Tuesday 30 January 2024

Sugar-Free Pineapple Tarts

 This was a bake (bakes actually) that came a little unplanned. It all started because I had leftover pineapple puree from my Lunar New Year themed marshmallow class and I thought of making pineapple tarts that some of my family members can eat without being afraid of spiking their blood sugar levels as much as regular pineapple tarts.

After some trials, I finally came up with something that I am satisfied with. I challenged myself to make pineapple tarts sugar-free without it tasting weird and while minimizing the use of sugar replacements because that's what makes bakes taste weird in general. Those that don't taste that bad aren't zero GI or impart a strong flavour of their own like maltitol (not zero GI) and maple or agave syrup (imparts their own flavour). I made both open-faced and "golf ball" types!

Since the Lunar New Year is so close to Valentine's Day this year, I made the open-faced tart with a little Vday vibes. It also gave me a reason to use a tart mold I have had for years but never used. I added some dragon scale pattern to some of the golf ball tarts since this year is the Year of the Dragon.

Take a look at the cross sections after I took a bite!

Sugar-Free Pineapple Jam
I made the jam without any real or artificial sugar at all. You won't miss it! Adding sugar replacements simply adulterate the taste of the jam when it isn't actually necessary. I tried. It tastes awful to me 🙈. What's the secret ingredient then? Apple! I have seen some people make the jam out of pineapples alone. Adding the right type of apple helps to regulate the level of sweetness/tartness to your preference. Apple is relatively neutral flavour wise and contains lots of natural pectin so it is used in creating homemade sugar-free jams by people who want to omit processed sugar in their diet. Use Granny Smith (sour green apples) if your pineapple is very sweet or you prefer a more sour jam. Use Golden Delicious apples or Gala if you prefer sweeter jam or if your pineapple is very sour. The approximate ratio I use is 1:5 for apple : pineapple by weight. Feel free to upsize your recipe as this is a small batch.

Ingredients (makes enough filling for about 20 tarts):
500g pineapple chunks (about 1 large pineapples)
100-110g apple chunks (about 1 apple)
1 tsp lemon juice (more if you prefer it more sour)
Pinches of salt
1 Cinnamon stick
Cloves and star anise if you wish

1. Blend apple and pineapples chunks together with salt. 

2. Add fruit puree and all other ingredients into large frying pan. Cook over medium heat and stir frequently. Reduce heat when the liquid has dried up. Continue cooking until total weight of ingredients is about 30% of original weight. Your jam should be dry. It took me about 20-25 minutes to get there. I used the largest frying pan I have to maximize surface area of the jam to the heat to speed things up. Some bakers use the oven to dry out the puree without having to stand at the stove for some time. To do this, line your largest baking tray with a few layers of foil. Bake the puree with spices at 90C for a few hours or until dry, stirring gently every 1-2 hours. Of course if you have Thermomix, use it😊!

3. Let the jam cool. Spread the jam in a thin layer on a plate/bowl/tray and refrigerate overnight uncovered. This will help excess moisture to evaporate.

4. Portion into 8g balls. Refrigerate until ready to assemble.

8g balls of pineapple jam

Egg wash
1 egg yolk
1-2 tsp water or milk
A few drops of oil 

1. Mix everything together and sieve. Refrigerate covered until needed.

Sugar-Free Open-Faced Tart Pastry
I adapted my recipe by chef Anup Kumar in a Straits Times article written by Hedy Khoo. You may read all about it here.

I highly recommend replacing the almond flour with cake flour as we would be more used to the wheat flour only version. Adding almond flour makes the texture a lot sturdier and the tart base tastes more like almond pate sucree used in classical French pastries. Using cake flour instead of plain flour is fine as I don't find the structure of the pastry compromised and it's overall still sturdy enough to be molded with a plunger mold. I went for the lower end of the suggested sugar amount and find that the sugar replacement aftertaste is hardly detectable at all so it tastes pretty good when eaten together with the jam! But if you are looking at a healthier tart pastry, replacing 12% of the cake/plain flour with almond flour is the way to go.

Feel free to upsize the portion as I made only a small quantity. 

Ingredients (makes about 20 open-faced tarts):
76g cake flour 
15g powdered erythritol (or icing sugar for non sugar-free)
1/4 tsp fine salt
40g cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 egg yolk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1. Sift together all dry ingredients.

2. Use finger tips to rub cold butter into flour mix until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

3. Add egg yolk and vanilla. Form a ball of dough with spatula. Flatten into a disc.

4. Wrap dough with cling wrap and refrigerate for 30 min.

5. Roll the dough flat between two sheets of parchment paper to thickness of about 5mm. 

6. Lightly dust the surface of the dough with cornstarch or flour to prevent the dough from sticking to the mold.

7. Press out the dough with the mold and place on baking tray lined with parchment paper about 3cm apart.

8. Apply egg wash with a soft brush. You don't have to make it fancy like I did. I coloured part of it dark brown with chocolate emulco mixed into the egg wash.

9. Place pineapple jam in the middle and press it down lightly. 

10. Decorate with leftover pastry on top of the jam if you wish. 

11. Bake in preheated oven at 170C for 15-20 min or until pastry is lightly browned.

Here's a picture of the plunger mold I took with the freshly baked tarts.

Sugar-Free Golf Ball Tart Pastry
Tart pastry for this type of tarts doesn't need to be as sturdy as the open-faced version. I think this is the more popular version in Singapore because of it's delicate crumbly texture. I adapted the recipe from Celia over here. Feel free to upsize as I made a small portion.

Ingredients (makes about 20 golf ball tarts):
120g cake flour
15g cornflour
15-20g powdered erythritol (or icing sugar for non sugar-free)
20g full fat milk powder
1/4 tsp salt
100g cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 egg yolk 
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1. Follow steps 1-4 in open-faced tart pastry.

2. Divide dough into 10g portions. Wrap the pineapple filling. 

3. Place 3cm apart on lined baking tray. Use a straw cut lengthwise in half to create dragon scale imprints if you wish. Chill for 10-15 min

I left some of them plain without the imprints

4. Preheat oven to 150C. Apply egg wash. Bake for 18-20min or until golden brown. You may take the tray out halfway to reapply egg wash if you wish.

Celia mentions that little bit of cracks is fine as it will reduce in appearance after cooling down.

Cool both types of tarts completely before storing in airtight condition. It can keep well for up to a week at cool room temperature. For longer storage, please refrigerate or freeze after wrapping it airtight. Toast before consuming.

Here's the video of the process:

My parents tried eating the pineapple tarts cold from the fridge (because they didn't want the hassle of toasting it) after more than two weeks of storage and loved it! They said the tarts were still very good! I also have data from home that eating these in moderation doesn't spike the blood sugar levels!

with lots of love,
Phay Shing

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Wednesday 24 January 2024

Heart Langue De Chat without using molds (Part 1: Assorted cookies)

Langue De Chat means cat's tongue in French but they are thin crispy butter cookies. Sometimes they are made as sandwich cookies filled with chocolate and these are usually made using molds. The Japanese popularized the sandwich cookie version and you may have seen it sold in pretty gift boxes. If you have not heard of langue de chat, you may be familiar with the names Shiroi Koibito or 白色恋人饼. While the popular Japanese versions are usually square in shape, I made them in heart shapes for Valentine's Day!

If you don't wish to increase the clutter at home with yet another mold, here's how you can make them. I made mango, mixed berry, matcha and dark chocolate flavours. You can make them in any flavour you like but I feel this combination has such pleasing colours and adding sour mango to the filing makes the cookie overall less sweet. Feel free to stick with the classic white chocolate only if you don't mind a sweet cookie!

Recipe makes about twenty-eight 1.5" heart sandwich cookies.

Butter base:
100g unsalted butter, slightly softened
90g icing sugar
1/8 tsp salt
50g egg whites
1/2 tsp soy lecithin (optional)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Flour & flavouring:
Mango: 25g cake flour
Mixed berry: 25g cake flour + 1/16 tsp strawberry emulsion
Matcha: 23g cake flour + 2g matcha powder
Dark chocolate: 22g cake flour + 3g cocoa powder

Mango: 45g white chocolate + 3g freeze dried mango powder
Mixed berry: 45g white chocolate + 3g freeze dried raspberry powder + 1/8 tsp strawberry emulsion
Matcha: 45g white chocolate + 3g matcha
Dark chocolate: 45g dark chocolate + 3g light corn syrup or any invert sugar

1. Beat softened butter briefly with electric mixer/hand whisk/spatula

2. Add sugar. Beat until well combined

3. Add egg whites in 2-3 additions. Beat until smooth. Add soy lecithin if you wish to help with emulsification.

4. Add vanilla. Mix until combined.

5. Divide into 4 equal portions. Add the respective flour & flavouring to each portion. Fold with spatula until combined

6. Transfer into piping bag with #5 tip. Pipe as shown

7. Bake in preheated oven at 150-160C for 10 min or until slightly browned at edges. Bake at 110C for another 5-10 min to dry it out

Freshly baked cookies!

8. Prepare filling while cooling the cookies. Melt chocolate & add the respective flavourings. Fill & assemble sandwich cookies

You may watch my reel for the process:

Important Baker's Notes:
- Use room temperature egg whites. Cold eggs will cause the mixture to split

- Add the egg whites a little at a time to prevent mixture from splitting

- Adding an emulsifier like soy lecithin helps to prevent & remedy a split mixture. Some recipes use whole eggs but I prefer it without egg yolk inside for a lighter crispier cookie although egg yolks can help to bring the emulsion together 

- The extra baking time at low temperature is to ensure that your cookie remains crisp. Although the cookies are crisp freshly baked, without the longer drying out time, it won't stay crisp for long especially when exposed to humid air

- Using a scribe tool/skewer to nudge the batter edges & middle (shown in reel) is optional if you wish to have the border visible

- Use teflon sheet/silicone mat to help with better shape retention after baking. Parchment paper may result in the baked cookie going "out of shape"

- Use a dedicated metal nail file or a very fine zester to gently file off "out of shape" cookies (shown in reel)

Stay tuned for part 2 on how to create a sweet ombre version of the cookies!

with love,
Phay Shing
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Saturday 20 January 2024

Year of the Dragon Lunar New Year Greeting

It's my annual tradition to create a new year greeting showcasing all the major genres of bakes I work with. Here's what I made welcoming The Year of the Dragon!

What's in this picture?
1. Chiffon cake mandarin oranges. This year marks 10 years since I made my first mandarin orange chiffon cake oranges back in January 2014!
2. Macaron teacups on saucers. One of my signature 3D macaron creations.
3. Choux pastry dragon suit head, horns, frills and paws. I couldn't think of how to incorporate choux and marshmallow in a coherent creation until I thought of the rabbit in dragon suit idea. Glad it worked out!
4. Marshmallow bunny face and ears, as well as dragon wings. I made a fully marshmallow version of the rabbit in dragon suit too!

Watch the video in this post to see the squish in the marshmallow parts!


with love,

Phay Shing

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Wednesday 17 January 2024

Sumikko Gurashi Lego cake


Playing building blocks with chiffon cake!😄 When was the last time you played with your food?😛 Assembly video on my IG here

With love, 

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Saturday 13 January 2024

Pompompurin Raspberry Macarons

 This is the 10th year my friend has been requesting macarons from me and this year, it's Pompompurin! 

Her favourite filling is raspberry Swiss meringue buttercream with raspberry jam, both of which are much lower in sugar than most recipes so they pair very well with sweet macaron shells. Swiss meringue buttercream is also lighter in texture than ganache so the whole confection is refreshing, fruity tasty and light. No wonder it's her favourite!

I have shared the piping tutorial as well as detailed recipe of the low sugar jam and buttercream in my Instagram reel so you may refer to it here:


As usual, I used my default Swiss meringue method recipe to make the macaron shells.

Here's a look at the baked shells before decorating:

Besides macarons, I also made brown sugar cookie versions of these. It is also the 10th year she is having brown sugar cookies from me because to her, it's the best cookies ❤️. Stay tuned for those in a later post!

with love,

Phay Shing

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Sunday 7 January 2024

BT21 Koya Surprise Chiffon Cake


Does anyone recognise this surprise logo?😀
Who is going to miss our favorite supergroup as they begin military enlistment?

Watch the slicing here.

With love,


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Saturday 6 January 2024

'Rabbit in Dragon Suit' Marshmallows

 With the Year of the Rabbit is ending in about a month's time, comes the Year of the Dragon with a roar! Here's my interpretation of the Rabbit ushering in the Year of the Dragon....in a dragon suit!

You may watch the piping video tutorial in my reel over here:


For those of you who would like to see some process still photos, here they are!

A stable base with wide, flat top surface on the body is important as you don't want the head to start slipping off when you pipe it!

Piped heads on the body

Completed piping! The wings are stuck onto the body and are piped on a separate tray 

Although I have shared the ingredient list of my basic recipe in social media, I continue to stress that decorative marshmallows is more about technique than specific recipe. You can learn all about how to tweak my basic recipe to suit your unique work environment, equipment and flavour of marshmallows in my Deco Marshmallows book!

Stay tuned for my mixed genre Chinese New Year greeting in my future post!

with love,

Phay Shing

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