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Chili Chocolate Tart

If you’re a chocolate lover, you would always crave a perfect chocolate tart that reminds you of why you ARE CRAZYYY about chocolate in the first place – This Chili Chocolate Tart is IT. It is simple, decadent, and rich in chocolate flavours with a slight kick of chilli. It has a tender chocolate sweet pastry filled with chili chocolate custard filling, finishing off with a shiny cocoa gaze and chocolate shards. The taste of chili is very subtle in this recipe as I personally can’t take spicy very well. However, If you aren’t a big fan of chili, simply substitute it with dark chocolate and it will work just fine!



 

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Chilli Chocolate Tart

I don’t know about you but I have a thing for tarts. As simple as they look, there’s actually so much knowledge, hard work and effort behind to achieve a satisfying result. This is why the sense of accomplishment of finishing a gorgeous tart can be overwhelming (for me).

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Chilli Chocolate Tart2

In this post, I am going to tell you the tips of making the best chocolate tart in the simplest way!

    1. Use a food processor (no mess) 
      I was taught various ways of making sweet pastry i.e. cutting method, creamy method etc, but here I want to show you the easier way without getting your hand dirty – using a food processor. All you have to do is to process COLD butter cubes with dry ingredients until fine crumbs, then add in the egg and process until a smooth dough is formed. There’s minimum handling of the dough and you can avoid developing too much gluten in the dough, hence avoid pastry shrinkage when baked.
    1. Rest the sweet pastry dough (no shrinkage)
      One thing that you must have heard when it comes to tarts making is REST THE DOUGH. The reason is that when you need to give time for the gluten that was formed during the dough making process to relax. When making this tart, you will be resting the pastry twice – first, to rest it in a rectangular flat form wrapped by plastic in refrigerator for at least 30 mins before rolling the pastry out for lining; second, to rest the pastry lined in tart rings in refrigerator for another 30 mins to relax the gluten formed during the rolling process. Relaxed gluten won’t shrink as badly (sometimes doesn’t shrink at all) during baking, and you will have a more tender and consistent sweet pastry.
    2. Use a non-stick perforated baking mat when blind baking (no baking beans needed!)
      Have you ever experienced the frustration that even if you have poked thousands of holes in the sweet pastry and even putting baking beans on, your pastry still annoyingly puff up a lot in the oven? Here is the solution for you – use a non-stick perforated baking mat. These perforated mats are amazing that they allow air to escape underneath the pastry and provide optimal destruction of heat. They give a much more consistent baking result and that’s why people are using it for baking a lot of items such as tarts, short bread cookies, macarons etc.
    3. Bake the custard filling at low temperature 
      I know we all love ganache, I mean who doesn’t? But sometimes pure ganache filling can be too heavy as a filling. For my chocolate tart, I used a chocolate custard filling recipe that is slightly different from ganache due to the addition of eggs and milk. The eggs and milk sort of “lighten up” the ganache and make it custard-like. However if you want a smooth finish of the custard filling, you have to bake it at low temperature (120C). I baked my filling at 120C for 10mins and there were no cracks on the surface at all as the filling was cooked slowly and evenly.

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Ingredients:

Chocolate Sweet Pastry

  • 240g all purpose flour
  • 95g icing sugar
  • 25g cocoa powder (I used Callebautchocolate ‘s cocoa powder)
  • pinch of salt
  • 120g cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 50g whole eggs (around 1 egg)

Chilli Chocolate Custard Filling 

  • 180g pure cream
  • 180g Lindt’s chili chocolate (break into small pieces)
  • 15g butter
  • 40g eggs
  • 40g cold milk

Cocoa glaze

  • 70g water
  • 65g sugar
  • 20g neutral glaze
  • 8g glucose
  • 30g cream
  • 15g cocoa powder (I used Callebautchocolate ‘s cocoa powder)
  • 1.5 gelatine sheet (titanium)
  • 40ml water



Instructions:

Make the Chocolate Sweet Pastry , put all purpose flour, icing sugar, cocoa powder, salt and cold butter cubes into a food processor (handle with care and never put your hand near the blade when the machine is on), process on medium speed until fine crumbs. Add in the egg and process on medium speed until a smooth dough is formed. Put the dough on your working surface dusted with flour, flatten it with your hand and shape into a rectangle. Wrap the dough in plastic and rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 mins.

After the resting time, flour your working surface and roll out your dough into 3mm. During the rolling process, you have to move the pastry around constantly and dust flour underneath the dough to ensure that the dough is not sticking to the bench. Poke holes into the pastries evenly with a fork and use a circular cutter to cut out circles that are around 3 cm bigger than the base of your tart rings. Fit the pastry into your tart ring and ensure to check if nice edges are formed at the base. Use a knife to cut off the excess pastry hanging out of the tart rings. Put the tart rings onto a perforated baking mat and rest in the refrigerator for 30 mins. Preheat your oven to 180C.

After the second resting time, bake the tart shells for 10mins. Take out from the oven, let cool slightly, and remove the tart rings carefully.  Brings the oven temperature down to 120C.

Make the Chilli Chocolate Custard Fillingput chocolate pieces into a mixing bowl and set aside. Meanwhile. bring cream to a boil in a sauce pan, immediately pour hot cream over the chocolate. Let it sit for one min, then stir with a whisk until completely melted. Stir in the butter butter and and stir until melted. Add in cold milk , then egg into the ganache. Mix with a whisk until just incorporated. Fill the tart shells with the custard filling until it’s just 4mm away from the tart shell top edge. Bake at 120C for 10mins. Let cool in room temperature for 10 mins then put in refrigerator while you prepare the cocoa glaze.

Make the Cocoa glazebloom gelatine sheet with 40ml water, set aside. Bring all the other ingredients to a boil in a saucepan, off heat, stir in the bloomed gelatine and whisk until completely dissolved (try to avoid making any bubbles). Cool in room temperature for 15 mins. Take out the cooled tarts from the refrigerator, pour the glaze carefully on the set custard filling until it’s just full. Refrigerate the tart for at least 1 hour to set completely. Decorate with chocolate shards and gold leaves if desired. These tarts are best to consume within three days.



2 comments
Yuen Yeung – Hong Kong Style Milk Tea & Coffee Panna Cotta with Flourless Chocolate Cake and Feuilletine

This stunning Hong Kong-inspired Milk Tea and Coffee Panna Cotta with Flourless Chocolate Cake is a winner – smooth and creamy in every bite as it harmoniously combines the flavours of coffee and milk tea!   

Yuen Yeung - Milk Tea Coffee Panna Cotta with Flourless Chocolate Cake3

 

The inspiration of this dessert comes from the famous, humble Yuen Yeung well beloved by all Hong Kongers. Yuen Yeung (in Cantonese pronunciation), commonly known as Kopi Cham in Malaysia, is a popular beverage in Hong Kong’s cha chaan teng. Mixing strong coffee and Hong Kong style milk tea in the right ratio, you get a sweet and creamy drink that’s perfect served either hot or cold.

I transformed the concept into a two-layer panna cotta with the addition of flourless chocolate cake and some golden feuilletine. I always like the idea of making panna cotta in a wine glass, well, maybe because to me the shine of the glass automatically elevates the look of the final result.  Am I right? 

Yuen Yeung - Milk Tea Coffee Panna Cotta with Flourless Chocolate Cake

Just a little update of my recent life – I’ve been working hard for my placement and my body apparently wasn’t used to the high physical demand from work and it crashed… So here I am, snuggling up in blanket resting, while writing this post after much delay.

 

Yuen Yeung - Milk Tea Coffee Panna Cotta with Flourless Chocolate Cake2

My friend mentioned the word “adulting” when we chatted a few days ago, and the word just hits me. I guess “adulting” is something that can only be understood when experienced yourself. After I got my full time job, my life has been so preoccupied that my days seem to be set on repeat. Workplace is so much different from school – at school, when you screw up, it is all expected and there’ll be teachers to correct you and show you the right ways to do things; but in workplace, you got more responsibility on your shoulders and when you screw up, you screw up. It makes me feel the need to pay more attention to details while multitasking in the kitchen. Well.. at the end of the day, one thing that doesn’t change is that pastry fuels me.

P.S And you might have noticed that the styling of this series of pictures is different from the rest. It is all thanks to my newly bought “photography box” with its own LED lights. It is an immense help to me with my busy schedule, in the sense that I no longer have to solely rely on the sunlight as my light source for my photoshoot! But obviously I still need to learn more about how to use it properly. I hope you will enjoy the recipe!

Ingredients:

Milk Tea Jelly

  • 20g caster sugar
  • 250g water
  • 5 black tea bags
  • 250g evaporated milk
  • 2 tsp gelatin
  • 50g cold water

Coffee Panna Cotta

  • 50g brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp instant coffee powder
  • 300g cream
  • 100g full-cream milk
  • 2 tsp gelatin
  • 50 g cold water

Flourless Chocolate Cake

  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 150g dark chocolate
  • 60g brown sugar
  • 80g egg yolks
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 120g egg white
  • 140g almond meal

Notes:

  1. I created the layer effect by positioning the glass on a circular cutter in a way that the glass tilts. Therefore, before you start doing anything, make sure you have the right glass and a cutter that serves the purpose.
  2. The bottom layer has to set completely (which takes about 4 hours) before the second layer is poured in. So you need to plan ahead.

Directions:

Milk Tea Jelly

  1. Bloom the gelatin with cold water.
  2. Put caster sugar and water in a saucepan and bring it to a light boil. Turn the heat off. Put in the bloomed gelatin and mix with a whisk until completely dissolved.
  3. Put the tea bag into the water-gelatin mixture, and let the tea infuse for 20-30 mins. After the infusion, squeeze out all the liquid inside the tea bag before throwing them away.
  4. Add evaporated milk and mix gently.
  5. Pour the mixture into the glasses, and put the glass onto a circular cutter, and tilt it to an angle that you want. Keep in fridge to set for around 4 hours. (you can prepare the flourless chocolate cake meanwhile)

Coffee Panna Cotta

  1. Bloom the gelatin with cold water
  2. Put brown sugar, coffee powder, cream in a saucepan and bring it to a light boil. Turn the heat off. Put in the bloomed gelatin and mix with a whisk until completely dissolved.
  3. Add in the milk and mix gently. 
  4. When the milk tea jelly is set. Remove the cutter and pour the mixture into the glass. Keep in fridge to set for another 4 hours.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Note: as we are just using pieces of this chocolate cake as the topping, you can use whatever cake mould you want to suit your purposes. I used a 23cm square cake tin.

  1. Grease and line your cake tin. Set aisde. Preheat oven to 160C.
  2. Using a double boiler, melt butter. Add dark chocolate and whisk until completely melted. Remove from heat.
  3. Add in brown sugar and egg yolks. Whisk until incorporated. Set aside.
  4. Make meringue (soft peak) with egg whites and caster sugar.
  5. Fold ⅓ of the meringue into the chocolate mixture and combine well.
  6. Fold in the almond meal.
  7. Fold in the remaining ⅔ meringue into the mixture and combine well.
  8. Pour into the prepared cake tin. Bake at 160C for 45-50mins, or until a skewered inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Assembly:

  1. Take out some pieces from the flourless chocolate cakes with your hand and carefully put on top of the panna cotta. If desired, put some Feuilletine coated with gold lustre powder like I did.
  2. Enjoy the dessert cold.

 

2 comments
Golden Cube – Pistachio Petit Gateaux with Passionfruit Jelly and Milk Chocolate Coating

This indulgent Golden Cube is a dream come true (edible tho)- it has a nutty pistachio bavarois mousse, tangy sweet passionfruit jelly, and fluffy sponge, all covered with a layer of smooth milk chocolate coating dusted with gold powder. 

Pistachio Petit Gateaux with Passionfruit Jelly and Milk Chocolate Coating

Pistachio Petit Gateaux with Passionfruit Jelly and Milk Chocolate Coating3

After my school has officially finished, I recently went back home to relax and recharge myself before the commencement of my industry placement. I didn’t really bake much back home due to limited resources so I was so ready to storm the kitchen as soon as I am back in Sydney! In case you’re wondering, I will be working full-time for six months at Baked by Keiran, an Artisan Bakery/Patisserie in Dulwich Hill, Sydney. I have been working there part time for over a month now and I simply enjoy every moment of it despite the early hours. I guess getting up earlier than everyone else is just an inevitable part of being a pastry chef, right? Anyway, working there substantially equips me with knowledge about French patisserie as they make almost everything from scratch, which I absolutely respect. 

 

Pistachio Petit Gateaux with Passionfruit Jelly and Milk Chocolate Coating2

Back to the dessert itself, pistachio is my second favourite flavour (right behind mint chocolate) because of its unique exotic, nutty, sweet taste. To be honest, I don’t even know how to describe the taste of pistachio to do it justice. I personally think that the combination of pistachio and milk chocolate works well, because the creamy and milky note of milk chocolate complements the delicate flavour of pistachio. And the acidity of passionfruit jelly insert perfectly balances out the sweetness of other elements.

Pistachio Petit Gateaux with Passionfruit Jelly and Milk Chocolate Coating4

Pistachio Petit Gateaux with Passionfruit Jelly and Milk Chocolate Coating5

Making this kind of dessert, like many other instances in the pastry world indeed, requires a lot of patience because it requires a lot of chilling time for things to set properly in the freezer. Sometimes you simply can’t rush things to go quicker because you will risk ruining everything. Make sure you plan everything ahead so that you will have enough time to finish the product. When I made this, I also tried to multitask by making another dessert at once so I don’t get bored with the waiting time. Hope you enjoy the recipe. Cheers! 

The specific tools that I used for this recipe include:

  1. 15cm cake ring 
  2. 4cm circular cutter 
  3. 4cm half sphere silicone mould
  4. 5cm cube silicone mould 
  5. Toothpick 

Ingredients:

Sponge
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 45ml full-cream milk
  • 40g melted butter 
  • 4 egg white
  • 100g sugar 
  • 110g cake flour, sifted 
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder 
Passionfruit Jelly
  • 170g passionfruit pulp
  • 100ml warm water 
  • 4 tsp gelatine powder 
  • 100ml cold water (for blooming the gelatine powder)
Pistachio Bavarois
  • 100g egg yolk
  • 80g caster sugar 
  • 240ml milk
  • 240ml cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g pistachio paste 
  • 2 tsp gelatine powder 
  • 50ml cold water (for blooming the gelatine powder)
  • 400 pure cream, semi-whipped 
Milk Chocolate Pistachio Coating 
  • 400g milk chocolate
  • 80g vegetable oil (I used canola oil) 
  • 80g shelled pistachio, coarsely chopped 

Instructions:

Sponge
  1. Grease and line a 15-cm cake ring and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 175C.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine egg yolks, milk and melted butter with a whisk.
  4. Prepare sifted cake flour and baking powder in another bowl and set aside.
  5. Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, whisk egg white on medium speed until foamy, then turn to high speed while slowly adding sugar. Continue whisking until the meringue reaches stiff peak.
  6. With a spatula, gently fold in the prepared cake flour and baking powder into the meringue. Try to retain as much air as you can while folding.
  7. Take out a little bit of meringue mixture and mix it with the egg yolk-butter mixture that you prepared earlier. Then fold it back to the whole meringue mixture. Gently mix with a spatula until everything is combined.
  8. Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake mould. Bake at 175C for 35-40 mins, or until stick inserted into centre comes out clean.
  9. Leave it in room temperature for 10 mins before handling. Take the cake from the cake mould and let cool completely. Using a serrated knife, cut the cake into 1-cm slices and put in freezer for 15 mins to firm up. You will need to use the slices from the middle part because they are softer and don’t have the skin.
  10. Using a 4-cm circular cutter, cut out 10 sponge circles from the cake slices for assembly.
Passionfruit Jelly
  1. Prepare a 4cm half-sphere silicone mould and set aside.
  2. Bloom gelatine powder with water and set aside.
  3. In a saucepan, bring passionfruit pulp and warm water to boil. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 mins.
  4. Stir in the bloomed gelatine and stir with a whisk until fully melted.
  5. Pour the jelly mixture to the silicone mould carefully.
  6. Put in freezer for 2-3 hours until completely set before unmoulding.
Pistachio Bavarois
  1. Bloom gelatine powder with water and set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, bring milk and cream to boil.
  3. While the milk and cream are heating up, whisk together egg yolk and sugar in a mixing bowl.
  4. As soon as the milk and cream are boiling, slowly pour them over the egg-sugar mixture while whisking it continuously.
  5. Pour the whole mixture to the saucepan and cook it like an anglaise on low heat while continuously stirring with a spatula (remember to scrap the bottom of the pan to prevent any sticking & burning).
  6. Once the mixture reaches 85C, remove from heat and strain it to another bowl to prevent further cooking.
  7. Stir in pistachio paste and vanilla with a whisk until fully incorporated.
  8. While the mixture is still hot, stir in the bloomed gelatine and mix until fully melted. Let cool.
  9. While the mixture is cooling, semi-whip the cream.
  10. Gently fold in the semi-whipped cream when the mixture is cooled to 40C.
Milk Chocolate Coating
  1. Using a double boiler or microwave, melt the milk chocolate. (If you’re using a microwave, please check every 15 secs and stir to avoid burning the chocolate)
  2. Whisk in vegetable oil until fully emulsified. You can use a stick blender for better emulsion.
  3. Add the chopped pistachio and mix.
  4. Transfer it to a rather narrow container that is deep enough to dip the bavarois in later on. Cover with cling wrap and set aside in room temperature until ready to use.
Assembly

Note: Mind that because I used a cube silicone mould, I could do it in the normal order instead of the upside down way because it wouldn’t affect the result. However, if you desire to use a different silicone mould, you may have to do it the upside down way. 

  1. Put the sponge circle in the centre of the silicone mould. 
  2. Then, put the passionfruit jelly on top of the sponge. Carefully pour in the pistachio bavarois into the mould until full. Remove any excess mousse with a small palette knife. Keep in the freezer for 6-8 hours or preferably overnight before unmoulding. 
  3. After all bavarois is unmoulded, place two toothpicks at either end of the bavarois and dip it in the milk chocolate coating until evenly coated. Gently place the bavarois to a cooling rack to allow the excess coating to drip off. Remove the toothpicks very carefully by twisting them. Store in fridge for 10-15 mins until the chocolate coating is set. Before serving, garnish with gold lustre powder. 
3 comments
Charcoal Dark Chocolate Cream Puff with Black Sesame Chantilly Cream and Tofu Creme Patissiere

It’s been a while everyone! I’ve spent some time to come up with this recipe with choux pastry,  because I want to make a cream puff, aka profiterole, that is out of the ordinary and surprise the person who eats it. This charcoal dark chocolate cream puff with black sesame cream chantilly and tofu creme patissiere is the one to impress your guests – it has a monochrome exterior with a multitude of flavours and textures layered between.

Charcoal Dark Chocolate Cream Puff with Black Sesame Chantilly Cream and Tofu Creme Patisserie4

Black sesame is one of my favourite asian flavours to use on desserts. It is used extensively in Asian sweets and sometimes savoury, as apparently its nutty and rich taste is quite addictive. Check out my Charcoal Black Sesame Cake Roll if you are also a fan of black sesame like me!

Charcoal Dark Chocolate Cream Puff with Black Sesame Chantilly Cream and Tofu Creme Patisserie5

 

To pair with the black sesame chantilly, I decided to use silken tofu for my creme patissiere that has a smooth texture and a subtle soybean note. If you don’t have immediate access to silken tofu, you may consider using soy milk instead. Also, I sneakily incorporated chocolate elements in my choux and craquelin (the “cracked skin” on top of the choux) because it is chocolate, period. And I may or may not have added some oreo biscuit at the bottom for some extra crunch as well.

Charcoal Dark Chocolate Cream Puff with Black Sesame Chantilly Cream and Tofu Creme Patisserie7

Making choux essentially involves two steps:

  1. Cook while constantly stirring flour, butter, water/milk, salt and sugar in a saucepan to form a panade.
  2. Add BEATEN eggs gradually until the right consistency is reached

If you aren’t experienced in making choux pastry, it can be a little bit tricky to pull off. You need to have enough practice to know how much eggs you should add to the panade to reach the desired consistency of choux pastry. When I first learnt how to make choux for eclair, I was told to incorporate the eggs by hand as I could have more control. However, I would say adding the eggs by hands is only suitable for a small recipe as it can be really exhausting. That said,if you are confident enough, feel free to use the machine right away! Just be mindful that a tiny extra amount of egg can make the choux too wet to pipe properly, and you might have to start all over again.

In short, your ideal choux pastry should have:

  1. A pipeable consistency, not too stiff or runny
  2. Proper sheen due to the additions of eggs  

If you are looking for a detailed explanation of how to make a perfect choux pastry, I recommend The Favour Blender’s How to Make Perfect Choux Pastry .

Charcoal Dark Chocolate Cream Puff with Black Sesame Chantilly Cream and Tofu Creme Patisserie2

Charcoal Dark Chocolate Cream Puff with Black Sesame Chantilly Cream and Tofu Creme Patisserie3

Another key to making choux is proper baking method. You need to be careful with temperature and time in order to get the signature “puff”.  The reason why cream puff got a hollow structure is that the liquid in the choux paste evaporates and the steam causes the choux to expand and puff up. To attain this result, I find it the best way is to bake at high temperature (180C) for around 25-30 mins to let it puff up, then lower the temperature (160C) for 10-15 mins to dry the cream puff. If the cream puff aren’t dry enough, they will absorb the moisture from the inside and become soggy after a while, which is obviously not ideal.

For me, a perfectly baked choux pastry should be:

  1. Deep golden brown in colour
  2. Crispy, light shell on the outside
  3. Soft and custard-like inside

Charcoal Dark Chocolate Cream Puff with Black Sesame Chantilly Cream and Tofu Creme Patisserie6

 

One more thing I should mention is the craquelin, i.e. the famous crunchy topping of choux pastry. A well made craquelin has a few purposes:

  1. it give additional texture to the choux pastry
  2. It is a way to introduce other colours and flavours
  3. It acts as a cover to control how the choux pastry expands in the oven upon heat, thus helping the choux to maintain the desired round shape  

You should remember that craquelin is always the first thing you should prepare, because it needs time to chill and firm up so it can be easily to handle and manipulate afterwards.

Charcoal Dark Chocolate Cream Puff with Black Sesame Chantilly Cream and Tofu Creme Patisserie

If you love making choux pastry please give this recipe a go! Otherwise, it is always a good thing to practise as practice makes perfect. I hope you all have a fantastic weekend!

Ingredients: (make around 15 medium size cream puffs)

Charcoal Dark Chocolate Craquelin

  • 115g unsalted butter
  • 145g brown sugar
  • 145g all purpose flour
  • 25g almond meal
  • 25g melted chocolate
  • 1 tsp charcoal powder

Charcoal Dark Chocolate Choux Pastry

  • 125ml water
  • 125ml full cream milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 100g unsalted butter, chopped into small cubes
  • 75g all purpose flour
  • 75g baker flour
  • 30g dark chocolate, melted
  • 250g eggs (+/- 10%, variable)
  • 2 tsp charcoal powder

Black Sesame Chantilly (black sesame whipped cream)

  • 250ml pure cream
  • 40g black sesame paste
  • 20g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp charcoal powder

Tofu Creme Patissiere (tofu pastry cream)

  • 300g silken tofu
  • 100ml milk
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 25g corn flour
  • 1 egg (50g)
  • 20g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp charcoal powder

Instructions:

Charcoal Dark Chocolate Craquelin

  1. Mix all ingredients together to make a short crust pastry.
  2. Flatten it into a rectangle. Cool in refrigerate for 15 mins.
  3. Roll out at 2mm thick and cut circles using a round cutter*
  4. The size of the cutter depends on how big you pipe your choux. Ideally, when placed on the uncooked choux puff, the craquelin should cover the whole choux to form a “hat”.
  5. Keep in refrigerator to firm up until ready to use.

Charcoal Dark Chocolate Choux Pastry

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Prepare a baking tray sprayed with cooking oil. Remove excess oil with a tissue paper. Set aside.
  2. Boil water, milk, salt, butter and sugar in a saucepan.
  3. Add all purpose flour, baker flour.
  4. Over low heat, keep cooking while vigorously stirring with a big spoon for around 3-4 mins. It is ready when it forms a shiny, smooth dough that pulls away from the sides of the saucepan. You should see a skin forming at the bottom of the pan.
  5. Add melted chocolate and charcoal powder. Mix well with a whisk until incorporated.
  6. Let cool in a mixing bowl for around 5 mins. Meanwhile, fully beat the eggs in a measuring cup and set aside.
  7. Using an electric mixer with a beater attachment, beat the dough on medium-high speed and slowly add the eggs (only add around ¼ of the egg mixture each time). When the mixture is well combined and the eggs have been incorporated, add gradually another batch of the eggs mixture and continue beating. Repeat the process until the mixture is thick, shiny and it falls nicely when you lift it up with a scraper. (The amount of egg that you add will vary, depending on the weather or how much the flour absorbs moisture. You might have to add extra egg, or you might have some eggs to hold back.)
  8. Transfer the mixture into a piping bag topped with a round nozzle. Massage the bag with your hand to remove any air bubbles. Hold the bag and nozzle perpendicularly tover the prepared tray, and pipe circles of the desired size. Leave at least 4 cm in between each choux to allow space for expansion.
  9. Take out the prepared cut craquelin and place gently onto the choux.
  10. Bake at 180C for 30-35 mins until risen up and golden. Lower the temperature to 160C, and open the oven door to release the steam for 15 seconds. Close the oven door and continue baking for 10-15 mins until the choux feels firm and dry.
  11. Place the choux in another tray to cool for 10 mins.
  12. Cut the top of the choux with a serrated knife, as the “cap” of the cream puff. Do this step once your choux is cooled and firm enough to cut as it helps the moisture trapped inside to escape and prevent the choux from becoming soggy.
  13. Leave them at room temperature until ready to assemble.

Black Sesame Chantilly Cream (black sesame whipped cream)

  1. If your black sesame is refrigerated and too stiff, microwave it for 10-15 seconds to make it soft. Otherwise, go straight to step 2.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk the pure cream and sugar to soft peak.
  3. Fold in black sesame paste and charcoal powder until well mixed.
  4. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.

Tofu Creme Patissiere (tofu pastry cream)

  1. Drain water from silken tofu. Blend the tofu until completely smooth. Mix in milk, set aside.
  2. Beat caster sugar, egg, and corn flour with a whisk in a mixing bowl, until pale.
  3. Heat the tofu-milk mixture in a saucepan on medium-high heat. Bring to a boil.
  4. Gradually add the tofu-milk mixture while whisking into the egg mixture until incorporated. This step is to temper the egg.
  5. Pour the whole mixture back to the saucepan to continue cooking. Add charcoal powder. Stirring with a whisk all the time until the mixture starts to thick and form bubbles. Heat off, whisk in butter. 
  6. Let the pastry cream cool in a mixing bowl. Use a plastic wrap to cover the surface of the pastry cream to avoid skin from forming.

Assembly:

  1. Whisk the tofu creme patissiere until smooth and transfer it to a piping bag topped with a round nozzle. Pipe into the cream puff until full. Smoothen the surface with a small palette knife.
  2. Transfer the black sesame chantilly cream to a piping bag topped with a star nozzle. Pipe on top of the cream puff.
  3. Cover with the craquelin “cap” that you previously cut. Do it gently so not to squash the chantilly crema underneath.
  4. Optional: chocolate decoration with black lustre powder.  

 

3 comments
Chocolate Mud Cake with Chocolate Shards, Honey Comb and Salted Caramel Popcorn

Chocolate Mud Cake

This chocolate mud cake with mint chocolate ganache is a GAME CHANGER. It is essentially your familiar mud cake taken to the next level. The cake is incredibly moist and intensely rich in chocolate flavours, and the mint chocolate ganache rounds it off with a hint of freshness.

Chocolate Mud Cake2

I tailor-made this birthday cake for a client whose son is a huge mint chocolate fans like me. *high five* There were two main requests: mud cake, and mint chocolate. Well, I was thrilled about the order as I could let my imagination run free. As you can see the cake has that mysterious, galaxy vibe thanks to the dark theme and gold sprinkles. With the chocolate shards, honey combs and salted caramel popcorn as the extra elements, this cake cake looks luxurious and captivating, unlike an ordinary mud cake. (Secret: I’ve decided to put it on my menu when I have my own patisserie in the future, and I am gonna name it Mud, lol) 

 

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For the cake base, I used the recipe from Cake Paper Party that yields a rich, moist dark chocolate mud cake. If you are interested, I recommend you to take a look at the recipe as explains how she came up with the best mud cake recipe which makes perfect sense. I poured pure cream and baileys onto my left over chocolate cake and it’s sooo good. 

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I considered using Lindt Intense Mint Chocolate for the  ganache, but I didn’t because I found it so much sweeter than the normal 70% dark chocolate. Therefore, I decided to introduce the mint flavour by adding mint extract, which went extremely well. That said, however, feel free to leave out the mint extract if you prefer to stick with the original dark chocolate taste. I used to have problems making ganache as it would split once I mixed the hot cream and chocolate together. But now I realise the key to making ganache is to let the cream-chocolate mixture sit for around 3 mins before you gently stir it. Also, try to stir as gently as possible as you don’t want to incorporate too many air bubbles into the ganache. 

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Thank you for reading and have a good weekend as always! 

Ingredients :

Dark Chocolate Cake (the cake batter is enough to pour into two 8 inch cake pans, each cut into two layers) 

  • 220g unsalted butter
  • 200g dark chocolate, broke into small pieces 
  • 350g caster sugar 
  • 60g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp instant coffee powder
  • 300ml hot water 
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract 
  • 3 eggs, room temperature 
  • 280g all purpose flour 
  • 1 tsp baking powder 
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda 
  • 1/2 tsp salt 

Mint Chocolate Ganache 

  • 2 tbsp mint extract 
  • 400g dark chocolate 
  • 500ml pure cream 
  • 50g soften unsalted butter 

Chocolate shards with gold sprinkles

  • 200g dark chocolate (I tempered my chocolate using XX)
  • Gold sprinkles 

Honey comb

  • 300g granulated sugar 
  • 150g honey 
  • 80ml water 
  • 50g golden syrup
  • 1 tbsp baking soda 

Salted Caramel Popcorn 

  • 100g salted caramel (find the recipe here) 
  • Popcorn *I used the plain microwave-popcorn and mixed it with homemade salted caramel, or you can directly buy salted caramel popcorn if that’s what you prefer

Instructions:

Chocolate Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F (175C). Grease two 8-inch round cake pans with melted butter. Line the pan bottom with parchment paper.
  2. Using a double boiler, melt chocolate and butter and whisk until completely melted and smooth. Alternatively, you can use the microwave, but check every 30 seconds.
  3. Mix the instant coffee powder and hot water. Set aside to let cool a bit until ready to use.
  4. Whisk in sugar and then cocoa powder into chocolate-butter mixture until fully incorporated.
  5. Slowly add hot coffee in 3 additions while whisking constantly until fully incorporate.
  6. Add vanilla and then the eggs( one at a time).
  7. Now, prepare the dry ingredients by sifting flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in another mixing bowl with a beater attachment. Beat in low speed for 30 seconds to combine.
  8. While the mixer is still on low speed, slowly pour in the chocolate mixture.
  9. Change to medium high speed, beat for 1 min. Scrap the bottom and continue beating for 30 seconds until smooth.
  10. Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake pans, and bake for about 35 mins or until a skewer inserted into the cake’s centre comes out clean.
  11. Let cool in pans for 10 mins before you take the cake out to cool completely on a cooling rack.
  12. Cut each cake into two 1.5-cm thick layers with a cake cutter or serrated knife. Set aside until ready to use.

Mint Chocolate Ganache

  1. Break the chocolate into small pieces in a mixing bowl.
  2. In a sauce pan, boil cream and pour onto the chocolate.
  3. Let sit for 3 mints before gently stirring it until incorporated.
  4. When the mixture is cooled to around 35C. Stir in the butter and whisk until fully mixed.
  5. Cool the mixture using an ice bath until the ganache reaches a pipable consistency.
  6. Put the ganache into a pipe bag with a 6mm round nozzle.

Honey Comb

  1. Line a flat, big tray with parchment paper. Set aside until ready to use. And you will need a sugar thermometer.
  2. Put sugar, honey, water, and golden syrup in a large saucepan with enough depth. Cook, while stirring continuously with a spatula, on low heat until all sugar dissolves.
  3. Increase the heat to medium high and bring to boil. Cook, without stirring, until the syrup reaches 154C on the thermometer. Immediately remove from heat and let the bubbles subside.
  4. Add the baking soda and mix thoroughly to let the reaction occur. Many bubbles will form and the mixture will rise so please be careful. Pour the mixture onto the prepared tray and set aside to cool completely.
  5. Break the honeycomb to pieces to your preferences.

Salted Caramel Popcorn

  1. Mix the salted caramel and popcorns together until the popcorns are evenly coated with salted caramel. 

*if your salted caramel is a bit firm, microwave for 20-30 seconds so that they can evenly coat the popcorn. 

Tempered Chocolate shards

  1. temper the chocolate and spread it thinly on a tray lined with parchment paper.
  2. Put some gold sprinkles on top of the chocolate before they’re completely set. 
  3. Break them into pieces to your liking.

Assemble

  1. Place one layer of cake onto a cake turntable and top it by piping ganache in a swirling motion. Smoothen the ganache with palette knife. Repeat with the second and third cake layer, and then last layer of cake. Frost the cake with remaining frosting.
  2. Decorate with chocolate shards, honey combs and salted caramel popcorn. Enjoy!

 

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Earl Grey Honey Cake with Passion Fruit Curd and Toasted Italian Meringue



These mini Earl Grey Honey Cake with Passion Fruit Curd and Toasted Italian Meringue are perfect for an afternoon party to feed  your guests! They are bursting with fruity freshness with a subtle citrus tone, not to mention the cake’s melt-in-your-mouth soft texture.



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The background story of this creation can be traced to the madeira cake I made at school at the beginning of this term. Medeira cake is a simple citrus cake served with tea or sweet wine; it has a golden brown surface and light yellow interior, and is characterised by its close crumb structure because of its specific making method. I loved this cake when I first tried it because it got the texture that I liked and it’s so simple yet delicious. Yet, this time for my own creation, I, of course, changed things up a bit with some additional elements to make the cake interesting.

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To pair with the sweet, citrus taste from the earl grey honey cake, I decided to use passion fruit curd and some toasted meringue. I have eaten passion fruit desserts before outside but It’s actually my first time to buy passion fruit in my life (I know right..). And I realised I’d been missing out such a great fruit! The moment I cut it open, the fragrance coming out from it was just heavenly and I could instantly well imagine how good it would taste with some greek yogurt and honey for breakfast.

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Also, I also grasped today’s free time to practise tempering chocolate. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but tempering chocolate gives me a headache most of the time and sometimes it gets really frustrating. Luckily, today I did manage to temper chocolate and make some simple decoration successfully. I will need to temper chocolate again the coming week and I hope today’s experience is gonna give me more confidence. Anyway, I hope that you all like this recipe and have a fruitful week ahead of you! (pun intended)


Ingredients (makes around 15 mini cakes) :

Earl Grey Honey Cake

  • 180g cake flour
  • 100g corn flour
  • 80g almond meal
  • 4 earl grey tea bags, loose leaves of
  • 5g baking powder
  • Salt, pinch of
  • 200g unsalted butter, softened
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 50g honey
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice of
  • 3 whole eggs, room temperature
  • 50g sour cream
  • 100ml milk
  • 1 vanilla pod

Passion fruit curd 

Italian Meringue

  • 100g caster sugar
  • 60ml water
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2  tsp vanilla

Instructions:

Earl Grey Honey Cake 

  1. Boil milk, 2 bags of earl grey loose leaves, and vanilla beans in a pot. Let it infused until ready to use.  
  2. Using an electric mixer, cream butter, sugar and honey until light and fluffy. Add lemon zest in the last minute of mixing.
  3. Add eggs SLOWLY until all incorporated (only add more eggs until they are fully incorporated or you’d risk curdling the mixture; also, mind that the eggs should be at room temperature/slightly warm to achieve the best result)
  4. While the eggs are mixing, prepare and sift your dry ingredients (i.e. cake flour, almond meal, 2 bags of earl grey loose leaves, baking powder, and salt). Gently fold in dry ingredients into the butter mix until just incorporated (don’t over mix)
  5. Slowly add earl grey-infused milk, lemon juice and sour cream. Mix until just incorporated.
  6. Put the batter into a piping bag and pipe evenly into silicon mould. Tap the mould to release air bubbles. Bake at 180C for 25-30 mins until golden brown. Let cool. 

Passion fruit curd 

  1. Dissolve gelatin in hot water and add to the passion fruit curd while it’s still warm.
  2. Mix thoroughly. Refrigerate until they start to set*

*They set pretty fast so please be ready to pipe when they reach the ideal consistency.

Italian Meringue

  1. Put sugar and water in a small saucepan and do NOT stir. Bring the water and sugar to boil at 118C. When the syrup reaches 115C, simultaneously start whisking the egg whites to soft peaks on a medium speed.
  2. When the sugar reaches 118C, pour it over the egg whites (pour the hot syrup on the side of the mixing bowl to avoid cooking the egg whites). Turn the mixer to high speed and continue beating for about 5-7 mins, until the meringue is cooled down to 50C and glossy stiff peaks have formed.

P.S When you assemble the cakes, you should first pipe the meringue AND toast them, before you pipe the passion fruit curd to avoid melting the curd.

 Yum




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Boozy Bite – Guinness Double Chocolate Brownies



Guinness Double Chocolate BrowniesGuinness Double Chocolate Brownies

Another chocolate dessert for you all! These Guinness Double Chocolate Brownies are luxuriously rich and moist, carrying a hint of roasted malt taste from Guinness that intensifies the chocolate flavour of these brownies. If you haven’t noticed, I really like adding alcohol to my desserts for some boozy, delicious treats, and this time I choose to use Guinness – an Irish dry stout that has a distinctive burnt, malty flavour from roasted barley. If you’re interested in alcohol infused desserts, feel free to check out my other posts:

Hazelnut Dark Chocolate Mousse with Baileys Ladyfingers (topped with chocolate soil)

Coconut Rum Pecan Banana Bread

White Wine Poached Pear Almond Tart

Coffee Liqueur Double Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Muffin

Lemon Curd Limoncello Meringue Éclair

Guinness Double Chocolate Brownies

Guinness Double Chocolate Brownies

As I planned to use this brownie as the base for my Salted Caramel Stuffed Brownie Truffle (recipe coming soon!), I purposely toned down the sweetness of these brownies through using smaller amount of sugar, as well as using chopped dark chocolate that oozes out from the brownies when baked. With the addition of the Guinness, these brownies have a strong malt,  and bittersweet chocolaty finish which I personally love. However, if you have a serious sweet tooth, free feel to adjust the sweetness by adding an extra 50g white sugar to the batter. Thank you for reading and I hope you’ll have fun making these delicious brownies for a special occasion! (or anytime really- I mean, who needs a reason to eat brownies?)

Guinness Double Chocolate Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 100g butter, softened
  • 60ml vegetable oil
  • 200g white sugar
  • 50g brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature  
  • 180ml guinness
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 180g all-purpose flour
  • 100g cocoa powder
  • 100g chopped dark chocolate

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and line a square or rectangular baking tray and set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, sieve and add flour and cocoa powder. Set aside.
  3. In another mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter, vegetable oil, white sugar, brown sugar on high speed until light and fluffy. Scrape the mixing bowl in between if needed. This is will about 5 mins.
  4. Reduce speed to medium, add eggs ( one at a time) and beat until well combined.
  5. Add guinness and vanilla, mix until well combined.
  6. Add the prepared flour and cocoa powder, mix until just incorporated.
  7. Fold in the chopped dark chocolate.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared baking tray. Bake for 25 mins or until until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out with moist crumbs clinging. Do not overbake. Set aside to cool. Enjoy!

 
Yum




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SO mint to be – Mint Chocolate Macarons with Mint Chocolate Ganache Filling




After spending two weeks in Brisbane reuniting with my friends, I’m home and it’s about time I updated my food blog. Some friends of mine noticed that I’ve been updating my blog less frequently than before since I moved from Hong Kong to Sydney. My deepest apologies… living by myself has been unexpectedly draining and due to all the desserts I learn to make at Le Cordon Bleu, I do not bake as often at home. In fact, I am starting my intermediate level next week (NERVOUS and EXCITED), and hopefully I can share my learning journey with you all every now and then!

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These lovely mint chocolate macarons are to die for – lightly mint-flavoured macarons shelled with rich, creamy mint chocolate ganache filling. When you take a bite into these macarons, you’re going to fall for the textural contrast between the crispy & marshmallowy macaron shells and the smooth chocolate ganache. Again, mint chocolate is my all-time favourite flavour, so I am not kidding when I say I am happy to devour the whole tray of these by myself.

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No matter how many times I failed making macarons at home, there’s something unique about these little cookies that mesmerise me and makes me push on. If you are feeling frustrated with failing your macarons over and over even though you swear to god that you’ve followed the recipe completely (which usually isn’t true…), you might want to try with a different recipe or adjust the baking temperature and time. I used to believe one rule works for everything, but I’ve been proven wrong through all the failed attempts. There could be a millions of reasons for your macarons to fail, so doing some research online will be a big help to specifically resolve your macarons issues.

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Reality check: every oven works differently and you must spend time getting to “befriend” yours. Because I got a new oven as a gift when I moved to Sydney, it took a few times for me to know what the temperature and baking time work best for creating the best macarons with my oven –  bake at 150C on the lowest rack for 13 mins, then move to the middle rack for 5 mins (use a baking paper to cover the macarons to prevent browning the shells too much). But this is only what works for my oven and it might vary for yours. Also, as I noticed that my macaron batter was a bit too runny to pipe, I adjusted the amount of water I put when making  the sugar syrup. And guess what? This change made all the difference. Hope you enjoy these!

Ingredients (yield 36-40 macaron shells) :

Macaron shells

  • 95g almond flour
  • 95g icing sugar
  • 75g egg white, separated into two portions, 37.5g each
  • 1 tsp of peppermint extract
  • 25g water
  • 100g caster sugar

Mint-Chocolate Ganache FIlling

  • 120ml heavy cream
  • 150g dark mint chocolate
  • 15g unsalted butter

Instructions :

Macaron shells

  1. Place the icing sugar and almond flour in a food processor, and pulse for 30 seconds until well combined and fine in texture. Sift the flour-sugar mixture through a sieve into a mixing bowl, and pour in the first portion of egg whites. With a spatula, mix together until well combined. You can still be quite vigorous at this stage.
  2. Now you prepare the syrup. Put sugar and water in a small saucepan and do NOT stir. Bring the water and sugar to boil at 118C. When the syrup reaches 115C, simultaneously start whisking the second portion of egg whites to soft peaks on a medium speed.
  3. When the sugar reaches 118C, pour it over the egg whites (pour the hot syrup on the side of the mixing bowl to avoid cooking the egg whites). Turn the mixer to high speed and continue beating for about 5-7 mins, until the meringue is cooled down to 50C and glossy stiff peaks have formed. In two additions, add the meringue over the almond mixture, and, using a spatula, gently fold in until combined and smooth. Work the batter until it flows in very thick ribbons when the spatula is lifted.
  4. Pipe rounds of batter about 3.5cm in diameter, spacing them 2cm apart on baking trays lined with baking parchment. Rap the baking sheet a few times firmly on the counter to flatten the macarons and to remove air bubbles.
  5. Tap the tray on the work surface covered with a kitchen cloth. Leave to stand for at least 30 minutes, until a skin forms on the shells.
  6. Preheat the oven to 150C, then put the trays in the oven. Bake for 15-18 minutes. (Cover the macarons with baking paper if they become too brown on top in the last 5 mins). Out of the oven, slide the shells on to the work surface. Let cool.

Mint chocolate ganache filling

  1. Place the chopped chocolate in a mixing bowl and set aside.
  2. Using a saucepan or microwave, bring the heavy cream just to boil.
  3. Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and let it sit for 2 mins before stirring. Whisk until smooth. Stir in butter and mix well.
  4. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Assemble:

  1. Place mint chocolate ganache into a piping bag topped with a rose nozzle and pipe it on the inside of the macarons and sandwich them together.
  2. Serve macarons at room temperature, or refrigerate for up to a week.

Yum




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Layers of goodness – Hazelnut Dark Chocolate Mousse Sphere (with Coffee Creme Patissiere & White Wine Poached Pear & Crispy Chocolate Base)

This post is all about celebration – about finishing my first basic term @LCB passing all my assessment, about flying to Brisbane in a few days for vacation, and about finally successfully making a mousse sphere for the first time (after contemplating on it for a thousand years). This hazelnut chocolate mousse sphere is my cup of tea, hands down – it marries my favourite flavours into one dessert that tastes absolutely divine. I’ve always wanted to make mousse spheres but I was too scared to, until I recently watched Zumbo’s just dessert which motivated me to be a better “dessert maker”. While I was watching all those amatuer home-bakers produce their eye-opening, beautiful desserts, my heart ached for creating some of my own.

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As I said, this dessert is celebratory, so I decided to apply some of the skills I learnt from school to it. It is also inspired by the Shiny Mirror Glaze Mousse Dome with Crispy Chocolate Base and Ganache Topping created by Cupcake Savvy’s Kitchen. Cutting through the sphere, you get a smooth French hazelnut chocolate mousse, creamy coffee creme patissiere, and a layer of refreshing poached pear that balances the richness & sweetness of chocolate. The dessert’s crunchy texture is provided by a crispy rice puff chocolate base (who doesn’t like indulging him/herself in loads of cocoa rice puffs???), and I finished it off with a shiny chocolate mirror glaze that renders the dessert a sophisticated look. How does that not sound heavenly?

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Special thanks to my friend who made me this stunning board with my baking motto – Simple Ideas, Big Whisks – written on it. <3 hazelnut_mousse_sphere_with_mirror_glaze10

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Realistically speaking, baking at home can be a bit tricky at times because you don’t always get the equipment or tools you need for your recipe. Like this time, I didn’t have a smaller sphere mold for my coffee creme patissiere so I had to carefully spoon it into the large mold, which could create a bit of a problem in terms of even layerings. But well, as as a pastry chef wanna-be, I need to be adaptive and make use of what I’ve got at home. Although the end result isn’t as perfect as I wanted, I am already quite happy with it. Anyway, give this recipe a go – If you are a hard-core chocolate fans, I think you will fall in love with it. Have a good weekend!

Ingredients:

Hazelnut Dark Chocolate Mousse

  • 150g dark chocolate
  • 50g butter
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 egg whites
  • 35 caster sugar
  • 25g nutella

Coffee Creme Patissiere (coffee pastry cream)

  • 150g milk + 1 tsp instant coffee powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp coffee liqueur
  • 25g egg yolk
  • 25g caster sugar
  • 10g corn flour
  • 10g butter

White Wine Poached Pear

  • 2 fresh pear, cored
  • 300ml white wine
  • 300ml water
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 orange, zest of
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick

Crispy Chocolate Base

  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 100g choco rice puff

Chocolate Mirror Glaze

  • 100g sugar
  • 35g cocoa powder
  • 40g water
  • 70g double cream
  • 1 1/2 tsp gelatin
  • 1 1/2 tbsp water

Instructions:

Hazelnut Dark Chocolate Mousse

  1. Using a double boiler, melt the chocolate on low heat until melted. Let it cool slightly. Stir in butter and nutella. Set aside.
  2. Using a whisk, lightly beat egg yolks until pale and creamy. Add to the chocolate mixture, mix well.
  3. Using an electric mixer, beat egg white until foamy. Gradually add sugar and beat egg white to stiff peaks.
  4. Gently stir in the chocolate-egg yolk mixture (in three additions) into the egg whites, mix until no obvious egg white is visible.  
  5. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Coffee Creme Patissiere (coffee pastry cream)

  1. Using a saucepan, heat milk and instant coffee powder over medium heat and bring it to boil.
  2. While the milk is being heated, add egg yolk, sifted corn flour, caster sugar in a bowl. Mix well with a whisk until you can a thick, creamy consistency.
  3. With a steady mixing motion, pour 1/3 of the milk mixture to the egg mix to temper the egg.
  4. Pour the above mixture into the saucepan and cook over medium heat while whisking vigorously for at least 3 mins, until all starch is cooked. You will know it’s almost ready when it starts to bubble. Continue cooking for 1-2 mins. Remove it from the heat.
  5. Whisk in the butter and coffee liqueur until incorporated.
  6. Pour the custard into a bowl and cover the custard surface with a plastic wrap. This will prevent a skin from forming on top.
  7. Let the custard cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until ready to use.

White Wine Poached Pear

  1. Put all ingredients (except the pears) in a pan.
  2. Peel and core pears, gently poach (NOT boil) pears in syrup.
  3. Cook the pears for about 1 hour until they are soft. Use a stick to test every once in a while to see if the pears are done.
  4. When done, take out the pears from the pan to stop the cooking process.
  5. Cut one poached pear into small cubes, and blend the another one into puree or mash it with a fork. Pour the pear cubes into the puree and mix well. Refrigerate until ready for use.

Crispy Chocolate Base

  1. Using a double boiler, melt chocolate on low heat until melted. Pour the chocolate onto the rice puff and shape the mixture into a 2-cm thick layer.
  2. Refrigerate for at least 30 mins, and use a circular cutter that fits the size of the spheres to cut 6 circular bases. Refrigerate until ready to use. (If the base is too hard to cut through, run the cutter in a hot water bath and dry it before usage.)

Chocolate Mirror Glaze

  1. Add gelatin and cold water into a bowl. Stir and set aside until ready to use.
  2. In a saucepan, add sugar, cocoa powder, water and cream. Mix well with a whisk.
  3. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to boil while stirring continuously. Cook for about 2 mins until the mixture is smooth and no lump is visible.
  4. Turn off the heat, add the gelatin mix and stir well.
  5. Set aside and let cool to at least 35 C for usage.

Assembly

  1. Put the hazelnut chocolate mousse into the mold. Smoothen out the surface with a spoon until you can an even layer as the outer layer of the sphere. Freeze for 15 mins.
  2. Then, put the coffee creme patissiere in the mold. Freeze for 15 mins.
  3. Then, pour the pear mixture into the mold. Leave some space for the next step of closing the sphere with the hazelnut chocolate mousse. Freeze for 15 mins.
  4. Then, close all the spheres with a thin layer of the hazelnut chocolate mousse. Smoothen the surface with a off-set spatula. Freeze for at least 3 hours or preferably overnight to let it set completely.
  5. Carefully push the spheres out of the mold and put them on to a cooling rack. Pour the mirror glaze (at 35 C). Set it set. And put the glazed sphere on to the circular chocolate base.
  6. Sprinkle some chopped hazelnut on top as decorations.

Yum




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C for Celebrate – Flourless Mocha Pistachio Cookies




Christmas is just around the corner, and it means BAKERS GOTTA BAKE. Therefore, the upcoming posts are going to be Christmas-themed. These flourless Pistachio Chocolate Cookies are possibly the easiest baked goods that you can give to bribe your friends and family *smirk* . They cannot be simpler to make. Also, there’s something about pistachio that makes these cookies look extra festive. The pistachio crumbs are like sparkles; just a small amount of them already gives the cookies a vibrant character and another layer of luxury.

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I made these cookies for a party with a newly met friend who’s also crazy about baking (we literally forgot to have lunch that entire afternoon). She’s very passionate about vegan baking and feel free to check her works out here . I am not sure if you can relate, but It felt amazing to me to work with another baker in my kitchen; when we baked, we understood each other’s mind pretty well and fast that things were finished in no time. Looking back, I realise how many precious friendships have developed and been improved due to my fervour for baking and food in general. How funny things work huh?

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Back to the star of this post. This recipe is adapted from the chocolate crinkle cookies by Anna Olson.  As always, I decreased the cookies’ sweetness to suit the taste of my friends and family. And I also added coffee and coffee liqueur as the favour booster. In my opinion, these cookies taste best when freshly taken out from the oven, as the chocolate would literally melt in your mouth. However, if you intend to pack them nicely for others, it’s alright, because when they’re cooled, they’d simply turn to some fudge-like cookies that are equally addictive. Make these cookies. Make people around you happy.

: )

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Ingredients:

Make 24 cookies (around 25g per cookie)

  • 270 g 70% dark chocolate, melted
  • 2 whole eggs + one egg yolk at room temperature
  • 30g granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp coffee liqueur (or vanilla extract)  
  • 2 tbsp instant coffee powder, ground, melted in 2 tbsp hot water
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 cup (130 g) icing sugar, plus extra for rolling cookies
  • ½ cup (60 g) cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbsp (7 g) cornstarch
  • ½ tsp (2.5 g) salt
  • 50g pistachio, chopped

Instructions:

(adapted from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJmewcEnlJY):

Baking directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 375 ºF (190 ºC). Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.

2. Melt the chocolate in a metal bowl placed over a saucepan filled with an inch of barely simmering water, stirring gently until melted. Set aside.

3. With electric beaters or in a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, whip the eggs with the granulated sugar, coffee liqueur, coffee mixture and milk  until frothy and light, about 3 minutes (it doesn’t have to hold a “ribbon”). Whisk in the melted chocolate.

4. Sift in the icing sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch and salt and stir in by hand until well combined. The batter may seem very soft at first, but just give it a minute – it will tighten up.

5. Place some icing sugar in a shallow dish. Use a small ice cream scoop to scoop the batter and drop it directly into the icing sugar (I measured each cookie as 25g and it’s a good size), rolling to coat each scoop fully. Arrange these on the prepared baking trays, leaving 1 ½-inches (4 cm) between them. Gently press each cookie flat with the palm of your hand. Press pistachio crumbs onto the cookies. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes (do not overbake) and cool the cookies on the tray just until they can be lifted off (1-2 minutes) then cool on a rack.

Yum




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