Wednesday 31 July 2019

Peppa Pig and Family in Muddy Puddle Chocolate Macarons

When you think of Peppa Pig, what scene do you think of? For me, the scene where the whole family jumps into a muddy puddle, and then everyone falls on their backs laughing comes to mind. I did the mudde puddle bit, with a rainbow in the backdrop of course 😊.

Yes the mud splashes are deliberate! 

I used the Swiss method to make the macarons as there are many colours involved so I need a meringue that can stay stable for a longer time. Italian method works just as well too but I didn't feel like dealing with having to monitor the boiling syrup and state of egg whites beating at the same time, or having an extra saucepan to wash. You may refer to this recipe for Swiss method. I have changed to using a higher initial preheat temperature for this recipe. Do adjust your oven conditions to suit you better as each oven behaves differently.

You may refer to the video tutorials on the blog on how to pipe various features on macarons or my macaron books, Creative Baking: Macarons and Macaron Basics for a more systematic presentation of the techniques of basic macarons and fancy shaped macarons.

Piping Peppa and family 

Piping the rainbow 

As this is a macaron structure, I used a fairly firm dark chocolate ganache to fill the pieces. I used this recipe as a reference but modified it slightly.

Firm dark chocolate ganache recipe
90g dark chocolate
12g unsalted butter
20g whipping cream
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste

Simply place all ingredients in a microwaveable bowl and melt it together. Let it sit at the counter top to firm up before using. You may choose to whip it a little after chilling it in the fridge until you are able to scoop the ganache with a spoon like ice cream if you prefer a lighter texfure.

Filling the shells

As the rainbow is a top heavy structure in the scene, I recommend using skewers to secure it to the large base macaron.

Thank God that it was really well received by my friend who requested for it! I also made some loose pieces of Peppa and Suzy macarons as giveaways for the party. You may refer to this post for it!

With love,
Phay Shing
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Saturday 27 July 2019

Jigglypuff Chocolate Choux Pastry

My friend requested for some corgi and Jigglypuff choux pastries. I posted the corgi ones earlier on and you can see it in this post. Here are the chocolate pastry cream filled Jigglypuffs!

Unlike the corgi choux pastries which have minimal covering with white chocolate, these Jigglypuffs are coated entirely with white chocolate. This method of finishing isn't my favourite as it is messier to work with and tastes sweeter than craquelin coated pastry cases, but it is necessary for certain designs where it is difficult to use purely craquelin, such as white and pastel coloured characters. I baked the pastry case along with those for the corgis.

You may refer to this post for detailed recipe for choux pastry batter and craquelin.

Piped batter. I highly recommend the use of perforated mats for better shape retention of pastry cases. The porous mat helps to anchor the pastry as it puffs up in the oven. 

Placing cookie dough cutouts on top of piped batter. As a rule of thumb, the cutouts I use are about 5mm wider than the piped batter. 

Piped batter for the ears, arms and feet. 

I assembled the ears and arms by inserting into the main body. I glued on the feet using Royal icing

I coated the pastry case with white compound chocolate that is melted with a little vegetable shortening and coloured it pink with oil based food colouring. The eyes were made of white chocolate chips decorated with royal icing for the details. I piped on Jigglypuff's lock using the same pink coloured white chocolate. The mouth and ear details in black were added using royal icing coloured with charcoal powder.

Detailed recipe for the chocolate pastry cream with less sugar, made richer in flavour with dark chocolate added but lightened in texture with whipped cream can be found here in my corgi pastry post.

If you would like to know what other designs you can make with choux pastries, checkout my Deco Choux Pastries book!

With love,
Phay Shing

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Friday 26 July 2019

Cony and Brown Chiffon Cakes

Left or right?💕 Line Friends Cony and Brown Chiffon Cakes!

Always love! Can u 'bear' to eat them?

I have a long history with Cony and Brown actually! Check out my earlier versions here and here. I also had some unposted versions still in my camera! I used Reduced egg white recipe for Cony. I added a carrot here for Cony and a heart for Brown! =)

Hope you like this cute and happy creation!

With lots of love,

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Sunday 21 July 2019

Corgi Chocolate Choux Pastry

My friend requested for some corgi and Jigglypuff choux pastries that I can make at my convenience. Since I had a cancellation for an order, I decided to take time to make these. Presenting my corgis in the form of chocolate éclairs!

Woof! The Jigglypuff choux pastries are in a separate blog post 

You may use any favourite choux pastry recipe but I used the one in this blog post for the batter and craquelin. I use craquelin to control the shape of the expansion as well as provide an extra crunch.

Piped batter on perforated mat (highly recommended for better shape retention.) . I pipe a short éclair for corgi body using a 18mm diameter open star tip and a plain round 15mm tip for 2.5cm rounds for Jigglypuff body

Placing craquelin on top. As a rule of thumb, I made the craquelin about 5 mm wider than piped batter. 

I usually bake the pastry cases until really dry and crisp so that the recipient can have the option of whether to have them crisp or softer by varying the amount of time the filling sits inside the cases.

I bake the corgi ears and tail using batter too. Just transfer batter into piping bag with a small hole cut and pipe onto parchment paper lined baking trays. For small choux parts, I don't use perforated mat as it is not necessary.

Bake these for only 10 min or so. Do keep a close watch on them or they burn fast in the oven. 

After the baked cases have cooled completely, I insert or glue on the small parts with royal icing or melted chocolate.

Partially assembled Jigglypuff and corgi! 

The white part of the corgi is piped on using white chocolate melted with a little vegetable shortening. I used white chocolate chips for the legs.  The fine features in black, red and pink were done using royal icing.

I cut a hole at the base of the pastry case for ease of filling with chocolate pastry cream that is made richer with dark chocolate couverture added and made lighter in texture with whipped cream added.

Chocolate pastry cream with whipped cream added 
Ingredients :
20g cornflour
30g caster sugar
12g cocoa powder
2 egg yolks
200g + 15g milk
1/2tsp vanilla extract
1/2tsp kahlua coffee liqueur (optional)
Pinch of salt
15g unsalted butter
60g dark chocolate couverture (or any dark chocolate you like, finely chopped)
85g cold whipping cream (I used a combination of dairy and non-dairy whipping cream. You can choose to use either. )

1. Sift together cocoa powder and cornflour into a heatproof heavy bowl. Add sugar and whisk together. Add egg yolks and 15g of milk and whisk until a smooth paste is formed. Set aside.

2. Heat 200g milk, vanilla, salt and coffee liqueur (if using) in a saucepan until the milk just starts to bubble at the edges.

3. Remove saucepan from heat and pour in a thin stream into the egg yolk mixture while whisking. Start off pouring very slowly before pouring faster. This is to temper the egg yolks.

4. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and heat over medium-low heat while whisking all the time. Once mixture starts to thicken, remove from heat and whisk until mixture becomes smooth again. Return to heat and keep whisking as the pastry cream thickens until your preferred consistency. Keep in mind the pastry cream will be firmer upon cooling.

5. Remove from heat and add butter and dark chocolate couverture. Whisk until butter is melted and incorporated. Transfer custard to a bowl and press a piece of cling wrap on the surface of pastry cream to prevent skin from forming. Refrigerate for an hour or until cool. You may prepare this a day ahead of time.

6. Beat cold whipping cream using electric mixer until firm or stiff peaks form (be careful not to overbeat if using full dairy whipping cream) . Take the chilled pastry cream out from the fridge and stir to loosen it. Fold in the whipped cream into the pastry cream in a few batches.

If you would like to know what other designs you can make with choux pastries, checkout my Deco Choux Pastries book!

With love,
Phay Shing
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Wednesday 17 July 2019

Dumbo in Teacup Carousel Chiffon Cake

In case you missed the Dumbo movie, here's my Dumbo in a Teacup Carousel cake! Can you guess how I patterned the rainbow hearts in the cup?

For those who followed my early work, you may find it familiar =). It's the same technique as my 6-flavour Rainbow Hearts Chiffon cake in Creative baking: Chiffon Cakes book.. I used Rainbow hearts cut outs to get the perfect shape. You can watch the previous video to see how it is done. In this case, I used a 3D ball pan instead of a normal round chiffon pan. The Dumbo is shaped from a bowl cake. I stuck cake pops and ears from chiffon cake onto it using melted marshmallow.

Hope you like this cute creation! The patterning techniques and chiffon cake glue and other techniques are in my cookbooks (below). The Rainbow hearts chiffon cake is in the first book on the right.

With lots of love,

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Tuesday 16 July 2019

'Ginger Cats on a Swing' Macarons on Mixed Fruit & Cream Cake (dairy-free)

My friend requested for a dairy-free bake for her 2-year-old twins' birthday. As usual, I ask what the recipients like and she told me they love swings, ginger cats, butterflies, the colours pink and red. She also requested for something less sweet. I took all that on board and came up with this 😊

The cats and swing are made of macarons. The butterflies are made of bean paste dough. I filled the macarons with dark chocolate and raspberry white chocolate. I also used a reduced sugar recipe for the macaron shells, keeping in mind my friend's request. The cake is made up of four layers of chocolate chiffon sponge, and three layers of non-dairy whipping cream, strawberries and kiwi.

I didn't stick the cats onto the swing because I wanted it to be a doll house concept where the "dolls" can be played with. The macaron swing can actually swing too! It took me a while to figure out a mechanism that actually works but is simple enough to put together using whatever tools I have.

I used the reduced sugar Swiss meringue method recipe for the macaron shells. You may refer to this post for the recipe. I added some freeze dried raspberry powder to the shells to colour it and flavour it as well. Just to share some photos of the process...

Piping the cats 

The cats were decorated using royal icing, edible marker and lustre dust. 

I filled the shells with dark chocolate and raspberry white chocolate. 

I experimented with using shaved cocoa butter to replace some of the white chocolate so that the filling is not so sweet but is stable in Singapore's hot weather. The filling has to be relativdly firm as the structure had to be stable.

Recipe for raspberry white chocolate filling
80g white chocolate
10g cocoa butter
20g vegetable shortening
1/4tsp salt
4 tsp freeze-dried raspberry powder

1. Place all ingredients except raspberry powder in microwave safe bowl. Heat at medium power for 10 sec and mix well. Repeat until everything is melted and smooth. Do not overheat.

2. Gradually add raspberry powder and mix well.

3. Set aside at room temperature for 15-30 min to let it firm up to toothpaste consistency. Transfer into piping bag.

Recipe for dark chocolate filling
Ingredients :
40g dark chocolate
10g vegetable shortening
1/4 tsp salt

Same as above for raspberry white chocolate but skip step 2.

I had to use some ingenuity to figure out the mechanism for the swing such that the macarons won't break.

Looking sweet 

Happy cats on the swing 

You may refer to this post for bean paste dough that I used. I used it to make flowers previously but the dough can also be used to make other things like the butterflies here.

I baked the chocolate chiffon cake using this recipe but replaced milk with water for a non-dairy version. I used 2 egg whites worth of batter for each layer of 8" round cake. I used cookie cutters to cut out strawberry hearts and kiwi leaves.

Layering the cake with non-dairy cream and fruits.

I decided to go for simple but sweet looking cake so I just frosted the whole cake and used a small spatula to create patterns on the surface. This is nuch easier than my naked cakes revealing neat layers of fruit and cream because you don't have to be neat at all with this kind of rustic finishing 😊.

Looking sweet! 

Although the macaron swing was a challenge to me, I had fun creating it, along with a simple and refreshing cake!

With love,
Phay Shing

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Thursday 11 July 2019

Stand Mixer Chiffon Cake

My new retro Stand mixer!!

Just kidding! This is actually chiffon cake =p

My most challenging work so far! ^_^" *sweat*. I didn't think I could do it. Thank God for providing! <3

Here is the cake side-by-side with the pretty pink version of the Stand mixer. Does it look like the Mini-me? They looked really cute together!

It was a lot of work, a lot of carving involved. The bowl was hollow as well =p.

Hope cute cake made you smile! =)

With lots of love,

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Tuesday 9 July 2019

Whale Shark Blueberry Choux Pastry

It's been a really busy time with book event and classes on 3 consecutive weekends and I am glad I managed to complete this request from a friend! Whale shark choux pastries filled with blueberry whipped cream!

I must admit that it took me 3 tries to get decent shape of tapered éclairs for the main body of the whale shark, partly because I wasn't thinking clearly and used the wrong tip size or wrong piping technique for the first two tries *slap forehead*.

As usual I made my own templates for piping the fins, tail and main body of the shark. As a rule of thumb, I make the cookie cutout about 5-6mm larger than the piped area. You may refer to this post for the detailed recipe for craquelin and choux pastry batter.

Just to share a couple of photos of works in progress and a tip on how to pipe the whale shark body shape.

Piped batter for whale shark body. 

Choose a large enough open star piping tip and pipe a tapered éclair. The batter should fall from the piping tip naturally, and not flare out from the piping tip (which creates a line wider than the diameter of piping tip). You may refer to this post for the video tutorial on how to pope éclairs to see what I mean. The difference is, for the tapered éclair, you release pressure on the piping bag earlier and continue dragging the piping tip towards the finishing point to create the taper. It takes a little practice to get this right. You can always scrape the batter off the mat and try again. I strongly recommend using perforated mats for baking éclair shaped choux pastries for better shape retention.

Freshly baked choux pastry case! 

I cut a rather large hole at base of the pastry case for ease of filling the pastries. Be sure to thoroughly dry the cases in the oven before decorating. I used Royal icing for the underbelly, and black candy melts for the eyes. For the candy melt eyes, I didn't melt the candy melt chips but instead just roll the chips between parchment paper and use a round cutter to cut out the eyes. Singapore is that warm that I can roll and cut the candy melt chips. Store baked cases (decorated or undecorated) in airtight condition at cool room temperature until you are ready to fill. You may store it up to a week.

Please also refer to my new book, Deco Choux Pastries for a systematic overview of how to prepare, pipe batter and create choux pastries of various shapes.

I made my own blueberry jam from scratch and added more kick to it by adding freeze dried blueberries. It's really tart so feel free to add more sugar if you prefer.

Blueberry jam
Ingredients :
250g fresh blueberries
45g caster sugar (or according to taste)
1tsp lemon juice
A pinch of salt
10g freeze dried blueberry powder (optional)

1. Place all ingredients except blueberry powder in saucepan. Cook using medium low heat and stir frequently, gently mashing the blueberries when they are soft.

2. Continue cooking until desired consistency. This could take about 15 min. Press jam through sieve to remove the skins.

3. Add freeze dried blueberry powder and mix well. Chill in fridge until ready to use.

Homemade blueberry jam

Blueberry whipped cream
150g non-dairy whipping cream, cold (I used Redman's Whip topping)
150g heavy cream or double cream, cold
150g blueberry jam

Note: you may use non dairy whipping cream alone, dairy cream alone or both but in different ratio from what I suggest. As Singapore is really warm, I use a mix of both to get the best of milky fresh cream taste and stability. You may add icing sugar if you wish to sweeten the cream even more. I omitted because the non dairy cream already contains some sugar.

Steps :
1. Place both types of dairy creams in mixing bowl and beat on low speed using electric mixer until stiff peaks form. If using purely dairy cream, be careful not to overbeat or the cream will separate.

Whipped cream

2. Fold in blueberry jam in a few batches until well mixed.

Store filling in fridge in airtight condition (I keep in piping bags) until ready to fill pastry cases. You may prepare this up to a few days in advance.

With love,
Phay Shing

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Thursday 4 July 2019

Chip Ufufy Chiffon Cake

Posting another of my backlogs. I made this Chipmunk Ufufy Chiffon Cake last year. I just love all things round and cute!!

I had a video of the jiggly texture of the cake! The chipmunk looked like he was looking for nuts.

Someone commented that the nut was right beside him LOL!

Hope this made you smile!! Hehe

With lots of love,

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Wednesday 3 July 2019

Milo, Tea and Coffee Merlion Macarons (template provided!)

This year I am involved in conducting a macaron workshop for our church carnival as part of a community outreach event. Since the event is near national day, I thought of sharing something that is uniquely Singapore. Merlion macarons filled with familiar coffeeshop drink flavours: Milo, Teh (tea) and Kopi (coffee)!

Hubby helped with coming up with the idea of taking photos of these Merlions. Don't they look like they are having fun doing synchronized swimming 😆!

I came up with the Merlion design so there isn't any copyright issues involved and I can share the template. Please acknowledge the source here if you do use the template as I have taken pains to draw the template. Do acknowledge the source here if you use my recipe and share your work in public domain too!

I decided to demo the simplest method of making macarons, the French method, as it is logistically least involved. I use icing sugar instead of caster so that the meringue is more stable and the batter dries faster.

Recipe for French method Merlion macarons
Ingredients (makes 12 Merlion macarons):
Dry ingredients
45g almond meal (preferably superfine)
55g icing sugar
1/4 tsp cornflour

40g egg whites
36g icing sugar
1/2 tsp cornflour
1/8 tsp cream of tartar (optional)

Food colouring
1/8 tsp white powder food colouring
1/4 tsp cocoa powder
3/16 tsp red powder food colouring

1. Prepare baking tray with template and parchment paper.

2. Sift together dry ingredients. Divide into two equal portions. Add sifted white powder colouring to one portion. Add sifted cocoa powder and red powder colouring to the other portion. Use a whisk to whisk together each of the coloured dry ingredients to distribute colouring evenly. Set aside.

3. Prepare the meringue. In a small bowl, whisk together icing sugar and corn flour. In a clean metal bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until stiff peaks form, gradually adding in icing sugar mix once the egg whites are foamy. Whisk the egg whites when icing sugar is added in before turning the mixer speed up or you get powdered sugar flying everywhere. The meringue should be so stiff that it is able to ball up inside the whisk when it is beaten. Divide the meringue into two equal portions.

4. For each coloured batter, scatter half of the powdered ingredients into the meringue. Gently fold in with spatula until just combined. Scatter the other half of dry ingredients and fold in until combined. Continue folding and pressing the batter against side of the bowl with a little more force now until batter is able to flow off the spatula in almost continuous manner. When you make little peaks of batter in the bowl, it should melt back in when you tap the bottom of the bowl.

You may refer to this tutorial on how to prepare macaron batter and basics of piping. You may refer to my macaron books, Creative Baking: Macarons and Macaron Basics for a more systematic presentation of the techniques of basic macarons and fancy shaped macarons.

5. Transfer each coloured batter into piping bag fitted with Wilton #5 or #6 tip. Pipe the head and body of the Merlion, followed by the mane and "arms/fins". Bang the tray on table after piping a few macarons to flatten any peaks and pop any air bubbles trapped before a skin is formed on the surface. Use a toothpick to nudge the batter where necessary.

Piped batter

6. Dry the piped batter in air-con room for 20-30min or until you are able to run a finger across the surface of the shells without feeling any stickiness. In the mean time, preheat oven to 170-180℃ (top and bottom heat only, no fan). Set oven rack to lowest or second lowest position. Once the shells are dry to touch, place tray in oven and immediately reduce temperature to 140℃. Bake for 10 min. Reduce temperature to 110-120℃ and bake for another 10-15 min or until feet do not appear wet. I give a range of oven temperature as each oven is different so adjust baking temperature and time accordingly. Always use an oven thermometer.

7. Let the macarons cool completely on baking tray and gently peel the parchment paper away from the shells. Use black and blue edible marker to draw the details.

Check out the feet on the macaron shells!

Whipped ganache filling recipes
I am going to make these Merlion macarons as giveaways during the event so the fillings have to be tasty as well as firm enough to withstand Singapore's hot climate. Feel free to reduce white chocolate content or increase whipping cream content, or replace vegetable shortening with butter if you live at a cooler place. Feel free to upsize the recipe if you wish.

4tbs Milo kosong powder
30g heavy or double cream
40g white chocolate, finely chopped or use chips**
15g unsalted butter, room temperature
15g vegetable shortening
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste

Tea infused whipping cream
2 tea bags of black tea
50g-60g heavy or double cream

30g tea infused cream
45g white chocolate**
15g unsalted butter
15g vegetable shortening
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste
1.5 tbs Earl grey tea powder

1.5tbs instant coffee granules
30g heavy or double cream
45g white chocolate**
15g unsalted butter
15g vegetable shortening
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste

**you may replace 10g of white chocolate with finely chopped cocoa butter for a less sweet filling.

1. Prepare tea infused whipping cream by heating whipping cream in a small saucepan or microwave oven until it just starts to bubble. Steep the tea dust/ tea bags in the hot cream for 10min. Strain out the tea dust / remove tea bags and measure out 30g.

2. For all the different flavours, heat the heavy cream/tea infused cream until hot but not boiling. You may use the microwave oven or small saucepan to do this. Add Milo powder/ Earl grey tea powder/ coffee granules to the hot cream and stir until the powder is dissolved.

3. In a microwave safe/ heatproof bowl, add white chocolate, butter, vegetable shortening and flavoured cream from step 2. Mix well and melt the contents until smooth using either microwave oven at medium-low power or double boiling. Do not overheat or the white chocolate will separate.

4. Add salt and vanilla bean paste and mix well.

5. Chill the bowl of flavoured ganache in freezer for 1-2min and mix well with a spatula. Repeat freezing and mixing/whipping until you get a smooth fluffy buttercream texture.
* if you want to make a Milo dinosaur version, add 6 tbs of milo powder to the Milo whipped ganache.

6. Transfer to piping bag and fill the macaron shells.

Filling the Merlion macarons!

Store filled macarons for at least 24h in the fridge in an airtight container before consuming. I pack a piece of paper towel inside the sealed container/bag to absorb any moisture so that the macaron shells won't turn soggy as they mature with the filling due to unwanted water condensation. Leave the matured macarons at room temperature for 15 min before opening the container/bag to prevent condensation from forming directly on the macaron shells.  It may sound troublesome but this is a tried and tested method I use in Singapore's hot and humid climate to ensure that the macarons are in the best condition when you consume them after storage and with repeated taking in and out of fridge. These macarons are good for a couple of weeks storage in the fridge and a few months in the freezer.

With love,
Phay Shing

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