Saturday, February 27, 2010

To Market To Market

Family Favourites

I've not been baking these past couple of weeks, so to fill the void created by my absence, I went digging in the archives for pictures taken a while back. Here's a collection of a familiar favourite: Tiong Bahru Wet Market. Ah, so many a happy weekend morning spent there.

Oodles of Noodles

Vegetables & Dried Goods

Here Fishy Fishy......Care For A Kiss?

Traditional Coffee & Grinding Machine
Beats Starbucks anyday.

Morning Kopi O

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Apple Galette Part 2: Emsemble

Parcels Of Tasty Morsels

Assembly work ahead, folks. Ready, steady, go.

Sun Shining Treats Ahead

Ingredient list is short, no doubt thanks to the good people who brought ready made puff pastry to the masses. I am by no means apologetic for using store bought here, heck even the professionals recommend it. As far as I'm concerned they taste just as good as the freshly made ones you get at fine baking establishments. Thing is, I'm hungry, and the sooner I get to savor the finished product, the better.

Nothing A Little Rum Can't Fix

Best thing about alcohol: their low freezing points. With no rolling pins around, any big bottle will do, as good grace and luck would have it, I happened to have an ice cold bottle of rum waiting to be drank. I mean rolled with.

If vodka is your poison, use it. Stick a bottle in the deep freeze, and as soon as they are cold enough (read: when your fingers adhere to the bottle and peeling them off sans skin is the only way to free them) that's when you want it. The low low temperature keeps the dough cold and the butter layers from melting. That's how you avoid appetizingly greasy pastries, and get a crisp mouthful in every bite.

Laid Out Bare

So, roll and roll until the dough is 2-3mm thick. The thinner the resistance between me and the insides I'm gunning for, the better.


To keep your pastry down when they hit the hot oven. Preheating as we speak.

Paint, Plonk, Phold

I had to half the amount of filling I put on, greedy as I was there wasn't enough pastry to cover each galette otherwise. Leaving sufficient room around the filling is critical, we do not want any explosions or leakages here, every last apple piece must be contained, to be steamed in their juicy pockets for optimal flavor.

Raw...& Ready

Funny how the ugly dumpling becomes a shining beauties when baked. I love the height, the neat squaress-ness of each piece when they're baked to golden brown perfection.

I'm Smiling

Why? Coz the apple galettes were spot on. The apples' spices and orangy aromas were more pronounced after a day in the fridge and a while more in the oven, and the pastry was crisp and shell thin, just the way I like it.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Apple Galette Part 1: Twenty Hour Apples

Simple Ingredients, Great Flavors

I'm making Apple Galette, a 2 part project consisting of buttery puff pastry enveloping the stars within: 20 Hour Apples. Not as daunting as it sounds, still, no time to chat, we begin!

Ingredients Prepped

Melt the butter, slice the apples, zest the orange and save the juice for breakfast (none needed here).

Building Flavors

The 20 Hour apple is a very straight forward dish, really. Once your ingredients are prepped, all that's left is an assembly job so simple you can train a donkey to do.

  1. Lay apples in thin layer
  2. Brush on butter
  3. Sprinkle sugar
  4. Scatter zest
  5. Repeat
In The Heat

The above knowledge I can impart, my young caterpillars. Patience, I cannot. For this you need a sturdy mind, a quiet determination, and a Special Edition Lord Of the Ring Trilogy Extended Series box set With Deleted Scenes to help you see this through. For you see, you will need to bake this on low for a full 10 hours.

I suggest you start making this in the morning, so you can bake this through the day. Leaving this in the oven to bake overnight - not such a bright idea.


Once done, your proud pile will be reduced to a shadow of its former glory. But its quality, not quantity, we are after.

Not done yet. 20 Hours, remember? SO, we've nuked the apples to Timbukto and back, now it's time to cool the bad boys down. Another 10 hours in the chill chest, just in time for bed, after a long day of baby sitting the oven making sure nothing burns.

Gems Sweet Gems

The result, my friends, is the sweetest apple candy you'll ever taste. Orange flavored apples, in my case, coz I went crazy with the zest again. Not that I mind, the flavors were balanced, sweet and slightly tart, so long as you can keep from snacking them off in one sitting, these will serve you well when we apply them to the Apple Galette later in the week.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Coconut Loaf Cake

Delicious Drippings

I round off my coconut theme with a Loaf Cake, for no other reason than knowing the half used pack of tropical snowflakes can sit around pretty for only so long.

Roll Call

Should you audit the above picture, you will note that I am not entirely in compliance with PH's recipe. Not that I disagree with the flavor alchemist he is, I just had to consider the adventurous streak of my tasters, many of whom aren't really so. In order to retain their gamely support, I decided to make a few tweaks to the underlying components.

First I replaced ground coriander with lime, a time tested partnership, I'm sure you will agree. Going a step further I replaced the rum in the soaking syrup with lime juice, to keep the simple flavors pronounced. Removing the rum was a tough call, believe me. But I'm sure I'll more than make amends in no time.

Waves Of Warm Flavors

My favourite thing to do with dry spices and nuts, or in this case, coconut, is to toast them. This releases the flavors held their oils and hightens their presence in any dish they are called for.

Whirls of Fun

The flavor punch of any citrus fruit is packed in their zest, so long as you keep the bitter whites out. The punctuation of these jade green specks against the pastle cream is a welcome addition I look forward to seeing in the final product.

The butter is creamed in a seperate bowl, until a pool of pale, light, shining cream results.

Sugar In
You know the drill, folks, sugar to not only sweeten the deal but lighten the texture as well.

Glistening Globe

The above is self explanatory. However I would just like to take a moment to say, gosh I do love my eggs.

Toss In The Dry Goods

Under normal circumstances the butter, sugar and egg would have come together to form a smooth creamy mix. As you can see from the above, mine was not the case. For reasons beyond me, the trio simply refused to come together. Instead I had an emulsion gone terribly wrong.

No matter, we bravely forge on. In goes the toasted coconut, and what a saviour that proved to be, bringing the gobular mess together, readying it for the remaining flours to be incorporated.

Into the oven it goes, until a golden pillow emerges.

Ready For A Soaking

While waiting for the cake to bake, I made a magic potion of simple syrup and lime. Add as much or as little sugar / lime juice to suit your taste, I held back on the sugar and went all out with the cutting acid instead.

Dry No More

The application of the soaking syrup is as follows: Without waiting for the cake to cool, I docked the crust with a fork and started painting it with the syrup solution, as a warm cake would soak up the lovely liquid much more readily then when cooled.

Dome Of Perfection

Now would be the time to let the cake cool down and rest, for the egg protein to strengthen and give support to the moist rich cake. Wait, and you shall be rewards.

Taste Test: A visually pleasing cake when sliced, the specks of green delivered as promised. The taste? Yum. The coconut provided a warm, lingering background and merried delightfully with the cutting lime. A gamble paid off.