Monday, 23 April 2018

Peppa Pig and Family Strawberry Macarons (updated filling recipe that is bursting with flavour!)

This is another Peppa Pig themed bake that I made for my friend's daughter. I made Peppa Pig lychee custard cream puffs too. I happen to know the little girl from Creche where I serve in church so it's nice to make something for a sweetie whom I know personally :). Presenting the whole Peppa Pig family!

Daddy Pig, Mummy Pig, Peppa and George

I used the reduced sugar recipe for the macaron shells here. Both regular and reduced sugar recipes can be found here. You may refer to my Creative Baking: Macarons book for a systematic presentation of the basics and complex shaped macarons. You may refer to my video tutorials for macaron basics and piping of complex shapes on the blog too.

Just to share some pictures of the process...

Piping the shells

Freshly baked shells

I decorated the shells using royal icing and edible marker.

I filled the shells with strawberry white chocolate whipped ganache. Although I used the recipe here, I used homemade strawberry jam instead of strawberry puree as I find that the natural strawberry flavour is more intense this way. I don't measure the ingredients in a precise manner when making fruit jams for macaron filling as it's really simple to make and depends on your taste. I usually weigh out about double the weight of fresh fruit. E.g. I use 60g of fresh fruit when I need about 30g of jam. Simply finely chop or puree the fruit, add a little sugar, a pinch of salt and half to one tsp of lemon juice. Put everything in a small saucepan pan and cook over low heat until the liquid is reduced and jam-like in consistency. Be careful not to burn the jam.

Homemade strawberry jam

Since some of you are lazy to click on the blog link, I shall copy and paste the recipe here :p

Recipe for whipped strawberry white chocolate ganache
Ingredients (fills about 16-20 macarons):
55g white chocolate, chopped
10g vegetable shortening
10g unsalted butter
1/8 tsp fine sea salt
26g strawberry puree (or preferably homemade strawberry jam)
1/2 tsp strawberry emulco/ paste

1. Place white chocolate, vegetable shortening and butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat at medium power for 20 seconds. Mix well with a spatula. Repeat until mixture is smooth. Add salt and mix well.

2. Freeze the bowl for 2 minutes and mix well with spatula. Repeat freezing and mixing. As the mixture thickens, start to beat it with the spatula. You will notice that the texture will lighten up and become creamy.

3. Add a teaspoon of puree and whip the mixture with the spatula until well combined. Repeat until all the puree has been added. Add strawberry paste and mix well. The texture should be like buttercream.

4. Transfer whipped strawberry ganache into piping bag and pipe onto the shells. Store assembled macarons in the fridge in an airtight container for at least 24h before serving.

Filling the shells with strawberry ganache that is bursting with flavour!

I made some extra plain round macarons because I had extra batter and filling, and shared this with helpers at the Creche. Feedback was it's really yummy! Do give this recipe a try!

With love,
Phay Shing

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Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Peppa Pig Lychee Rose Custard Cream Puff

My friend requested for Peppa Pig themed bakes for her daughter's birthday. Incidentally, I know the little girl from Creche where I serve in church so it's a nice thing to be able to bake for a sweetie that I know personally. Another friend of mine wanted me to make lychee flavoured pastry cream for her choux pastry birthday bake next year (booking me super early!) So I thought why not try out this flavour. Presenting my version of Peppa Pig Lychee Rose cream puffs!

Here's a closer look at the cross-section. You can't see the lychee bits very clearly although there are chunks of it in the cream.

I used canned lychee in syrup for the chopped lychees, and freeze dried lychee powder to enhance the lychee flavour.

One small can of lychee (234g net weight, 95g drained weight) yielded about 61g chopped lychee with the woody part removed.

Recipe for lychee rose pastry cream
200ml milk
30g sugar
20g cornflour
2 egg yolks
10g unsalted butter
1/4 tsp rose water (omit if you prefer no rose flavour)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp freeze-dried lychee powder (optional, omit if unavailable. Use more canned chopped lychee instead)
Chopped ltchee, woody part removed (add as much or little as you prefer)

Smooth lychee rose custard

Fold in 60g of chopped lychee into 120-140g of rose pastry cream. Use less pastry cream of you are not using freeze-dried lychee powder.

Recipe for Choux pastry case can be found here. Just to share some pictures of the process...

Piping peppa pig choux pastry

Bake at 180℃ for 20min, 160℃ for 20 min and cool in the oven with the oven switched off for another 10min.

I mentioned in my previous choux pastry post that I will show you how I fill the cases now. I cut a hole at the base and put the cut piece back. The requester can fill the pastry cream anytime she likes and enjoy the pastry shell while it's still crisp but the cream while it is still cold.

Nice hollow interior! I still find the walls a little thick for mg liking although I love the texture. I may tweak the recipe again for my next Choux pastry bake.

I used royal icing for Peppa Pig's eyes and cheek. Let the royal icing dry completely before carefully removing them from the parchment paper

Piped eyes and cheeks

Premaking these parts makes decorating the pastry much easier as you may just stick it on after coating the surface with chocolate.

Strawberry white chocolate coating
60g white chocolate, chopped (or compound white chocolate chop)
6g vegetable shortening
1-2 drops of strawberry emulco
Pinches of salt

1. Place white chocolate and shortening in a microwave safe bowl. Heat at medium power for 10-20 sec and mix well. Repeat until completely melted.

2. Add salt and mix well. Add strawberry emulco one drop at a time and mix well after each addition, until desired pink shade is obtained.

3. Transfer to piping bag and pipe onto choux pastry case surface. You may use your clean and dry finger to smooth out the white chocolate while it is not completely set yet, in order to get a smoother looking finish. Stick the eyes and rosy cheek on before the chocolate hardens.

See the difference between freshly piped and smoothed out white chocolate.

Prepare some red coloured white chocolate mixture and pipe or paint on the mouth and nostrils.

You may store decorated choux pastry cases in airtight container.

With love,
Phay Shing

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Sunday, 15 April 2018

'Moomin' Reduced Egg Yolk Taiwanese Castella Cake

Posting one of my of super back logs =p. I made this Moomin somewhere near Chinese new year, near the time of my Culinary arts ministry "Doggy Castella cakes" class. I had joked that this was Moomin after eating too much pineapple tarts LOL.

This is optimized based on my previous "Doggy Castella cake" recipe. It is a special reduced egg yolk recipe for white Castella cake as Moomin was requested. The use of egg whites in the egg yolk batter also adds moisture and a slightly "yoga-like" quality to the cake texture.

The Castella batter is more runny than the chiffon batter, so is more suitable for more single tone cakes (or when marbling is needed), than for precisely-controlled patterns. You can read my previous post on more details.

Reduced Egg Yolk Castella Recipe
1.5 whole egg
70g warm oil or melted butter
72g whole milk
108 g Top flour, or Cake flour (Prima)
A pinch of salt
4g vanilla extract

6 egg whites
½ tsp cream of tartar
120g castor sugar

1. Preheat oven to 160°C with a tray of water under the lowest rack (steam baking).

2. Heat the oil or butter in a microwave (40 sec for mine). Add a pinch of salt and milk, then whisk in sifted Top flour or cake flour. *I checked the temperature was less than 60°C as you don't want to end up cooking your egg yolks.

3. Add in 1.5 whole egg (i.e. about 80g) and mix to silky smooth batter (do not overmix). Add in vanilla extract and stir well.

4. In a separate bowl, using an electric mixer, whisk egg whites with cream of tartar till foamy. Add in the sugar gradually and whisk till firm peaks are formed.

5. Fold in the meringue into respective egg yolk batter in 3 additions.

6. Pour into a doll cake pan. Bake at 160°C for 15 min then 150°C for 10 min, 140°C for 40 min, or until skewer inserted into the centre of the cakes come out clean). *Note that individual oven vary, do check for doneness yourself using skewer.
*You also use this recipe for a 7-inch square pan lined with baking paper and cardboard at the side (like normal Taiwanese Castella).

7. Give the cake a knock once out of the oven and unmould by hand when cool (similar to normal tube pans, see video).

This is for the body of the Moomin. The head was also made using the same recipe in 2 glass bowls (1/6 the recipe above), baking time (160°C for 15 min then 140°C for 15 min). The arms and feet were also from the same recipe, from cake pop molds and roll cakes (160°C for 15 min). The Moomin was assembled by carving out the parts from the cake pop molds and assembling with melted marshmallow glue (see my Deco Chiffon Cake Basics).

Have a moo-vellous week ahead!

With lots of love,

More Creative Chiffon Cake ideas here!

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Friday, 13 April 2018

Rosette Macarons with Whipped Strawberry Ganache Roses

I don't like to follow trendy bakes but instead prefer to create whimsical bakes that sometimes people don't think of. But this particular trending macaron intrigued me so much that I couldn't get it out of my mind. Not because I wanted to follow the trend, but because it presented a technical challenge that got my hands itchy to try and solve the mystery.

Presenting my humble attempt at rosette macarons with whipped strawberry ganache roses as the filling!

It all began when people started posting images of macarons piped as rosettes on social media, but keeping absolutely tight-lipped about how they made it. For the past week many people in a macaron FB group have been trying to figure out how to make it. So far, some have managed but the results are not easily replicated and somehow while they look pretty, they don't look quite like the original version. The original rosette macaron has feet like macarons, but ridges that are sharp and clear, and surface that is smooth like meringue cookies. If you are familiar with making macarons, you will know that it is quite impossible to get the rosettes with regular macaron batter, regardless of the method you use. Underfolding the batter may result in grainy looking surfaces and potential hollows although it may be possible to get the ridges. Increasing the dry ingredients portion may work too and wonderfully so, but you may not get the smooth, almost shiny surface.

My initial guess is the recipe is probably a cross between meringue cookies and macarons. And so when I saw someone posted macaron shells that look really close to the original, and kindly mentioned that she used Martha Stewart's French macaron recipe, I jumped straight to study the recipe. To my delight, I found that the recipe had much higher icing sugar content and much lower almond flour content than most macaron recipes I have come across, making it closer to a meringue cookie than regular macarons. However, the sugar content in the meringue portion is relatively low. This may be tricky for newbies as a higher sugar content in the meringue component provides more stability. I tweaked the recipe to make something more stable, by moving half of the icing sugar portion to the meringue, adding cornflour (acts to thicken the batter as well) and increasing the dry ingredients portion a little.

If you are super particular about getting perfect macarons with no hollows, this recipe may or may not give you what you want because variable factors like how much you fold and oven temperature also play a part. To err on the side of less chance of hollows due to necessary underfolding of the batter, feel free to increase the icing sugar and almond flour in the dry ingredients portion. But be prepared that the surface may not appear as smooth as what I have achieved here. The smooth look can only be achieved (my guess so I could be wrong) when almond content is not high because almond cannot be dissolved in the egg whites whereas sugar can.

Feel free to upsize the recipe as this is a small batch.

Recipe for macaron shells
Ingredients (makes about 14-16 rosettes, 7-8 macarons):
36g egg white ( 1 large egg)
21g caster sugar
29g icing sugar
A pinch of cream of tartar (optional)
Gel food colouring

Dry ingredients
35g almond meal (preferably superfine)
35g icing sugar
1 tsp (2-3g) cornflour (or cornstarch)
A pinch of salt

1. Sift together all the dry ingredients. Set aside. Line baking tray with parchment paper. You may place a paper template under the parchment paper with 5-6cm diameter circles to help you with piping the rosettes but this is optional. Set oven rack to lowest position.

2. Mix together icing sugar and caster sugar for the meringue. Beat the egg whites in a clean metal bowl with cream of tartar until foamy. Gradually add mixed sugar and keep beating until stiff peaks form. This may take a few minutes. Make sure that the meringue is really stiff. Add gel food colouring and beat with mixer until colour is even.

Stiff meringue

3. Pour in sifted dry ingredients all at once. Gently fold in the dry ingredients until no trace of flour is seen. Now use the spatula to press the batter to the side of the mixing bowl as you normally would for regular macarons to knock out some air. This is where a little trial and error is required. If you do this too much, the batter will become too runny to hold sharp ridges when piped. But if you don't fold enough, the hollows may be more pronounced. To test, drop a generous dollop of batter from the spatula. If it more or less holds it's peak, the batter is still stiff enough. When it starts to settle a little but not too much when you drop the batter off the spatula, it's time to stop folding.

4. Transfer the batter into piping bag fitted with Wilton 1M piping tip. Pipe the rosettes by starting from the middle, pipe a spiral outwards. Sorry I didn't do a video tutorial on how to pipe this. Perhaps in the future if I have time and I can include it here. Bang the tray once to release any trapped air. I would normally bang a few times for regular macarons but not these babies 😅.

Piped rosettes. You may pipe some five-petaled flowers too!

5. Dry the shells in air-conditioned room or under a fan until dry to touch. Towards end of drying time, preheat oven to 160℃.

6. Bake for 5 min. Turn the temperature down to 130℃ and bake for another 7-8 min. Reduce temperature to 110℃ and bake for another 10 min or until feet no longer appears wet. Please note that this temperature and time is just a gauge. Each oven behaves differently. Cool completely before carefully remove the shells from baking sheet.

Freshly baked shells! I added white pearl sprinkles on one of the flowers after piping the batter so that it sticks to the piped batter 

Checkout the feet!

Nice and fluffy interior! There's a small space of hollow but nothing major :). The texture is so delicate to bite because it resembles a meringue cookie as well.

I made some whipped strawberry ganache as the filling. You may refer to this post for the ganache recipe. I call it "ganache" but it doesn't actually contain whipping cream. This is because Singapore is really warm and I wanted to pack as much fresh fruit goodness into the filling without turning it too soft. And so I discovered that whipping together white chocolate and butter/shortening creates a relatively stable medium that can accomodate quite a high percentage of fruit without turning too soft. Do press the jam through the sieve to remove any big lumps or it will be difficult to pipe the roses with it.

Here's a dollop of homemade strawberry jam on whipped white chocolate with butter and shortening

Whipped strawberry ganache

I filled a piping bag fitted with a Russian piping tip to pipe the roses onto a baking tray lined with baking sheet. Freeze the piped roses until firm. It's my first try at using the Russian piping tips do pardon the amateurish attempt 😅. I need to use a smaller piping tip too.

Piped whipped strawberry ganache. Love the bits of strawberry peeking out!

Pipe a dollop of soft ganache in the middle of the bottom macaron shell. Carefully arrange the roses in a ring around the dollop. Pipe more ganache to fill the spaces as necessary before putting the top shell on.

I piped some leaves in between the roses using royal icing but this is optional.

Refrigerate for at least 24h before serving.

With love,
Phay Shing

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Thursday, 12 April 2018

Tsum Tsum Chip and Dale Earl Grey and Chocolate Custard Cream Puffs

I made these Chip and Dale cream puffs along with my cross shaped Éclairs.

Chip is made from chocolate choux pastry case and filled with smooth and creamy chocolate custard. Dale is made from plain choux pastry case and filled with Earl grey custard. You may find the recipe for plain and chocolate Choux pastry case and Earl Grey custard from my cross eclair post. Adjust baking temperature and time accordingly as this shape has small parts that may burn easily. Bake at 180℃ for 20 min. Reduce temperature to 160℃ and bake for another 20 min. Turn off the heat and let it cool for 10 min in the oven. I will share this really rich, smooth and yummy chocolate pastry cream here.

Recipe for chocolate custard
200g milk
35g sugar
18g cornflour
2 egg yolks
10g cocoa powder
10g unsalted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp Kahlua coffee liqueur (you may replace with vanilla)

1. Sift together cornflour and cocoa powder  into a bowl. Add sugar and whisk together. Add egg yolks and whisk until a paste is formed. Set aside.

2. Heat milk with vanilla extract and coffee liqueur until it starts to bubble. Remove from heat and slowly pour into egg yolk mixture while stirring all the time.

3. Pour the mixture back into saucepan. Heat on medium low heat while whisking all the time. Keep an eye on the mixture as it will suddenly thicken. Once it thickens, remove from heat and continue whisking. This is to prevent the custard from becoming lumpy. Return to heat while whisking until desired consistency, like curd.

4. Add butter and mix well. Sieve the custard into a bowl. Press a cling wrap over the custard surface. Refrigerate until ready to fill the pastry. You may make this up to a few days ahead of time.

I made the chocolate custard along with Earl Grey custard

Just to share some pictures of making the Choux pastry cases...

Piped Chip and Dale!

Freshly baked Choux cases!

Here's a close-up view of the cross section with yummy custard filling!

Although this design was not specifically requested, my friend who shared this with her Bible study group said that Chip and Dale is her favourite and in time for her birthday! They all loved how yummy it was!

With love,
Phay Shing

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Sunday, 8 April 2018

Cheery Bear Reduced-Sugar Matcha Macarons (Mother's Day Special)

Wondering what to get your mum for Mother's Day this year? Why not give her an adorable and yummy treat that's not too sweet! Come and join me for a session of making these reduced-sugar Matcha macarons in the form of cute bears holding flowers.

This design may look familiar to those of you who have been following our blog. That's because they appeared on a number of occasions, including in my Creative Baking: Macarons book.

I am honoured to be invited as a guest chef at BakerzatWork Academy to share this cute bake for those of you who are keen to pick up the basics of the French method of making macarons and at the same time, make something special for your mum.

You may refer to this link for enquires. And this link for registration.

With love,
Phay Shing
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Pusheen Tea Party Chiffon Cakes

Pusheen Tea party with everything I love! 💕 Which would you pick first?? 😍

Everything here is actually made from chiffon cake, from the cute Pusheen to the desserts! =p

These were inspired by the Pusheen Surprise Plush Blind Box - Snack Times!

I'm super excited to be collaborating with Pusheen to make these and other cute cakes! Here's their IG post. Hope they made you smile! =))

With lots of love,

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Thursday, 5 April 2018

Keroppi Matcha Custard Cream Puff

I made these Matcha Keroppi choux pastries along with the black sesame koala choux pastries :)

Oops! We may be a little sunburnt but we taste awesome! It's better to err on the side of higher temperature than risk letting your pastry case collapse 

I had some leftover matcha cookie dough from making turtle matcha cream puffs so I decided to make more Matcha cream puffs to use up the cookie dough. They taste really yummy anyway so these were very well received. Here's a closer peek at the crisp pastry case cross section and smooth, creamy matcha custard...

You may refer to this post for the recipe for Matcha custard and the matcha cookie dough. Prepare the pastry cream and cookie dough (Craquelin) before you begin working on the Choux pastry case.

Smooth matcha and black sesame custard!

Recipe for Choux pastry case
Ingredients (makes about 14 Keroppi):
75g water
75g milk
75g butter
5g sugar
5g salt
90g bread flour
10g plain flour
150g eggs (approximately 3, lightly beaten)

Note: you may replace all plain flour with bread flour, or some bread flour with plain flour. Plain flour gives the pastry a more tender bite whereas bread flour helps to give more strength to the structure and makes it more crispy

1. Sift together plain and bread flour into a bowl. Preheat oven to 180℃ and set oven rack to middle position. Cut out matcha cookie dough into oval shapes, place on baking tray lined with parchment paper and freeze it.

2. Place water, milk, sugar, salt and butter into a saucepan. Bring to a boil while stirring. Remove from heat and pour the flour in all at once. Mix well to make sure all the flour absorb the liquid.

3. Return the dough to cook over medium low heat for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and continue to knead the dough with a spatula in a bowl to let it cool for a couple of minutes.

4. Gradually add beaten egg and mix well after each addition. The batter is ready when it appears shiny and yet leaves a trough that doesn't collapse when you run a finger across the batter surface.

5. Transfer into piping bag fitted with a Wilton #12 (or larger) tip. Pipe an oval for the head. Gently place the cookie cutout on top of the piped pastry.

I was working on these Matcha Choux at the same time as the koala choux

6. Bake at 180℃ for 20 min. Reduce temperature to 160℃ and bake for another 20 min. Turn off the heat and let it cool for 10 min in the oven. You may sprinkle a little water around the piped batter before baking to help the pastry to rise more in the oven. Pierce the side with toothpick to release any steam. Cool completely on cooling rack. Note that baking temperature and time is dependent on individual ovens. Extend baking time if need be to thoroughly dry out the cases.

Freshly baked Choux pastry case!

I used white candy melts as the eyes and added on the black details using melted dark chocolate with charcoal powder added. Stick the eyes on using melted white chocolate. The rosy cheeks are melted white chocolate with a bit of pink gel food colouring added. Wait for the chocolate to set before filling the shells.

You may fill the pastry case by poking a hole at the bottom and inserting a piping bag filled with custard and fitted with a small piping tip. Best to fill the cases just before consuming so that you can enjoy the texture at its best. This is one of the traditional ways of filling choux pastry cases but I find that sometimes you end up under filling or overfilling the cases. I will share in my subsequent blog posts another way of filling the Choux pastry case that allows you to be absolutely sure that you filled the cases to the max without bursting it, and without making any cuts on the decorated top surface. Stay tuned!

With love,
Phay Shing

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Monday, 2 April 2018

Ufufy Pooh, Piglet, Tigger and Eeyore Macarons

Here are some Winnie the Pooh and friends dark chocolate and salted caramel macarons, ufufy style!

Winnie, Tigger, Eeyore and Piglet!

I used the reduced sugar recipe for the macaron shells here. Both regular and reduced sugar recipes can be found here. You may refer to my Creative Baking: Macarons book for a systematic presentation of the basics and complex shaped macarons. You may refer to my video tutorials for macaron basics and piping of complex shapes on the blog too.

Just to share some photos of the process...

Piping Piglet

Piping Pooh

Piping Tigger

Piping Eeyore

I love the look of the feet on the freshly baked shells!

I used royal icing and edible black marker to add in the details. Rosy cheeks were added on using peach coloured lustre dust and a small paint brush.

Don't they look cute 😊

I filled the shells with dark chocolate ganache on the outer ring and salted caramel in the middle.

With love,
Phay Shing
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