Thursday, 31 January 2019

'Piglet Hugging Pineapple' Chiffon Cake


Those who knew me in school know that Piglet was my favorite character when I was young! This Piglet hugging an "Ong Lai" (Pineapple) is so apt for Chinese new year too, because the Year of the Pig is coming and 'Ong lai' which is translated to prosperity come in Hokkien and Taiwanese lol. The pineapple is actually made from lemon chiffon cake, and the piglet from strawberry chiffon cake. Quite a bit of sculpting was involved, and thankful cake was very well-received by my friend =). Someone on Instagram actually PM me and asked if this was a stuff toy or cake lol.. this is chiffon cake =).

Wish you all 生体健康,富贵平安 in advance!

With lots of love,
Susanne


More creative chiffon cakes here. The 2nd book Deco Chiffon Cakes features a CNY cake section:



Read More »

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

CNY Piggy Macarons (Reduced-Sugar Swiss Method)

After giving the awesome Swiss method recipe that my friend Audrey shared a few tries, I am rather comfortable with it. I decided it's time to be a little adventurous and apply the same reduced-sugar method that I applied to both Italian and French methods to this Swiss method. Although I made many other macarons with this recipe, I thought of just presenting something festive, in time for Chinese New Year!

Only the piggies were made using the reduced-sugar method. The boy and girl macarons were made using regular Swiss method recipe, because I made them in preparation for my macaron class. The boy and girl macaron design can be found in my Creative Baking: Macaron Basics book.

I had some spare capacity to make a couple of macarons along with a cat macaron carousel, and so I decided to make the piggies.

Piped macaron batter. I didn't make enough peach coloured batter that's why the bottom shell looks like that 😅.

I decorated the macaron shells with edible marker, royal icing, peach coloured lustre dust and store-bought sugar flower.

I filled the macarons with whipped osmanthus white chocolate ganache

Take a look at how full the shells are!

I am really pleased that the reduced-sugar version works as well! As mentioned in my post for reduced-sugar Italian method, replacing icing sugar with rice flour makes the almond paste wetter as rice flour doesn't absorb as much moisture as icing sugar. So there is a need to reduce the amount of egg whites a little. I reduced the icing sugar and caster sugar portion by 10%. Feel free to double the recipe, use three-quarters of the recipe, or even combine the egg whites into one portion, used for making the Swiss meringue only. As mentioned in my original Swiss method post, some people find it easier to work with all the egg whites in the meringue and then folding in sifted dry ingredients into the meringue.

Reduced-sugar Swiss method
Ingredients (makes about 35-40 macarons):
Almond paste
100g superfine almond flour
90g icing sugar
8g rice flour
2g (1 tsp) cornflour
35g egg white

Swiss meringue
50g egg white
90g caster sugar
1/8 tsp cream of tartar (optional)
1/4 tsp salt (optional)

Steps:
Please refer to this post for the detailed steps. The only difference is if you are working with multiple colours in a single batch, the weight of meringue should be half the weight of almond paste for each colour of batter.

With love,
Phay Shing


Read More »

Sunday, 27 January 2019

Pink Piggy Golf Ball Pineapple Tarts


I also made these Pink Piggy Pineapple Tarts as I was curious about the many colored pineapple tarts that have been trending. These are made similar to my previous post, Salted Egg Yolk Piggy Pineapple Tarts, with the following changes:

1) Reducing the butter to 125g.
2) Using a pale-colored butter eg Anchor or Lurpak (previously I used SCS which is very yellowish).
3) Replacing the vanilla extract with 5g cold water with drops of pink food coloring mixed in.
4) Omitting the salted egg yolk crumbs.
5) Baking at a lower temperature of 150°C for 20+min (in contrast to 180°C in previous recipe).
6) Omitting the egg wash.


Summary of the cookie dough is as follows:

Cookie Dough (for 60 golf balls):
250g of plain flour, sifted
125g of cold butter cut into small pieces (use pale colored butter)
30g icing sugar
One egg (lightly beaten)
1 tsp cold water with some added pink food coloring
A pinch of salt

You may follow the instructions of the previous post but omit the egg wash and bake at a lower temperature of 150°C for 20+min.

I did not need to use any egg white to stick the 2 balls together as the dough is already sticky. The same is the case for the previous post.

So which type of pineapple tarts do you prefer? The pink or the golden brown version?

Personally I still prefer the golden brown Salted Egg yolk pineapple tarts that are more crusty and shiny! Looks more delicious in my opinion hehe. My kids gobble up anything cute though! =p

Hope you like it and happy CNY in advance! =)

With lots of love,
Susanne


Read More »

Friday, 25 January 2019

'Family Picnic' Cherry Macarons on Blackforest Cake

My friend requested for a birthday bake for her mum that is personalized and special for her family...A family picnic scene on top of a blackforest cake!


I was not given reference pictures for a caricature of the family members and it's beyond my skill to design my own. And so I got a talented artist (@ryaccoon, Instagram account) to design the picnic scene and invidividual characters. I made the macaron template based on the drawings but with some minor modifications based on my friend's feedback and the number of coloured batter I could cope with.

I am usually quite nervous about working with fresh dairy creamed cakes that are under a macaron structure as Singapore's weather is really warm. Pure dairy cream doesn't hold up well although it tastes delicious. I usually use gelatin or white chocolate as a stabilizer but never both of them together. I tried using both this time round as an experiment. The cream still tastes of fresh cream although it's richer and slightly sweeter than if I use icing sugar and gelatin but it's a lot more stable and easy to work with! Usually my pure dairy whipped cream stabilized with gelatin and sweetened with icing sugar will melt into a puddle within 30 min of being left out on my kitchen counter. But this cream held it's shape after being left out on the counter for an hour!  I will share this recipe later in this post. But first let me share some photos of the process...

I used the swiss meringue method with egg white split into two batches. Reason being, it's easier to work with many colours that way as I can colour the almond paste portion before meringue is added in.

Piping out the human figures and picnic basket. My friend requested for the grandpa not to be bald so I had to patch that post-baking 😂

It was quite a mad bake trying to cope with other designs concurrently. These are only some of the shells I baked that day!

Fully decorated macaron shells. Decoration is done with combination of edible markers and gel food colouring made into paint. By diluting it with a little vodka.

I filled the macarons with cherry white chocolate buttercream.

A little too generous with the jam for the picnic mat! I wouldn't recommend it unless you are topping up with more buttercream to cover the jam spots as it would wet the upper shell rather quickly.

I added some royal icing grass to finish off the picnic scene.

I used the yummy chocolate chiffon sponge recipe from the blackforest logcake I made last year soo you may refer to that. I upsized the recipe to a 6 egg white recipe for baking three 9x9" square cakes.

I am always on the lookout for creating a fresh cream tasting filling that is more stable in Singapore's hot weather. This time round, I am trying not to resort to adding non-dairy cream which already has some stabilizers added. I didn't want to end up with so many half-used cartons of cream 😂. I stumbled across one such recipe that I thought I could adapt. It uses both gelatin and white chocolate as stabilizers for dairy cream, instead of simply just gelatin or white chocolate. I didn't have double cream (which as higher fat percentage (45%) than heavy cream (35%)) at the moment so I used a little unsalted butter to increase the fat content, which in turn makes the filling more stable too.

Stabilized dairy whipped cream recipe (richer version)
Ingredients:
400g whipping cream/double cream
20g unsalted butter (replace with double cream if using double cream)
1 and 1/4 tsp gelatin powder
20g cold water
110g white chocolate, chopped or use chips
A pinch of salt
1.5 tsp vanilla extract or bean paste

Steps:
1. Put water in a small microwave safe bowl. Scatter gelatin powder over and let it sit for 10 minutes at room temperature.

2. Place the rest of the ingredients in a heatproof bowl and set it over a saucepan of water without the water touching the base of the bowl. Bring the water in the saucepan to a gentle simmer while stirring the mixture in the bowl. Melt everything together until smooth. Remove from heat.

3. Microwave the bloomed gelatin at medium power for 10 seconds and stir, making sure it is totally dissolved. Add melted gelatin into white chocolate and cream mixture and mix well.

4. Cover bowl with cling wrap and chill in fridge for at least 4h or overnight.

5. Whip at low speed with electric mixer until stiff peaks. Be careful not to overbeat. Do this step only when you are about to assemble the cake.

Assembly
1. Cut about 30-40 cherries into halves and remove the seeds. Dry with paper towel so excess juice doesn't seep out and mess up the cream when you slice it.

2. Prepare stabilized whipped cream. Add a little cream on cake board before putting first layer of chocolate sponge cake on.

3. Brush on some liquid from the cherry jam. Use a spatula to apply a thin layer of cream before lining the sides with cut cherries. I filled the middle of the square with fresh cherries and the homemade cherry jam.


Cover the cherries with more cream. Just enough cream to cover will do.

4. Carefully place another sponge cake on top. Repeat step 3 and then place the final layer of sponge on top.


5. Use a spatula to apply a little cream on the sides and smooth it out. This is to fill any air gaps around the edges.


6. If you happen to like this rustic look, you may leave the cake as it is. If you want to show the sliced cherry view, cover the cake with cling wrap and freeze for 2 hours. Use a long serrated knife to slice about 1cm off each side of the cake. I heat the knife over a flame and clean the blade after each cut to help ensure a cleaner cut. I wish I had a longer knife though 😆. It would have been even neater if I had one.
Cake with trimmed edges

If you are serving the blackforest cake as it is without fancy deco, you may want to add a little more stabilized cream on top in dollops with fresh whole cherries and a light sprinkle of chocolate rasps. At least that's what I would have done for a naked version of plain blackforest cake 😊.

Remember to keep the cake chilled in fridge until it is time to serve. I can assure you it is delicious 😋! Best served a day or two after assembly but it's good for a few days. If you prefer a lighter, less rich cream, you may use the stabilized whipped cream recipe from this post but double the amount of gelatin used to make it more stable.

A tip about macaron cake toppers on naked or semi naked cakes. Always store them separately as the moisture from the sponge cake will turn the macarons soggy quickly. If you need to make a cake with the macarons left on it during storage, you need to frost the whole cake with cream to create a barrier between exposed sponge and macarons.

With love,
Phay Shing
Read More »

Thursday, 24 January 2019

'Melt-in-the-mouth' Salted Egg Yolk 'Piggy' Golf ball Pineapple Tarts


What a mouthful for a title =p. I've always been a fan of salted egg yolk! Recently I saw some being sold, and just had to try my own version! I like 'melt-in-the-mouth' type of pineapple tarts, so this is adapted from my previous post, with yummy added salted duck egg yolks!

'Melt-in-the-mouth' Salted Egg Yolk 'Piggy' Golf ball' Pineapple Tarts

Pineapple jam: I used Premium Redman pineapple jam (nice blend of sour and sweetness that I like!)

Cookie Dough (for 60 golf balls):
250g of plain flour, sifted
175g of cold butter cut into small pieces
30g icing sugar
One egg (lightly beaten)
100g salted duck egg yolk crumbs
1 tsp vanilla extract
A pinch of salt

600g pineapple jam (divided into 60 pineapple jam balls of 10g)

Method:

1. Mash the egg yolks of the boiled salted eggs and pass through sieve to obtain fine salted egg yolk crumbs. One salted egg yields around 14g of salted egg yolk crumbs for me. I used around 7 salted eggs to make 100g salted egg yolk crumbs. See previous post for more details.

2. Divide into the pineapple jam in to 10g balls with cling wrap separating the layers of balls (remember to wet your hands so they don't stick). Keep in the refrigerator until use.

3. In a big mixing bowl, use the fork or finger tips to rub the cut butter cubes and sifted flour together until it becomes crumbly. Add in sifted icing sugar, salt and salted egg yolk crumbs and continue to rub until well mixed.

4. Add lightly beaten egg and vanilla extract and gently work until it becomes a dough. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 mins (makes dough easier to handle and makes clearer imprints).

5. Roll out the chilled dough to about 5 mm thick. *I rolled the dough between two pieces of cling wrap to prevent dough from sticking to surfaces.

6. Remove one side of the cling wrap and use a circle cutter (5-cm) to cut out the dough. Wrap the dough around each pineapple ball and roll into a smooth ball. For the piggies, use an oval cutter to cut out the nose from the dough and stick onto the face. Cut more ovals, dividing the ovals into 2 for each ears and limbs.

*Tip: If you cannot work quickly enough, I will suggest to remove the dough from the chiller in batches to shape and bake for best shape and results.

7. Prepare the egg wash. Lightly beat 1 egg yolk with 1 tbsp water and a few drops of oil.

8. Lightly brush with egg wash and bake the piggies in the middle rack at 180°C for 15 min.

9. Leave to cool and store in airtight containers until consumption.

*Can keep up to 14 days outside in a cool, dry place, and months in the fridge.

*Other tips:
If you like milky flavour, you can substitute some of the flour with milk powder (10g).
Some recipes also call for cornflour or custard powder (substitute 10g flour with custard powder) for extra melt-in-the-mouth, but final tart may be more crumbly and harder to handle.

My Piggies!

Cross-section... yummy!

Hope you enjoy the tarts too! Happy CNY in advance!

With love,
Susanne


Read More »

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Pusheen Ramen Chiffon Cake


Pusheen gets a CNY makeover, sipping a delicious bowl of ramen! =p 😆

My love for Pusheen continues! I've made Pusheen in all sorts of versions =p/ You can prefer to my previous Pusheen creations.

My friend joked that it was fortune cat, Pusheen version. 

Hope this cake brightens up your day!

With lots of love,
Susanne



Read More »

Sunday, 20 January 2019

'Peter Rabbit in Pink' Cherry Macarons

I have been trying not to overload myself with requests as I need to prepare for a month or more of bakes and step by step photo taking for the upcoming Deco Choux Pastries book. But I manage to squeeze this request in as I could do it concurrently with a couple of requests. I must say that I probably bit off more than I can chew but I am glad that they turned out well! I made Peter Rabbit macarons three years ago and it's nice to revisit an old bake again but with a slight twist. The requestor wanted Peter to be in pink this time, along with some juicy looking carrot macarons on the side 😊.


You may refer to my original post in 2016 over here for recipe, detailed piping steps and template for Peter Rabbit. The template and piping steps of the carrots can be found in my Creative Baking: Macarons book. I used a Swiss method recipe here instead of the Italian method shared previously. Just to share some photos of the macaron shells for this bake...

Piping Peter in pink

Piping carrots


Freshly baked shells. Check out the feet!

I usually pair cherry jam with dark chocolate ganache but this time round it's going to be just pure cherry flavour for Peter Rabbit and dark chocolate ganache for the carrots. I shall share the recipe for the cherry white chocolate buttercream here. Feel free to scale up the recipe as needed.

Cherry white chocolate buttercream
Ingredients:
60g white chocolate
30g unsalted butter
1/4 tsp salt
35g cherry jam
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp freeze-dried raspberry powder *

* You may omit if you don't have or add 1-2 tsp freeze-dried cherry powder instead. I added the raspberry powder as I didn't have cherry powder on hand but wanted to add a little more berry-like tartness to the filling.

Steps:
1. Melt white chocolate and butter together using double boiling or microwave. Add salt and freeze-dried raspberry/cherry powder and mix well.

2. Let it rest on the counter until firm, about half and hour to an hour. Beat with spatula until light, smooth and fluffy like buttercream. If you want to speed up the process, you may chill the mixture in the fridge/freezer for 1-3min and beat the mixture with a spatula. Repeat until the texture is smooth and creamy like whipped buttercream.

3. Add lemon juice and beat it into the buttercream. Gradually fold in the cherry jam, a teaspoon at a time. I didn't puree the cherries but finely chopped instead.

Cherry white chocolate buttercream!

The rabbits were filled with a ring of cherry white chocolate buttercream and a few chopped pieces of cherries from the jam in the middle.

Just to share a photo of the crazy macaron bake that I did concurrently with other requests...

And that's not all the shells I baked that day! Stay tuned for a family portrait bake!

Thank God that the macarons were very well received! The requestor sent me a photo of the macarons at the dessert table taken by professional photographer (@underthestarsphotography on Instagram). Much better than any photo I can take 😆



With love,
Phay Shing
Read More »

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

猪饱饱 Piggy Chiffon Cakes


Cutest 猪饱饱 piggies from @ch8sg for CNY2019. Loved them so much💕, just had to make a chiffon cake version of them! Which is your favorite among the 3? 🐷🐷🐷💕

There is the “富贵饱” (prosperity), “幸福饱” (happiness) and “健康饱” (health) lol. I saw the stacked piggies trio at Popular and was so tickled by them! =)

The recipe and technique is similar to my previous post Bandung Piggy Family Chiffon Cake pops, so you can refer to it. The only difference is that I baked the piggies in bigger molds, bowls, instead small cake pop molds (baking time increased by 10 min).

I also achieved the gold effect on chiffon cake "gold ingot" and "weights" by dusting gold powder on the chiffon cakes. Previously I had tried baking with the edible gold coloring or dust and it didn't work.

Hope this adorable stacked trio made you smile as it made me!

Very thankful and honored too that my previous Bandung Chiffon Cake Piggy Family was featured on Channel 8 news om 13th Jan (630 pm and 10 pm news)! News video here.


Wishing you a happy, blessed Lunar new year in advance!!

With lots of love,
Susanne 



Read More »

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Rainbow Unicorn Vanilla Choux Pastry

You have seen unicorn of just about everything under the sun in the baking arena. But have you seen a rainbow unicorn made out of Choux pastry like this 😉?

I love the cross-section view revealing the smooth and creamy vanilla pastry cream and nicely hemispherical cavity!

As you all know by now, I won't use fondant in my decorations. The rainbow coloured unicorn mane and horn are all made of choux pastry! The ears are white chocolate but that's because it has to match the white chocolate glaze of the unicorn head.

I was intending to blog in a little more detail for this bake but my editor loved the unicorns so much she wanted this to be in the upcoming Deco Choux Pastries book. I could hear her excitement over the email exchange...Lol! She would rather we sacrifice one of the original designs in the book to make space for this entry.

And so, I can't really share how I made nearly perfect hemispheres for all of the twenty plus choux pastry cases that I baked and how to make the mane and horn out of choux pastry. But the good news is that Deco Choux Pastries is going to be published in May (hopefully) so the secret and techniques will be out in a few months time!

In the mean time you may refer to the recipe in the blog for Rilakkuma cream puffs for a Choux pastry and vanilla pastry cream recipe that you can use although I have made certain tweaks since my earlier attempts that I will include in the book. As the pastry case is coated with white chocolate, you may want to reduce the amount of sugar in the pastry cream by a third to half.

My friend requested for the unicorns but I made some extras which my kids and I ate. I filled a pastry case and left it in an air conditioned room for an hour. The pastry case remained crisp and complemented the smooth and creamy vanilla pastry cream very well! Although I would have preferred Choux pastry without white chocolate coating on the outside because I don't have a sweet tooth, I love the look of these unicorns!

My friend who had it a few days later said that the unicorns with pastry cream were yummy and pastry case remained crispy too! But I let her fill the cases only when she wanted to eat them. Different from the soggy choux pastries you often get from shops because they are usually pre-filled and left on display for hours in the fridge.

With love,
Phay Shing


Read More »

Friday, 11 January 2019

Tsum Tsum Elsa and Anna Brown Sugar Cookies

I just realised I have quite a few cookie posts that have been in cold storage as drafts because there are more exciting posts to share. I am finally posting this...After several months 😅. My friend requested for these Elsa and Anna cookies for her daughter who was recovering from surgery and needed cheering up.


I have made this Elsa design in macaron form a few years ago, along with Olaf and you can see it in this post.

I have not changed my brown sugar cookie and royal icing recipe over the years because they have always been well received. People who tried using my recipe loved it too. You may refer to this post for both brown sugar cookie and royal icing recipe. I also make my own cookie templates from cheap, easily available materials. You may refer to this post on how to make and use your own templates.

Thank God that the little girl loved it!

With love,
Phay Shing

Read More »

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Kakao Friends Ryan on a Watermelon Chiffon Cake


Who finds Ryan from Kakao friends adorable and funny??
Finally got round to making a chiffon cake Ryan after Apeach more a year back! On a cute Watermelon chiffon cake! =p Hope this brings you some mid-week cheer! <3

Recipe for Watermelon Chiffon Cake has been shared in my 3rd book Deco Chiffon Cake Basics. 'Ryan' is made from round cakes and cake pops similar to 'panda' in Deco Chiffon Cake Basics too.

Hope this creation made you smile! =)

With lots of love,
Susanne


Read More »

Monday, 7 January 2019

Piggy Chiffon Cakes in Macaron Teacups

It's only natural that I put little piggies in the macaron teacups that I made! Please refer to my previous post on how to make the macaron teacups where I provided a video tutorial on how to pipe the hemispherical shells.

The piggies in cups with chiffon Mandarin oranges!

I will share the recipe for making the strawberry orange flavoured chiffon piggies which have no additional artificial colouring added. I have been making creative chiffons for five years now (how time flies!) but this is the first time I did something differently to make it easier and faster to complete a bake like this. Before I share the details on how to make the piggies, let me share a little about the Mandarin orange chiffons.

I have been making the chiffon Mandarin oranges around Chinese new year since 2014 and this is the sixth consecutive year I have been making them! They have a special place in my baking journey as the first successful experiment for baking chiffons in glass bowls and one of the earliest creative chiffon bakes. You may refer to this post for the recipe and shaping/decorating instructions. Just to share some photos of the process...

Freshly baked Mandarin orange chiffon cakes in glass bowls

Shaping the unmoulded cakes in the same glass bowls they were baked in

Imprinting the creases at the top of the orange

And now, on to the piggies!


I baked the three larger piggies in small glass bowls and the mini ones in small hemispherical silicone mould with 4cm diameter cavities. I actually intended to bake only the mini ones but had leftover batter so I baked three larger piggies in the glass bowls.

Strawberry orange chiffon cake
Ingredients (makes one 15cm chiffon cake or in my case it's about twenty to twenty-five 4cm hemispheres and one 8x8" chiffon sheet cake):
Egg yolk batter
2 egg yolks
5g caster sugar
30g vegetable oil
30g freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2-1 tsp strawberry emulco*
A pinch of salt
40g cake flour

Meringue
3 egg whites
1/5 tsp cream of tartar
40g caster sugar

* The strawberry emulco or strawberry paste added is variable as it depends on how strong the red colouring is in the strawberry paste you are using. Add a quarter tsp at a time into your batter and observe the resulting colour before you decide to add more.

Note: I use a slightly higher oil content and less juice content as the chiffon cake is to be stored together with the macaron teacup. Macaron shells turn soggy if they come in direct contact with moisture from chiffon cake. To keep the cake fairly moist without turning the macaron soggy during storage, I use a higher oil content but lower juice content.

Steps:
1. Line the 8x8" baking tray with parchment paper or Teflon sheet. If you don't have the tray of this size, you may substitute with other sizes. Just fill with enough batter to form a thin layer when you want to bake. I prefer using Teflon sheet as it produces sheet cakes without creases. Preheat oven to 160℃. Set oven rack to second lowest position.

2. Prepare egg yolk batter. Whisk egg yolks and sugar until pale and thick. Add oil and whisk until combined. Add orange juice and pinch of salt until well combined. Gradually add sifted flour and whisk until no trace of flour is seen. Add strawberry emulco a quarter tsp at a time until a desired warm pink shade is achieved.

3. Prepare the meringue. Beat egg whites with cream of tartar until firm peaks, adding sugar gradually once the egg whites are foamy.

4. Quickly but gently fold the meringue into the egg yolk batter a third at a time. Quickly spoon the batter into the mould cavities (or glass bowls or egg shells if you have neither silicone mould nor glass bowls). Spoon some batter into lined baking tray and use the spoon to smooth out the surface. It should just be a thin layer of batter.

5. Bake for 5 minutes. Reduce temperature to 135℃ and bake for another 7-8 minutes or until skewer comes out clean for the sheet cake. Immediately remove from oven and flip onto a parchment paper.


Continue baking the hemispheres for another 10-15 minutes or until skewer comes out clean. Cool completely before unmoulding.

6. Shape the unmoulded hemispheres to make the bottom look more rounded. I did this by gently inserting the bottom into a slightly smaller mould that I have. If you don't have, you can still gently mould it using your hands (see my video tutorial for shaping Mandarin oranges). I found that the silicone mould that the cakes were baked in were not rigid enough for moulding, unlike the glass bowls. That was why I used a smaller mould for shaping.


7. Cut little triangles from the sheet cake using a small fruit knife for the ears. Cut out snouts by using a round cutter to cut out a piece from the sheet cake. Gently squish it to make it oval. If you have oval cutters you may use it instead. Use the blunt end of toothpick to create the nostrils. The tail of the larger piggy and “hands” of the smaller pig was made by using a round cutter to cut out a circle and then gently moulding it into a ball with your fingers. Keep the small cutouts in airtight container to prevent them from drying out.

8. I used to bake thin black and white sheet cakes for the character's eyes. This meant that I had to go through the trouble of preparing extra batter and baking them. The thing that I did differently was to use black candy melts for the eyes. No, I didn't melt the candy melts, transfer into piping bag and pipe the eyes on. I did something much faster and easier. I used a rolling pin to roll the candy melt chip between parchment paper until it was flat. Then I used a small round cutter to cut out the eyes. Singapore's weather is warm enough such that it's easy to roll the candy melt chip flat. If you are working in a cold kitchen, you may want to warm up the chip with the heat of your fingers or hands before rolling it flat. Something that took half an hour using more ingredients can now be done in less than 10 seconds with only one ingredient!

9. I melted some white compound chocolate with a bit of vegetable shortening and used it as glue to stick on the small parts. I used the same melted chocolate to pipe the white highlights in the eyes. I usually use melted marshmellows with a sprinkle of water as glue but find that using this form of melted chocolate works wonderfully too. The addition of vegetable shortening is to make the chocolate stay in a workable fluid condition for a longer time. Otherwise the melted chocolate may harden quite quickly and you need to re-melt it before you are done with the assembly.

The last step of assembly involves filling the macaron teacups with whipped Earl grey white chocolate ganache and then gently placing the mini piggies and two round balls of chiffon for the hands on the ganache.

Store the assembled teacup with piggies in airtight container in the fridge.

Since it's the first time I am making a creation with this configuration of chiffon and macarons, I kept one test piece for five days in the fridge (trying to push the limits here) and did a taste test.

I love the look of the cross section 😍😍

I was pleasantly surprised that the chiffon wasn't overly dry nor was the macaron shell overly soggy! I normally brush the surface of baked chiffons with some syrup to prevent the sponge from drying out during storage in the fridge but didn't do so for the mini piggies in the cups as I didn't want to risk turning the macaron shells soggy. So I am really pleased that this configuration is workable and so cute!

With love,
Phay Shing
Read More »

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

福 Macaron Teacups (video tutorial of piping hemispherical shells included)

Happy New Year! To kick-start 2019, I have decided to share a video tutorial on how to pipe hemispherical macaron shells as many of you were interested after seeing my macaron tea set. The possibilities are endless when it comes to creating various things with such shells, such as hedgehogs from my Creative Baking: Macaron Basics book, turtles, ladybugs, chickens, watermelons, monsters and solar system. I created Chinese New Year themed teacups this time round with hemispherical macaron shells 😊

Change the character to 囍 and you can use it for tea ceremony at Chinese weddings!

I am also taking this chance to share how I create red macaron shells without using a whole lot of artificial red food colouring. I am using the Swiss method recipe shared by Audrey for this creation. You can read about it in this post as well. Natural sources of food colouring that I like to use for creating red macaron shells are red yeast rice powder, raspberry powder and beetroot powder. I use either red yeast powder alone or a combination of red yeast and raspberry or beetroot powder. Natural sources tend to impart an earthy tone so your shells won't end up bright neon red. Red yeast rice powder doesn't impart any flavour whereas raspberry does. Beetroot powder also may impart a faint earthy flavour. If you aren't able to get any of these natural sources or food colouring, add a little brown gel food colouring or cocoa powder to tone down the red.

Red macaron shells
Ingredients:
Swiss meringue
46g egg whites (fresh or aged is fine)
85g caster sugar
1/8 tsp cream of tartar (optional)
8 drops of red gel food colouring

Almond paste
85g superfine almond flour
85g icing sugar (with cornstarch added)
1/8 tsp salt (optional)
1tsp red yeast rice powder
1tsp freeze-dried raspberry powder
1/8 tsp red powder food colouring
31g egg whites

Steps:
1. Prepare templates for teacup handles (letter C) and saucer (circles). Please make your own as it depends on the size of your mould. Place an upturned silicone mould with hemispheres on baking tray. (My mould has 4cm circles). Set oven rack to lowest or second lowest position. I use top and bottom heat most of the time so set your oven rack according to which rack works best for your oven.

2. Make the almond paste. Sift all powdered ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Add egg whites and mix well to form a thick paste. Set aside, covering with cling wrap to prevent it from drying out.

3. Make the Swiss meringue. In a clean glass bowl, combine all ingredients together (except the food colouring). Set the bowl over a pot of simmering water without the water touching the bottom of the bowl. Whisk until all the sugar is dissolved and temperature is 45-50℃. This should take around 5 minutes. Use extremely low heat as you want all the sugar to dissolve fully when the temperature is reached. Use an electric mixer to beat until meringue is thick enough not to slide in bowl when turned upside down. About 5-6 minutes. Add red colouring and beat until well mixed. Using a metal bowl for the meringue is fine too but as it conducts heat much faster, make sure that you use really low heat to double boil the egg whites.

Almond paste and Swiss meringue

4. Add about a third of the meringue into almond paste. Use electric mixer on low speed to mix until just combined. You may use a spatula for this but I find that electric mixer may be easier as the paste is really thick. Add the remaining meringue and fold with spatula until you reach the lava stage. You may refer to this post on how to fold and test batter consistency.

Red macaron batter. Note that the colour will deepen with time so don't fret if your batter looks slightly pinkish and bright.

5. Transfer batter into piping bag fitted with a 6-7mm round tip to pipe saucer and hemispheres. Use a smaller tip for the teacup handle.

Piped hemispheres

Here's the video tutorial on how to pipe.  Do note that it's quite a bit of trial and error to determine how much batter to pipe.



Piped teacup handles 

6. Rest the piped batter until dry to touch and bake in preheated oven at 140℃ (top and bottom heat only). Do note that the baking time and temperature profile will vary based on your oven and the various sizes of piped shells. Hemispherical shells take longer to bake through than regular flat macaron shells due to the insulation caused by air gap between silicone mould and baking tray. Thoroughly baked hemispheres should pop right off the mould on their own easily when cooled. If your shells are still stuck, bake for a longer time. It's ok if you overbake the shells as you can mature it longer with filling or brush inner surface with cream or syrup to hasten the maturing process. I lower the temperature to 120℃ and turn on the fan in the oven after the first 15-20 min to prevent excessive browning while thoroughly drying out the shells. Allow for longer drying time for hemispheres before baking as it may be more prone to cracking if the membrane formed is not strong enough.

Freshly baked hemispheres! Please don't fret if you don't have perfectly symmetrical hemispheres as it is difficult enough to pipe on a curved surface. Lopsided feet may also be more common as it is difficult to ensure that you get the same amount of batter all around. But, practice makes perfect! I have not attained perfection yet but I am not fretting 😆 so please have realistic expectations when you attempt to make these.

Here's a other view of the baked shells. You may want to pipe a ring near the top of the hemisphere when the piped hemispheres are partially dried (see picture below) for the teacup stand at the base of the cup. You may also add the stand post-baking using royal icing, which was what I did for most of the hemispheres.


I filled the teacup handles with white chocolate and attached it to the hemisphere with royal icing. I used royal icing to glue the teacup to the saucer as well as decorate with the word 福, which means "blessed". You may use melted chocolate instead of royal icing if you wish.

Of course I am not going to leave the teacups unfilled. Take a peek at a cute surprise in my next blog post 😉. Please acknowledge the source here if you do make teacup macarons and share it on social media. It took me some time to create the video, write up this blog post as well as experiment with hemispherical shells over the past two years when time allowed.

Update: I received a couple of queries about whether there is a need to rap the tray after piping hemispherical shells. I don't rap the tray as I normally would as it would disturb the piped batter and make it go out of shape. Instead, I use a toothpick to pop any visible air bubbles before the membrane is formed on the surface. Although you may use any preferred recipe or method of making the macaron batter, using Swiss or Italian methods produce batter with less air bubbles to pop.

With love,
Phay Shing

Read More »