Friday, February 26, 2010

The Daring Bakers' Challenge for February 2010 - Heaven On a Dessert Plate

Heaven on a dessert plate, sounded so heavenly and it must be something really yummy .......oh yes it is......I don't knoow about you, but for me, TIRAMISU is definitely the dessert that I would called it 'heaven on a dessert plate........LOL :P
Classic Tiramisu is made of alternate layers of espresso soaked ladyfinger biscuits and a cream made from mascarpone cheese and zabaglione (an egg custard). The perfect Tiramisu is a balance of flavors of a sweet zabaglione, strong coffee, marsala wine, creamy mascarpone cheese and the dusting of unsweetened cocoa.
I have made Tiramisu a few times now since I started baking from recipes that I gathered from various cookbooks and food bloggers, and I always loved it so much, what’s more, I have a die-hard fan of tiramisu and she is my dear SIL, hehe.........This time in Daring Bakers' February challenge, hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking , their theme is to make Tiramisu from scratch........well, making it from scratch, it means that we are making our very homemade Mascarpone cheese, Zabaglione (an egg custard) , Vanilla pastry cream and also the 'Savoiardi / ladyfinger biscuits. The previous Tiramisu I made does not use Zabaglione and Vanilla pastry cream, and therefore this is something new to me.....:P
I'm so happy when I logged in on the 1st of February to check out on the challenge as I was actually planning to make a Tiramisu sometime in February when my SIL told me she was craving for Tiramisu. So, I promised her that I will definitely made one before the month ends ^-^
I was very excited with the Mascarpone cheese making as I knew this type of cheese cost quite a lot in supermarket, and in fact I have never use Mascarpone cheese before in any of my baking. I always substitute Cream Cheese for Mascarpone, well at least this time, I get to make it and use it in my baking......hehe ;)
Mascarpone + Savoiardi Biscuits + Zabaliogne = TIRAMISU........and here it goes........

 The Daring Bakers’ Challenge for February 2010 – Heaven On a Dessert Plate
(Recipe source: Carminantonio's Tiramisu from The Washington Post, July 11 2007 )
This recipe makes 6 servings

For the zabaglione:
2 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar/50gms
1/4 cup/60ml Marsala wine (or port or coffee)
1/4 teaspoon/ 1.25ml vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

For the vanilla pastry cream:
1/4 cup/55gms sugar
1 tablespoon/8gms all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon/ 2.5ml vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup/175ml whole milk

For the whipped cream:
1 cup/235ml chilled heavy cream (we used 25%)
1/4 cup/55gms sugar
1/2 teaspoon/ 2.5ml vanilla extract

To assemble the tiramisu:
2 cups/470ml brewed espresso, warmed
1 teaspoon/5ml rum extract (optional) (I used Kahlua instead)
1/2 cup/110gms sugar
1/3 cup/75gms mascarpone cheese
36 savoiardi/ ladyfinger biscuits (you may use less)
2 tablespoons/30gms unsweetened cocoa powder

For the zabaglione:
Heat water in a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, place a pot with about an inch of water in it on the stove. Place a heat-proof bowl in the pot making sure the bottom does not touch the water.
In a large mixing bowl (or stainless steel mixing bowl), mix together the egg yolks, sugar, the Marsala (or espresso/ coffee), vanilla extract and lemon zest. Whisk together until the yolks are fully blended and the mixture looks smooth.
Transfer the mixture to the top of a double boiler or place your bowl over the pan/ pot with simmering water. Cook the egg mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, for about 8 minutes or until it resembles thick custard.

It may bubble a bit as it reaches that consistency.
Let cool to room temperature and transfer the zabaglione to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.

For the pastry cream:
Mix together the sugar, flour, lemon zest and vanilla extract in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. To this add the egg yolk and half the milk. Whisk until smooth.
Now place the saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring constantly to prevent the mixture from curdling.
Add the remaining milk a little at a time, still stirring constantly. After about 12 minutes the mixture will be thick, free of lumps and beginning to bubble. (If you have a few lumps, don’t worry. You can push the cream through a fine-mesh strainer.)
Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl and cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic film and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.

For the whipped cream:
Combine the cream, sugar and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Beat with an electric hand mixer or immersion blender until the mixture holds stiff peaks. Set aside.

To assemble the tiramisu:
Have ready a rectangular serving dish (about 8" by 8" should do) or one of your choice.
Mix together the warm espresso, rum extract and sugar in a shallow dish, whisking to mix well. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, beat the mascarpone cheese with a spoon to break down the lumps and make it smooth. This will make it easier to fold. Add the prepared and chilled zabaglione and pastry cream, blending until just combined. Gently fold in the whipped cream. Set this cream mixture aside.

Now to start assembling the tiramisu.
Workings quickly, dip 12 of the ladyfingers in the sweetened espresso, about 1 second per side. They should be moist but not soggy. Immediately transfer each ladyfinger to the platter, placing them side by side in a single row. You may break a lady finger into two, if necessary, to ensure the base of your dish is completely covered.
Spoon one-third of the cream mixture on top of the ladyfingers, then use a rubber spatula or spreading knife to cover the top evenly, all the way to the edges.
Repeat to create 2 more layers, using 12 ladyfingers and the cream mixture for each layer. Clean any spilled cream mixture; cover carefully with plastic wrap and refrigerate the tiramisu overnight.
To serve, carefully remove the plastic wrap and sprinkle the tiramisu with cocoa powder using a fine-mesh strainer or decorate as you please. Cut into individual portions and serve.

(Source: Vera’s Recipe for Homemade Mascarpone Cheese)
This recipe makes 12oz/ 340gm of mascarpone cheese

500 ml whipping (36 %) pasteurized (not ultra-pasteurized), preferably organic cream
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a wide skillet. Reduce the heat to medium-low so the water is barely simmering. Pour the cream into a medium heat-resistant bowl, then place the bowl into the skillet. Heat the cream, stirring often, to 190 F. If you do not have a thermometer, wait until small bubbles keep trying to push up to the surface.
It will take about 15 minutes of delicate heating. Add the lemon juice and continue heating the mixture, stirring gently, until the cream curdles. Do not expect the same action as you see during ricotta cheese making. All that the whipping cream will do is become thicker, like a well-done crème anglaise. It will cover a back of your wooden spoon thickly. You will see just a few clear whey streaks when you stir. Remove the bowl from the water and let cool for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, line a sieve with four layers of dampened cheesecloth and set it over a bowl. Transfer the mixture into the lined sieve. Do not squeeze the cheese in the cheesecloth or press on its surface (be patient, it will firm up after refrigeration time). Once cooled completely, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate (in the sieve) overnight or up to 24 hours.
Vera’s notes: The first time I made mascarpone I had all doubts if it’d been cooked enough, because of its custard-like texture. Have no fear, it will firm up beautifully in the fridge, and will yet remain lusciously creamy.
Keep refrigerated and use within 3 to 4 days.             

(Source: Recipe from
Cordon Bleu At Home)
This recipe makes approximately 24 big ladyfingers or 45 small (2 1/2" to 3" long) ladyfingers.

3 eggs, separated
6 tablespoons /75gms granulated sugar
3/4 cup/95gms cake flour, sifted (or 3/4 cup all purpose flour + 2 tbsp corn starch)
6 tablespoons /50gms confectioner's sugar,

Preheat your oven to 350 F (175 C) degrees, then lightly brush 2 baking sheets with oil or softened butter and line with parchment paper.
Beat the egg whites using a hand held electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Gradually add granulate sugar and continue beating until the egg whites become stiff again, glossy and smooth.
In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks lightly with a fork and fold them into the meringue, using a wooden spoon. Sift the flour over this mixture and fold gently until just mixed. It is important to fold very gently and not overdo the folding. Otherwise the batter would deflate and lose volume resulting in ladyfingers which are flat and not spongy.
Fit a pastry bag with a plain tip (or just snip the end off; you could also use a Ziploc bag) and fill with the batter. Pipe the batter into 5" long and 3/4" wide strips leaving about 1" space in between the strips.
Sprinkle half the confectioner's sugar over the ladyfingers and wait for 5 minutes. The sugar will pearl or look wet and glisten. Now sprinkle the remaining sugar. This helps to give the ladyfingers their characteristic crispness.
Hold the parchment paper in place with your thumb and lift one side of the baking sheet and gently tap it on the work surface to remove excess sprinkled sugar.
Bake the ladyfingers for 10 minutes, then rotate the sheets and bake for another 5 minutes or so until the puff up, turn lightly golden brown and are still soft.
Allow them to cool slightly on the sheets for about 5 minutes and then remove the ladyfingers from the baking sheet with a metal spatula while still hot, and cool on a rack.
Store them in an airtight container till required. They should keep for 2 to 3 weeks.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Gong Xi Fatt Chai everyone......Roar........hehe


I will not be updating my blog for awhile as the auspicious Chinese New Year is here, and that means, I 'll be pretty busy baking and celebrating this festive celebration with my loved ones and family members .....and of course with close friends too. For those who are far away from home here in Kota Kinabalu or Malaysia .........I'll be sending my warmest wishes to you and your family that all of you will have a prosperous Year of the Tiger and may you all be healthy, happy in this roaring Tiger year.........those of you who are single.....may you find your the other half very very soon........roar, roar..........hehe ;)    Gong Xi, Gong Xi

Friday, February 12, 2010


Yes, Chinese New Year is a festive celebration that everyone (I meant the Chinese) would like to take this opportunity to bake and make some yummy snacks, cookies and traditional good food. As this is the first year that I bake something for Chinese New Year, it looks like I wanted to make almost everything in the cookbook, but too bad, time does not permit. Anyway, I still managed to bake some cookies, fried some snacks and made some cupcakes. These are what I bake for Chinese New Year, hope you like it and I know it's a bit late when this post came up, but well, these cookies are good for any occasion, not necessarily for Chinese New Year. So, as usual..... Happy Cookies baking!

(Recipe adopted from Y3K New Year Cookies Cookbook by Alan Ooi)

(A) 130gm butter ( I used 'Butteroll' instead)
      80gm cream cheese
      50gm icing sugar
      1 Tbsp lemon essence (I used 1 Tbsp of fresh lemon juice)
(B) 150gm Plain Flour (I used Superfine flour)
      30gm potato flour
*Some Icing sugar / Snow powder for dusting

1.  Preheat oven at 120~C to 140~C (every oven has a different heat setting).
2.  Beat ingredients (A) until light and pale form.
3.  Sieve in ingredients (B). Use a rubber spatula to fold lightly (do not knead). Scale at 7gm each portion, shape into rounds very lightly. Arrange on lined baking trays.
4.  Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven, dust the top with icing sugar, cool well and store in airtight containers.

Cookies # 2 - PINEAPPLE TARTS 
(Recipe adopted from My Kitchen Snippets blog)

226 gm unsalted butter, room temperature
3 Tbsp castor sugar
1-1/2 tsp salt
1 egg yolk
2-1/2 cups plain flour (I used superfine flour)
2 Tbsp cornflour
2-1/2 Tbsp custard powder
2 Tbsp milk powder
1 tsp vanilla essence

1.  Cream butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy.
2. Add egg yolk and vanilla essence. Beat well.
3.  Sift salt, flour, custard powder, cornflour and milk powder. Mix flour mixture into the butter until it forms a smooth dough.
4.  Remove and let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes.
5.  Roll out the dough abut 0.5cm thick and cut into shape with a pineapple tart mould, or any shape you like with a cookie cutter. Fill the center of the tart with some pineapple jam. Repeat until the dough is finish.
6.  Bake the tarts in a pre-heated oven at 350~F / 180~C until golden brown which is about 15-20 minutes. Cool tarts on the wire rack before storing in an airtight container.

Tips: If you find it difficult to roll out the pineapple jam into a small balls (as it's very sticky), wet your hands, it will not stick ;)

Cookies # 3 - COLOURFUL CUPS
(Recipe adopted from Y3K New Year Cookies Cookbook by Alan Ooi) 

 *Sorry for the blur picture, as the camera I used was not functioning properly.....sigh :(

(A) 200 gm ghee/clarified butter
      100 gm icing sugar
      1/2 tsp fine salt

(B) 340 gm plain flour (I used Superfine Flour)
      40 gm almond powder / ground almond

For decoration : Some yellow, green, red colouring, 100 gm castor sugar

1.  Beat ingredient (A) in a mixer until fluffy. Fold in ingredients (B) and mix to form a soft dough.
2.  Divide no. (1) into 4 equal parts. Leave one part natural, and colour the other three parts seperately, one yellow, one green and one red (I used pink instead of red).
3.  Roll out each piece of dough flat between sheets of plastic. Stack flatten dough one on top of another.
4.  Scale at 10 gm each piece, shape into rounds. Roll over castor sugar and place into paper cups. Arrange cups on tray, and bake in pre-heated oven at 180~C for 15-20 minutes. Leave to cool o the rack, and store in containers.

(Recipe adopted from Y3K New Year Cookies Cookbook by Alan Ooi) 

(A) 180gm butter (I used Butteroll instead)
      110gm Icing sugar
(B) 1/8 tsp vanilla essence
      1 egg
(C) 180gm plain flour (I used Superfine flour)
      10gm cornflour
For topping: Some Almond flakes
For glazing: 1 egg (beaten)

1.  Place ingredient (A) in a mixer and beat until light and fluffy. Add in ingredient (B) and mix well. Fold in ingredient (C) to form a soft dough.
2.  Grease or scatter some flour on the surface of a 14" x 10" tray. Pour half of portion no.(1) on it. Level with a spatula and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180~C for 12 (Mine baked for about 15 - 17 minutes.) Cut into square pieces of 1-1/2". Cool cookies and then glaze the surface with egg wash. Press almond flakes on top and glaze a second time. 
3.  Bake no.(2) in the pre-heated oven at 180~C for another 5-8 minutes. Cool well before serving.

(Recipe adopted from Y3K New Year Cookies Cookbook by Alan Ooi) 

(A) 250gm Butter
      150gm icing sugar

(B) 1 egg
      1/2 tsp vanilla essence

(C) 360gm  plain flour (I used Superfine flour)
      30gm custard powder
      50gm cornflour
      20gm milk powder

1.  Beat ingredient (A) in a mixer until fluffy. Add in ingredient (B) and fold in ingredient (C) to combine into a dough.
2.  Fill mixture no.(1) into mould and press onto lined baking tray and cut into pieces, spaced apart. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 170~C for 15-20 minutes. Cool well before storing.

Happy, Happy Cookies Baking.....lots of em'~

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Kuih Bangkit

Hi! It's February , and I guess to all bakers out there, whenever there is a celebration coming along, you guys will be busy preparing and lining out your list of things to bake for the festive season. Well, this year I was one of them too, as I have started to bake now, I try to make it a point to bake something for my family to celebrate the festivity season, and Chinese New Year falls in this months celebration.
I have flipping my cookbooks over and over again everyday, just like I'm reading a novel.....haha, which is so not me if given the years before. I have never had the interest in flipping a cookbook whether it is for baking or cooking.....but well, what can I say, people do change when they gets older ^-^
So, today I have decided to bake some 'Kuih Bangkit' and fried some 'Seaweed Crackers' for the Chinese New Year celebration, though I knew very well, this end product might not last till that day, hehe, as the kids have already started digging in the minute it came out from the oven  and from the wok. No worries, the only worries would be when no one eats what you make, is it finishes before the actual, that is indeed a good sign.....LOL
Take sometime, to get yourself into preparing these cookies and crackers, it will bring out the Chinese New Year mood in you........and the next thing you know, you will be baking some other things on your list.......cheers, Happy Baking!

adapted from the Y3K Cookbook for New Year Cookies
(makes 100 pieces)
3 egg yolks
120gm Icing sugar
150gm concentrated coconut milk
400gm Tapioca flour (stir-fry in a wok on very low heat till flour becomes light, sieve and leave it to cool for a least 2-3 days)

  1. Beat egg yolks and icing sugar with hand-held electric beater till consistency is thick and creamy. Add in coconut milk and mix well, Lastly, stir in cooled tapioca flour and knead dough thoroughly by hand till dough is white and has a light-textured touch.
  2. Pinch small piece of dough and press into kuih bangkit moulds. Cut off excess dough so that the base of cookies remain even. gently knock to dislodge cookies.Place them on lined baking trays. 
  3. Bake in a preheated oven at 170~C for 15-20 minutes. Cookies should be white and not browned. Cool them. Dip the end of toothpick in a little red colouring and dot the cookies if you desire.
  • Tapioca flour must be well-fried so it becomes light. the cooling process will enable the flour to absorb in the coconut milk so dough will be soft.
  • Dough must be well kneaded to produce light cookies that can melt in the mouth.
  • You can roll out the dough to a flat sheet and cut out designs with cookie cutter. this way, cookies will not be too firm.
  • Always keep dough covered with a piece of clean kitchen towel to prevent drying out.
  • It is also useful to keep some extra coconut milk aside. Sprinkle a little onto dough when the texture is very dry. Knead well to smoothen it .