June 27, 2010


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Just a photo this time. I am sending this photo as an entry for Food Photography Contest, organized by Leite's Culinaria. I picked one of Leite's recipes: Brigadeiros. This photo is only a copy of hi res that I am going to send for this contest, to protect my own copyright from those naughty people. You still have few days left to send your entries. Just follow the links, you'll find the rules to participate. Have fun!


June 24, 2010

Sweet Life: Chocolate and Caramel Tarts

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Pregnant with the Future

I have never imagined to live without chocolate. Although I don't really eat much of it, I keep baking with chocolate every now and then. I regard chocolate as the greatest lover of flavour-some love, the essential of edible food God ever created that can give sensual mischief within one self.

And chocolate with cream, what a combination it would be? Double, perhaps triple enjoyment, especially when you are in full-excitement with the present of your true lover, then chocolate will work itself to the road of perfectly alluring destination. True excitement. Yeah! It's aphrodisiac sense does its best when you are in love.

Well, chocolate and love are just the greatest mixture of life, don't you think? Sweet life, adorable love, seductive affection, you name it, are just a little out of many effects cacao beans can charm you.

What if, love is dark chocolate and life is sweet caramel? Your conclusion of life perhaps ends this way: luscious and sweet.

Chocolate Caramel Tart

I baked Chocolate and Caramel Tarts last week, just to celebrate luscious love in sweet life. Love of dark chocolate will never end, since it is to fill the sweetest life a journey you and I are having.

Chocolate and Caramel Tarts
by Arfi Binsted

Chocolate Caramel Tart-3

Sweet Caramel

1 can of sweetened condensed milk, cook it as you make dulce de leche. Set aside to cool.

200g plain flour, sifted with 50g Dutch cocoa powder
115g chilled unsalted butter, chopped
100g icing sugar, sifted
1 egg yolk (from 70g egg)
1-2 Tbs cold water

Place sifted flour and cocoa in a food processor with chilled butter and icing sugar. Pulse until resemble fine breadcrumbs. Mix egg yolk with cold water, add into the mixture. Pulse again until the mixture forms a smooth dough. Do not over-mix, or you'll have tough pastry. Transfer the mixture on a plastic wrap, gather gently and let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. Roll out to a thickness you prefer, but I roll it really thin so that I can taste more chocolate in the filling rather than pastry. After all, I just eat the filling as I only can eat gluten-free goodies.

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Line 6 mini tart tins with the pastry, chill for 15-20 minutes, depending on how 'wet' your pastry is. The more it's chilled the less it will shrink when it's baked. Blind bake for 8-10 minutes, lift up the pastry weights (raw beans, rice, or special gadget for pastry baking), and bake further 3 minutes.

Chocolate Caramel Tart-2

Dark Chocolate Filling

250g dark chocolate (I used Valrhona Manjari), melted, set aside
155g thick cream
100g full-cream milk
2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
2 Tbs ground almond

Whisk eggs and egg yolk until combined. Cook cream and milk until about to boil. Pour in a thin stream into the whisked eggs until well-mixed. Return this mixture on top of a double boiler, to cook until thickened. Add in ground almond.

Turn the oven down to 150C-160C.

Pour the dulce de leche in to the base of tarts and topped with dark chocolate filling. Bake for 5-6 minutes, removed from the oven. Let cool and then spread with thin dark ganache (dark chocolate and thin cream, cook together. Add rum butter or vanilla extract to flavour). Served with whipped cream and garnish as you wish. Makes 6.

June 07, 2010

Gluten-Free Pandan Cake

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I like the flavour of pandan on cakes, the fragrance I sometimes miss. Can't really expect bakeries in New Zealand ever sell pandan cakes. Or can you imagine to have pandan scones for afternoon tea, I wonder? It is not impossible, though it probably will be quite a twist for a local palate. Let me say this, I ever ate scones with strawberry butter in one of favourite cafes in Ubud, Bali. I wasn't happy with the texture of the scones as it was so densely not fresh and too sweet for a sconbrot, but the strawberry butter was a real surprise. It was too sweet for a scone and too sweet for a butter. As an Indonesian-born Kiwi, I have never had scones with strawberry butter or other flavoured butter whatsoever at many cafes I have been here. I regard scones as a traditional food and it is kind of weird to have it twisted. It just makes the scones not the scones, if you get what I mean. I'd rather to stick with original flavour of scones, which are buttery rich and airy in texture.

Anyway, I am not making pandan scones, no. I mentioned to one of my baking friends in Indonesia that I'd like to bake something with pandan paste. She sent me a recipe which she had tested her own, and I tweaked it a bit to be a gluten-free version, make it available for me to eat. And here what I come up with.

Gluten-Free Pandan Cake by ab2010

Gluten-Free Pandan Cakes
modified from Bolu Pandan Sico
by Arfi Binsted

8 eggs
180g caster sugar
180g gluten-free flour
20g cornflour
2 Tbs milk powder
2 Tbs almond meal
1/2 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
200ml coconut cream, cooked until a bit thicken with 1 Tbs pandan paste, cooled

Gluten-Free Pandan Cake-2 by ab2010

Preheat the oven to 175C. Prepared a 24cm round cake tin, greased and lined with baking paper. Sift flour, cornflour, milk, salt, baking powder and almond meal together three times. Set aside. Meanwhile, beat the eggs until fluffy, gradually spoon in sugar a little at a time and keep beating until pale, a ribbon developed. Fold in flour in three batches, alternately with coconut cream and pandan paste mixture. Scrap the bottom of the mixer bowl to ensure the mixture is mixed well. Pour into the baking tin, and bake for 20-30 minutes or until the cake is springy to the touch. Remove from the oven and transfer to the wire rack. Remove the cake from the tin to cool down completely before icing.

What I do with the icing is that I use Creme au Beurre. I spread homemade pineapple jam on one side of the split cake and the creme on the other, and then sandwiched. Just a simple decoration, that is. It is just great for morning tea!

And here is the original recipe, in case you'd like to stick with it.

Bolu Pandan Sico
Sent via email by Anggraini Citra Kusuma

8 eggs
225g flour
280g caster sugar
1 glass of thick coconut cream
1 Tbs pandan paste

Beat eggs and sugar until pale, fold in flour. Add in cooked and cooled coconut cream and pandan paste. Pour into the tin. Bake at 175C for 20 minutes.