Sunday, April 18, 2010

Strawberry Shortcake

From our last class at George Brown... 
Thank you so much Chef Amjad! 

Tiramisu Trifle

This is the first time I made Tiramisu and I never knew that mascarpone cheese could be so expensive... a 500 ml tub could cost $15.  I did some research online and learned that making home-made mascarpone cheese is actually quite easy.  All you need is whipping cream and fresh lemon juice.  This recipe is excellent, I'd say just follow it (I used twice as much as suggested in this recipe to make this trifle, this could easily feed a hungry group of 12 or more). I made everything from scratch, only the lady fingers are store-bought (I'm leaving for a vacation in a few days and had no time to bake).  This is very, very delicious... I took some pictures of my happy customers to prove it.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Green Tea Pound Cake

This is like a little experiment of mine.  I am never too crazy about pound cakes because they are all so dense and solid.  So I found this recipe and decided to improvise.  First, I used 1 cup of cake flour and 1 cup of all-purpose flour (the recipe called for 2 cups of all-purpose flour).  The batter got very thick so I added a cup of whole milk in it.  I also reduced the sugar by half, as always (I actually still found the cake a bit too sweet after I reduced the sugar).  Baked it for 1 hour.  I like the golden crust and the cake is quite tasty. 

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Fruit Flan

From the baking class yesterday.  Next week is our last class... I'm going to miss Chef Amjad very much...

Friday, April 9, 2010

Steamed Buns (with Azuki Bean paste filling)

I love anything steamed, especially Chinese steamed buns.  I grew up eating Mantou 饅頭 and drinking soy milk.   I could eat Mantou everyday and never got tired of it.  I remember how I liked to put a hot, freshly steamed Mantou in the palm of my hands and how I loved the smell of it...

The recipe noted above is one for Hua Juan (Flower Bun), I consider it a more fancy Mantou.  Mantou has no filling in the centre, it's just a white plain steamed bun.  Hua Juan uses the same dough, but the dough is twisted to make it look prettier.  Some would put chives or cooked ham as garnish.  I took this recipe for Hua Juan for the bread dough and used a can of sweet Azuki bean (red bean) paste as the filling.  The fresh steamed buns are so incredibly soft and they smell wonderful... and they are absolutely delicious.  

Instead of using the sweet Azuki bean paste, you can try a meat and vegetable filling (like the one used for dumplings), mixed vegetables or mixed mushrooms... I can't wait to try to make more of these.

Monday, April 5, 2010

1-2-3-4 Lemon Cake

I woke up at 9 am this morning to bake this cake for Melissa and Sabrina's birthday because we're having a party at Anthony and Rita's house at 5 pm.  I thought if I started early, we could always have Plan B (replace with a store-bought cake) if my cake turned out to be a disaster.  I have always wanted to try out this Martha Stewart's lemon cake recipe because it looks so beautiful.    

Everything went pretty well until I realized I don't have two 8" round cake pans.  I was supposed to separate the batter evenly in two cake pans to bake in the oven at the same time.  I only have one cake pan and it's a holiday today and I couldn't go get another one so I decided to pour all the batter in my only cake pan and bake it.  What should have taken approx. 45 mins to bake ended up taking an hour and 30 mins.  

The cake was as solid as a rock.  The top and bottom of it and the edge were so overcooked.  It was 11 am, I was about to throw the cake away and start baking a new one.  Then I thought, how about cutting all the overcooked portion and see how bad it is in the centre?  So I turned the round cake into a square one and I also cut off the top and the bottom part of the cake.  The cake is now half the size than it should have been.  It was supposed to be a 4-layer cake and now it's only got 2 layers but it's a good thing that I got creative here... the centre of the cake is actually quite moist.  

I brought the lemon curd (that I prepared a day in advance), the strawberries and the cream to Anthony and Rita's and assembled the cake there. The cake looks not too unfortunate when it's done and the taste is quite good.  There's still a lot of room for improvement but I'm quite happy with the result.  

Special thanks to my brother in-law, Anthony, for taking the wonderful pictures!!