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Mille-Crêpe Tiramisu Birthday Cake

4 Sep

millescrepes-recipe

You know you want to make this….

Mille-Crêpe Tiramisu Birthday Cake

Recipe adapted from Francisco Migoya of Hudson Chocolates, Poughkeepsie, New York

Yield: One 8-inch cake

Cook Time: 40 minutes (plus 5 hours chilling)

INGREDIENTS

Crêpes

  • ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour
  • ¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons Armagnac or cognac
  • Nonstick pan spray

Tiramisu Filling

  • 1¼ cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 4 cups mascarpone cheese
  • ½ cup sweet Marsala wine (or half as much rum or coffee liqueur)
  • ¼ cup natural cocoa powder

DIRECTIONS1. Make the crêpe batter: In a fine-mesh sieve set over a medium bowl, sift together the cake flour, all-purpose flour and sugar. Whisk in the salt. In another medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and egg yolks. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and whisk until smooth and webby (it will be very thick). In a slow, steady stream, whisk in the butter, then the milk and the Armagnac, until the batter is smooth (if there are any lumps, strain the batter through a fine-mesh sieve and into a medium bowl). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set an 8-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Lightly coat with nonstick pan spray. Gently stir the crêpe batter, then pour ¼ cup of batter into the skillet. Holding the skillet by the handle, tilt and turn the skillet to quickly disperse the batter. Cook the crêpe until the underside is golden-brown, about 1½ minutes. Lightly jerk the skillet to loosen the crêpe, then flip the crêpe over using a spatula, a more vigorous jerking motion, or your fingers. Cook on the other side until golden-brown, about 30 seconds, then slide the crêpe onto the parchment-paper-lined baking sheet. Repeat until all of the batter is used (you’ll end up with about 20 crêpes total, and will need 18 for the cake). Refrigerate the crêpes on the baking sheet until completely chilled, at least 2 hours or overnight.

3. Make the tiramisu filling: To a fine-mesh sieve set over a large sheet of parchment paper, add the confectioners’ sugar. Transfer the confectioners’ sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a large bowl if using a hand mixer), and add the mascarpone cheese and the Marsala wine. Use the paddle attachment to combine the mixture on low speed until well combined.

4. Remove the crêpes from the refrigerator. Insert an 8-inch cake round (a cardboard circle for the cake to rest on) into an 8-inch cake ring. Add 1 crêpe to the cake round so it lies flat. Add ¼ cup of the tiramisu filling to the center of the crêpe and use a small offset spatula to evenly spread the filling over the crêpe. Repeat with the filling and 17 more crêpes, leaving the last crêpe on the top plain (refrigerate the leftover filling; you’ll use it to finish the cake). Leaving the cake in the cake ring, chill the cake in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.

5. Remove the cake from the refrigerator and use a blow-dryer to warm the sides of the cake ring and loosen it (a hot, wet and wrung-out kitchen towel pressed against the sides of the ring works too). Remove the ring by setting the cake on top of a tall, quart-size cylindrical can (a 28-ounce can of tomatoes works well). Slide the cake ring down (if it sticks, apply more heat); the ring should slide right off while the can supports the cake. Remove the cake from the can and set it on a cake plate or platter. Spread the remaining tiramisu cream on top of the cake. Add the cocoa powder to a fine-mesh sieve and sprinkle it over the top of the cake. Slice and serve.

Read more:http://www.tastingtable.com/entry_detail/chefs_recipes/12552/Mille_Crepe_Tiramisu_Birthday_Cake_Recipe.htm#ixzz3koGBco7a

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What’s been haunting me: Brazil Sao Judas Tadeu Coffee

30 Jul

Brazil Sao Judas Tadeu

May 2012 – July 2012

49th Parallel notes: Sweet, soft – dried apricot, chocolate & toasted almond.

Elysian Coffee notes: well balanced and mildly acidic with a medium, buttery mouth-feel.  Aromas of: almond, marzipan and vanilla, with: pistachio, apricot and milk chocolate. You want to brew this on Clover there.

My notes: Sweet, smooth, extremely well balanced. Buttery, caramel, chocolate, bit of almond, some fig. A bit of cream brings out the best of it. Mindblowingly amazing, yet hauntingly delicious. Liquid heaven.

 

The Ultimate Chocolate Ice Cream for the Most Discerning Chocoholic (w/Brandied Cherries)

20 Jun

I’m not a huge Chocoholic, but when I want to eat chocolate it’d better be damn good. I like my ice cream rich in flavour, all natural and delicious. I love any recipe by the ice cream guru himself, David Leibovitz, and this will surely win over any discerning Chocoholic or will convert non-believers. Not too sugary sweet, very rich… A crowd pleaser.

As for the brandied cherries, first time I had them was at the now closed The Corner Suite Bistro De Luxe. I used the recipe below, and kept them in the fridge to marinate for a year. I was initially going to chop them up, but was afraid that the syrup would change the flavour of the ice cream. However, if you freeze the cherries, chop them up and add them that would probably work, but then again alcohol doesn’t freeze well.

I’m trying a new method here, not just photos, but tips and tricks before the actual recipe.

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I bought a chunk of Callebaut bittersweet chocolate, mostly because most chocolate recipes require bittersweet and not semisweet and so the chocolate can be used for other purposes. 5oz of chocolate doesn’t seem like much (0.142kg) but that’s all you need. I tried to be cool by shaving chocolate which took a lot of effort, so take a shortcut by using chocolate chips or bars. Then again, it probably won’t melt as fast.

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When cooking the egg mixture, be sure to work fast and be vigilant or else you’ll end up with scrambled eggs. There will always be a little, hence the straining, but it only takes a few seconds for the whole thing to turn into a wet egg mess. When pouring the milk into the egg yolk, whisk fast and furious. When cooking the egg mixture, watch it carefully – once it coats the back of the wooden spoon, remove it from heat, and immediately strain into the chocolate, because the eggs will keep cooking.

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I tend to like to adjust the flavour as it freezes – if it’s too bitter, add tablespoons of condensed milk till it’s just right. If it’s not creamy enough, I like to add coffee cream The ice cream is so rich and dense, once it hardens it’s like a fudgesicle. For frozen treats, pour and freeze in a popsicle mold. Add almonds or chunks of skor bars to up it, or keep it pure.

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Chocolate Ice Cream
from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop

2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
5 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup whole milk
¾ cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
5 large egg yolks
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Coffee cream, condensed milk

Warm 1 cup of the cream with the cocoa powder in a medium saucepan, whisking to thoroughly blend the cocoa. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer at a very low boil for 30 seconds, whisking constantly. Remove from the heat and add the chopped chocolate, stirring until smooth. Then stir in the remaining 1 cup cream. Pour the mixture into a large bowl, scraping the saucepan as thoroughly as possible, and set a mesh strainer on top of the bowl.

Warm the milk, sugar, and salt in the same saucepan. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolk. Slowly pour the warm milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

Stir the mixture constantly over the medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula (170°F on an instant-read thermometer). Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the chocolate mixture until smooth, then stir in the vanilla. Stir until cool over an ice bath.

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. (If the cold mixture is too thick to pour into your machine, whisk it vigorously to thin it out.)

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A cherry pitter from Ming Wo is your best friend – makes the pitting fast, easy and mess free. Always boil the jar and lid you’re going to use.

Lu’s Brandied Cherries
Homemade brandied cherries are a simple and delicious way to dress up your cocktails.

1 lb. sweet cherries, pitted
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tsp. lemon juice, fresh-squeezed
1 stick cinnamon
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup brandy
Tools: cherry pitter, saucepan, ladle, jars with lids

Wash and pit the cherries. In a saucepan, combine all ingredients except the cherries and brandy and bring to a rolling boil. When the liquid begins to boil, reduce the heat to medium. Add the cherries and simmer for 5–7 minutes. Remove from heat, add the brandy and let cool. Transfer the cherries into clean jars and refrigerate, uncovered until cherries are cool to touch. Cover tightly and refrigerate for up to two weeks.

Kitchen Gadgets on my Must Have List

6 May

You can never have enough kitchen gadgets. From grape peelers and grapefruit serrated spoons, to milk frothers and large-capacity food processors. One thing I will never use are those slicers — I’m a traditional knife kinda girl. Williams Sonoma is probably THE best place to find all your gadgets – from the mainstream to specialty, they have it all or will. Some are useful, some are fun gifts, some are purely indulgent. Oh BTW, they have great recipes that actually work – worth a try =)

Monogrammed Forged Steak Brand 

Now this is what I’m talking about! A perfect gift for the dad, husband, brother or man in your life who takes pride in the steaks that he grills and wants to tell everyone. Secretly, I want one of these too! Custom order only – 1, 2 or 3 initials for $$39.95.

Nordic Ware Egg Waffle Pan

This is another MUST BUY for me – I’ve been an egg waffle fan from very the first bite into the crunchy yet warm and soft goodness that is a HK snack staple. You can find it in Richmond at the Asian malls or night market for $4 a waffle. Psh. Now I can make it at home. Looks like you do need a gas stove for the best crunchy on the outside effect. I know there’s an electric version of this out there somewhere. $49.95

Nordic Ware Rolled Omelette Pan

Because I’m Asian and all I own is a wok, it’s hard to “roll the omelette” when what you’re working with is circular. Ok fine – it’s not one of those necessary things like the 2 above, but wouldn’t hurt to add to your collection if you have a lot of cupboard space. $39.95

Breville Electric Milk Frother

This is an indulgence, and yet some swear they can’t live without it – me included. $160.00

Breville Pie Maker

Mini chicken pot pie, mini apple pie, mini blueberry pie, mini strawberry rhubarb pie and the list goes on. It’s the “mini” part that’s appealing. Admit it =) $150.00

Also, Williams Sonoma had these adorable mini madeline pans but alas they’re not on the site anymore. Look for it in the stores.

Creamy Earl Grey Tea Ice Cream

8 Apr

Ever since I got my Cuisinart ice cream maker last year (actual model: Cuisinart Pure Indulgence™ 2 Qt. Frozen Yogurt-Sorbet & Ice Cream Maker) I’ve been making frozen goodness non stop just for the fun of making it and to give it away (sharing is caring, always remember that). I have to say through tests, trials and tribulations, the most popular and requested flavour is the Creamy Earl Grey. I’ll definitely be making it again this year (requests are already coming in), and I hope you like the recipe too.

I took the basic Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from David Lebovitz‘s The Perfect Scoop (a must buy for any ice cream lover) and adapted it. The tricky thing about working with tea is the flavour infusion – of course the longer you infuse the more flavourful it is, but when working with tea, the longer you steep the more bitter it becomes. So this is not one of those “leave it in the ice cream maker until it becomes ice cream” kind of recipes, but you must sit by, watch it churn, taste and keep adding (you can’t subtract when it comes to food) till you get it right. Enjoy!

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Meet you at 12B?

24 May

My co-worker told me that he went with a few friends to this underground restaurant, 12B, that’s all the rage in Vancouver, though this concept has been popular in HK for a while, and I’m sure elsewhere. Ever since coming into the light, I heard that the chef is booking 6 months in advance. Alas, that means that I won’t have the opportunity to try this place anytime soon, but here are some reviews to tide me (and you) over till then.

Global Peasant

Food and Tell

Greedyguts

Foodists

12B: A unique restaurant idea
Somewhere off Main St
Telephone: 778.389.7295
12breservations@gmail.com
Hours: Thursday, Friday & Saturday evenings

Bring your own booze
By donation $65?

Lavender Honey Ice Cream

13 May

So I’m hosting a cheese and wine thing this Friday – doing the usual pairings: 

  • meats from Oyama Sausage Company on Granville Island – wild boar procuitto and lamb chorizo.
  • condiments – Silkameen honey, spanish peppers, cipollini onions, date bread, quince paste
  • cheese – a blue, stilton, cheddar, riopelle, a spanish hard cheese.
  • fruit – pears, dried figs and cranberries
  • drinks – a Moscato d’Asti (my drink of choice for a sunny Sunday afternoon), Golden Star White Jasmine Sparkling Tea and a Kettle Valley Starboard (port).

So what am I missing? Dessert! Which will be Lavender Honey Ice Cream. Variations of the recipes below. Bon appetit! 

Lavender Honey Ice Cream – from The Perfect Scoop, by David Lebovitz  

  • ½ cup good flavored honey
  • ¼ cup dried or fresh lavender flowers
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  •  5 large egg yolks

1) Heat the honey and 2 tablespoons of the lavender in a small saucepan until the honey is fluid. Remove from the heat and set aside to steep at room temperature for one hour. 

2) Pour the cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top. Pour the lavender infused honey into the cream through the strainer, pressing on the lavender flowers to extract as much flavor as possible, then discard the lavender and set the strainer back over the bowl. 

3) Warm the milk, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. In a separate medium sized bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from cooking, then scrape the mixture back into the saucepan. 

4) Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a wooden spoon, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spoon. (UPDATE: Don’t think that it’ll turn into a thick custard! Just when it starts to get glossy and thick, get it off the stove or in a few seconds it’ll turn into scrambled eggs!) Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons lavender flowers. Refrigerate overnight. 

5) Before churning, strain the mixture again. Press the lavender flowers to extract as much of their flavor as possible. Discard the flowers, then freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 

TOPPINGS: Roasted Blueberries :  spread fresh or wrinkly blueberries out on a cookie sheet, sprinkled them with sugar and roasted them at 400F until they soften and release their juices. OR throw them into a pot of maple syrup and warm it until they pop. 

NOTES: Since whipping cream comes in 355ml(?) and it calls for 275ml, what to do with the 80ml? Dump the whole thing in I say, cut down on the milk if you want to. More lavender better than less. Infuse the lavender and honey overnight if you want, final infusion 12 hours at least. Don’t overdo the sugar.

Update: This is my go-to HG recipe! HG in makeup speak = holy grail. The honey binds the flavours together creating an all rounded taste. Best part is, no one can guess that it’s honey.

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More sorbet recipes for inspiration – the Alcoholics Anonymous edition

10 May

Finally a use for leftover wine! – always adjust my measurements as you see fit!

Passionfruit Sherry Sorbet

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 passion fruit pulp.
  • 1/4  cup water, apple juice or passionfruit juice
  • 4 tbsp sherry

Combine sugar and liquids (minus sherry) over low heat till the sugar is dissolved. Add passionfruit. Cool in fridge and then make according to ice cream maker’s instructions. Add some sherry before it reaches a hardened consistency.

Pomegranate Chardonnay Sorbet

  • 3 cups fresh pomegranate juice or 1 (24-ounce) bottle pomegranate juice
  • 1 cup chardonnay
  • ½ cup sugar
  • Fresh pomegranate seeds

1. Place juice, chardonnay and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and chill well.

2. Pour into the canister of an ice-cream freezer; freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions (or for granita, pour mixture into a 9×9-inch pan, and freeze 8 hours, scraping occasionally with a fork). Spoon into a freezer-safe container; cover and freeze 1 hour or until firm. Garnish with fresh pomegranate seeds. Serves 8.

Recipe by High Cotton Food Styling & Photography, “Relish the Healthy Table,” December 2006

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The elusive 2008 Nota Bene

6 May

First things first, I am NOT an alcoholic, contrary to what my mother might say. Sure I ingest more liquids than solids, and sure 30% of the liquid contains some alcohol content, but that does not make me an alcoholic. I just… enjoy wine. I’m not a wine snob, or nay, a connoisseur. Just someone who appreciates wine.

Wine pairings are like heaven to me, an orgasm of the senses when everything is just right. That’s why my chosen place of sin is Salt Tasting Room. So regular there that they know that 1) all my tastings need to come with a honeycomb condiment (Similkameen Honey, naturally) and 2) always a wine flight, with a sherry/port. Everytime I go it’s always a new and wonderful sensory experience. Thanks, Salt Tasting Room.

With that said, I was intrigued when Broadway Wines tweeted: “We sold out of the 2008 Nota Bene in 48hrs. However, contact us if you are interested… might get more! Join waiting list 604.734.8543 ” I got to googling. What is this wine that caused a buying frenzy? Apparantly, it’s 1) $$$ pricier than your usual bottle 2) a single vineyard blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc grapes and 3) flies off the shelves, as demonstrated by the said tweet above.

So I called my go-to liquor merchants and they have it in stock. I won’t post my source, but comment with an email if you wish to know. Otherwise, they may not have stock when I get there.

Articles of Interest:
The Elusive Nota Bene
Black Hills Estate Winery

Magnolia’s Red Velvet Cupcakes

2 May

Ingredients

Cupcakes:

  • 3 ⅓ cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  • ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 ¼ cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature (important!)
  • 6 tablespoons red food coloring*** if using gel, use a few drops, the add more vanilla extract to make up for the liquid amount***
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • Frosting:

  • 1 pound (two 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, softened and cut into small pieces
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and cut into small pieces
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 5 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease and lightly flour three muffin tins. Place cupcake papers in the tins.
  3. To make the cake: In a small bowl, sift the cake flour and set aside. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the red food coloring, cocoa, and vanilla. Add to the batter and beat well.
  5. In a measuring cup, stir the salt into the buttermilk. Add to the batter in three parts, alternating with the flour. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated, but do not overheat.
  6. In a small bowl, stir together the cider vinegar and baking soda. Add to the batter and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well blended and the batter is smooth.
  7. Divide the batter among the prepared pans. Bake each tray for 20 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool in the pans for 1 hour. Remove from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack.

Frosting:

  1. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the vanilla and beat well.
  3. Gradually add the sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating continuously until smooth and creamy.
  4. Cover and refrigerate icing for 2 to 3 hours, but no longer, to thicken before using.
  5. When the cake has cooled, spread the frosting liberally on the cupcakes.
  6. Makes 36 cupcakes

Bobbie Lloyd of New York’s Magnolia Bakery demonstrates how to make delicious red velvet cupcakes

UPDATE:

SUCCESS!! Though I 1/3rd the recipe to yield 12 large/24 mini. Lessen bake time though.

Cupcakes:

  • 1 1/6 cups cake flour
  • 1/4 cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp red food colouring (if using gel, use 3-4 drops. I added some chocolate colouring as well)
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

Icing:

  • 5 1/3 oz (or 2/3 of one pkg) softened cream cheese, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened and cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 2/3 cup icing sugar