I never prepare much for CNY.. but clearing the fridge is a must. Why, to fill up with more goodies, of course, haha! ^^

And that's how some egg whites ended up as coconut crisps ^^

Coconut crisps (recipe from alan ooi "new year cookies")
~ makes about 100 pcs (or more ^^)
100g unsalted butter
120g icing sugar (reduced ~ 100g ^^)
100g egg whites
100g plain flour
20g coconut cream powder
20g dessicated coconut
extra 20g dessicated coconut, for decoration

1. Combine butter and icing sugar together, and beat till light and fluffy.

2. Add egg whites and mix till combined (don't worry if it looks curdled). 

3. Fold in flour, coconut cream powder and dessicated coconut into batter.

4. Place mixture into a piping bag and pipe small rounds onto lined baking tray/s. Use the back of a spoon to flatten the rounds by spreading them into thin cookies. Sprinkle generously with dessicated coconut.

5. Bake in a preheated oven of 170C for 10 minutes. Cool and store immediately in airtight container/s.

This is a pretty easy recipe, but it does require a little more effort than the usual cookies.

Lest you think 100 pcs is a lot, it's not! That's because they are so addictive! These delicate crisps are so yums! ^^

And as pretty as the sesame seeds look on the crisps, the original recipe with just dessicated coconut sprinkling tastes best! The sesame seeds kind of overpower the delicate fragrance and flavor of the coconut crisps. Sorry, I didn't take any pictures of the original yummy coconut crisps.. ^^||

Well, so much for my "pretty" idea.. just stick to the original recipe, ok. ^^

Updated: I did have a pix of the original coconut crisps after all ^^

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Almond cookies for CNY ^^

After much drumming of how delicious these cookies are by mel, coupled by the fact I had some almond meal to get rid of.. I finally made my first batch of CNY cookies!

Just so you know, I don't "do" cookies, especially CNY cookies! So this is kind of a "first".. plus I'm early too! ^^

Almond cookies (inspired by mel@melspantrykitchen, recipe by alan ooi "new year cookies")
~ makes about 80 pieces (or more ^^)
120g almond meal
180g plain flour
120g sugar (reduced ~ 100g ^^)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
120ml neutral tasting cooking oil
1 egg yolk, beaten (for glazing)

1. Combine all the dry ingredients and oil together and mix to form a dough.

2. Divide and weigh 7g of dough, and form rounds/balls. Arrange on lined baking tray/s and brush/glaze with beaten egg yolk.

3. Bake in preheated oven of 180C for 15-20 minutes till crust turns golden brown. Cool before storing.

Yup, it's that easy! It's basically a one-bowl mix all! I like ^^

And the taste ~ DELICIOUS! Perfectly crunchy yet melt in the mouth soft! ^^ I can now understand why these cookies are your favorite, mel! ^^

Believe me, these are good! And that's coming from a not-so-big-on-cookies-person like me! Even the last person I expect to like these cookies, baby pig, loves it! I just brought a few pieces for piggies to sample, and they popped them all in a blink! And they, especially baby, were looking for more! ^^

Look no further for the best almond cookies recipe ever! ^^