Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Broken glass mini cupcakes and sugar paste pumpkin-topped minis

How's your Halloween prep coming along ? We don't actually celebrate it here , some people just go to Lan Kwai Fong to party , that place is known for its Halloween street party . But some estates here especially the ones with lots of expats do celebrate it by trick or treating . Back home in the Philippines ,we celebrate the next day after Halloween and it's called All Soul's Day . We don't do trick or treating or donning a Halloween costume on the night of October 31st but in the past few years some people do it the American way . The food we usually prepare at home is valenciana , sort of like paella and suman , a sticky rice cake made of glutinous rice , sugar and coconut milk . Visiting the cemetery is a must , bringing candles , flowers and food . Nowadays , All Soul's Day , Filipino-style is a more festive atmosphere , sort of like picnic , in the cemetery .

I decided to make a Halloween-themed cupcakes when I discovered the already expired orange and green sugar paste . The first chocolate cupcake recipe that I tried turned out bland and since I overfilled the liners , the cupcakes look like a mushroom . I tried another recipe and was quiet happy with the utterly chocolaty taste and it's fudgy , too . Though some didn't quiet reach the lip of the liner so , I cheated a bit and cut some smaller cupcake in half and transfer it to some not-so quiet high cupcakes hah ! I bought a new sugar paste , the orange though is more like a neon orange as you can see and the pumpkin looks like a bell pepper *sigh* I like the broken glass cupcakes the most but my broken glass looks spotty and not quiet clear . Oh well , they don't look half-bad , right ?! lol

Are you sure you have enough candies for the trick or treaters ?!

For the cupcakes : 

Please check original recipe @ Taste.com.au 

125 grams unsalted butter , cut into small dices

185 ml water
1 1/2 tablespoons instant coffee powder
100 grams semi-sweet chocolate chips , chopped
75 grams all-purpose flour
75 grams self-raising flour
40 grams ( Valrhona ) dutch-processed cocoa powder
30 grams ground almonds
1 egg , lightly whisked

* Preheat oven to 160°C . Line mini muffin pans with liners . I used 18  2 1/4 x 1 1/4 x 1 1/2-inch mini muffin liners .

* Combine the butter , water , sugar , coffee powder and chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat . Cook , stirring from time to time , until mixture is smooth . Take off from heat and let cool slightly for 10 minutes . 

* Combine the 2 flours and cocoa powder and sift over the chocolate mixture , use a wire whisk and mix until just combined . Add the egg and stir to combine . Divide mixture into the prepared pan , ideal amount in each liner is three-quarters ( 3/4 ) full . 

* Bake for 20-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out with some moist crumbs . Cool completely on a wire rack . 

 For the cream cheese frosting :

Recipe adapted from Jamie's America , page 38 

170 grams cream cheese , at room temperature
57 grams butter , at room temperature
1 cup icing sugar , I used scant 1 cup 
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
zest and juice of 1 lemon  , I used half zest and juice 

* In a medium bowl , combine cream cheese , butter , vanilla and zest and lemon juice ; sift in the icing sugar . Use a whisk or electric beater and mix until smooth . Spoon or pipe onto cupcakes . 

For the " fake blood "

3 tablespoons ( or more if prefer )  raspberry jam , strained 
1/4 teaspoon strawberry paste 

* In a small saucepan , combine jam and paste , stir over medium heat for about 20 seconds . Transfer to a small saucer and let cool before using .

For the "broken glass " aka  clear caramel 

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart 

3/4 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons water 

* Prepare a lightly oiled rimmed baking sheet , set aside .

* In a small saucepan , combine sugar and water , cook over medium heat , don't stir , for 6 to 7 minutes ( depending how thick the saucepan and the stove your using ) or until mixtures starts to turn light gold around the edges . Take pan off heat , pour over clear caramel into the prepared baking sheet , tilt pan to spread caramel over the edges to make a thin layer . Let cool to harden . Break clear caramel into pieces . 

For the sugar paste pumpkin : 

 orange and green sugar paste 

* Roll a small amount of orange sugar paste into a ball , use a pairing knife or a scraper to make a shallow cut around to resemble a pumpkin . Make a small indentation on top and insert in a very small amount of green sugar paste . You can make as many as you like . 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Sonia's melt-in-your-mouth pineapple tarts

Hi guys , it's Anne ! Remember me ?! lol

No , I'm not spending my time at the #OccupyMongkok rally . Heh ! 

Anyway , here's one fool-proof recipe . Sonia was not exaggerating about her melt-in-the-mouth pineapple tart ! I've made several batches of these last Chinese New Year and everybody loved it . I've been hankering over these tarts for weeks and even made the filling 4 days ago but just too lazy to bake until now ugh !

What I love about this recipe is the dough , it's really easy to handle and no matter how you manhandle it , the tart will still be buttery .

Now , making the pineapple filling is another matter . Of course , you can still buy it , baking supplies shops here are selling pineapple filling all-year round . The taste though , in my opinion , of the store-bought one is plasticky . But once you tried making the filling yourself , the second or the 10th time will be a breeze , just be on the lookout once the mixture boils .

Don't worry if I fall off the grid , again , next time , the weather here is ideal for lazing around hee hee ! 

Recipe adapted from Sonia / Nasi Lemak Lover

Makes 34 , 1 2/3 x 2/3-inch tarts ( 15 grams dough and 10 grams filling each ) 

175 grams salted butter , softened 
70 grams condensed milk 
1 large egg yolk
255 grams all-purpose flour 

1 egg , beaten then strained . for glazing 

* Place butter and condensed milk into a large bowl , beat over medium speed until light and fluffy .  Add in the yolk and beat until just combined then add in the flour , mix until well combined . 

* Preheat oven to 175°C .

* Weigh dough and filling , 10 grams filling and 15 grams dough . Flatten dough into circle , about 2 inches in diameter , place filling and roll dough to seal , place into the baking sheet . You can form it into a small ball , square or rectangle , use a pairing knife or a scraper to make a shallow cut ( crisscross pattern ? ) on top . Brush top with egg wash .

* Bake for 20 to 22 minutes or until top is golden brown . Let cool in the pan before removing .

* If using a counter top oven , place baking sheet on the second highest rack when baking the tarts .

Pineapple filling : 

Yield : 360 grams

1 pineapple / 985 grams peeled weight , puréed
150 grams granulated sugar , adjust accordingly

* Place puréed pineapple in a wok or a large pan and cook over medium-high heat , stirring from time to time ( mixture will splatter madly so put on the cover ) for 25 minutes . Once the mixture turns a bit dry , add in the sugar ( it will splatter again for few minutes ) and continue to cook for another 15 minutes , stirring from time to time or until mixture is thick .

* Transfer mixture into a bowl and let cool completely before using .