Vanilla Meringue

Vanilla meringueFrench meringue, one of the easiest meringue you could make in no time, this is my version of mini meringue that melts in your mouth. Only three ingredient, you could have a jar of this to keep in cupboard for a week. In my case, it won’t even last for a week, should be gone in third day. Meringue and macaroon is a very similar however macaroon involved many steps and preparation. Macaroon, always gave an impression that it was one of the recipe I called “failure of success” and the pâtissier recover the bake goods with filling the bottom with cream and sandwich another piece of macaroon. Somehow many French recipe had that kind of repertoire.

  • 4 egg whites
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  1.  Preheat the oven to 100ºC/ 212ºF. In a large clean bowl, whisk the egg white until peak firm was formed.
  2. Shift the caster over the egg white, make sure there is no lumps of sugar, then add in the vanilla extract.
  3. Use a large metal spoon, careful fold over the sugar and vanilla into whisked egg white. Do not over work with it otherwise you may knock out the air you had created into the egg whites.
  4. Use your finger or a spoon and dip into the mixture and smear it onto the four corner of the baking sheet, then line the baking sheet with baking parchment or baking paper.
  5. Spoon the mixture into a large plain nozzle piping bag and pipe it on the baking paper.
  6. Pop them in the preheated oven for 1 hour. Once it is done remove it from the oven and let it cool completely before you store them in the clean jar.

There texture is smooth and melts in your mouth, however it has a bit of chewiness at the end, that is because of the sugar. I think in the batch I going to reduce the sugar, as I think is a bit too sweet to my tooth, however in some explanation saying sugar in the meringue is crucial because sugar is the structure of the meringue, since I’m architectural amateur that word “structure” is sounds seriously in construction industry; which is true because that is the only ingredient comes in a tinny little form or crystal, supporting the “cotton” above it. How wonderful is that?

Angel food cake with lemon curd

IMG_1130ALook at this cake, not having a smooth side, imperfection decoration, simply because I don’t have the patient to decorate the cake or making it smooth. It is just beyond me! I think the way this cake looks will tells you it is home made.

Most people will have an answer said this is chiffon cake base, eventually it is not chiffon but angel food cake base. There are three basic cake commonly use as base. Sponge cake, chiffon, angel food cake. Three of them content light airy interior.

Sponge cake, made with butter, sugar, flour, eggs. It contain whole eggs Their leavening comes only from beaten egg whites (no baking powder or soda), and they have little or no butter. Is very common with eggy,  yellowish, crumble texture, light as well. It is a versatile cake that you could add any flavour.

Chiffon cake, made with eggs, sugar, flour, water and vegetable oil but no butter. It is very light, slightly dry if you just eating the cake itself. Chiffon cakes are light like sponge cakes, but the egg whites are not beaten separately. Chiffon cakes also generally contain oil so they are more tender and moist than sponge cake.

Is an obsession throughout South-east Asia, in Japan there are whole bakeries devoted to it. Chinese schoolchildren eat it as a snack. In the Philippines the ability to turn out airy chiffon is the test of a good home cook. Yet few in Britain know about it, despite our collective love of cake. I remembered when I was a kids, I had green pandan (pandanus amaryllifolius or screwpine leave) chiffon cake, it is very soft, spongy, dry. Often it made me choke when I eating it too quickly, simply because it is tasty. Most housewife in Asia would perfecting this chiffon cake recipe and by making them as light as possible, adding flavouring in it.

Angel food cake, made with egg whites, sugar and flour. It is even lighter than chiffon cake, Angel food cakes have no fat or leavening (such as baking powder). They are leavened with beaten egg whites and they have a high proportion of egg white to flour.

The following recipe was adopted from Mary Berry that made it at Master class of the Great British Baked-Off. I think this cake make a good center piece on your dinner party. You will need a special mould for this cake 25cm angel food cake pan or chiffon pan

Cake ingredients

  • 125g plain flour
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 10 large free-range egg whites
  • 2 large lemon, grated zest only
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • ½ tsp salt

Lemon curd ingredients (this makes more lemon curd than you need for this cake)

  • 10 large free-range egg yolks
  • 400g caster sugar
  • 4 large lemons, juice only (±200ml)
  • 2 large lemons, grated zest only
  • 175g unsalted butter, cubed
  • 2 passion fruit

Topping

  • 300ml whipping cream
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 (fan 160C) and arrange an oven shelf in the bottom third of the oven. Sift the flour and 100g/3½oz of the caster sugar together in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl with an electric hand whisk or mixer on a high speed for one minute until frothy. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, cream of tartar and salt and continue whisking for 2-3 minutes, or until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed from the bowl. Increase the speed and add the remaining 200g/7oz of caster sugar, one tablespoon at a time to form firm, but not stiff peaks.
  3. Sprinkle over one-third of the flour mixture and fold gently to combine. Repeat with the remaining two-thirds of the flour mixture folding gently to keep as much air in the mixture as possible.
  4. Transfer the batter to a 25cm/10in angel food cake pan. Gently run a knife through the centre of the batter to remove any pockets of air. Cook for 45-50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  5. Remove from the oven and immediately turn upside down onto the tin’s cooling legs, or place over the neck of a wine bottle. Leave to cool for at least one hour.
  6. Run a knife around the inner and outer edges of cake to remove it from the pan. Invert onto a plate. Carefully use a palette knife to separate the cake from the base of the pan. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
  7. For the lemon curd, mix the egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest together in a large pan. Cook over a low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, making sure to stir the sides and base of the pan. Cook for 5-7 minutes, or until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter. Pass through a sieve into a large jug. Fill two 350g/12oz glass jars with the lemon curd and seal with lids. Cover the remaining curd with cling film and leave to cool.
  8. For the topping, whisk the cream and vanilla extract in a bowl until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed. Spoon the topping over the angel food cake and, using a palette knife, coat the top and sides of the cake, smoothing as you go.
  9. Cut the passion fruit in half and scoop out the seeds. Stir the passion fruit into the reserved, cooled lemon curd and drizzle over the angel food cake before serving. You may want to use just one of the jars of lemon curd to serve with the cake and save the other to eat separately.

Note: Do not be tempted to grease the tin – it will prevent the cake from rising properly. If you want to cut back on fat or have a dairy intolerance, this is a great cake to make. The cake itself doesn’t contain any butter and you can easily swap the toppings for a fruit syrup or jam if you want to make it completely dairy-free. The egg yolks are used up in a job lot of lemon curd, but you could always buy in a good jar lemon curd and save your yolks for another use.

 

 

 

 

Egg in sunset

IMG_0003AInspired from Nigella‘s recipe of Eggs in Purgatory, I should probably have to rename it. I think is a bit sad to say the sun is in hell. The egg in the middle is burning from the fiery red of the tomatoes.

It reminds me about the sun set at home when I was on holiday. The scene has the velvet red with golden yellow sun that smear out to the redness. Wonderful sunset I had seen. Just like this dish exactly the same colour obviously in different approach. My sun in this dish was not show is simply because it had dive into the gorgeously red tomato.

The key ingredient is egg and tomato, first, heat up some garlic oil in small pan (or you could use olive oil and grating a clove of garlic into it) then add a bit of chili flakes if you like some heat as I do; or you could just add some herbs such as a spring rosemary anything you like. Don’t let the garlic and herbs burn, what you need is to infused the flavour into the oil.

Now here is the sunset you about going to create it on your own. Open a can of chopped tomato and pour it in then let it cook and reduce the liquid a bit (you don’t want it too runny) about 2-3 minutes. I added some freshly grated Parmesan about 2 tablespoon, What the Parmesan did is simply replacing the salt and adding more flavour to the tomato. Here comes the sun crack one egg in the middle of the pan, don’t let the egg yolk sunk into the sauce (that is the reason you need to reduce the liquid), clam on the lid and let the egg pouch until the egg white is just cooked, yolk is still bit runny. Then remove it from the heat. Et voilà!

The moment of truth, you can choose to diving in with bread, it will helps you to wipe and clean the pan, definitely good choice to save up your elbow grease later for the washing up. There are something about this dish, it is truly satisfied, rewarding when you feeling like hell!

 

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Visitandines

P1130434AAThis little French petit four named visitation, I loved the idea of this little cake. As its name Visitandines (Visitation) the visit of Mary with Elizabeth as recorded in the Gospel of Luke. I have no idea what is this petit fours to do with that; but for me I take it as visiting gift to a friend, is a good idea for a visit instead of empty hands.

  1. Preheat the oven to 160ºC/ 325ºF/ Gas Mark 3.
  2. Grease 10 cm (4-inch) barquette moulds with butter.
  3. Mix together the flour, sugar, almonds, lemon zest and softened butter.
  4. In a separated bowl, whisk the egg white to soft peaks with an electric whisk, (I like to use hand whisk with cooper bowl it works like magic) then slowly fold into the mixture.
  5. Pour the mixture into prepared tins. Bake for 30 minutes.

I loved it simply because it is easy to make, is best as small bite during tea time. Hope you going to enjoy this little petit four. Bon appétit.

Bitter-chocolate meringue

P1150079A

Meringue with chocolate always goes well together, I used 75% cocoa solid to immerse the meringue into a chocolate bath. How wonderful is that! I think it does look good in dinner party too. Nothing complicated, the most important part is the enjoyment of making it and enjoy it when is done. Pop one in your mouth to experience the beautiful balance of the bitter chocolate and the sweet sugary meringue. You will feel great! Promise!

  1. Line a baking sheet with baking paper. Set the oven at 110°C/gas ¼/225°F.
  2. Combine the egg whites and salt in a mixing bowl and whisk until the whites are very stiff and standing in points. They must be be completely dry. Gradually add half the caster sugar, 1 tbsp at a time until all sugar has been mix it, whisking well after each addition until the meringue is stiff. If the sugar is not thoroughly blended in it will form droplets of syrup which may brown, spoiling the appearance and texture of the meringues, and making them difficult to remove from the paper when cooked.
  3. Put the meringue into a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle and pipe a mini garlic shape, by pressing down as you squeeze the bag until the size you want is made, then quickly flick and pull it upwards. Repeat it until all the meringue is used up.
  4. Put them into oven for about 1 hour to 1 and half hour or until the meringue is dry.
  5. While that is happening, you can temper the chocolate. Put the chocolate into bowl and place on the saucepan with barely simmering water (ensure bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water) and let the chocolate melt. When the chocolate is fully melted remove the bowl from the saucepan and let it cool and set aside.
  6. Check your meringue by using a spoon the knock it if you could hear the crispy sounds meaning is ready to take out. Let it cool on the wire rack.
  7. Take the cooled meringue and submerge half of the meringue into cooled melted chocolate, shake the excess chocolate off and then place it on the baking paper without disturbing it, and let the chocolate set on the meringue. Repeat until the meringues use-up.
  8. You can keep the meringues in airtight container for up to 2 weeks.