Aspiring Bakers #8 : Bread Seduction (June 2011)


Bake or steam Bread, Buns or Pau. To join, post it on your blog between 1 June to 30 June.
Click here for details.

The closing date is 30 June 2011.
All entries will be compiled and posted on 1 July 2011.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Berry Cheese Tart and MACARONS (:

is TARTS again (: never get tired of it coz my family and friends LOVE it! this time round, i baked berry cheese tarts and recipe is from hearty bakes. look at hers and compared it with mine, her's look so much nicer! anyways, the taste was GREAT! 24 tarts was finished by my family, aunt and friends (who only got 3 of it) . . they are bugging me to bake it AGAIN!

since strawberry and blueberry is in season and not exp at all, i make the jam myself (: as usual, i forgot to take photo of it ): next time i MUST remember!! however, hop over to HHB's blog to see hers. i use her recipe (half it) to make this. is NICE! (:


SWEET TART DOUGH (HALF THE RECIPE to yield 24 tarts which is just enough for the cream cheese)

(recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé, written by Dorie Greenspan)

- Make this at least 1 day in advance because you need to chill and rest the dough for a minimum 4 hours or up to 2 days, before rolling and baking;
- You are encouraged to make the full quantity because lessening the measurements may not yield the best results.
- Unused dough can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or wrapped airtight and frozen for a month. Frozen disks of dough take about 45 minutes to an hour at average room temperature to reach a good rolling-out consistency. Baked crusts can be kept uncovered at room temperature for about 8 hours.

- 2 1/2 sticks (10ozs; 285g) 270g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups (150g) icing sugar, sifted
- 1/2 cup (lightly packed) (3 1/4ozs; 100g) finely ground almond powder
- 1/2 tsp pinch of salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla bean pulp or pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
- 3 1/2 cups (490g) all-purpose flour

To make the dough in a mixer:

Place the butter in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on low speed until creamy. Add the sugar, almond powder, salt, vanilla and eggs and, still working on low speed, beat to blend the ingredients, scraping down the paddle and the sides of the bowl as needed. The dough may look curdled – that’s alright. With the machine on low, add the flour in three or four additions and mix only until the mixture comes together to form a soft, moist dough – a matter of seconds. Don’t overdo it.

Gather the dough into a ball and divide it into 3 or 4 pieces: 3 pieces for 10-inch (26cm) tarts, 4 for 9-inch (24cm) tarts. (Of course you can press the dough into one large disk and cut off as much as you need at the time that you need it.) Gently press each piece into a disk and wrap each disk in plastic. Allow the dough to rest in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or for up to 2 days, before rolling and baking. (The dough can be wrapped airtight and frozen for up to a month.)

To roll and bake:
1. For each tart, place a buttered tart ring on a parchment-lined baking sheet and keep close at hand. Work with one piece of dough at a time; keep the remaining dough in the refrigerator.

2. Working on a lightly floured surface (marble is ideal), roll the dough to a thickness of between 1/16 and 1/8 inch (2 and 4mm), lifting the dough often and making certain that the work surface and dough are amply floured at all times. (Because this dough is so rich, it can be difficult to roll, but a well-floured surface makes the job easier. If you are a novice at rolling, you might find it easier to tape a large piece of plastic wrap to the counter and to roll the dough between that and another piece of plastic. If you do this, make sure to lift the top sheet of plastic wrap from time to time so that it doesn't crease and get rolled into the dough.) Roll the dough up around your rolling pin and unroll it onto the tart ring. Fit the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the ring, then run your rolling pin across the top of the ring to cut off the excess. If the dough cracks or splits as you work, don’t worry – patch the cracks with scraps (moisten the edges with water to "glue" them in place) and just make certain not to stretch the dough that’s in the pan. (What you stretch now will shrink later). Prick the dough all over with the tines of a fork (unless the tart will be filled with a runny custard or other loose filling) and chill it for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

3. When you are ready to bake the crust(s), preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Fit a circle of parchment or foil into the crust and fill with dried beans or rice. (i did not blind my tart)
4. Bake the crust for 18 to 20 minutes (this case, i bake it for 12 mins) , just until it is very lightly coloured. If the crust needs to be fully baked, remove the parchment and beans and bake the crust for another 3 to 5 minutes, or until golden. Transfer the crust to a rack to cool.
Keeping: The dough can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or wrapped airtight and frozen for a month. Frozen disks of dough take about 45 minutes to an hour at average room temperature to reach a good rolling-out consistency. Baked crusts can be kept uncovered at room temperature for about 8 hours.

Cream Cheese

250g Cream Cheese
80 50g Sugar
3 Yolks
50g Whipping cream
1/2 tsp Vanilla Essence
2tbsp Corn Flour
To make cream cheese filling, beat cream cheese and caster sugar until soft and smooth. Add in the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Stir in the remaining ingredients.

Spoon some berry jam into half-baked tartlets. Top with some cream cheese.

Top a little berry jam on cream cheese and use a toothpick to draw marble pattern on it. Bake in oven at 180 160deg C for another 10-15minutes. (BEWARE! not to overbake it like mine that happened to the first batch. otherwise, the surface of the tart will have "wrinkles" and wouldnt be pretty! so the next batch, i reduce the temp)
Double Berry Jam (half the recipe for this and the rest, they use it to spread on bread)

200g fresh strawberries
200g fresh blueberries
120g granulated sugar*
2 tablespoons lemon juice**

  1. Wash and remove the stems from strawberries, cut into halves or quarters(for bigger ones), leave whole for small berries. Wash and drain blueberries.
  2. Mix strawberries, blueberries and sugar in a bowl. Cover and leave in fridge over night, or let it sit for at least 30mins.
  3. Transfer the mixture (including whatever juice that was drawn out from the berries) in the bowl to a stainless steel pot or a large saucepan. (Note: use non-reactive pots made with stainless steel, glass or enamel, avoid pots made with copper, aluminum or cast iron which would react with acid).
  4. On medium heat, stirring constantly with a heat-proof spatula or a wooden spoon, bring the mixture to a full rolling boil (when the bubbles do not stop or lessen when you stir it). Once the mixture starts to boil, skim away any excessive foams or bubbles, stirring constantly all the time.
  5. Keep at a slow rolling boil for another 5 ~ 10 mins, stirring constantly till the mixture thickens, becomes clearer and transparent (no more foams).
  6. Drizzle in the lemon juice and cook for a further 2~3 mins.
  7. Remove from heat. The jam will be a little runny when hot but the consistency will be just right after it has cool off.
  8. Ladle hot jam into hot sterilised jars, fill to the brim. Secure lids. Let cool. Once opened, store in fridge and best consumed within 1~2 weeks***.

how to sterilise glass jars and bottles:
Wash glass jars and lids in hot, soapy water, rinse well. Place jars and lids in a pot. Fill with enough cold water to cover the jars. Place over high heat and bring water to the boil. Reduce heat to medium and boil gently for 10 minutes. Remove jars and lids from boiling water and drain upside down over a clean tea towel. Preheat oven to 110 degC. Place jars and lids upside down on a baking tray. Place in the oven and heat for 15 minutes. Proceed to make the jam while the jars are in the oven. Do use glass jars with lids that come with a gum binder that seals them against the top of the jar.

*Do not reduce the sugar, as the amount is required to preserve the jam.
** Do not omit the lemon juice as it help to hold the jam together and enhances the flavour.
*** For safe eating practices, do examine the jam frequently for signs of spoilage.

im submitting this to Aspiring Bakers #5 : Fruity March hosted by Jess

FINALLY, MACARONS!! bought lemon to use it for the jam. leftover? LEMON MACARONS! so lucky to get it right BUT i always fail when it comes to chocolate macarons ): now, im cracking my head and i need recommendation of recipe that uses egg yolk so that i can use egg white for macarons :D
is there anything to buy from japan for baking? matcha powder? i was thinking of what to ask my mum's friend to help me buy :D