Sunday, March 22, 2015

Pecan Pie

Who doesn't love Pecan Pies? It's warm and nutty and sweet with a vanilla scent, you can serve with a dollop of cream or icecream!

Oh Lordy! I am nuts about nuts. I love them all. I spotted some pastry base in my last supermarket outing and bought one. Oh well, it will be super quick baking then. I have always wanted to try my hand at pecan pie. So I googled some recipes, and found this Pecan Pie filling recipe from, easy to understand and follow.

50g unsalted butter, chopped 
150g (2/3 cup firmly packed) brown sugar 
160ml (2/3 cup) golden syrup 
3 eggs, lightly beaten 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
240g (2 cups) pecan halves 
Whipped cream, to serve 

Shortcrust pastry 
200g (1 1/3 cups) plain flour 
Pinch of salt 
125g chilled unsalted butter, chopped 
1 egg, lightly beaten

1. To make pastry, combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Add butter and, using your fingers, rub into flour mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Make a well in centre of flour mixture. Combine egg and 1 tablespoon iced water in a small bowl, then pour into well. Using a round-bladed knife, stir until mixture forms a dough. 
2. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a 2.5cm-thick disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. 
3. Preheat oven to 200C. Place dough on a lightly floured work surface and roll out to a 30cm diameter disc. Line pan with dough, then trim and discard excess. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. 
4. Line pastry with baking paper, fill with dried beans or pastry weights and bake for 20 minutes or until light golden. Remove beans and paper. Reduce oven to 175C. 
5. Meanwhile, to make the filling, place butter, sugar and golden syrup in a small saucepan over low–medium heat and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until butter melts and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly. Add eggs and vanilla, and whisk to combine. Scatter pecans over pastry base and pour over golden syrup mixture. Place on an oven tray and bake for 35 minutes or until filling is browned and firm to the touch. Cool in pan to room temperature. 6. Cut pie into wedges and serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice-cream. 

So anyway, back to pecan pie. It is so easy and fast to make with a cheat base. I am sure it will cost must less too. They are too dear to buy, a slice at the work canteen. So I decided that I was going to learn how to make one. I did cheat with a store bought base, so I figure that would would cut down my time immensely. I was feeling a little lazy after a day of making macarons yesterday.

So now, time to relax over a slice of pecan pie and coffee, with some korean drama catch ups!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

FoodIAM French Macaron class

I have had so many fails at macaron making, that I stopped counting. At my last tanty tantrums cries, after yet another fail, I decided that I was going to enrol in a class. Never mind the costs, I was just going to do it!!

Much to my delight, I found that, there was a cooking school in Wagga called Foodiam and they have macaron masterclass in March. So I signed up, enrolled and paid up immediately to ensure my place. What luck! It saves me from having to go to Sydney or Melbourne, (flights and hotel) for classes. Bonus!! The extra money I saved, I can do another class. Thinking of Italian dessert class next.

I didn't think this day would get here, but it sure did, so I went this morning with my bells on! Okay, so I was just a little excited, I am going to learn from a professional! Tania promised me that Melina will have me making these babies like a pro, there won't be any tears!

About the class, for more info, click on the link.
  • Cost $129
  • Demo and hands on approach.
  • Printouts of recipe and instructions are given to attendees.
  • Coffee and tea and cold water are provided. 
  • Runs for 3.5 hours. 
Now, I don't want to give too much away on this blog, it is a very good class, you have to be there to experience it. I am a visual learner, I learn by hands on approach and from looking at demo by the instructor. I could never have made macarons from just recipe printouts alone. Hence why, this was really good class and it works out better for me. I can see now, where I had gone wrong in the past when I made my macarons at home. Sure, a lot of it was because I was just winging it and not following the technical side of recipe. :)

Chef MELINA PUNTORIERO from Manuelina Culinary Institute instructs and demonstrate in the fabulous shiny spacious kitchen. I am totally in love with that kitchen. Then we are paired off to work in a team in a small group. At the end of the class, we get to take home our macarons. I have learned so much this morning. I can't wait to try this at home.... but I have to wait, for the eggs to age, so that I can replicate these macarons at home.

Notes to myself:
  • Aged the eggs to liquify, never use freshly open ones. (Can freeze egg whites, to liquify later for use)
  • Use gel colors, not liquid.
  • Beat egg whites and gel colour first, then when small bubbles formed, add caster sugar, continue on medium speed, till peak and glossy.
  • Add flavours to ganache fillings, never to macaron shells. (My past mistakes) 
  • If ganache is too runny, add whipped butter.
  • After piping, set aside to form skin for 40 minutes before putting in oven.
  • Lower the oven temp (140 deg fan forced for 15 mins) 
  • Always do a wiggle test before taking tray out
  • Put in fridge to cool down faster, before peeling out of baking sheets.
Thank you so much Melina and Tania for an amazing class this morning. I'll be back for other dessert classes. First thing I did when I came home was to crack open some eggs to age. 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Taro Puffs

Taro puffs is one of my favourite thing to eat at Yum Cha. Even though I am not a fan of the pork, I will make an exception for these puffs. And that is saying a lot, when I don't even make exception for sui mais. ( another steamed dumpling, like wontons that has pork). I would eat chicken or seafood dumplings and avoid the pork items whenever I go yumcha.

I have always been fascinated by the outer layer of these taro puffs. I would scratched my head in wonderment, "how do they make the puffs to look like honeycomb pastries?" It is so intricate! Like lace. What kind of sorcery is this? How do I do this magic?? I want this power!!  :)

Then I discovered a recipe on YouTube, hahahahhah and low and behold, today I am trying that recipe. So here goes nothing.  Please go to her blog for recipe ingredients. I have doubled the ingredients to make mine, because I am greedy :)

First, I made the charsiu meat fillings for the dumplings.

Then I steamed one whole taro and smashed it and mixed it with the wheat starch mixes and butter.

And then I pounded on it, like my life depended on it! And finally, fast forward a few steps don't need me to show you a photo of me deep frying these, .....tada.....  a deep fried Taro Puff!

Taro Puffs

Yumcha to me!! Happy happy dance!!!

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