Thursday, 20 July 2017

2 tier customised cakes


A series of 2 tier customised cakes for the lucky Birthday recipients :) It's always nice to celebrate birthdays with a customised fondant cake of your desired theme! 


Mickey Mouse Cake for 1 year old Ansel



Golden State Warrior Cake for Benny's 21st Birthday



Spiderman Cake for Josh's cool 7th Birthday!! 

Hope you enjoyed the movie screening with your friends too! 



Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Lemon Curd and Cherry Tart


Two components to rave about in this one recipe- fresh cherries ( Whooohooo the season is finally here) and lemon curd ( tangy yummy curd). 
The last time I made a lemon tart, it received so much good feedback that I was amazed how a humble tart could actually please so many peeps ( Note: not really a fruit tart person but I could well do with it as long as it is a dessert) haha. 



Someone wanted it badly so I made it again. But this time round the curd was topped onto the tart and left to set in the fridge. If you like a more set lemon filling, you will love this version here where the entire filling and tart is baked together. For a more creamy custard like tart, the recipe below is perfect for you. 

Mummy bought a bag of cherries from the usual fruit seller. They were plump, sweet and had a bite to it. Oh how I love my cherries… especially when they are super fresh and cold. And because they look super bright and red, I felt it was a good addition to the lemon tart. So there you go a Cherry Lemon Curd Tart. 

Lemon Tart ( Makes 5" Round tart )


Ingredients for crust:

63g all purpose flour
17g icing sugar
31g butter, cold and cubed
1/2 egg yolk
1/4 tsp zest


1) In a food processor, pulse flour and icing sugar until well mixed
2) Add in cold butter and pulse until mixture becomes crumbly
3) Add in zest and egg yolks and pulse till mixture comes together. If mixture is too dry, add in a little water to bind the dough till it comes into a ball.
4) Flatten dough and wrap with cling wrap
5) Refrigerate for 30mins to 1hr to set the dough


Lemon curd


1/2 cup passion fruit
1 eggs
 1 1/2 egg yolks
75g caster sugar
50g butter, cubed


1) Combine all the ingredients in a heat-proof bowl and set it over a bowl of simmering water.
2) Stirring continuously, allow the butter to melt and the mixture to come together. At first the mixture is going to look strange and curdled but just continue stirring and when the butter is melted, switch to a whisk and whisk until the curd is thick and glossy.
3) Taste to ensure the curd is smooth and cooked through then remove from the heat.
4) Refrigerate until set or overnight 

Assembly of Tart


1) Preheat oven to 160C. 
2) Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface. I like to roll them between 2 pieces of cling wrap. 
3) Press gently into tin and trim off excess pastry. 
4) Use a fork to prick bottom of pastry with holes and return to fridge to set another 30 mins.
5) When dough is set, line the tart with foil and fill with rice or weights and bake for 15 mins
6) Remove tart from oven and remove the foil and bake for another 25 mins until lightly golden. 
7) Let tart cool completely before filling with the lemon curd
8) Decorate with fresh cherries :) 

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Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Pistachio Macarons with Chocolate Ganache ( Italian Meringue Method)


It has been a good 3-4 years?? Since I last made macarons. Did about 50 batches before I decided that it was indeed too much. Macarons have loads of sugar in them. But the good thing is you’re probably only going to eat 1-2 ( or perhaps 3-4 or maybe 5-6 ) macarons at a go before you find yourself reaching for something savory to counteract the sweetness in your mouth. 


Sweetness aside, this “cookie” is actually very attractive for door gifts, wedding / birthday parties. They can be baked in an assortment of colors, shapes and sizes. After a long hiatus and probably a few failed attempts at French macarons, I got pretty upset and decided it was time to take a break from them. That explains the good 3 yrs. 


I guess whatever goes down must eventually come up again. My interest for macarons is back! Today, I churned my 1st 2 batches of Italian Meringue macarons. Macarons made by the Italian method involves boiling a sugar syrup to reach a certain temperature before mixing with the meringue. You have to multi task on this one. But if you have a stand mixer, it will make your job much easier. After doing both the French and Italian macaron methods, I find that the Italian method gives more room for error. And the best thing is you don’t have to age the eggs. ( Defo a plus point considering it rains pretty often in Singapore and the weather can sometimes be really humid – enemy for macarons). 


The 1st batch of macarons came out with protruding feet ( OMG) a disaster. I couldn’t blame anyone but myself as I was too lazy to throw away the batch of meringue that was contaminated with a little egg yolk. Sometimes shortcuts bring you to dead ends so try to minimize them if your instincts tells you that you are heading in the direction of disaster. 

My second batch of macarons turned out perfect. Smooth tops, nice feet and pretty colors. Pink sweet pink. How not to resist. Many more batches to come.. Watch this space ;) If you have any flavors to recommend please do so in the comment box. 


Italian Meringue Macarons ( Makes about 60 macaron shell or 30 completed Macarons)


Ingredients:

-150g superfine ground almonds ( I use Phoon Huat's superfine almonds)
-150g powdered sugar
-50g egg whites
-Gel food coloring (optional)

Italian Meringue:

-110g granulated sugar ( For boiling) + 10g (For beating with egg whites first)
-55g egg whites
-40g water

1. Sift together ground almonds, powdered sugar into a bowl. If your almonds are not fine enough, you can pulse it in a food processor for a few seconds.

2. Add in 50g of egg whites and mix until well combined. Add in gel coloring of your choice.

3. Place water and 110g sugar into a small saucepan over medium heat and attach a thermometer to it. Boil the sugar mixture.

4. Halfway through boiling the mixture, place 55g of egg whites into the bowl of your stand mixer and beat till frothy. Add in 10g of sugar and continue to beat on low until soft peaks form. If it reaches soft peaks before the sugar mixture reaches 240F, switch off the mixer.

5. When the sugar mixture reaches 240F, take the sugar syrup off the heat and slowly pour it into the egg whites. Continue to beat on medium high for 5-7 mins until the meringue is not hot to touch and the meringue is shiny with stiff peaks.

6. Add in 1/3 of the meringue to the ground almond mixture and mix it to lighten the mixture up.

7. Add in the rest of the meringue and fold until batter falls from spatula and forms a ribbon like pattern. Consistency should be like lava.

8. Pipe circles onto a non stick baking sheet of Silpat. Tap baking pan on the table top to get rid of air bubbles and flatten the peaks on the macarons. Use a toothpick to burst air bubbles that might form on the piped circle.

9. Let macarons rest and dry for 20-30mins until the macarons are dry to the touch.

10. Preheat oven to 150deg celcius or 300F. Bake for 12-13 minutes.

11. Let macarons cool completely before removing them from the baking paper.

12. If not piping immediately, store macarons in an airtight container at RT until ready to pipe. If you are piping the filling, pipe a portion of ganache (or your fav frosting) into the centre of the macarons. Sandwich the macarons and let the flavors age in the fridge overnight. Macarons taste best the very next day.


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Monday, 10 July 2017

Passionfruit Curd



Passionfruit curd- It’s Smooth, tangy with a little sweetness. Making this curd reminds me of summer and all things happy. Its vibrant colors make it a good pairing to desserts and cakes.


I like to use passionfruit in my greek yogurt. It’s like the best combination ever. When I had some left over passionfruit , I did not know what to do with them so I scooped the excess out into a container and mixed it together with my favourite Farmers Union greek yogurt. I left the yogurt and passionfruit pulp overnight and it was heavenly the next day. The perfect healthy breakfast. You can add a little cornflakes or granola for added crunch.


There are endless things to do with passionfruit. Don’t worry about excess because you can always freeze them and enjoy them as granita. This time, I decided to make a curd which could be used as a spread or topping for hmmmm… ( I have many ideas here).

Passion fruit curd (Recipe adapted from Simply Delicious Food) 


Ingredients

1 cup passion fruit
2 eggs
3 egg yolks
150g caster sugar
100g butter, cubed

Steps:

1) Combine all the ingredients in a heat-proof bowl and set it over a bowl of simmering water.

2) Stirring continuously, allow the butter to melt and the mixture to come together. At first the mixture is going to look strange and curdled but just continue stirring and when the butter is melted, switch to a whisk and whisk until the curd is thick and glossy.


3) Taste to ensure the curd is smooth and cooked through then remove from the heat.

4) Transfer the curd to clean jars and keep in the fridge for up to 2-3 weeks.


Enjoy :) 

Do comment in the post below or tag me on Instagram: @sherbakes if you attempt your very own. Would love to share your joy in baking adventures

Friday, 23 June 2017

Blueberry Crumble Bars


Blueberries Blueberries. Blueberry pie, Blueberry ice cream, Blueberry cheesecake, Blueberry brownie, Blueberry crumble, Blueberry cookies, Blueberry smoothie, Blueberry cake! ARGH there are a million and one desserts out there that involve this little tiny fruit.


Do not judge this fruit by its size. It’s way packed with all the vitamins, minerals and antioxidant that is good for your body. It’s quite a common fruit here in SG. Infact, they always have discounts in NTUC or cold storage. Although I wish cherries have a better presence here, I shall not be picky as blueberries are pretty yummy too.


So so so I bought 2 boxes of blueberries. Each box was about 150g. I used 2 boxes in total to make a 6” square crumb bar. This yields 9 square brownies of decent serving. You know what the best part is? It’s when you microwave the brownie for a few seconds till it’s piping hot and then you scoop a generous serving of your favourite ice cream on top of the hot brownie. Watch the ice cream melt a little and savor the moment as you put the two in your mouth.



Flavor explosion. If you wanna eat something sweet, might as well go big! Enjoy guys!Recipe adapted from Michele from FlavorMosaic

Blueberry Crumb Bars ( Makes 1 6" Square tray)


1/8 cup white sugar
1/8 cup light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter (60g)
1/2 egg, beaten
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 packets fresh blueberries
1/8 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoons cornstarch


1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190deg C).

2) Line a 6" Square baking tray with baking paper and grease the sides of the tray with non stick cooking spray or butter

3) In a medium bowl, stir together white and brown sugar, flour, baking powder and salt.

4) Add the egg and vanilla to the flour mixture.

5) Using a fork or a pastry cutter, cut in the butter into the flour mixture until crumbly.

6) Pat half of the dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan.

7) In another bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice. Stir in the blueberries.

8) Spoon the blueberry mixture evenly over the bottom crust.

9) Crumble the remaining dough over the blueberry layer.

10) Bake in a preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until top is slightly brown.

11) You can enjoy it warm of if you wanna snap a clean looking picture, i refrigerated the bars for 30- 1 hour so it's easier to cut them up. Just warm them for 10 secs in the microwave to get them hot and yummy again :)

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Thursday, 22 June 2017

Healthy Sous Vide Salmon


I gotta admit fish was my favourite “meat” while growing up. Given a choice of protein ( Beef, Pork, Chicken, Lamb etc), my first choice will always be fish. The Good Old Humble fish that can be enjoyed several ways- Steam, Fried, Baked, Grilled.

Mummy used to prepare them almost every single day ( Actually she still is). Thus, its daily appearance is nothing to be surprise about. I’ve had a couple of fishes ( or salmon to be exact) that were overcooked thus resulting them being tough and dry. You know what I mean right.



Sometimes that rock do appear appetising but once you take a bite of its flesh, you just wanna throw it away. I decided to utilize my handy sous vide to make the salmon. I’ve read a couple of reviews on what temperature to set the machine in order to get that buttery, slippery soft flesh.

I had it sous vide at 110F for a good 45mins. Took it out of the ziplock and then gave it a quick sear on both sides in a hot pan drizzled with a little olive oil.


Verdict: the skin was crispy due to the sear but the inside of the fish was buttery, smooth and perfectly cooked! Accompanied the fish with Superlifeco’s mushroom quinoa and some vegs.

Sous Vide Salmon (2 Pax) 


2 piece salmon ( Around 200g per)
Salt
Black Pepper
2 Sprig Thyme / lemon slices etc
2 tbsp Olive oil

1) Season salmon generously with salt and pepper on both sides and place in ziplock bag
2) Add oil and leave to marinade in refrigerator for at least an hour.
3) Set temperature on sous vide machine to 110F
4) Cook each salmon for about 30-45 mins.
5) Preheat frying pan with 1 tbsp oil until smoking
6) Quickly sear salmon skin side down for 20-30 secs until crispy
7) Flip salmon over carefully and sear for 15 secs
8) Remove from pan and serve hot


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Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Mini Chicken Pot Pies with Flaky Crust


It’s pie day again! Remember the soggy pie I made previously – with too much filling to spare? I was devastated when I saw how runny the filling after cutting through the crust. But nevertheless, the filling was tasty enough to make a pasta dish. If you want a good creamy chicken pasta sauce, look no where else. this super delicious pasta sauce goes really well with pasta, spaghetti or even as a side sauce to your chicken chop or other meat cravings.


Never fear. It’s back to the pie drawing board again. This time round, I opted to make my own crust. Let’s reserve lazy days for another occasion.


This time round, I made sure to cut back on the filling. Not too much broth and milk. The crust was flaky and just the way I like it. If there’s something to be happy about, it’s definitely the way the crust browns on the top and when you scoop a portion of that pie out, the filling to crust ratio is just nice. Mmhhhhh filling yums!



Don’t you think food looks nicer when they are mini. Haha. Cute little mini pot pies instead of a huge pie.

Ingredients for the pie crust (Enough to make 5 mini pies):


2 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
1 cup (227 g) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
¼ cup ice water
1 Tbsp white vinegar
1 egg yolk plus 2 tsp milk, mixed well, to brush on top of pastry before baking

Steps:


1) In a food processor, combine the flour and salt. 
2) Add the butter and pulse a few times until the butter resembles pea. 
3) Add the water and vinegar and pulse a few more times.
4) Remove dough and mould together until it comes into a ball. Press flat and wrap in plastic wrap.  
5) Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight. 


Ingredients for Filling


20g unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/3 cup milk
A medium onion, finely chopped
150g frozen peas and carrots
1 and 1/4 cups chicken broth
225g boneless chicken breast/ thigh ( Cube)
1/2 tbsp cornstarch
Salt (to taste)
Ground black pepper (to taste)


Steps


1) Marinade chicken cubes with 1/2 tbsp cornstarch and put in fridge for 30mins
2) In a large saucepan, add chicken cubes and frozen peas/carrots
3) Add chicken broth, cover and boil for 10-15mins until chicken is cooked
4) Drain chicken mixture ( Reserve the stock)
5) In a separate pan, Melt butter and add onions.
6) Stir till onion is almost translucent then add flour and stir until boil.
7) Add the chicken stock slowly.
8) Add milk to the chicken chicken stock mixture and stir till thicken (Simmering takes about 10-15mins)
9) Add black pepper and salt to taste.
10) Stir in carrots and chicken cubes. ( Add more chicken stock if you like a more saucy filling).

Assembly of pie

1) Preheat oven to 400F or 200 C.
2) On a lightly floured work surface, roll out 2 circles, one about 12cm in diameter and the other about 9cm in diameter ( This is to fill a pie casing that is 5.5cm in diameter and 3.5cm in height). You will need a total of 5 sets.
3) Place the 12cm circle dough inside the casing and up the sides. It's ok if the dough overhang the casing by a little because when you place the second piece of dough over the top after filling the casing, you will need to pinch to seal in the filling. 
4) Spoon the chicken filling in. Cover with the second sheet of dough. 
5) Repeat steps 2 - 4 with the other 4 sets of casing
6)Crimp the edges to seal the filling in.
7) Brush the top with egg yolk wash. 
8) Bake for 35-40mins.


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