Thursday, September 15, 2016

Snowskin mooncakes with purple sweet potato and cream cheese filling

Most Chinese festivals revolve around food and Mid-Autumn Festival is no exception . Mooncake is a must during this festival here in Hongkong . Baked mooncake with salted egg yolk filling is still popular as ever but the snowskin version which is similar to mochi  is a much lighter alternative . The crust is made from glutinous rice flour or a combination of flours and should be kept frozen .

In this recipe , I divided the snowskin dough into 3 portions and added matcha powder and purple sweet potato powder and leave one portion as is for flavour and colour variations . The flavour of matcha tastes wonderful so as the sweet potato , the plain snowskin is a great canvas for other flavours . I was planning to add cocoa powder but I already tried it when I made my 2nd batch of snowskin a week ago so I left it out on this 3rd batch .

The crust of this mooncake is a cooked/steamed dough and pretty easy to make . The dough is sticky but easy enough to handle as long as you use plastic gloves , if that's not available , use a plastic wrap to roll each piece . I saw the filling recipe on my Facebook feed weeks ago and decided to try it . I tweaked the recipe a bit , added cream cheese and reduced the oil to half . The filling was so delicious I had to stop myself from eating it all , it tastes a bit like sweet potato ice cream , the added cream cheese is the culprit, I think 😀

Purple sweet potato with cream cheese filling :

Recipe adapted from I ♥︎ Black & White via Facebook 
200 grams steamed purple sweet potato 
30 grams brown sugar
40 grams evaporated milk 
20 grams water
25 grams cornstarch 
20 grams vegetable oil

80 grams Philly cream cheese , at room temperature
15 grams brown sugar 

* Mash sweet potato together with the sugar , if using a blender or food processor , place the mashed potato , milk , water and cornstarch into the blender and blend until smooth . If you want to do it the hard way , mash sweet potato and sugar , add in the milk and water and strain mixture into a fine sieve , pushing mixture through with the back of the spoon , this will take a while , so be patient . Add cornstarch to the mixture , mix well to combine .

* In a nonstick pan , add oil and the sweet potato mixture . Turn heat to medium and stir until oil is absorbed and mixture is thick , about 5 minutes . Transfer mixture to a bowl , let cool for 5 minutes . Meanwhile , combine cream cheese and sugar in a bowl , use a spoon or a whisk and mix until well combined . Add cream cheese to the sweet potato mixture and mix thoroughly , chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours before using .

* Lightly coat hands with vegetable oil , weigh filling into 25 grams each , roll each portion into a small balls , coating hands with oil as needed . Set aside .

Snowskin dough : 

Recipe adapted from am 730 HK , a free daily newspaper , translated by the 2nd Despicable 

60 grams glutinous rice flour
40 grams rice flour
15 grams cake flour
10 grams wheat flour
50 grams granulated sugar
250 grams milk
30 grams condensed milk
25 grams vegetable or olive oil

8 grams green tea powder
8 grams purple sweet potato powder

* In a mixing bowl , whisk together the 4 flours and sugar . Pour in the milk , condensed milk and oil , whisk until smooth . Strain mixture into a 8-inch baking dish or any shallow heat-proof container or plate / bowl . Cover baking dish with foil and steam over medium heat for 20 minutes .

* Take out baking dish from the pan and use a chopstick / wooden spoon or a silicone spatula and stir steamed dough , don't worry if it still looks lumpy after you stirred it . Weigh dough into 3 portions , add green tea powder in 1 portion and purple sweet potato powder in another portion and stir until well combined . Let cool for about 10 minutes then using a plastic glove , knead mixture until green tea / purple sweet potato powder is absorbed  . Leave 1 portion as is and knead until smooth . Place each portions into a plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight .

* Using a plastic glove , divide / weigh dough into 25 grams each , place each portions in a baking sheet or a plate lined with plastic wrap . Roll each portion into a  small ball .

To make a cooked glutinous rice for coating the dough : 

* Pan-fry 30 grams of glutinous rice flour over low heat for 10 - 15 minutes , let cool completely before using .

To make a snowskin mooncake : 

Makes 15 pieces snowskin mooncake at 50 grams each 
* Roll a piece of snowskin dough between gloved hands , flatten it into about 2 1/2-inch round , place the potato filling into the middle , stretch dough  to wrap completely over filling and gently seal edges . Roll filled dough into a small ball between gloved hands , sprinkle some cooked flour allover the dough . Coat the inside of the mould with some cooked flour , tapping out excess flour . Gently insert the filled dough into the mould , smoothing out the bottom . Press down mould into the prepared baking sheet , repeat with the rest of the dough and filling .

* If you want a tricolour mooncake , just weigh small amount of matcha , purple sweet potato and the original flavour of snowskin dough to make a 25 grams skin , combine each flavours and flatten into a round shape .

* Place mooncakes into the freezer for at least 4 hours or overnight .

* Let mooncake stand at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes before consuming .

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Skinless longganisa ( Filipino sausage ) and pan de sal ( Filipino bread rolls )

Longganisa is a Filipino-style sausage , it is made from ground pork , garlic , black pepper , sugar , salt and annatto / achiote powder . Ground beef or chicken is also used . Traditionally , the marinated meat is formed into a hog casing but the skinless version is so much easier to make at home . It is a popular Filipino breakfast sausage and almost always served with steamed rice . We may call it breakfast sausage but some Filipinos , including me , will happily eat it morning , noon and night lol 

Be wary of those pink longganisa you see at some Filipino / Asian stores , they are loaded with chemicals . Homemade longganisa is simple to make at home , with ingredients that you'll probably find in your kitchen counter . Annato seeds ( see photo # 6 )  may seem exotic to some and I really thought that  , until few years ago , achiote trees only exist in the Philippines ! Heh ! Can't find annatto seeds or powder ? No worries , you can use paprika in a pinch .

I used pork shoulder / pork butt in making these sausages , this cut of pork is perfect for making this skinless version and also great for making homemade char siu / roast pork . When I buy this cut at the market , I usually say " siu siu fei " means with a little bit fat . Look for a cut with streaky fat , think marbled beef cuts . Not really sure what's the perfect ratio of fat to lean , maybe 20 % to 80 % ratio .

Making longganisa varies from region to region , the recipe I have here is Pampanga-style and is often sweet . This recipe that I used  though is not sweet , yup , even with more than 4 tablespoons of sugar , the flavour is a perfect balance of tastes . And I think the best longganisa that I've ever tasted or made . 

So , pandesal , the Filipino-style sweet bread roll , it is easily recognisable by its top which is coated with breadcrumbs . The dough is dipped into breadcrumbs before baking thus the sort of sandy top when baked . Just like longganisa , it is also a favourite breakfast staple and often use for making small sandwiches or dunked into a hot , steaming coffee or milk beverages . The best pandesal that you can find back home in the Philippines are from those home bakers , they produce just small batches in the early hours of the morning and they usually sell them in front of their houses . Those pandesal are beast eaten while still warm but the soft texture won't last , they tend to turn a bit hard after a day . I'm sure there are good commercialised pandesal back home as well , you can even find some pre-packaged pandesal here in Hongkong .

But why buy when you can make your own ! This is the first pandesal recipe that I've tried and I made it 3 times already . It's really good with soft , pillowy texture and still taste wonderful after 3 days . It will hold its shape even after you dump them all in plastic bag . It has this delightful crunch if you toast them in a pan, either with butter or without . It's great on its own but awesome when filled with , yup , you guessed it , homemade longanisa lol 

You may not have that urge to make homemade pandesal but try to convince yourself to make this easy peasy flavourful preservatives-free longganisa !

Pampanga-style skinless sweet and spicy longganisa 

Makes about 14 sausages 45 grams each ) 

Recipe adapted from This little piggy went to market

460 grams minced/ground pork
6 garlic cloves / 29 grams ( peeled weight ) garlic , chopped
4 1/2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon freshly-ground black pepper
3/4 tablespoon sea salt flakes
2 teaspoons chili flakes
2 tablespoons ***achiote oil
1 tablespoon vinegar

* Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix until well combined . Adjust salt according to taste . Chill mixture in the fridge for at least 4 hours preferably , overnight .

* Form marinated meat into rolls or patties , you can either weigh each piece or just guesstimate it . I weigh mine into 45 grams each and rolled it into 3-inch log and about 2 1/2-inch round for the patty .

* If you're planning to freeze some sausages , after shaping , use a small pre-cut parchment papers and wrap each piece . Place wrapped sausages into a baking sheet and freeze until hard . Transfer sausages into a freezer-proof container or ziplock bag and freeze .

* If cooking frozen sausages , place sausages in a nonstick pan and add a splash of water , turn heat to low , cover pan and cook for 2 minutes on each side until sausages softens . Turn heat to medium , add oil and continue to cook until golden , about 6 minutes on each side .

* Best eaten with steamed rice or make a breakfast burger using the patty-shaped longganisa .

***Simple achiote oil 

Recipe adapted from  Bon Appetit 

1/4 cup / 4 tablespoons corn oil
2 tablespoons annatto / achiote seeds

Cook oil and achiote seeds in a small saucepan over low heat until oil turns dark red , about 5 minutes . Strain oil into a small bowl or a jar and let cool before using .

Pandesal / Filipino bread rolls 

Makes 12 2 1/2-inch rolls 

Recipe adapted from The Little Epicurean

1 large egg , lightly-whisked 
145 grams milk ( UHT ) , at room temperature
3 grams fine sea salt
35 grams caster sugar
190 grams all-purpose flour
100 grams bread flour
3 grams instant yeast
25 grams unsalted butter , softened

20 grams fine breadcrumbs

Using a bread machine : Pour liquid ingredients first , the whisked egg and milk , in the bread pan / tin , followed by the salt , sugar and flours , make a small dent on top of the flour and add the yeast . Choose dough programme , when all ingredients are all mix in , add butter after about 10 minutes and let the machine do the rest until the first proofing .

By hand : In a mixing bowl , whisked together the salt , sugar , flours and yeast . Make a small well in the middle of the flour mixture , pour in the whisked egg and milk . Either use a sturdy wooden spoon or your hand to mix everything , it will be very sticky , until it forms a cohesive dough . Tip dough into a lightly-floured clean work surface , after about 10 minutes of kneading , add in the butter . Continue to knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic or until it passes a window pane test , about 15 minutes more . Form dough into a smooth ball and place dough into a lightly oiled mixing bowl , turning once to coat dough with some oil , cover bowl with plastic wrap or a tea towel . Let proof for 45 minutes or so or until tripled in size , depending on the ambient temperature .

Tip dough into the lightly-floured work surface , punch down dough to get rid of the air trapped within . Weigh or divide it into 12 equal pieces . Form each dough into a smooth , round balls , dip top or you can coat dough ball allover with breadcrumbs , place  into a parchment-lined or lightly-oiled 9 x 13-inch baking sheet , cover and continue with the rest of the dough .

Let dough rise until doubled in size or until rolls are quiet puffy , 45 minutes or so , depending on the ambient temperature . At the end of the rising time , preheat oven to 180ºC .

Bake the rolls for about 20  or until tops are golden .

Serve pandesal warm or at room temperature . Consume within 3 days .

To assemble a longganisa breakfast slider : 

Cut some lettuce and tomatoes , set aside .

Make mayo-sriracha  by mixing together 2 tablespoons mayo and 1 teaspoon sriracha , chill in the fridge until needed . This mixture is enough for 4 sliders .

In a nonstick pan , fry eggs , transfer to a plate , set aside . In the same pan , add some longanisa patties and cook until golden , transfer to a plate .

Slice several pandesal in half , add a bit of butter in a nonstick pan , place sliced pandesal , cut side down and toast until golden . Transfer pandesal to a plate , spread bottom half of the roll with mayo-sriracha , add in a piece of lettuce , sliced tomato , longganisa patty , fried egg and finished with top roll . Take photos and do it fast ! Consume immediately .