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Saturday, January 13, 2018

No-bake strawberry cheesecake


Happy New Year, peeps!!!

How's your New Year's baking resolutions coming along?!

Well, it's early days yet lol 


Lately, the weather here smoggy Hongkong is almost perfect, cold and sunny during the day, really good for lazing around, doing nothing at all. Much as I would like to stay in bed until the next season of Game of Thrones, I've got to earn my keep...... Nah, I've got 500 grams of Kiri cream cheese lurking in the fridge lol 

I was planning to assemble another Fraisier but it would be easier and faster to do the cream cheese filling than crème diplomat. So, I repurpose the 3 components of that cake and made this delicious and summery treat.  Or should I say wintry treat as strawberries here are a winter crop?! 


This is the first time that I used sponge cake as a base for no-bake cheesecake. Since matcha/green tea pairs perfectly well with strawberries, using the matcha genoise sponge is a no-brainer. The sweet sponge is a delightful foil to the pillowy and sinful cream cheese filling - the sweet-tarty fresh strawberries and compote add a delicious texture and flavour. No time or inclination to make a genoise sponge? You can use 100 grams biscuit crumbs and 25-30 grams melted butter for your cheesecake base instead.

There's actually some strawberry compote in the cream cheese filling, I only used 50 grams though and should have used more for some colour contrast *sigh*

The strawberry compote recipe is a bit time consuming and if you're one of those who can't be bothered to make a homemade purée...... You can always use your favourite strawberry sauce recipe.

The cream cheese batter is firm enough to decorate the top with berries before chilling, just gently press each slices of strawberry on top so that berries will stick on the batter.


Genoise sponge, recipe adapted from Okashi

Makes one 18-cm round cake (I baked mine in a 12-inch square pan at 190ºC for 15 minutes) 

115 grams pastry or top flour (I used cake flour)
5 grams matcha, sifted 3 times together with cake flour
170 grams eggs
130 grams caster sugar
15 grams glucose
30 grams unsalted butter, softened
45 grams fresh whole milk (I used UHT) 
1 tsp vanilla extract

* Preheat oven to 170ºC. Line na 18-cm round pan with removable bottom with parchment paper. Sift flour twice.

* In a bowl , beat eggs with a whisk, add in sugar and glucose, mix well. Place bowl over a pot of simmering water. Stir mixture until sugar is completely dissolved or temperature has reached 39-40ºC.

* Take bowl out from the heat and beat on high speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and continue beating to even out the texture of the batter, 1 minute. Gently fold in the flour with a spatula .

* Combine butter , milk and vanilla in a small bowl and heat until butter is melted. Add about 1/4 of the egg batter to the warm butter mixture and mix well, add it to the batter and fold evenly. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for about 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

* Once cake is done, immediately remove from the pan and put on a wire rack, you can cover it with plastic wrap or place the cake inside a food-grade plastic bag to keep it moist. Let cool completely before using.

* Cut matcha sponge cake using a 6-inch mousse ring, trim it into 1/2-inch thick. Place mousse ring on a baking sheet lined with an 8-inch round parchment or wax paper. Put mould on top of the parchment and gently place the trimmed sponge, cover with plastic and set aside until needed.

Matcha syrup:

* Combine 25 grams caster sugar and 50 grams drinking water in a small saucepan. Let boil until sugar in completely dissolved, stirring from time to time. Cook over medium heat for about 1 minute to thicken a bit. Transfer to a small heat-proof bowl and let cool for about 5 minutes before sifting in 1 gram of matcha powder. Stir until matcha is dissolve completely, set aside.

* Brush some syrup on top of the matcha sponge, set aside.

Cream cheese filling: 

200 grams whipping cream
250 grams (Kiri) cream cheese, cut into small cubes, at room temp
50 grams strawberry purée
60 grams condensed milk
6 grams gelatine sheets
8 grams milk

50 grams strawberry purée

250 grams washed and hulled fresh strawberries , cut each piece into 2

* In a bowl, beat cream until soft peaks form, chill in the fridge until needed.

* Soak gelatine sheets in a bowl of cold water for about 10 minutes or until softens. Squeeze off excess water and combine with milk in a small bowl. Place bowl in a pot of barely simmering water, stir until gelatine is completely melted. Keep mixture warm.

* In another bowl, combine cream cheese and condensed milk and beat until light and fluffy. Drizzle in the melted gelatine and continue beating until cream cheese batter is smooth. Fold in the whipped cream and stir until well incorporated, stir in strawberry purée.

* Immediately pour in the cream cheese batter into the prepared 6x2-inch pan and smooth out the top. Place cut strawberries on top of the cream cheese filling, gently pressing in berries onto the batter, in a concentric circle, angling the 2nd circle halfway on top of the 1st circle with tip facing outwards. Do the same with the rest of the strawberries until top is completely covered. Chill in the fridge overnight. If the batter is a bit soft when you put in the berries, chill in the fridge first to firm up the batter, about 30 minutes or so.

To unmould the cheesecake: 

* Ran the hairdryer/blowdryer around the sides of the mould for few minutes. Gently shake the mould until cheesecake pops down.

* Use a metal spatula dipped in hot water ( wipe it dry first) to smooth out the sides of the cheesecake. Chill for about 30 minutes before adding in the compote.

* Gently spoon in the compote (use only the sauce, not the strawberry bits) along the sides of the strawberry slices and around the edges.

* Cut and serve. You can drizzle some remaining compote in each slice.

Strawberry purée:

250 grams strawberries, rinsed and hulled
25 grams drinking water 
25 grams caster sugar
1 tsp lemon juice

* Place strawberries in a food processor and blitz until smooth.

* Put water and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from heat and and leave to cool slightly.

* Pour warn syrup and lemon juice to the puréed strawberries and mix well. Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl, let cool and chill in the fridge until needed.

Strawberry compote/sauce, recipe adapted from Pâtisserie

15 grams caster sugar
5 grams pectin
100 grams strawberry purée
100 grams strawberries, rinsed, hulled and sliced into small bits

* Mix together the sugar and pectin in a small bowl.

* In a small saucepan, combine the purée and sliced strawberries and bring to a boil. Add the sugar -pectin mixture and cook for 2-3 minutes over medium heat. Pour in a heat-proof container and let cool then chill in the fridge until needed.

Strawberry glaze:

* Combine 25 grams caster sugar and 50 grams drinking water and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolved the sugar. Cook over medium heat for 1 minute to thicken a bit. Transfer to a small heat-proof bowl or glass and stir in 1 tsp strawberry jam. Mix well to combine, let cool completely before using. 

Monday, December 25, 2017

Danish loaf bread - 3 ways - Cocoa / Matcha / Ube ( purple yam )


Ho ! Ho ! Ho ! 

How's the Christmas shopping er baking so far ?

I've been too lazy lately to bake something Christmassy ....

The weather here in smoggy Hongkong is just perfect for lazing around .....


I baked these 2 loaves , matcha and ube , few weeks back , you know , just to remind myself whether it's still easy to roll a buttery dough after more than 2 years of not doing it .

Yup ! It was ! 

Now , now ! No eye-rolling lol 


If you make matcha danish loaf 5 times within a two-week time frame , I'm pretty sure the last one will yield a better result ( fingers crossed ). I usually do the 3-times trial and error when it comes to bread making and if I still can't get it , I just move on to another new recipe .

But not with danish loaf , yeah , because even that 1st ugly bake , the loaf tastes out of this world ! Okay , it was probably the copious amount of butter hee hee ! 

The previous recipe has only 300 something grams dough and 113 grams butter insert , imagine making it for the first time ?! The dough in this recipe is more substantial so rolling it longer and wider is much easier .


These loaves are made the same way as croissants except danish bread dough is kneaded just like most Asian-style bread . And danish dough is not rolled as thinly as croissants .

I decided to add some flavourings to butter and each ingredient certainly adds an interesting swirls of colour and delicious flavour . 




I made the cocoa version 2 days ago and made 4 turns this time . I think I'll stick with 3 turns in making danish loaf from now on . The layers in the crust are much more finer so it doesn't look as distinctive as the layers in both the matcha and ube/purple yam version . 


Use good quality butter in making danish loaf , the higher the butterfat in butter ,  at least 82% , the less it will melt as you roll the dough as the texture is more drier compare to those butter with less fat . The flavour is much more better as well . I used Isigny Ste Mere in matcha and ube/purple yam loaves and Lescure in the cocoa version . Photo of Isigny Ste Mere butter below is salted , I ran out of the unsalted ones weeks ago . The 3 baking shops that I visited doesn't have stocks anymore . Yup , French butter shortage is real tsk tsk ! 


Texture of the crust is shatteringly crisp and the crumb is pillowy-soft . Best eaten the same day it is made , the crust will lose its crispness the next day but will stay soft for days stored at room temperature . I usually toast slices in a non-stick pan for about 2 minutes on each sides , crust may not be as crisp as the day it was made but still delicious nonetheless .


Recipe adapted from Original Flavours

Makes one 8x4-1/2x4-1/4 inch loaf

180 grams bread flour
50 grams cake flour
3 grams instant yeast
15 grams milk powder
1 egg
90 grams cold water
25 grams caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
10 grams butter , softened

115 grams unsalted butter to make a 5 x 5-inch square butter insert

Each ingredient below is for 115 grams butter / 1 recipe of danish loaf 

8 grams ( Valrhona ) cocoa powder 
6 grams ( Uji ) matcha powder
6 grams ube / purple yam powder

* Make the dough : You can knead the dough manually , use stand mixer or bread machine . Knead dough until it pass a window pane test , about 20 to 30 minutes - this is important if you want an enriched bread to be soft for days . Chill the dough in the fridge overnight to proof . Take out dough from the fridge and form into a smooth , round ball . Cover with tea towel and let rest for 20 minutes .

* Make the butter insert : Cut butter into pieces and lay them down side by side on the parchment paper . Sprinkle cocoa / matcha / ube ( purple yam ) on both sides of the butter , pound butter with a rolling pin to soften it a bit , roll evenly and shaping it into a 5-inch square . Chill overnight before using . 


* Roll out dough into 8 x 8-inch square , place butter at an angle , just like a diamond . Roll out each flap/sides into about 4-inch length . Fold each of the flaps to encase the butter within the dough , press edges together to seal .


* Sprinkle some flour on the work surface , also on top of the dough to prevent sticking . Using the rolling pin , press it up and down , creating ridges on top of the dough , this will make both dough and butter adhere better so as elongating it . Do this before you start rolling out the dough .

* Roll out dough into 8 x 15-inch rectangle , do the 3-fold - fold one short side at two-thirds of the length of the rectangle then the other short side over it making 3 layers .


* This is the 1st turn , rotate dough at 90 degrees , the opening should be on the right side , just like a book . You'll have a 5 x 8-inch rectangle after each turn , do this 3 times . Wrap dough in a plastic wrap and put it into the baking sheet then place in the freezer for 20 minutes after each turn .

* Remember to fluff / lift the dough often as you roll it to prevent sticking . Sprinkle some flour as needed as you roll the dough and brush off excess flour using a pastry brush before you do the fold . If there are some holes or tear on the dough , lightly sprinkle with flour and gently tapping it with a finger . 


* After 3 turns , freeze the dough ( also 20 minutes ) for the last time .

* Lightly grease an 8x4-1/2x4-1/4 inch non-stick pullman tin . If using an aluminium pullman tin , grease generously .

* Roll out dough into 6 x 16-inch rectangle , the length should be twice of the pullman tin . Cut dough into 3 equal strips ; cut strips into 3 equal pieces , not cutting the top part through . Do the 3 strand braid , making sure the layered part is exposed at the top . If the strips has gone a bit soft , sprinkle some flour before braiding it . 


* Turn down the braid up-side down and fold into 3 layers , the top of the braid should be in the middle and the lower part should be at the bottom .

* Place the stacked braid , middle side up in the prepared pullman pan , spray dough with water to prevent drying . 


* Cover the pan/tin with plastic wrap / tea towel , place it on the baking sheet and let proof until it fill up about 90 % of the tin or nearly to the rim , 4 to 4 1/2 hours depending on the ambient temperature .

* Preheat oven to 210ºC . 

* Put the cover of the pullman tin , let proof for another 10 to 20 minutes , again , depending on the ambient temperature .

* Bake for 35 - 40 or until crust is golden brown .

* Take out danish loaf immediately out of the tin and place in a wire rack to cool completely before slicing .