Thursday, January 29, 2009

Twirling a Tuile with Daring Baker's

I don't know about you guys but I've discovered that as I grow older, time really flies for me. It's like a year is never enough to do the things that I want to do and before I know it, whooz another year has passed. We'll now in 2009, oh my gosh! Also I never get down to penning any new year resolutions and have never done so in my life. Not sure why but I just take things as they come along. However there is one thing I will be doing this year for sure and that's to put in some travel time .... didn't do any last year, so this year is a definite MUST!

Another year has also passed for the Daring Bakers group. And after a month of hectic baking for most of us due to the Christmas holidays, our hosts for this month are certainly being kind (read on and you'll know what I mean). This January's challenge is being hosted by Karen of Bake My Day and Zorra of 1x umruehren bitte. Both ladies are passionate bread bakers, so we were expecting something with yeast. But no, it's something totally unexpected - they have come up with a tuile challenge!

Again this recipe is something new to me and I had to search out the word "tuile" before nodding my head and saying "hmmm, so this is what it looks like". I've probably had it as a garnish to desserts without even thinking much about it. Both Karen and Zorra gave us a lot of leeway with this recipe - we just need to make the tuiles and add an accompaniment to it. It's a way to show each baker's creativity, which is what I like so much about this Group. Traditionally, tuiles are thin, crisp almond cookies that are gently molded over a rolling pin or arched form while they are still warm. Once set, their shape resembles the curved French roofing tiles for which they're named. (If you do a search in google for "tuiles", what will pop up would be a combination of cookie and roof tiles - this is something I recently discovered). For this month's challenge, Karen and Zorra have chosen Tuiles from The Chocolate Book by Angélique Schmeink and Nougatine and Chocolate Tuiles from Michel Roux.

I decided on a basic tuile recipe and came up with a few variations of it. The first was Lemon Scented Tuiles, the second was Pistachio Vanilla Tuiles and the last one was 5-Spice Sesame Tuiles. To create the different tuile shapes I used a disposable plastic party plate, cut out the centre and drew the shapes directly on it. The tuile batter was then thinly spread over the cut outs, the template lifted and the battered shape will be imprinted onto the silicon paper. For the lemon scented tuiles, I created flame shapes and used the tuiles to decorate the sides of a strawberry mousse cake that I had made. The pistachio vanilla tuiles were shaped like potato chips and were sandwiched with fresh cream and pomegranate. And finally a 5-Spice Sesame Tuiles which were shaped into Chinese soup spoons - these was accompanied with either spicy tuna with capers or a mushroom ragoo.

Basic Tuiles Recipe
Yields about thirty 6 cm circles


65g unsalted softened butter (not melted but soft)
60g sifted icing sugar
1/2 tsp of vanilla extract (or you could use any other flavouring of your choice)
2 large egg whites (slightly whisked with a fork)
65g sifted all purpose flour
Silicon sheet to line baking trays (if using parchment, lightly grease the paper)


1) Preheat your oven to 180C.

2) Using a hand whisk or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle (low speed), cream butter, sugar and vanilla to a paste. Keep stirring while you gradually add the egg whites. Continue to add the flour in small batches and stir to achieve a homogeneous and smooth batter/paste. Be careful not to overmix the batter. (You can substitute the vanilla sugar with any other flavouring of your choice such as orange zest with s tsp of orange extract, coffee essence or extract, nutmeg, all spice, etc)

3) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm up. (This batter will keep in the fridge for up to a week, take it out 30 minutes before you plan to use it).

4) Line a baking sheet with silicon paper (or grease with either butter/spray and chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes). In the meantime, using a disposable plastic plate (or any type of plastic that is firm) cut out the bottom and draw your shapes directly onto the plastic. Using a pair of scissors out the shape so that you will have a template.

5) Press the stencil on the baking sheet and use an off sided spatula to spread batter thinly covering the cut out shape. Leave some room in between the shapes to ensure for spreading of the batter.

6) Bake the tuiles for about 5-10 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown. Immediately release from baking sheet and proceed to shape/bend the cookies in the desired shape.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Banana Crumble

I had some bananas left over from baking the banana cake for the Cake Slice Baker's challenge this month so I decided to make a dessert with it. However I was undecided between a banana tarte tartin or a crumble. In the end I opted for the easier one instead which was a crumble. This is one really simple dessert to make and delicious when served warm with a scoop of cold vanilla ice-cream. If you hate washing up, you'll love this - I only needed one bowl to mix everything in it. Now this is what I call a "quick dessert". My husband said it was delicious and I think he was probably wishing that I had made extras.

Banana Crumble
(Serving for two)

Ingredients for the filing:

4 - 5 ripe and sweet bananas, sliced
2 Tbsp caster sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Zest of half an orange (optional)

Mix the above and set aside

Ingredients for the toping:

50g unsalted butter, softened
75g plain flour
Pinch of salt
40g light brown sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
20g rolled oats
20g flaked almonds, crushed lightly in your hands


1) Preheat the oven to 180C.

2) Place the banana mixture in 2 large ramekins.

3) To make the topping, lightly rub together the butter, flour and salt, and then stir in the sugar, oast and flaked almonds. Try not to over handle the mixture - the mixture needs to be fairly chunky and crumbly. (I added everything into one bowl and mixed it to a crumbly texture. It did not compromise the topping in any way)

4) Spoon the topping onto the bananas and sprinkle with a bit more brown sugar on top.

5) Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the topping is crisp and golden. The juices should start to bubble and ooze out in-between the topping by now. Serve slightly warm with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream, thickened cream or creme fraiche.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Banana Cake - A Cake Slice Baker's Challenge to kick start 2009

To kick start 2009, the Cake Slice Bakers will be baking a banana cake from the book "Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes by Alisa Huntsman and Peter Wynne." This banana cake has a praline filling in-between three layers of cake and with a white chocolate ganache on the outside.

I do love banana cakes and the banana I had used for this particular recipe is called "pisang emas" in Malay language and the direct transation to English is "golden banana". When ripe, this banana is exceptionally sweet and it is a much preferred fruit in this part of the world for cakes and local desserts. I tweeked this recipe by replacing pecans with walnuts. I realized that pecans is double the price of walnuts and as I already had walnuts in my kitchen, I decided to finish what I already have. Instead of deep frying the walnuts, as in the original recipe, I decided to make honey baked walnuts instead. I think this is a much healthier version than the fried one! Also as I'm not partial to white chocolate, I thus replaced the frosting with a chocolate peanut butter one instead. This frosting is absolutely delicious! I also halfed the recipe and made this as a 4" cake.

Banana Cake with Praline Filling and White Chocolate Ganache
Banana Cake with Honeyed Walnuts and Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting (my version)
Makes a 9-inch triple layer cake


3 cups cake flour
3 and 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 and 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of salt
3/4 cup of milk
1/2 cup of ripe mashed bananas
226g softened unsalted butter
2 cups of sugar
7 egg whites

Praline Filling (original recipe):

1 cup sugared pecans, cooled
1 and 1/2 cups white chocolate ganache

With a large chef's knife chop the pecans. Or pulse in a food processor being careful not to turn into paste. Add the sugared pecans to the white chocolate ganache and stir to mix well.

Sugared Pecans (original recipe):

1 and 1/2 cups pecan halves
3 cups vegetable oil
1 cup confectioners sugar

Place the pecans in a medium sauce pan, add water to cover, and heat to a boiling. Boil the pecans slowly until they are swollen and soft 5-8 minutes. Drain the nuts well in a sieve for about 5 minutes. (Do not pat dry; the nuts must remain damp.)
While the nuts are draining, heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan or deep fat fryer t0 350F degrees.

Set half of the nuts aside. Dust the remaining nuts in the sieve with 1/2 cup of powdered sugar. Shake the sieve to coat the nuts evenly, letting any excess sugar fall away. Immediately add the coated nuts to the hot oil. Fry until golden brown about 2-3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon scoop the nuts out and drain them on several thickness of paper towels. Repeat the process with the remaining nuts.

White Chocolate Ganache (original recipe):

8 ounces of white chocolate chopped
2 and 1/2 cups of heavy cream
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Put the white chocolate in a medium heat proof bowl. In a small sauce bring 1/2 cup of the cream to a boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Let stand for 1-minute, then whisk until smooth. Let the white chocolate cream stand until cooled to room temperature.

In a chilled bowl with chilled beaters beat the remaining 2 cups of heavy cream and vanilla until softly whipped. Stir in the white chocolate cream and beat until fairly stiff. taking care not over beat, which would cause the ganache to separate.

Honeyed Walnuts (my version):

1 and 1/2 cups walnuts whole
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp honey

Mix all ingredients together in a pan and bake in a preheated oven of 180C for about 15 minutes.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Icing (my version):

1 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 powdered sugar
113g dark chocolate, melted

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the peanut butter and powdered sugar together,and beat for about 4 minutes at high speed until very smooth. Add the melted chocolate and beat on medium high for about 1 minute. Leave at room temperature.

Method for the Cake:

1) Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Butter three 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper or wax paper.

2) Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside dry ingredients. In a food processor or blender, process the milk and banana into a smooth light puree. Set aside.

3) In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. On medium high speed, beat in egg whites 2-3 at a time until smooth. Scraping down the sides of the bowl between egg additions.

4) With the mixer on low speed add the dry ingredients and banana puree alternately in 2-3 additions, beating until just blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat on medium-high speed for 1-minute. Divide the batter among the cake pans.

5) Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the center of each cake. Let the cake layers cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then turn out onto a wired rack and remove the paper liners. Then cool completely one hour.

To assemble the cake (original version):

Put one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or serving plate. Cover the top evenly with half of the praline filling, leaving a 1/4"-inch margin around the edges. place the second layer on top, again flat side up, cover it with remaining filling. Finally add the third layer and frost the sides and top with the white chocolate ganache. Garnish with sugared pecans.

To assemble the cake (my version):

Put one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or serving plate. Cover top of one cake with frosting. Place 2nd cake on top of it and repeat with the frosting. Finally add the third layer and frost the sides and top with the remaining frosting. Garnish the sides with chopped honeyed walnuts and pipe the top of the cake using a piping tip #16 with small stars.

Friday, January 16, 2009

French Croissants

I've been wanting to do croissants for some time now but never had the time until now. As I had some vacation holiday to clear from my work, I decided that this was the right time to try and tackle this recipe. Instead of making plain croissants, I adapted this recipe by wrapping some chicken sausages in-between the dough as my husband said he would rather have something savoury instead. I rolled the dough into a strip and twirled it around the sausage.

The dough can be made beforehand and frozen until you are ready to bake them. It's really not that difficult but rather time consuming. I also had a bit of trouble with the butter block as the butter oozed out whilst I was doing the turns. I thus had to refrigerate the dough more times than would have normally required. However the end result was a batch of delicious sausage croissants hot from the oven.

French Croissant
Recipe from Bernard Clayton's Complete Book of Small Breads


3 Tbsp flour
3 sticks butter (3/4 pound) of butter and margarine, equally divided and softened at room temperature
4 cups all-purpose flour, approximately
2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp sugar
2 packages dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1-1/2 cups milk, warmed to 80°F to 90°F (27°C to 32°C)
1/2 cup half-and-half, warmed
1 egg
1 Tbsp water


1) Sprinkle 3 Tbsp flour over butter and blend together on the work surface. On a length of foil, fashion a 6" square of soft butter; fold over the sides of the foil to enclose. Place in the refrigerator to chill for 2 to 3 hours.

2) While the butter is chilling, prepare the dough. To mix by hand, in a large mixing or mixer bowl, blend 2 cups of the flour with salt and sugar. Dissolve yeast in warm water and add it and the warmed milk and half-and-half to the flour mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon or the flat blade of an electric mixer to thoroughly blend the batterlike dough, about 2 minutes.

3) Stir in additional flour, 1/4 cup at a time, to make a soft but not sticky dough (it will stiffen when chilled.) Knead by hand or under a dough hook for 5 minutes to form a solid mass.

4) If using a food processor, attach the steel blade. Place 2 cups flour in the work bowl and add the dry ingredients. Pulse to mix. Pour the 1/4 cup water, milk, and half-and-half through the feed tube. Pulse once or twice to be certain that all dry ingredients are moistened. Add the balance of the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, turning the machine on briefly after each addition. When the mixture forms a mass and begins to clean the sides of the bowl, knead for 30 seconds. Don't overknead!

5) This begins the process of cooling the dough and at the same time allowing it to rise. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

6) Determine that both butter and dough are about the same temperature — 65°F (23°C) is ideal. The block of butter should bend but not break (too cold) nor be oily (too warm) when bent slightly. This may mean taking the butter out of the refrigerator an hour or so early to reach workable temperature. Likewise for the dough. Place the dough on a floured work surface and with the hands press it into a 10" square. Unwrap the block of butter and lay the block diagonally on the dough. Bring each point of dough into the center, overlapping the edges at least 1". Press the dough into a neat package. With a heavy rolling pin, roll the dough into a rectangle, approximately 8" x 18". This dimension is not critical.

Caution: If the butter seems to be breaking into small pieces under the dough rather than remaining solid, allow the dough/butter to warm a few minutes. But if the butter softens, becomes sticky, and oozes while making the turns, put the dough back into the refrigerator for several minutes.

7) Fold the length of dough into thirds, as for a letter. Turn so that the open ends are at twelve and six o'clock. Roll again into a rectangle. This time, fold both ends into the middle and then close, as one would a book. The dough will now be in 4 layers. Wrap the package of dough in a cloth (an old tea towel is good) that has been soaked in cold water and wrung dry. Place the wrapped dough in the refrigerator to relax and chill for 1 or 2 hours.

8) Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place on the floured work surface. Unwrap, roll out, and fold in thirds, as for a letter. This is the final turn before it is rolled out and cut into croissants. Dampen cloth again and wrap loosely around the dough. Place the package in a plastic bag so moisture will be retained (not pulled out of the cloth). Leave in the refrigerator 4 to 6 hours or overnight.

9) Mix together the egg and 1 Tbsp of water. Have ready the egg wash, a knife or pastry cutter, and a wooden yardstick if you wish the pieces to be cut precisely otherwise, plan to cut them freehand. You may have or can borrow a French croissant cutter that cuts the dough into triangles.

10) Sprinkle work surface with flour. Roll the dough until it is a generous 10"-x-38" rectangle, and, most importantly, about 1/4" thick. This is a crucial dimension, since it determines the size and texture of the croissants. Trim irregularities to make the strip uniform in width. Cut the strip lengthwise to make two 5" pieces. Mark the strip into triangles, 5" wide on the bottom. Using a yardstick as a guide, cut through the dough with a pastry or pizza cutter or knife. Separate the triangles, place them on a baking sheet, and chill for 15 to 20 minutes. Roll the dough into the traditional croissant shape, by rolling the triangle from the bottom to the point.

11) Place the croissants on a baking sheet and allow to rise for 1 to 2 hours, in which they will double in volume.

12) Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Bake the croissants for 22 to 25 minutes. Allow them to cool on a rack before serving.

Yield: 24 to 30 croissants

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Chinese New Year in Chinatown, Singapore

On the 26 and 27 Jan all Chinese around the world will be ushering Chun Jie (Spring Festival) or Chinese New Year. It is one of the most anticipated celebrations on the Chinese lunar calendar. Just before midnight of 26 Jan, the Rat (current calendar year is the year of the Rat, which is also the first animal sign in the Chinese zodiac calendar) will depart and the Ox will be ushered in by the Chinese community. The Chinese New Year celebrations run for 15 days with the 1st day starting this year on 26 Jan, 2009.

The first day of the Lunar New Year is "the welcoming of the gods of the heavens and earth. "Many people abstain from meat on the first day of the new year because it is believed that this will ensure long and happy lives for them. On the second day, the Chinese pray to their ancestors as well as to all the gods. They are extra kind to dogs and feed them well as it is believed that the second day is the birthday of all dogs.

The third and fourth days are for the sons-in-laws to pay respect to their parents-in-law. The fifth day is called Po Woo. On that day people stay home to welcome the God of Wealth. No one visits families and friends on the fifth day because it will bring both parties bad luck.

On the sixth to the 10th day, the Chinese visit their relatives and friends freely. They also visit the temples to pray for good fortune and health. The seventh day of the New Year is the day for farmers to display their produce. These farmers make a drink from seven types of vegetables to celebrate the occasion.

The seventh day is also considered the birthday of human beings. In Cantonese this is called "Yun Yat". Noodles are eaten to promote longevity and raw fish for success. On the eighth day the Fujian people have another family reunion dinner, and at midnight they pray to Tian Gong, the God of Heaven.

The ninth day is to make offerings to the Jade Emperor. The 10th through the 12th are days that friends and relatives should be invited for dinner. After so much rich food, on the 13th day you should have simple rice congee and mustard greens (choi sum) to cleanse the system. The 14th day should be for preparations to celebrate the Lantern Festival which is to be held on the 15th night.

If you are not familiar with Chinese New year, there are many more
customs and traditions
that resolve around the New Year celebrations.

We visited Chinatown over the weekend just to soak in the atmosphere of the upcoming celebrations. Several side streets in Chinatown will be closed in the evenings right up to the eve of 26 Jan and stalls will be displaying all sorts of goodies such as new year household decorations, flowers, Chinese dried meats, sweets, food stalls, cookies and many more. You wouldn't believe how crowded it was and would anticipate that the next two weekends would be even more packed. I thought I'd share some of the photos that we took during our visit.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Fresh Mango Tart

Before I get into my post proper, I would like to thank Abby of Blissful Bites for giving me a "Passionate Foodie Blog Award". It certainly came as a surprise and a very nice one at that.

Okey, now back to my post. I came across this tart dough recipe from one of my favourite blogs Deb of Smitten Kitchen. She has such a fantastic blog and comes with equally amazing and delicious recipes. This particular recipe caught my eye because she mentioned that it was "unshrinkable" and I thought I'd try it out to see if it's really true. Most of the sweetcrust dough (and the same goes for puff pastry as well) tends to shrink upon baking. So instead of having a 2" high pie side lining I'm short-changed and end up 1/4 to 1/2" shorter. Sometimes it's a bummer especially if my filing is pastry cream and my pie would look like an over-flowing "mud" pit!

As all the ingredients are mixed up in a food processor, this is the only electrical appliance you would need. Deb said that you could either roll out the dough or alternatively if lazy, just press it into a pie pan. Furthermore you don't require any pie weights when baking. How much easier could it get! I tried this recipe out over a Sunday and invited some friends over to taste it. I made this into a fresh mango pastry cream tart with a sprinkling of chopped pistachio over the top. Yum!

Fresh Mango Tart
You will Need:

One 9-inch pie tart shell
1 cup vanilla pastry cream
2 ripe mangoes
Crushed pistachio nuts for decoration

Pie Tart Shell
Recipe Adapted from Dorie Greenspan
(Makes enough for one 9-inch tart crust)


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (113g) plus 1 tablespoon (9 tablespoons; 4 1/2 ounces) very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk


1) Pulse the flour, sugar and salt together in the bowl of a food processor. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in. (You’re looking for some pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and some the size of peas.)

2) Stir the yolk, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulses–about 10 seconds each–until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds. Just before you reach this stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change–heads up.

3) Turn the dough out onto a work surface and, very lightly and sparingly, knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing. Chill the dough, wrapped in plastic, for about 2 hours before rolling. (I found the dough to be too hard to roll after chilling for 2 hours, so had to let it rest at room temperature for about 15 minutes before I attempted rolling it)

4) To roll the dough: Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Roll out chilled dough on floured sheet of parchment paper to 12-inch round, lifting and turning dough occasionally to free from paper. (Alternately, you can roll this out between two pieces of plastic, though flour the dough a bit anyway.) Using paper as aid, turn dough into 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom; peel off paper. Seal any cracks in dough. Trim overhang to 1/2 inch. Fold overhang in, making double-thick sides. Pierce crust all over with fork.

5) Alternately, you can press the dough in as soon as it is processed: Press it evenly across the bottom and up the sides of the tart shell. You want to press hard enough that the pieces cling to one another, but not so hard that it loses its crumbly texture.

6) Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking. (I left my unbaked crust in the refridgerator (not freezer section) for 2 nights before baking it straight from the refrigerator)

7) To fully bake the crust: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 190C (375F). Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil (or use nonstick foil) and fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the crust. And here is the very best part: Since you froze the crust, you can bake it without weights. Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 25 minutes.

8) Carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon. Bake the crust about 10 minutes longer, or until it is firm and golden brown, brown being the important word: a pale crust doesn’t have a lot of flavor. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool the crust to room temperature, and proceed with the rest of your recipe.

Do ahead: The dough can be wrapped and kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 2 months. While the fully baked crust can be packed airtight and frozen for up to 2 months, the flavor will be fresher bake it directly from the freezer, already rolled out.

To Assembly Tart:

1) Cut the cheeks off both mangoes. Using a large spoon, carefully scoop out the flesh. Cut the mango cheeks into thin slices.

2) Fill the cold pastry case with the pastry cream, ensuring the filling is smooth.

3) Artfully arrange the mango slices over the pastry cream. Sprinkle the chopped pistachios on top of the tart.

4) The tart can be chilled in the fridge for a few hours before serving. It is best eaten on the day it is made as the pastry can become soggy from the pastry cream.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Cappuccino Cupcakes

I made these cupcakes in a rush yesterday evening after work (I can guarantee it'll just take you about 15 minutes minus baking time to whip this up) and thus I wasn't really creative with my photo-taking and the lighting was quite bad as well.

So much for the photos but the cupcakes were absolutely delicious. That's why I wanted to share this recipe. I also didn't have time to ice the cupcakes as well, so they look somewhat "naked". Even without any icing, they were great as the coffee taste came out nicely and was not disguised under a dollop of cream. Although the recipe indicated that I would get 12 cupcakes from this recipe, I only managed 8 normal sized ones. It's probably because I filled them 3/4 full and as they were baking, they started to puff up quite a bit and crack in the center. I guess I should have filled 2/3 instead and could probably get 10 cupcakes in total. Once cooled, they settled back a bit, so not so bad!

Cappuccino Cupcakes


3/4 cup self-raising flour
113g unsalted butter
100g caster sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract (I replaced this with 1 1/2 tsp coffee extract)
1 heaped Tbsp instant expresso (I replaced this with 1 heaped Tbsp instant coffee)
3 Tbsp milk


1) Preheat oven to 180C

2) Put all the ingredients except for the milk into a food processor and blitz to combine. Pulse again, adding the milk down the funnel to form a batter with a soft dropping consistency.

3) Spoon batter into the cupcake liners and bake for about 20 - 22 minutes or check if they are ready by inserting a cake skewer into the center. If the skewer comes out clean, then the cupcakes are ready. If not, bake for a couple more minutes.

4) Cool cupcakes on a wire rack and ice them using your favourite frosting recipe.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Onde-onde (Stuffed Glutinous Rice Balls)

I do believe that onde-onde first originated from Indonesia but it had been adopted by both the Malay and Peranakan cultures. I remembered when young my mother would buy kuih-kuih (local Malay cakes/desserts)for us kids to eat during tea times. And more often than not, onde-onde would be included. I love eating these chewy little balls of rice flour as the centers would contain palm sugar. I'll pop the whole ball into my mouth and bite down into them in anticipation of the palm sugar squirting out into my mouth. It was such a "rush" ... and believe it or not, I still do it now!

This is my first time making these and I found that it's really simple to do so. It's just a bit time consuming waiting to cook each rice ball. I figured out that I could get a whole lot of onde-onde from Four Singapore Dollars (S$4) if I made it myself as compared to buying S$4 worth of onde-onde from shops which would only give me 6 to 8 pieces maximum.

Onde-onde (Stuffed Glutinous Rice Balls)
(Makes about 20 balls)


200g (1 3/4 cups) glutinous rice flour
150ml (2/3 cup) pandan juice *
3 Tbsp and 1 tsp water
200g (1 1/3 cup) palm sugar, finely chopped
1/2 tsp fine salt
75g (3/4 cup) grated young coconut

Pandan Juice *
(Makes 1/2 cup)

6 - 8 large pandan (pandanus) leaves
150ml (2/3 cup) water

Rinse pandan leaves and using a kitchen scissor or a sharp knife, cut leaves into 2cm (3/4") length. Place leaves and water in a chopper or blender and process until pulveried. Pour through a fine strainer and discard solids. Measure out the required amount of juice for this recipe.


1) Combine the glutinous rice flour, pandan juice and water together in a medium-sized bowl, kneading well to form a smooth, pliable dough. Cover dough with a damp towel to prevent it drying out.

2) Bring a pan of water to the boil, then lower heat so that the water simmers gently. Pinch out a ball of dough about the sixe of a lime, flatten it into a disk and drop it into the simmering water. When the disc is cooked and rises to the surface, lift it out with a slotted spoon, shake off any excess water and knead the cooked dough evenly back into the main ball of dough.

3) Mix salt and grated coconut together and place on a plate.

4) Pinch off small balls of dough the size of calamansi limes (about 20g each) and roll in your palms to form smooth balls. Carefully make a small well in the centre of the dough andfill with chopped palm sugar. Pinch dough together to enclose, roll them gently to smoothen and, as you make them, drop them into the simmering water.

5) When the dough balls float to the top, carefully remove them with a slotted spoon and allow any excess water to drip off. Drop the balls into the grated coconut and roll them around to coat evenly. Transfer to a serving plate.

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