Fresh Fruit Tart


fruit tart

I made mini fruit tarts four years ago.  Since it takes a long time to mould each tart with the dough, I wanted to try a regular size one.  I used the same recipe to make a big tart but the crust just fell apart.  Now I found Paula Deen’s recipe for the tart shell which got a lot of good reviews.  I made the tart today and the crust is so tasty, flaky and fresh!

Tart Crust:

60g
170g
220g
Powdered Sugar
Unsalted Butter (softened)
All Purpose Flour

Cream Filling:

1-3/8 cups
60g
15g
a tiny pinch
2
30g
1/2 teaspoon
Milk (could be a combination of milk and cream)
Sugar
Cornstarch
Salt
Egg yolks
Butter
Vanilla extract

Directions:

Crust:

  1. Combine flour, sugar and butter in a food processor and process until the mixture forms a ball.  (Picture A)
  2. With your fingers, press the dough into an 11-inch or 12-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.  Push the crust into the indentations in the sides, pat until the crust is even.  (Pictures B and C)
  3. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes.

Crust

4.  Preheat the oven to 350 F, bake for 20 minutes until it’s lightly browned.  Set aside to cool.

crust baked

Filling:

  1. In a food processor, add milk, sugar, cornstarch, salt, and egg yolks, (in that order) to blender.  Blend 10 seconds and pour into 2-quart glass microwave-safe bowl. Microwave 3 minutes on HIGH, whisking until smooth and microwave for another 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add butter and vanilla and whisk until smooth.   Remove from heat and let it cool.
  3. Place plastic wrap on top the filling without leaving any gap.  This will prevent the filling from forming a hard layer on top.  Once it’s cool, put it in the fridge.  (see picture below)

6

Assembly:

Wash all fruits, I like apples, strawberries, blueberries, grapes and kiwis.  To keep sliced apples from turning brown, you can soak them in salt water.  Fill a bowl of water and add 1/4 teaspoon of salt.

5

  1. Whisk filling before applying to the crust, especially when you make it ahead of time and keep it in the fridge.  (Picture 1)
  2. Spread filling over the cooled crust.  (Picture 2)
  3. For the first layer, place apple slices.  (Picture 3)
  4. For the next circle, place strawberry slices.  (Picture 4)
  5. For the next circle, use green grapes.  (Picture 5)
  6. Add another circle of red grapes.  Filling in any spaces with blueberries and put a couple of kiwi slices in the center.  (Picture 6)

fruit tart steps

Optional:

For the glaze, you can warm apricot preserves and water and brush on top of the fruits.

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Shrimp Pad Thai


Pad Thai

This is the second dish I learned from the cooking class at The Gourmandise School.  You can use chicken, pork, beef, tofu or a combination.  People may get confused with Pad Thai and Pad See Ew – Pad Thai is thin rice noodles cooked with tamarind paste and has a little sweet and sour taste.  Pad See Ew is thick rice noodle cooked with soy sauce which is similar to Chinese Chow Fun (fried rice noodles).  Both Pad Thai and Pad See Ew are very popular dishes in Thai restaurants.  Making this dish is as easy as making the Panang Curry with Chicken.

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Ingredients: (serves 4)

8 oz Thai rice stick
¼ cup Oil
2 Shallots, chopped
4 cloves Garlic, minced
½ pound Medium shrimp cut in half
½ cup Extra firm tofu, sliced (optional)
2 Tbsps Tamarind paste
4 Tbsps Sugar
2 Tbsps Fish sauce
2 Tbsps Thin soy sauce
1 tsp Ground chili flakes
2 Eggs
2 Limes
1 cup Bean sprouts
6 Scallions cut into 1 inch pieces
½ cup Roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Directions:

  1. Soak the noodles in warm water while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.  (picture 1)
  2. Peel the shrimp , using a small knife to cut the back of the shrimp until you see the vein.  Remove the vein carefully and cut shrimp in half.  (picture 2)
  3. Using a wok or large saute pan, heat oil over medium high heat.  Add shallot and garlic until slightly brown.  (picture 3)
  4. Add shrimp and stir fry for a few seconds until fragrant.  (picture 4)
  5. Stir in the tamarind paste, sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce and ground chili flakes. (picture 5)
  6. With your hands, pull the noodles out of the water and add to the pan.  Toss noodles thoroughly with sauce mixture until tender.  Taste a noodle, if it’s not tender, splash in a bit of the soaking water and cook until noodles soften.  (picture 6)
  7. Make a space in the middle of the pan or on the side of the pan, add the eggs and more oil if needed.  Scramble until barely set and mix in with noodles.  (picture 7)
  8. Add lime juice.  Taste noodles, if you feel that it needs more seasoning such as fish sauce, sugar, etc. add to taste.  (picture 8)
  9. Toss with tofu (optional), bean sprouts and scallions.  (picture 9)
  10. Serve on a platter  and sprinkle chopped peanuts.

Pad Thai steps

Notes:

  • I found it easier to cook this with a wok.
  • Tamarind paste is not easy to find but can be purchased at Thai supermarkets.
  • I soaked noodles in water for at least 2 hours.

 

Panang Curry with Chicken


Panang Curry with Chicken

Last week, I attended a cooking class which was arranged by my company.  It was very nice and fun learning/cooking with my colleagues.  The chef, Jamie at The Gourmandise School, taught us how to cook Thai cuisine as well as use proper cutting techniques.  I love Thai food but have never tried making it at home.  I’m surprised how easy it is to make Pad Thai and Panang Curry with chicken.  After the class, I made those two dishes again for my family and everyone loved it.  Below is the recipe for Panang Curry with Chicken from the cooking school.  I will publish the recipe for Pad Thai in my next post.

Ingredients:  (Serves 4)

1 can Coconut milk
1 Tbsp Vegetable oil
¼ cup Panang curry paste
2 Tbsps Fish sauce
1 pound Boneless skinless chicken breast
½ cup Chicken stock
2 Tbsps Brown sugar
3 Kaffir lime leaves
½ cup Thai basil leaves

DSC_8663

Directions:

  1. Cut chicken breast into cubes. (picture 1)
  2. Separate coconut cream and milk from can and place cream in medium saucepan along with vegetable oil and curry paste.  Heat over medium high and cook for 2 minutes.  Stir constantly. (pictures 2-4)
  3. Add remaining coconut milk, chicken stock, sugar, fish sauce and Kaffir lime leaves.  Simmer for 5 minutes.  (pictures 5-9)
  4. Add chicken and simmer until just cooked.  Taste for seasoning.  (picture 10)
  5. Slice basil leaves and add in to chicken curry.  (picture 11)
  6. Serve over white rice.  (picture 12)

Panang Curry with Chicken Steps

Notes:

  • I simmered the chicken for 45 minutes and also added potatoes.
  • I found it hard to purchase all ingredients, especially the Kaffir lime leaves.  Kaffir lime leave is highly aromatic and provides a light citrus flavor.  I would not want to omit this ingredient.  One of my co-workers has a little bush, he was nice enough to give me some leaves.
  • All ingredients can be found in Thai supermarkets.  I purchased mine in a Chinese/Vietnamese supermarket.
IMG_1741

This is my team

IMG_1760

All students in the cooking class

 

 

Egg Waffle / Bubble Waffle / Egg Puff / Gai Daan Jai (雞蛋仔)


Egg Waffles - 3

Since I mentioned in my Boot Jai Go post that one of the most popular Hong Kong street vendor’s snacks is egg waffle, I must introduce and record a recipe on my blog.  According to Wikipedia, egg waffles were ranked No.1 in a 100 most popular Hong Kong street snack listing.  There are many English names (bubble waffle, egg puff, eggettes, just to name a few), but its Cantonese name is Gai Daan Jai (meaning little eggs).  One story says the enterprising post-war generation created the egg-shaped mould to make up for an eggless batter as eggs became a luxury in China.  Grocery stores would take the cracked eggs and sell the perfect eggs to customers.  Throwing away the cracked eggs would be a waste of money, so they turned the eggs into batter and sold them as waffles.  After making the egg waffles with the semi-spherical cell pans (pan base is deeper and the cover is shallower), they look like small eggs.  I guess this is how it got its name “little eggs”.

Ingredients:  (makes 5)

210g All purpose flour
10g Baking powder
15g Custard powder
42g Tapioca starch
3 Eggs
210g Granulated Sugar
42g Low fat milk
210ml Very cold water
42g Vegetable oil
3 drops (slightly less than ¼ tsp) Vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Measure all ingredients, set aside.  (picture 1)
  2. Pour all ingredients into a blender (except vegetable oil and vanilla extract), blend until well mixed.  (picture 2)
  3. Add in vanilla extract and oil and blend until combined.  (pictures 3 and 4)
  4. Strain the batter through a sieve.  (picture 5)
  5. Warm up each side of the mould and brush a thin layer of oil on each side. (picture 6)
  6. Pour the egg batter onto the mould with a ladle and close the mould.  Hold the handles firm to keep two sides tight.   I turned the fire to medium high.  (picture 7)
  7. After 1-2 minutes, flip the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes.  You can slightly open the pan to check if the the waffle is slight brown.  (picture 8)
  8. Remove the egg waffle from the mould with a fork and place it on a cooling rack.  (picture 9)

Egg Waffles Steps

It should be served hot or warm (cold is not as good). The waffles are crispy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside.Egg Waffles - 2

This egg waffle mould/pan makes waffles over the stove.  For first time use, clean the pan thoroughly. The first 2 waffles should be discarded.  There are some fancy electricity-powered makers that make perfect egg waffles and you don’t need to pay too much attention to the cooking process or need any skill.   However, one owner of the waffle shop said “If the skill isn’t there, it doesn’t matter how good your ingredients are.”  IMG_9924

Note:  Some recipes say the batter should be refrigerated for at least an hour in order to make a perfect egg waffle.  To skip this step, I substituted room temperature water with icy-cold water.  The result is the same.

Yummy!Egg Waffles - 4

Rose Shaped Steamed Buns/Mantou (玫瑰花饅頭)


Rose Shaped Mantous

My friend, Janet who loves to cook and bake, was nice to share her buns with me last week.  It was a lovely purple color as it was made with purple yam.  When food is turned into an art piece, it makes the food more appealing.  Since it tasted and looked so good, I decided to make some, but with carrot juice to get a bright orange color.

I posted a recipe for making the milk mantou 4 years ago, and I used that recipe for the white petals.  Both milk mantou and carrot juice mantou recipes are listed below (for a total of 24 pieces).

Ingredients for orange petals:

500g All purpose flour
300ml Carrot juice
35g Sugar
5g Yeast
1/4 tsp Salt
1 Tbsp Vegetable oil

Ingredients for white petals:

500g All purpose flour
300ml Fat free milk
35g Sugar
5g Yeast
1 Tbsp Vegetable oil

Directions:

You will need 3-4 carrots to get 300ml of carrot juice depending on the size of the carrots.

Carrot juice

  1.  Prepare all ingredients, one set for the orange petals and one set for the white petals.  Combine all ingredients for the orange petals in a mixing bowl, attach the dough hook and mix the ingredients with low speed.  Knead the dough until smooth (about 10 minutes).  Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.  Repeat this step for the ingredients for the white petals (pictures 1, 2 and 3).
  2. During the 10-minute resting period, make sure to cover the container with plastic wrap.  (picture 4)
  3. Take the dough out, punch down with your hands to deflate, and cut into half.  Cover the second half with plastic wrap to keep it soft.  Roll out the dough and roll it tightly to form a log.  (picture 5)
  4. Cut the log into pieces and each piece should weigh about 20g.  Cover pieces with plastic wrap. (picture 6)
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for the orange petals.  (picture 7)
  6. Roll each piece thinly like gyoza wrappers.  (picture 8)
  7. You will need 3 pieces of the orange dough and 3 pieces of the white dough, alternate the colors. (picture 9)
  8. Roll the dough up (roll from the right hand side) to form a small thick log.  (picture 10)
  9. Cut the rolled up dough in half from the center.  When you turn the dough up, you will see the pretty rose shape and shape the petals with your fingers.  (picture 11)
  10. Pour some cold water in the bottom of the steamer.   Place rose shaped buns in the steamer lined with parchment paper, cover and let the buns rise for 20 minutes.   Make sure to space out the buns (picture 12)
  11. After the final rise, boil water and steam the buns for 15 minutes until they are cooked and puffed.

steps

Mantou 1

P.S.  Don’t skip the final rise, otherwise the bun outer layer won’t be fluffy.

Roast Prime Rib with Thyme Au Jus


Prime Rib

I adapted this recipe from Food Network, it is Bobby Flay’s recipe.  I always had delicious prime rib at my relatives during holidays.  They served their prime rib with very light au jus (like clear beef broth).  Since I wanted a richer au jus, Bobby Flay’s recipe contains red wine and everyone said it was amazing.  All those good comments caught my eye.  So, tonight to celebrate Easter, I roasted my prime rib for the very first time.  The only change I made was the temperature – I adjusted it down to 120F instead of 135F.   I am glad that I did that as the temperature continued to cook the meat during the resting period.  My husband only likes medium rare, so I had to make sure he gets his tender piece.  This recipe made me feel like I was a professional chef!

Picture below is a small piece of roast I purchased from the market, it is slightly less than 5lbs (bone-in 3 ribs).  The cooking time is about 1.5 hours, but don’t rely on the cooking time, you should use an oven thermometer to avoid overcooking.

a

Ingredients:  (If your roast is bigger than 5 lbs, please follow Bobby Flay’s recipe for the liquid amount)

1 bone-in prime rib (about 5 lbs)
8 cloves garlic, cut in half
Salt and coarsely ground black pepper
1 cup red wine (I used Cabernet, Bobby Flay’s was Merlot)
2 cups beef stock
1 tablespon chopped fresh thyme leaves

Directions:

  1.  Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Generously sprinkle salt and pepper on meat.  (picture 1)
  3. Make small slits all over the prime rib and push garlic pieces into each slit.  (picture 2)
  4. Place roast on a rack set inside a roasting pan and insert the thermometer into the center at the thickest part, away from bone.  (picture 3)
  5. Set temperature to 120F, when the internal temperature reaches 120F, it will alarm you.  (picture 4)
  6. Remove the meat to a platter and cover with foil to keep warm.

prime rib steps

  • While the meat is resting, discard all the fat from the roasting pan but keep the pan drippings.  Place the pan on top of the stove over 2 burners set on high heat and add 1 cup of wine.  (picture A)
  • When the wine is reduced, add in 2 cups of beef stock and cook until reduced by half.  (picture B)
  • Whisk in 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves.  (picture C)
  • Use a wooden spoon to mix the au jus and add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.  (picture D)

AU JUS

  • Transfer the au jus to a gravy bowl  and serve.

10

Mini Red Bean Pudding Cake (砵仔糕 Boot Jai Go / Put Chai Ko)


boot-chai-go

Boot Jai Go aka Put Chai Ko is a popular snack sold by street vendors in Hong Kong.  Traditionally, these pudding cakes were steamed in earthen bowls, which in Chinese means “Boot Jai”.  This is how it got its name “Boot Jai” pudding.  These pudding cakes are made from white or brown sugar, rice flour and wheat starch.  Sometimes red bean is also added.  I still remember during my childhood in Hong Kong, the hawker removed the pudding cake from a porcelain bowl by inserting two bamboo sticks and we just held the skewers while eating them.  Besides the Egg waffles, Boot Jai Go is one of Hong Kong’s must try street vendor’s snacks.

Today, I made these pudding cakes using mini muffin trays.  I made two types, one with brown sugar and one with white sugar and coconut cream.  I also made some without red bean as my daughter likes them plain.

Brown Sugar Boot Jai Go:

Ingredients:

60g Wheat Flour 澄麵
90g Rice Flour 粘米粉
110g Dark Brown Sugar 黑蔗糖
2 cup Water 水
1 cup Cooked red beans 熟紅豆

ingredients

Directions:

  1. Pour 1/2 cup of red bean and 1-1/2 cup of water into the pressure cooker, and set the pressure cooking time to 25 minutes (sugar can be added depending on your preference).  Discard water once red bean is cooked and set aside;
  2. Combine wheat starch and rice flour in a big bowl, add 1 cup of cold water to the flour mixture and mix well, make sure the batter has no lumps (picture 1);
  3. In a small pot, combine 1 cup of water and 110g of dark brown sugar, bring to a boil until sugar is dissolved (picture 2);
  4. Quickly pour the hot sugar water into the batter, mix thoroughly (picture 3);
  5. Scope out the batter to a mini muffin tray with a ladle (while transferring the batter, keep mixing the batter as the starch tend to sink to the bottom) (picture 4);
  6. In a big steamer/wok, bring water to a boil.  Transfer the muffin tray to the steamer and steam over high heat for 3 minutes.  Then add red bean to the middle of each pudding and continue steaming for 7 minutes.  If you want to make the plain pudding with red beans, just steam it for 10 minutes straight (picture 5).

puding-cake

Coconut Boot Jai Go:

  1. Replace brown sugar with white sugar, also 110g (picture A);
  2. Instead of 1 cup of boiling water, combine 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of coconut cream (pictures B & C);
  3. Pour sugar, water and coconut cream into a pot, bring to a boil (picture D);
  4. Repeat steps 4-6 above.

coconut-rice-cake

Note:

  • It’s normal that the cake droops in the middle after steaming.
  • You will need to steam this for 30 minutes or so if you use a porcelain bowl depending the size of the bowl.  Red bean can be added to the batter just prior to steaming.

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