January 30, 2009

Cicadas Observation and Pastry-Making in Summer

Mid Summer is now marking its pinnacle of the hottest season amongst four, whistling in between a hint of upcoming Autumn breeze, brings us cooler nights though still very far from the bone-chilling weather. Still quite enjoyable with abundant fresh stone-fruits and a little more crop of strawberries, loganberries, and raspberries we still can pick fresh from the orchard and our little patch of berries in the garden.

The outdoor activities are still in the business of swimming, cricketing, petanque-ing, picking fruits, watching sheep shearing, or even cycling in the end of the day, while we still can spend the long Summer day light.

cicadas-red rim of wings by ab '09

Our instinct of nature observance once again is tickled by the presence of the distinctive noisemakers in the world, readily accompanying us while riding around, clicking dB loudness strength of their tympanum sounds wherever we may go, to let us know their existence, their special signature of Summer joy.

Cicadas is only one of my childhood insects I like to observe (now is shared with my children). As far as I remember, the species I often found in Sumatran forests is much bigger in appearance than their cousins found here in New Zealand. I found several different colours of wings rim around the garden and orchard here, others are bright green all over, and some of them are dark gray while the usual cicadas I found in the Sumatran forests is always dark gray.


cicadas shell by arfi binsted '09 cicadas shell-2 by arfi binsted '09

Do you know that they have to go through a cycle which the evidence of life you can find just before your very eyes? We expect cicadas shells or skins clinging on bark of trees when the mature babies are ready to fly for adventures, let's say for two to five years span of life, the most of time they can spend. Until next Summer, when we start noticing there is loud noise in the garden again, we then will find more cicadas skins in the orchard.

Before I am going really far, there's an auction happening on the Books for Love blog. Jenn of the Leftover Queen has helped me with spreading the words to the world through her blog post, and yes please, we still need help for your participation, donation, bidding that makes every dollar counts to help these children. The price is made in New Zealand Dollar and if you should be aware of currency rates, you may go to find the conversion on Universal Currency Converter website. With your trust and kind help, this event can be running. There are three auctions scheduled, so far they are books:

1 Mix 100 Muffins
Cooking with Foods that Fights Cancer
Wilton Cupcake Fun, Over 150 Cupcake and Treat Design for Every Occasion

There'll be more books and photos of Indonesia donated by two Indonesian photographers and one famous Indonesian broadcaster and TV personality to come updated, so please, keep looking out. I am trying my best to work more in the weekend. Stay with me.

Now, let's go back to the kitchen. Since the weather is so hot and my kitchen is quite like an open fire, hot and humid, as the direct hot afternoon sun can be easily dispersing through the large kitchen windows and spreading right into the kitchen and dining room. While learning from experience that pastry hates hot kitchen, it seems not a good time to deal with pastry at the moment, but it is Klub Berani Baking (KBB) 9th task and we DARE to say YES to any baking challenges. So, what I do is just to make an adjustment to the feel of the dough. Even when the recipe does not say to put back to the fridge to chill, I do it depending on softness of the dough has become.

My second-attempt of this non-yeast proofed puff pastry nothing like Benjamin Christie pastry craftwork at his restaurant, but more like (well, it is!) a home-baked version, with say, little or, welllllllll... less than bigger, imperfect process. My first attempt of home-made Danish Pastry was a year ago using the yeast-proofed recipe. Compared to this non-yeast, I prefer the yeast-proofed puff pastry for the layers are much more moist although the non-proofed version wins the tastes that it is more buttery with thinner layers than its sibling. Perhaps, it is just my thought.

breakfast with homemade danish pastry-2 by ab '09

Practically, I don't really find it hard to make puff pastry. This classic puff pastry is less time consuming than its counterpart yeast-proofed one. There is a little accident when the butter block was gone rather soft in the envelope shaped dough and made its way out of little holes through the air bubble formed when it was rolled out. That perhaps was the sign to put the dough back to chill, which I did. Everything else was just quite alright to proceed.

mini croissants by ab '09

While I was making croissants for our breakfast, I managed to make strawberry jam using the latest small crops from our patch. It was quite pleasant to eat home-baked croissant with home-made strawberry jam. The photo above shows the little version of croissants which turned to be biscuits because I left them longer in the oven. You tell me if I failed them, all I know that they were quite nice for morning tea. Just buttery and was perhaps even better with sugar sprinkled on top. The bigger version showed on the photo below is the second attempt on the same task. I made them bigger which was rather good to enjoy flakes by flakes.

Now, If you notice blue or yellow hue on some of my photos, I apologize to make such inconvenience visual reading throughout the passage because of it. There's something wrong with my camera as the white balance has shifted somewhere. I need to fix it sooner or later. Anyway, I just hope they are still eligible to get some mentions?

homemade danish pastry, fan shaped

The Recipes.

HomeMadeS Strawberry Jam

1kg fresh strawberries, hulled and cleaned. Put them in the saucepan with a little water, and a squeeze of lemon juice from one lemon. Add sugar as you go, taste it according to your preference. Cook this jam until bubbly and thicken. Pack the jam in sterlised jars and sealed. Very easy and it is chemical-free.

homemade strawberry jam by ab'09

Classic Puff Pastry

KBB #9 Classic Puff Pastry entry.

Source: King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook
1 pound (4 cups) unbleached all purposed flour(or 3 ½ cups all-purposed + ½ cup cornstarch/cornflour
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, ½ stick chilled, the rest at room temperature
1 – 2 tsp salt (1 for sweet, 2 for savory)
1 ¼ cups cold water(or substitute it with 1 Tbs lemon juice for 1 water if you wish to further temper the gluten in the flour)


Measure the flour into a mixing bowl. Remove ½ cup and set it aside in another bowl.

Take the half stick of chilled butter, cut it into small pieces and drop it into the flour. With two knives, a pastry blender or your fingertips, cut or rub the butter into the flour until it resembles cornmeal.

Add the salt (and optional lemon juice) to the water and add this to the flour. Mix gently with a fork until you have a rough dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl. If you need to add more water, do it a tablespoon at a time until the dough holds together.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until it is smooth and the gluten has been somewhat developed, about 2-3 minutes. Wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

KBB#9 Pate Feuilletee (Classic Puff Pastry)

Butter (Block)

Take the remainder of the butter and the reserved flour and mix the two together until they're well blended and smooth. You can do this with a mixer, a food processor or with a spoon, by hand.

Pat this butter/flour mixture into an 8-inch square on a lightly floured piece of waxed paper. Cover it with second sheet of waxed paper and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes. By mixing the butter with flour, you stabilize it somewhat so it won't decide to 'flow'.


Remove the dough from the refrigerator and put it on a lightly floured surface. Gently roll it into a square about 12 inches on a side. You don't have to be obsessive about the dimension but be pretty close.

Put the butter square in the centre of the dough square but turn it so that the corners of the butter square point toward the sides of the dough square. Fold the corners of the dough over the butter until they meet in the middle. Pinch and seal the edges of the dough together.

Turn the square over and tap it gently with your rolling pin or by hand into a rectangular shape. Rolling the dough into a larger rectangle 20 inches long and 10 inches wide.

When the dough is the right size, fold the bottom third of the dough up to the centre and the top third over and turn the dough package ¼ turn to the right so it looks like a book ready to be opened. If the dough is still nice and cold and still relaxed, do another rolling and turning the same way. (If it begins feel too soft or wants to resist being rolled, cover it, put it on a small baking sheet and refrigerate it for 15 minutes).

If you've successfully rolled it out and folded it twice, you've completed 2 turns. Classic puff pastry gets six. Continue refrigerating it after each 2 turns (or more often if necessary) until all 6 turns are completed.


When all 6 turns are done, put the dough in the refrigerator for at least an hour (and preferable overnight) before shaping.


After being thoroughly chilled, the dough can be shaped into croissants, patty shells, twists, straws, etc. Scraps can be chilled and rerolled.


Like other pastry doughs, you can freeze puff pasty in a non-self defrosting freezer for up to a year if it's well wrapped. It can also be frozen at any time during rolling, folding, turning process. Defrost it thoroughly before you use it, just to make sure it does not get too soft.


bee said...

those critters are gorgeous with thier gauzy wings. lovely photos.

Peter G said...

Great photos of the cicadas Arfi! Beautifully captured! I love your recipe for puff pastry and I have to admit it scares me a little...and the jam is so easy too! Just beautiful.

MeetaK said...

lovely photos arfi! well captured! love the croissants too!

Navita said...

Arfi...love ur blog n m adding u to my roll, if u don't mind...

croissants are my hub's fav and hve been looking for a simple recipe...found one right here :)

my first time here and must say I love this place.
if u can, do stop by my place sometime...wud love to entertain u :)

ventin said...

mba arpiiiihhhh...itu serangga kalo yg njepret mba arpi emang beda yaa..eksotik bow

btw danishnya pasti gag kuku deh rasanya..mana pake homemades starberry jam pulakkkk

o ya thanks juga utk balasan emailnya ya mba..manfaat bgt nih buat aku yg pemula dlm berkebun

Kitchen Flavours said...

Wow awesome post again. Love those yummy croissants...

Arwen from Hoglet K said...

You must have a great crop of strawberries to make a kilo into jam. I'm impressed you got it done between making croissants too. Yum!

vivi said...

waa.. bagus banget pastrynya mba.. always suka foto2nya!

Ayu said...

Mbak Arfiii, rapih bangged ngelipetnya.. Kereeennn.. Foto2nya juga tjanggih! Tob markotob! :D

Passionate About Baking said...

Beautifully captured bugs Arif, yum pastry & lovely post! It's been a virtual treat stopping by. Much love to you my friend, hope you are feeling better!

Happy cook said...

As always beautiful pictures.
You kids are so cool in holdingthem in their hands.
And a big wow for making puff pastry at home.
I always have great admiration for people making themselfs puff pastry.

Retno Prihadana said...

nyicippp juga ah croissantnya

Dhanggit said...

gorgeous photography!! you just made my day :-) lucky you, weather here in southern france is not that good :-(


Anne Vijaya said...

Waa bersih sekali 'meja kerja'-nya.. sementara aku, cemong sana sini..agak2 kapok nih Mba bikin puff pastry sendiri, abis gagal sih punyaku, kurang renyah, hiks..

zita said...

Ikutan nyari pastry, ketemu disini yg cantik ;)

btw, anaknya mbak arfi berani ya pegang serangga begitu :)

Aparna said...

Lovely pictures, as always though I admire your kids for holding them in their hands. I have a "thing" about insects.:(

And that puff pastry looks very flaky. I didn't know you could make this without yeast till now.

sunita said...

What gorgeous pictures Arfi...and those pastries are to fioe for :-)

Cakelaw said...

I used to love cicada shells as a child - although I was scared of the living cicadas, despite their natural green beauty and beautiful "singing" at dusk. Wonderful jam and pastry. I didn't even imagine that you could make puff pastry at home until I did a cooking course last year that taught us how.

eliza said...

aku jg baru tau kalo cicadas itu gede2, liat di tv, terus liat foto cicadasmu lagi...kalo digoreng enak kali ya Fi? :)
masih ada sisa pastry nih?

Ummu Auliya said...

always beautiful... gak fotonya gak hasil bakingnya... *ngiri mulu dot kom*

alwayS Ri2N said...

baking dan fotonya mbak arfie selalu juara de...

Ema said...

aku kira cicadas itu apaan mbak taunya....hehehe, btw pastry nya cantik....!!

Angela Mulianie / Lia said...

kirain salah link begitu liat yg muncul photo serangga..kqkqkq.
Emang te o pe photo2nya mbak Arpih eeuy..

Rosie said...

Wonderful photos! Wonderful jam and pastry I also like to turn my hand to homemade puff pastry at times.

Rosie x

*14* by Regina B said...

kayaknya yg diisinya rada berat, jadinya kurang ngembang ya? btw, sip deh, bisa dibuat rasa macam2 :D

Rita said...

mau nyobain croissantnya.....

Lia said...

im drolling seeing those beautiful pastry, ahhh mupeng pengen makan skg :((

rea said...

great pics as always...
Your homemades things successfully make me drolling Mba Arfie...
sukses ya...