Friday, September 25, 2015

Matcha and chocolate snowskin mooncake with mung bean filling and some with homemade ( almost ) Cherry Garcia ice cream

Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the most important event in Chinese traditional holidays . This festival was a time to enjoy the succesful harvest with food offerings in honor of the moon (Wiki )

Today , it is more of a family gathering or reunion , kids carrying brightly-lit lanterns at night and making or buying and giving mooncakes .

Traditional mooncake is made from Chinese pastry crust with rich filling either from red bean paste or lotus seeds and may contain yolk(s) from salted ducks egg(s) and baked . Though this kind of mooncake is still popular here in Hongkong , some people prefer the snowskin mooncake which was popularized  by Taipan bakery .

Snowskin mooncake is made from glutinous rice , flour , sugar , milk and oil and the filling is usually mungbean paste and must be stored in the freezer  . Some version have fruits , chocolate , cream cheese or any fillings under the sun  that pastry chefs can think of .

Making snowskin mooncake is pretty easy just like making a mochi but much prettier . Different kinds of plastic moulds are used to create different patterns . In these mini version  , I used a 50 grams mould and filled some pieces with both mung bean and ice cream and made a sort of matcha mochi ice cream mooncake  . The filling is wrapped inside the cooked snowskin dough , dusted with some cooked glutinous rice flour to prevent sticking then pressed into the desired mould . This kind of mooncake should be kept frozen .

I had a hard time with ice cream filling though , it should be soft enough  but not melting when you wrap the snow skin over it . By the time I wrapped it , there was a tear here and there and the ice cream started to leak out . You have to patient when making this which sadly ,  I was short of it that day lol If you want to try your hand in filling the snowkin with ice cream , try it half skin and half filling . Flavor-wise , you can barely tastes the matcha and chocolate flavor though , I think it was muted by the amount of coconut milk . And for the mungbean filling , it's way better than the one I made last time !

Recipe adapted from Homemade Delightful Fruit Desserts by Charles Ho

Snowskin :

110 grams coconut milk
70 grams fresh milk
35 grams caster sugar
10 grams vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
25 grams rice flour
20 grams wheat starch
20 grams glutinous rice flour
10 grams cake flour

40 grams cooked/fried sweet glutinous rice flour for coating

* Sift together rice flour , wheat starch , glutinous rice flour , and cake flour , set aside .

* Bring coconut milk , milk , sugar , oil and vanilla to the boil , reduce to low heat . Add in the sifted dry ingredients , stir until dry ( about 4 minutes ) . Transfer to a bowl , let cool and chill in the fridge to loosen texture . You can make this a day ahead . I made 13 ( 20 grams each ) mini mooncake from this using 50 grams mold .

If you want to use ***cocoa powder , add 5 grams and reduce glutinous rice flour to 13 grams .  ***If using matcha or coffee powder , 3 grams , no need to reduce the flour .

Mungbean / green been paste :

80 grams skinned mungbean
35 grams coconut milk
15 grams butter
15 grams caster sugar
85 grams condensed milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
20 grams custard powder
8 grams wheat starch
8 grams milk powder

100 grams mango , diced and frozen , for filling ( omitted this )
ice cream , optional

*  Soak green beans in water for 20 minutes . Drain and rinse . Place in a saucepan and add enough water to cover the beans ( I used 1 1/2 cups ) , let boil and cook over low heat for about 20 minutes or until soft and mushy , drain ( not much water left to drain , in my case ) . Add in coconut milk and blend into a paste . You can use a fine sieve , use a spoon or a spatula to push the mixture through it or to make your life easier , use a food blender /food processor/ immersion blender .

* Heat butter in a pan or a small saucepan , add in the green bean paste and the remaining ingredients . Mix well and stir until dry ( I cooked the mixture over medium heat for about 6 minutes ) . Let cool and wrap with a cling film , chill in the fridge before using . You can make this ahead .

* Divide snowskin and filling and roll into a small balls . If you have have a 75 grams mould , 30 grams snowskin and 45 grams filling . Or if you have 50 grams mould , 20 grams snowskin , 30 grams filling .

* Flatten one snowskin dough thinly and place filling into the center and roll into a ball , coat with fried glutinous rice , brushing excess flour before pressing into the mould .

* Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper and continue with the rest . Put in the freezer several hours before consuming . Let mooncake stand at room temperature for about 5 minutes before eating . The snowskin mooncake ice cream must be eaten straight from the freezer .

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Matcha danish loaf and croissants

Warning : Lots of photos ahead !

Looking for a croissant loaf recipe ?! This matcha danish loaf is made from croissant dough  and just like a croissant .....

Croissant is a flaky , buttery pastry made from yeast-leavened dough and butter . The butter is enclosed inside the dough , rolled and folded several times then rolled into a thin sheet , this technique is called laminating . This process results in a layered , flaky texture ( wiki )

The danish loaf is made the same way as croissant in this recipe except of course  , when shaping .

The recipe is pretty straighforward well , after I figured it out by reading other croissant recipes .

The problem with some bilingual books is that some of the instructions are a bit spotty and this book is no exception . If not for the photo of the danish loaf in the book , very pretty ( but the photo of the croissants doesn't impress me much ) and the reasonable amount of butter ( only 115 grams  ) , I wouldn't be so tempted to try the recipe . Hey , aren't you glad that I did ? lol

If you want to make this recipe and it's as hot as Hades in your side of the world , turn on the aircon , trust me , it'll make your life easier .

Buy the best butter you can find because you'll be the one who's gonna eat most of it . I used Beurre d'Isigny in almost all of the loaves and croissants that I made except in matcha loaf , in which I used Paysan Breton .

The photos in this post are the combination of my several baked danish loaf and the 3rd attempt at croissant making . Photos of the step by step instructions are mostly from matcha loaf and croissant .

I used 2 grams of yeast in baking both danish loaf ( original and matcha flavor ) and the croissant . Final dough may vary depending on how much extra flour I've added while kneading the dough .

My step by step instructions below are mostly based from what I've read at Joanne Chang's Flour , too and from Bouchon Bakery's croissant recipe . The original instructions from the book is at the bottom .

Recipe adapted from Homemade professional bakery-style bread by Charles Ho

Makes 1 8 x 4-inch loaf or 8 pieces 6-inch croissants plus 1 and 1/2 small croissants from scraps

Final dough in matcha danish loaf is 311 grams and 317 grams in matcha croissant

My slight substitutions in red

7 grams fresh yeast 2 grams instant yeast
15 grams caster sugar
2 grams salt
8 grams milk powder
8 grams Uji matcha powder
115 grams bread flour
45 grams cake flour 40 grams cake flour
40 grams ( beaten ) egg
20 grams fresh milk
45 grams water ( 50 grams water in croissant ) 
20 grams unsalted butter , cut into small cubes , at room temperature

115 grams butter block 4'' x 4' square

egg wash

* Combine all ingredients except the butter and knead until gluten starts to form . Add in butter and continue to knead until dough is smooth and elastic , about 20 - 25 minutes . Shape dough into a ball then flatten into a rough rectangle . Place dough into the baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap . Chill in the fridge overnight , 8-10 hours ( figure 1 )

* Roll out dough into a 6 inch square , draw a 4 inch square as a guide ( for the butter ) and roll the 4 flaps at the sides . The middle of the dough should be thicker ( figure 2 )

* Place butter into the center ( figure 3 ) and close all 4 sides ( figure 4 and 5 ) Use the palms of both hands , firmly press down  the dough to create a 6-inch square (figure 6 )

*  Roll out dough to 12'' x 8'' rectangle ( figure 7 )  and do a 3 fold , just like folding a letter ( figures 8 and 9 ) . Rotate dough ( you'll have a 4 x 8-inch rectangle  after each turn ) at 90 degrees so that the opening is on the right ( figure 10 ) . The process of folding and rotating is called '' turning the dough '' .

* Place dough into a baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap . Put in the freezer for 20 minutes .

* Remember to lift or fluff the dough often and dust the work surface and the dough with flour to prevent sticking . Brush off any excess flour off the dough .

* Do the 3 folds 3 times and freeze dough for 20 minutes after each turn .

* As you complete each turn , you'll have 3 layers of evenly stacked dough . Rather than immediately rolling out these layers with back and forth motion , use the rolling pin and press it down firmly onto the length of the dough , creating ridges in the dough as you compact it ( figure 11 ) Once the dough is press down all over , roll the pin back and forth , smoothing out the the ridges as you flatten and roll .

* After the final turn with 4'' x  8'' rectangle  ( figure 12 ) . Freeze for the last time .

* For Danish loaf :  Roll out dough into 16 x 4-inch rectangle , the length of the dough should be twice the size of the loaf tin  , I used a 8 x 4-inch pullman tin . Cut into 3 or 4 strips and braid the strips of dough .

* Place both ends of the braid on the middle then put it into the tin up side down . Cover with plastic wrap , place tin onto the baking sheet and let proof until it fill up 80 or 90 % of the tin , about 4 to 5 hours .

* Preheat oven at 200°C . Brush top of the loaf with egg wash . Place the baking sheet at the lowest rack ( I use a table top oven ) and immediately lower the temperature to 180°C .

* Bake for 33 minutes or until loaf is golden . If the  top of the loaf starts to turn brown  , cover top with foil .

For the croissant : 

* Roll out dough to 15 x 8-inch rectangle . Starting at the bottom left corner of the rectangle , make a mark every 3-inches , you'll have 8 pieces 3 x 8-inch rectangle plus 2 scraps . 

* Pick one triangle and hold the base with one hand and gently stretch the length with your other hand to elongate it to about 10-inches in length . Place the lengthened triangle on the work surface and roll starting from the base , place in a baking sheet lined with parchment paper . 

* Let proof for about 2 hours or until doubled in size .

* Preheat oven to 200°C . Brush each croissants with egg wash . Place baking sheet in the middle rack and immediately lower temperature to 180°C . Bake croissants for 20 minutes . 

Original instructions :

Makes 10 to 12 croissants

* Put fresh yeast , caster sugar , salt , milk powder , egg  , fresh milk  , water  , bread flour and cake flour in a mixing bowl

* Use the spiral hook of a handheld electric mixer to combine ingredients at low speed . Add butter and mix until dough becomes shiny and smooth and can be stretch to thin membrane . Flatten dough with palm to rectangle shape . Chill in fridge and let ferment for 20 minutes .

* Roll out croissant butter with rolling pin until thin and soft .

* Remove dough from the fridge and roll out thinly . Wrap the entire piece of croissant butter with dough  .

* Roll out thinly with rolling pin to form a rectangle . Fold it into thirds 3x3x3 . Do it three times .

* Chill in fridge until dough hardens . Remove from fridge and roll out thinly for shaping .

For croissant , you'll need 5 pieces 15 cm even triangle pastry with 4 mm thickness . Preheat oven at 150°C . Adjust to 180°C  . Bake pastry until surface changes color . Adjust to 150°C and use only surface heating and bake until done . The entire baking process takes about 20 minutes .

For danish loaf , you'll need 220 grams of rectangular dough ( 7cm x 30 cm ) with 8mm thickness . You also need an 8 x 15cm loaf pan for baking the loaf . Preheat oven at 150°C . Adjust to 180°C and put tin into the middle of the oven . Bake until surface changes color , adjust to 150°C . Bake until done . The entire baking process takes about 35 minutes .