Friday, December 13, 2019

Ube halaya cream tart

Poor Judgement.

It's that time of the year again! How's the Christmas shopping er baking so far?!

Remember to buy only what you can afford! Needs vs Wants. Your purchase(s) may look good on Social Media but not on your bank account...

A friendly reminder from someone who's earning a pittance. You're welcome! 

I baked this nearly 2 weeks ago but as always, it's easy to bake, even easier to consume almost all the whole tart.. Writing the blog post though is another matter especially if you don't know what to write 🙄


Ube halaya is a Filipino delicacy made from mashed ube or purple yam, coconut milk, condensed milk and some pantry staple ingredients. Cooking is straightforward as you just need to combine everything and cook until mixture thickens.

Ube is a tuberous root vegetable often confused with taro or purple sweet potato though it has almost the same flavour characteristics as the other two. Colour may range from vivid purple to lavender but sometimes you can find white ones as well.

When the weather starts to get a bit cooler here in smoggy Hong Kong, you can find lots fresh ube at the wet market. If you go to market often you can also find it during summertime though not as much  compare to cooler months.

Ube halaya is delightful on its own or as a bread or cracker spread, on cheesecake, ice cream but why stop there?! Colour of the ube halaya will depend upon how vivid the ube you've used. You can use ube food colouring if desired.

Giving this popular Filipino delicacy a French twist, another one of my East meets West dessert. This tart has 4 layers, the sweet pastry crust, salted caramel, diplomat cream and the homemade ube halaya. No, don't omit the salted caramel (recipe here) as the diplomat cream and ube halaya combination is a bit boring without it.

Layers are not as neat as some of my previous tarts and the crust is bit uneven as well but taste is all that matters...

Ube halaya, recipe adapted from KULINARYA

350 grams (steamed and mashed) ube/purple yam
85 grams sugar
300 grams coconut milk           
50 grams condensed milk
45 grams butter, softened

* In a blender or food processor, combine ube, sugar, the 2 milk and process until mixture is smooth.

* Pour mixture in a non-stick pan, let it boil over high heat while stirring constantly. When mixture starts to bubble, turn down heat to medium heat and cook for 10-15 minutes or until it thickens.

* Transfer to a prepared sterilized jar, let cool completely before storing in the fridge. Take out in the fridge an hour (more time if it is cold in the side of your world) before using.

* You'll need about 350 grams to fill the the rectangle pan so as the 2 minis. Stir or beat lightly so that it'll be easier to pipe.

Makes about 750 grams

* Make this a day ahead.

Adjust the sugar according to preference. You can add ube flavouring if you want a vivid purple hue.

Pastry cream

3 grams gelatine leaf/sheet
200 grams whole milk, fresh or UHT
25 grams sugar (1)
some vanilla seeds (from homemade vanilla extract) or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large egg yolks (about 35 grams)
15 grams sugar (2)
20 grams cornstarch
20 grams unsalted butter, softened

* Soak gelatine in cold water for 5-10 minutes or until softens. Once softens, squeezed out excess water and set aside.

* In a small saucepan, combine milk, sugar (1)  and vanilla seeds, bring into a boil.

* Meanwhile, whisk yolks and sugar (2) until light and creamy, add in the cornstarch and stir until smooth. Pour hot milk gradually over the yolk mixture, stir as you pour to prevent curdling. Pour mixture back into the saucepan, bring to a boil while whisking constantly. Cook cream over medium heat for another 2 minutes until mixture thickens. Turn off heat, add in the softened gelatine and stir until melted then add in the butter, mix until well incorporated.

* Transfer to a bowl and place a plastic wrap directly on top of the cream. Let cool completely and chill in the fridge before using.

* Make this a day ahead.

Diplomat cream

250 grams pastry cream, at room temp but still cool, recipe above
145 grams whipping cream

* Beat cream until almost stiff peaks, set aside or you can chill it in the fridge if the weather is warm.

* Whisk pastry cream until smooth. Fold in the whipped cream in 2 additions until well combined. If the diplomat cream looks a bit lumpy, use the hand mixer and whisk over low spread for about 30-45 seconds. Chill in the fridge until needed. 

Sweet tart dough, recipe adapted from Pastries

75 grams butter, softened
50 grams icing sugar
25 grams almond powder
2 grams salt
20 grams/ 1 egg yolk
5 grams vanilla extract
75 grams cake flour + 50 grams plain flour

* Beat butter until smooth, add in the sugar, almond flour and salt. Add the flour and beat until just combined, add in the yolks and vanilla and use a spatula to mix everything. Gather dough into a ball and knead gently 4-6 times until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and chill into the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.

* The next day when you assemble the tart: Roll dough into 3 mm thick, gently transfer dough into the prepared lightly-greased 25x9.5-cm fluted tart pan, lightly smoothing the sides and bottom, trim off excess. Do the same with the mini tart using two 6x3-cm square and trace a mini spoon to make 2-4 pieces spoon-shaped cookies. Prick the pastry shells with fork and freeze for 1 hour. Take out from the freezer, line the pastry shells with parchment paper and fill with baking stones. Freeze again for another 20 minutes (a must if the weather is hot).

* Preheat oven to 170ºC.

* Bake for 20 minutes. Take out from the oven and remove the baking stones and the parchment. Return the tart base to the oven and bake for another 5-10 minutes until light brown in colour.

* Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for about 30 minutes before removing from the pan. Cool completely before adding in the filling(s).

To assemble the tarts

* Spread a bit of salted caramel at the base and top with diplomat cream. Lastly, spread some ube halaya on top of the cream. Use a small offset spatula to smoothen the cream and the halaya. Pipe a bit of remaining diplomat cream so as the ube halaya on top, Chill in the fridge to set for at least an hour.

* Decorate with ube macarons and spoon-shaped cookies before serving.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Mango-matcha charlotte cake

No butter shortage, only money shortage

Here's my take on the Charlotte cake, giving it a delightful Asian twist, using mangoes from #Duterteland and matcha-flavoured sponge cake.

Charlotte cake is made of ladyfingers or sponge and filled with cream or mousse or jelly and top with variety of fruits. The name of the dessert was a tribute to Queen Charlotte. Bread though was the basis for the earliest charlotte recipes, it's a dessert with fruit jelly or preserves and baked over hot coals and eaten warm.

Charlotte cake is more of a summer cake, the abundance of strawberries during summertime makes this cake a popular choice for a simple yet refreshing dessert. But that doesn't mean you can't make it past summer 🤣

My version of Charlotte cake is mostly made of the usual things you'll find in some French pastries. I used créme diplomat because I've got some egg yolks from macaron making and it's pretty easy to make. Créme diplomat is just a mix of pastry cream and whipped cream. Genoise sponge is sturdy enough as a base to hold the cream. The filling is supposedly a mango jelly but I want to try a compote. Compote means a chunky fruit sauce but the very ripe mangoes tend to disintegrates when you cook it thus the smooth compote.  As you can see from the photos, there's a slight dip in the middle of the sliced cake because I forgot to add another layer of cream  on top of the compote before adding the sponge. I used some of the extra créme diplomat to make a mini cake, sponge is from scraps.

Toppings are leftover créme diplomat, homemade green tea macs and fresh cubed mangoes

So how's your Baking mojo nowadays?! 😅

Pastry cream, make this a day ahead

250 grams whole milk (UHT or fresh)
40 (1) grams sugar
some vanilla seeds or 1 tsp vanilla extract
3 large egg yolks 
10 (2) grams sugar
20 grams cornstarch
1 gram fine sea salt
20 grams butter, softened
4 grams gelatine sheets

* Soak gelatine sheets in cold water for 5-10 minutes. Once softens, squeeze out excess water and set aside.

* Bring milk and sugar into a boil.

* In a mixing bowl, beat yolks and sugar until light and creamy, add in cornstarch and whisk until smooth. Gradually pour in the warm milk mixture, whisking as you pour to prevent eggs from curdling. Pour back mixture back into the pan and bring into a boil while whisking constantly. Let cream boil over medium heat for 2 minutes until thick, turn off heat and add butter; stir until well combined. Add in the softened gelatine and still until completely melted.

* Transfer to a shallow heat-proof bowl and place a plastic wrap directly onto the top of the pastry cream. Let cool at room temperature before putting it in the fridge.

Mango compote, recipe--->>> here

Genoise sponge, recipe adapted from Okashi

115 grams cake flour
4 grams matcha powder, sifted 3 times together with the flour
170 grams (3 large) whole eggs
100 grams caster sugar
15 grams glucose syrup
30 grams butter
45 grams (fresh) whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

* Line a 12-inch square pan with parchment, set aside.

* Preheat oven to 190ºC.

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

* Take bowl off heat and beat on high speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and continue beating for 1 minute to even out the batter. Gently fold in the flour flour-matcha mixture.

* Combine the butter, milk and vanilla in a small heat-proof bowl, place bowl in a saucepan until butter is melted.

* Add about 1/4 cup of the egg batter to the warm butter mixture and mix well. Add it back to the remaining batter and fold evenly.

* Pour into the prepared pan, drop the pan gently several times to remove air bubbles.

* Bake for 16 minutes. Take out cake from the oven and immediately remove from the pan. Cover cake with plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Once cooled, gently scrape off the brown crust from the top of the cake before cutting.

Créme diplomat

350 grams pastry cream
250 grams whipping cream

* Beat cream until (almost) stiff peaks, chill in the fridge until needed.

* Beat pastry cream until soft, fold in whipped cream. If there are still some lumps, beat mixture over low speed for about 30 seconds until smooth.

* Chill in the fridge until needed.

Cake assembly: See photos below

You'll need a 6-x3inch mousse mould to hold the cake so as 5-inch mould to cut out two 5-inch sponge

* Cut 2.5-inch x 17-inch rectangle to line the sides of the mould. Use the 5-inch mould the cut 2 pieces of round sponge.

* Line the sides of the mould with the rectangle sponge and place 1 round sponge at the bottom. Pipe in some créme diplomat in the middle (leave about 2 cm gap from the top of the sponge) use a small offset spatula to smoothen the top. Pour in some mango compote on top of the cream, top another layer of cream and cover with the remaining round sponge, pressing it down gently. Pipe in more cream along the sides and over the sponge, use a long spatula to smoothen the top. Reserve some créme diplomat for decoration. Chill in the fridge to set for at least 4 hours or overnight before un-moulding the cake.

* Ran a hairdryer or a kitchen torch along the sides of the moulds for few seconds and gently shake to un-mould the cake. Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm it up a bit.

* Decorate top with leftover diplomat cream, mango cubes and green tea macarons.