Sunday, June 9, 2013

Putu Piring - Malaysian Steamed Palm Sugar Rice Cake

I heart putu piring. Seriously, that is like the best Malay dessert out there among the millions of desserts they have come up with. A note, however, this is not one of the easiest dessert to make. For a start, getting the right texture of the flour is extremely important before you start steaming the kueh. If the flour is too dry, you will get a ton of birds feed, get what I mean. If the flour turns out too wet, you will get a clump of really hard mass of rice flour with palm sugar. Definitely not good eats.

If you happen to chance upon one of the vendors selling this type of dessert in Malaysia, they make it look really easy. Don't be fooled by them. Making this dessert is a lot harder than what they make it looks like. However, with patience and practice, you will get there.

Why must you attempt to make this dessert at home? Well, if you live in an area where there is an expert selling it, I'd say forget about making this dessert. You will be better off buying it from them. If you don't have one close to where you live, well, there is nothing left to do but to try your darndest to make this kueh then.

Putu Piring
(Makes about 15 pieces)

250g rice flour (I prefer the Thai's Erawan brand)
4 pieces of pandan leaves, cut into 4-inch section
160ml - 180ml hot water
1/4 tsp salt

For the Filling
150g of grated palm sugar

For the Topping
100g of grated coconut
2 pandan leaves, cut into 4-inch section
A pinch of salt

15 (3x3) banana leaves squares


1. In a pan, toast the flour with pandan leaves over medium heat. Stir flour around the pan to avoid burning. The flour is ready when the pandan leaves in the mix becomes dry. Set aside to cool.

2. Prepare the topping. Have a steamer ready with boiling water. Add salt and pandan leaves to the grated coconut. Stir to combine. Steam for 5 mins. Set aside to cool.

3. Grate the palm sugar. Set aside to be used later.

4. Once the flour has cooled off, sieve the flour into a clean bowl.

5. Combine hot water with salt. If you have a spray bottle, put it to good use here. Carefully, add water into the flour mixture. If you are using a spray bottle, mist the flour while tossing it around to moisten. Continue to add water into the flour until you can no longer find dry flour at the bottom of the mix. (Note: You will see clumps of flour forming. This is a good sign.)

6. Next, you will need to sieve the flour again. Using a spatula, press the clumps of flour through a fine sieve. The resulting flour should come out looking like coarse breadcrumbs or very fine pearls of uncooked sago.
7. In a steamer, bring a large amount of water to a boil.

8. In a putu piring mold or a homemade converted mold, put about a tablespoon of flour onto the mold. Resist the temptation to press the flour into the mold.

9. Top with palm sugar.

10. Pile on enough flour to cover the sugar and gently push away excess.
11. Wrap a cheesecloth over the flour mix, and gently invert the cloth onto a steamer tray.
12. Steam for about 3 mins.
13. Remove the kueh from the steamer. Top with grated coconut and a piece of banana leaf.

14. Gently, invert the kueh onto a plate. Carefully, peel the cheesecloth off the kueh.
15. Putu piring all ready to serve.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Buttery, Flaky Croissants

Time to expand my baking horizon, and by expanding I am referring to pushing my baking ability to uncharted territory, i.e. making flaky butter pastry. Case in point, making croissants at home. Sure, you have made over a hundred loaves of breads of all kind, bake tons of cookies by now, a mountain of cakes of all sizes, medley of pies, but croissants?

Sure, if you google for croissants recipe, and I mean the type that you make from scratch and not open up a can of dough and roll up, it seems easy enough. The biggest hurdle will probably be patience. Yes, time and patience, you will need lots of those.

I have given making croissants at home some thoughts before, a lot of thoughts, really. In the beginning, I wasn't quite sure if I will be able to do it. Well, I was new to baking. Just yesterday, a family friend asked if it was possible for me to make Danish pastry for her. Yeah, I know, you might be saying by now that they are two different doughs, but are they really?

I remember some time ago, having had a taste of the best flaky danish pastry I have ever had in my life at some part in Europe. And yes, the pastry reminded me of a really good croissants, only it was adorned with half a peach and pastry cream on it. A good pastry is still a good pastry and I betcha, if I use the croissant dough to make a danish pastry, it will be one of the better version from what you can find out here in MA.

After reading countless recipes on a variety of croissant dough, I have decided to stick with America's Test Kitchen version. Well, they tested the recipe many times after all, and if they published one, that ought to be foolproof, right? Fingers crossed. In this case, I'd be crossing my prehensile toes too.

Note: This is a 2 day process. If you are planning to serve the croissants for a gathering, party, or office meeting, please plan for at least 48 hours ahead. Yeah, did I mention that a lot of patience is required? True, you can expedite the process by letting your dough rest for 2 hours instead of overnight after the two folding process, but really, you have come this far. Why not put in a lot more patience for this croissants to elevate from good to great!

Note: Cold! The dough and butter have to remain cold to give your final product that nice, flaky texture. If you are unsure, place dough in the freezer for 30 minutes before working with it. If the butter in the dough melts, you will not get the light flaky croissants you were hoping for.

Ingredients (Adapted from America's Test Kitchen)

For Dough
3 Tbsp butter
1 3/4 cup of whole milk
4 tsp of rapid rise yeast
4 1/2 cup of flour (I used King Arthur's all purpose. It has higher protein content)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp Kosher salt

For Butter Block 
12 oz European-style butter, very cold (I took mine out from the freezer)

Egg Wash
1 large egg, beaten
1 tsp cold water
A pinch of salt


For the Dough:
1. Melt butter in a small sauce pan over medium low heat.
2. Once butter has melted, remove it from the stove. Immediately add in cold milk.
3. Add the butter-milk mixture into the bowl of your stand mixer. Add in all the yeast.
4. Next, you will add in all the flour, sugar, and salt into the bowl of your stand mixer. Attach dough hook to your mixer and put it on low for 2-3 minutes till a cohesive dough is formed.
5. Once dough has come together, turn speed up to medium low (Speed 4, if you are using KitchenAid Professional 600 model) and knead for 1 minute.

Note: If kneading by hand, add all ingredients to a large bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula till a cohesive dough has formed. Knead with hand on a lightly floured work surface till you get a smooth satiny dough, about 10-15 minutes)

6. Remove bowl from stand mixer and dough hook. Wrap with plastic wrap and let dough rest for 30 minutes.
7. Once dough has rested, remove dough onto parchment paper on work table.
8. Using your finger tips, shape dough into a 10" x 7" rectangle. Wrap dough tightly with plastic wrap and let rest in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
9. Transfer dough into freezer for 30 minutes prior to combining the dough with the butter block.

Note: Reserve the parchment paper to help work with the butter block in the next step.

For the Butter Block
1. Fold a 24" parchment paper to half. Then fold in the three open side to get a 8" parchment square.
2. Place 12oz of very cold butter onto the used parchment paper, reserved earlier from the dough making process above.
3. Using a rolling pin, beat the butter into a rough square, smaller than 8". (Seriously, beat the daylight out of the cold butter till they are pliable but still cold.)
4. Transfer butter onto the 8" parchment square and wrap tightly.
5. Using your rolling pin, roll the butter through the parchment square till it is even. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes or longer.

Building the Layers
1. Once dough and butter have chilled for the requisite time, we can begin to build the layers of our final product.
2. Sprinkle flour lightly on a clean work surface.
3. Remove dough from the fridge, unwrap dough onto the flour surface.
4. Using your rolling pin, roll dough lengthwise to form a 17" x 8" rectangle. Measure to ensure you get the correct length and width. Use a bench scraper to help you tighten the dough up to the measurements.
5. Once that is achieved, remove the butter block from the refrigerator. Unwrap the parchment and placed the butter block at the center of the dough.
6. Fold both sides of dough till they meet at the center. Pinch to seal with your fingers.
7. Using your rolling pin, press the two sides at the edges firmly to seal.
8. Roll out lengthwise to 24" x 8" rectangle.
9. Fold in thirds, like a business letter.
10. Place dough onto parchment paper and wrap tightly with plastic wrap.
11. Place dough in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Second Folding
1. After the 30 minutes freezer time, unwrap dough onto a lightly floured work surface.
2. Roll dough out lengthwise into a 24" x 8" rectangle.
3. Fold dough in thirds again. Place on parchment paper and wrap tightly with plastic.
4. Place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours, preferably overnight.

You must be thinking, finally, I get to shape my croissants. Not so fast! After the refrigerator time, you have to now transfer the dough from the refrigerator to the freezer and let it freeze for 30 minutes. Remember, the dough has to be really cold when you are working with it. If the butter melts into the dough at anytime during the folding and shaping process, you can kiss the flaky layers goodbye.

1. After the 30 minutes freezer time, you can now play with the dough.
2. On a lightly floured work surface, unwrap your dough and roll it into a 18" x 16" rectangle, with the long side parallel to the edge of the counter. Fold dough into half, from upper edge to lower edge.
3. Using your bench scraper, mark dough at 3-inch intervals along bottom edge with bench scraper.
4. Moving to the top edge, mark dough at 1 1/2-inch intervals from left. Using this at your reference point, measure out 3-inch intervals and mark it with your bench scraper.
5. Using a pizza cutter, start from the lower left corner and cut dough from point-to-point.
6. You will get 12 triangles, and 5 diamonds. Don't throw away the scraps, something good is going to come out of it, I promise. Place the scrap dough aside, wrap in plastic individually and place it back in the refrigerator.
7. Using your pizza cutter, slice the diamond shape dough into half. That will give you 10 more triangles. All in all, you will end up with 22 triangular dough ready to be shaped into croissants.
8. Working with one triangle shaped dough at a time, pick the dough up with both hands, one at the short length of the dough and another at the tip. Stretch the dough out gently.
9. Using your pizza cutter, make a 1-inch slit at the base of the triangle (the short length). Holding the two edges you have just created by slicing the base of the triangle, roll it towards the tips.
10. The croissant roll is taking shape now. Gently, tucked the tip of the dough underneath the rolled croissant dough.
11. Place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Repeat process with the remaining dough.
12. You should place about 10 croissants on a full sheet baking pan, allowing room between croissants to rise.
13. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Yeah, more waiting. I know your patience is running out at this point, but really, you should wait.

1. Preheat oven to 425F. If you are baking two sheets of croissants at once, adjust one rack to the upper third of oven and one to lower third of oven. If baking one pan at a time, just leave rack in the middle of oven.
2. Once oven has come to temperature, combine beaten egg with salt, and cold water. Lightly brush dough with egg wash.
3. Place dough in oven and reduce temperature to 400F immediately. Bake croissants for 20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway.
4. Cool on wire rack before serving, haha, or just bring out a stick of butter and enjoy!

Yup, more butter. Hey, I worked really hard into making these.

Char Kueh Kak - Malaysian Fried Rice Cake

Comfort food is a funny thing. It can be something that you don't find easily these days or just plain accessible at the grocery store. Whatever it is, there is something about this comfort food which brings us back to childhood. Ah....those happy times where you have no worries in the world, where the only crisis in your life is whether mom and dad did get you what you want for birthday or Christmas.

Having moved from Malaysia to the States some years back, my definition of comfort food is definitely something which I cannot find at any grocery store here. Every now and then, a candy from yesteryear will pop up at some Asian grocery stores near my house. But that just won't do cos unlike many children my age at the time, I have never develop a sweet tooth. My kinda comfort food have always been savory in nature, call me weird.

One of them is Char Kueh Kak. If you are from Malaysia, and have either live in Kuala Lumpur or Penang, you will know exactly what I mean. No, not the stir fried radish cake you can get a dim sum place cos those are radish cake. A true blue char kueh kak you can find in a roadside eatery is made out of nothing more than plain rice cake stir fried with preserved cabbage, beansprouts, chives/scallions, and an egg. They probably use a ton of dark soy sauce to give it that glistening dark color, and yes, they use pork lard to stir fry that tasty concoction.

Should you have anything against pork fat, stop reading right now. I mean, now.

To make a true blue KL/Penang hawker style Char Kueh Kak, you will need to make your homemade rendered pork fat with the crispy bits. No, your primary care physician and cardiologist should not know about this. Heck, my primary care physician will probably fire an array of reasons on why I should not eat this. Whatever he doesn't know, won't hurt him, right?

Truly, he can't say a thing about my minuscule consumption of pork lard to make this dish when he himself is a deep fried chicken fanatic?

To make the authentic Char Kueh Kak I so love as a child, there are some works involved. Rest assure, all your hard work shall be duly rewarded if you follow this recipe. I promise!

Malaysian Homemade Char Kueh Kak
(Adapted from Minty's Kitchen)

For the Kueh
110g Rice Flour
2 Tbsp Tapioca Starch
1 Tbsp Wheat Starch
1/2 cup of cold water
1 1/2 cup of boiling water
1 Tbsp oil
1/2 tsp salt

For the Char Kueh Kak
3 Tbsp Rendered Pork Fats
3-4 Tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
1/2 - 1 tsp Garlic Chilli Sauce
2 Cups Beansprouts
2 Stalks Scallions
A handful of chives
1 Tbsp Preserved cabbage (Chai poh)
2 eggs, lightly beaten

1. Make the kueh. Preheat a steamer filled with water half way. Let the water come up to a rolling boil and turn the heat down to medium low.
2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine all the kueh ingredients except for the boiling water. Whisk tills get a smooth thick batter. Then, slowly stir in the boiling water while whisking vigorously. 
3. Place a 9-inch oiled pan I the steamer and let it heat up for about a min. Slowly, pour in the batter mix.
4. Steam the kueh for 25-30 mins till a toothpick inserted into the center of the kueh comes out clean. Remove and let cool completely.
5. Once cooled, cut the kueh into bite size pieces. Store in a large ziplock bag and refrigerate overnight.
6. The next day, cut up the pork fat into small pieces and render the fat out till u get about 2-3 tablespoon of liquid fat. You can do this by placing the fat in a non-stick pan over low heat for 10-15mins.
7.Prepare all the other ingredients. 
8. Using the same non- stick pan, add a tablespoon of the pork fat and pan fried the kueh till they turn lightly golden brown and a hard skin is formed. This step is important in order to avoid mushy char kueh kak.
9. Pan fried the kueh in batches. Set aside.
10. Next, in the same pan, add in the remainder of the pork fat and crunchy bits. Turn heat up to medium.
11. Saute the chai poh, chinese sausage (if using), and garlic till it is lightly browned.
12. Add in the garlic chilli sauce and stir fried till you get a nice spicy aroma.
13. Add in all the kueh and dark soy sauce. Stir till all the kueh has a nice dark color to it.
14. Next goes the bean sprouts, scallions, and chives. Continue to stir fry till the bean sprouts wilted slightly. Bout a minute.
15. Using your spatula, make a space in the center of the pan. Crank up the heat all the way to high. Stir in the lightly beaten eggs. Count to 20.
16. Immediately, cover the eggs with the kueh and vegetables. Stir fry all the contents till you can see specks of eggs assimilated with the rest of the ingredients.
17. Dish out and serve whilst hot.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Swiss Style Chicken Wings

If you are beginning to wonder why this dish is called Swiss-style chicken wings, don't ask. I have no idea where the name originates from, however, as far as I am concern, this dish was really popular when I was young. Go to any "tai chow", Cantonese equivalent of roadside eateries cooking dishes to order back in the days, and the owner/cook will recommend this dish to his customers particularly if there are children in the group.

The wings are heavily coated in a mix of salty sweet soy concoction, seriously, who doesn't love salt and sugar. Since Memorial Day cookout is around the corner, I figure why not make this dish for the company. True, it doesn't involve cooking the wings on the grill which contradicts with the official Memorial Day choice of cooking method. Nevertheless, who doesn't love chicken wings. There is something inherently wrong with a person who doesn't like chicken wings, pretty much like people who doesn't like chicken, period.

I can't take credit for this recipe, after all, I did copy the recipe from a fellow food blogger who goes by the name wantanmien Funny, cos the name when translate from Cantonese to English means Chinese wanton noodle. I guess she really likes noodle. I have seen many adaptations of the recipe on the Internet but hers come closes to my memory of the Swiss-style chicken wings of yesteryear. OMG, that makes me sound so old.

Without further adieu, here's the recipe.

Swiss Style Chicken Wings (adapted from wantanmien)
8 whole wings, sectioned, tips discarded
1 Tbsp chopped ginger
1 Tbsp of oil
1/3 to 1/2 piece of Chinese cane sugar (substitute with 2-3 Tbsp of dark brown sugar)
1 Tbsp of canola oil
1/2 tsp salt
water enough to boil wings
1/2 Tbsp sesame oil
Chopped scallions for garnishing

For the spice pouch (you can use either cheesecloth or disposable tea bags)
2 scallions, white part only, lightly smashed
1 star anise
1/2 tsp of Szechuan peppercorn

Sauce Mix
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp dark soy sauce
1 Tbsp rum
1 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 Tbsp Ketchup
1/3 tsp salt
50 ml water
100 ml water


1. Wash all the chicken wings, careful to remove any visible feathers. Drain in a colander.
2. In a pot, bring enough water to a boil. Place 1/2 tsp of salt into the water and all the wings into the pot.
3. Let water come back up to a boil. Cover and simmer for 2 mins. Turn off heat and let wings steamed for 3 mins.

4. Drained wings in a colander till dry.

5. Prepare the sauce mix. Combine all the ingredients, except for the 100ml water in a bowl. Stir till all ingredients melded.

6. Heat up a non-stick pan over medium heat. Place a tablespoon of canola oil into pan, the chopped ginger and the spice pouch. Saute for 1 minute.
7. Slowly, add in all the chicken wings and the cane sugar.

8. Pan fry the wings on both sides till lightly brown and sugar is all caramelized.

9. Add in the sauce mix and continue to pan fry wings till both sides are coated with the sauce. Cover and cook for 3 mins over medium low heat.
10. Add in the 100 ml water. Cover the pan and let it cook for 5 mins.
11. Flip the wings over gently, cover and continue cooking for 5 mins.
12. Check to see if all wings are coated with the sauce. Flip wings onto the other side to caramelize. Cover and cook for another 3 mins.
13. Once sauce has reduced to the desired consistency, turn off heat.
14. Let wings sit in the covered pan for 10 mins. 
15. Arrange wings on a platter. 
16. If u have leftover sauce in the pan, bring sauce up to a boil over medium heat.
17. Stir constantly till sauce reduces to a thick glaze.
18. Pour sauce over wings.

19. Drizzle 1/2 Tbsp of sesame oil over wings. Garnish with chopped scallions and serve.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Discovery of Sourdough Starter and Dealing with Waste

I recently ventured into the world of what I once thought was the improbable.......making home grown sourdough starter.

BTW, I found out online that one is supposed to name their sourdough starter for good luck, albeit two days later after I started my sourdough. Long story short, I decided to name my sourdough starter "Starter"! A little unimaginative, yeah, but hey, Starter and I are co-existing with each other just fine.

It took me all of 5 days to culture my starter and it was well ready by Day 6. Now, every recipe will tell you that you need to discard a cup of your starter (or however many ounces) after so many days before you feed it again with filtered water and flour in order for your starter to grow.

I get that. I really get that. Yeast being a microorganism in the air and they need food and water to grow, yada yada yada.....I am fine with that. However, like many bakers, I am not fine with the fact that I have to discard that one cup of starter daily after Day 3 in order for the starter to grow.

Seriously, have you checked the price of a pound of flour lately? Besides, I have grown very fond of Starter, and I just can't bear the thought of throwing away a big part of Starter.

In come the world wide web search on how to use the unfed starter. There is hope for Starter's spare existence after all.

The answer: Sourdough Waffle using unfed starter by King Arthur Flour.

If you have never have a taste of sourdough waffle, you are in for a HUGE treat! The sourdough waffle is crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, and oh, so light on your stomach. It's the perfect Sunday breakfast for the family.

Take a look at the deep pockets, they can hold a ton of maple syrup in it. Yum!

Sourdough Waffle Recipe using Unfed Sourdough Starter (from King Arthur Flour)

overnight sponge

waffle or pancake batter

  • all of the overnight sponge
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil or melted butter
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

1. Make the overnight sponge. Combine the flour, sugar, buttermilk, and the cup of unfed starter.
2. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let sit at room temperature overnight. 

3. The next morning, combine the two beaten eggs, salt, and baking soda in a clean bowl. Pour the egg mixture into the overnight sponge. Stir gently with a rubber spatula till everything is well blended. Don't overmix or you will end up with tough waffles.

4. Preheat your waffle iron. Pour in a generous half cup of batter into your waffle iron and let it cook for 3 mins 45 seconds. That is how long it takes for me to get a crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside sourdough waffle. Your waffle iron time may vary.

5. Next, smell check. If you own a lazy red mini dachshund who loves to lay in her bed in a sunspot but found her taking those precious steps to stand within steps of your waffle iron on the kitchen counter, something delicious must be cooking.

6. All done. Serve with butter and a healthy drizzle of maple syrup. Who am I kidding, drizzle? Serve it with a river of maple syrup.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Asian Hotdog Buns - the poolish starter dough method

Bread baking using a pre-fermented starter dough is nothing new to me. I have made a few loaves of really good ciabatta using the biga starter before and some noteworthy baguettes using the French poolish (No, it is not a bad word!)

So, why haven't I incorporate those methods to make the ubiquitous Asian buns which my family loves so much? Because I have never thought of it. Or maybe I have been so comfortable using the Asian Water Roux bread making method that I am biased towards it.

Why venture beyond my comfort zone? Well, it is about time and you can always learn something new.

In come this recipe from Corner Cafe ,whose wisdom to feature the article of bread making using a 16-hour bread poolish method in making Asian buns, a true gem in my book. That just opens up a new can of worms entirely. You mean I can actually incorporate other cultures bread making techniques into the Asian bun making frontier? Boy, oh boy! The dawn of a new Asian buns baking era has just begin, at least for me.

Just like the Water Roux method, the poolish buns give you that soft, moist, fluffy bun texture. However, I find that by using the poolish method, the buns seem to have a far more superior result compared to the water roux method, this come from a die hard water roux Asian bread making advocate.

The dough is extremely pliable, very easy to work with even for a beginner. The buns seem to stay really moist even the next day, unlike the water roux method whereby you will begin to see that the bread has dried out somewhat the following day, even if you store them in a ziploc freezer bag.

The drawback, of course, is the 17 hour total waiting time before you can use the poolish. To make the poolish, you have to first combine the following in a clean deep bowl.

Poolish Starter

150g bread flour
150g lukewarm water
1/8 tsp of rapid rise or instant yeast

Once you have combined all the ingredients, it has to be left in a warm place for 1 hour, covered. After which, it has to be stored in the refrigerator for a total of 16 hours prior to use. You heard me right, 16 hours. I dreaded the waiting period in my first attempt. As any bakers out there will tell you, when you chance upon a new recipe which you want to give it a try, you want to see the yield almost immediately. Preferably, the same day.

Nah ah! Not with this recipe. You have to ensure that you sit cool as a cucumber for 16 hours while the starter has time to rest and ferment overnight. To circumvent anxiousness and my inability to wait patiently for the long duration of time, I made my first batch of poolish the night before. More like at 6 in the evening, and that will give me a ready batch of poolish to work with in the morning. At least after 9am. No one should bake before 9am, unless you work in a commercial setting.

Then the fun begins.

1. Measure out your dry ingredients. Here you will need
250g bread flour
100g cake flour (or regular all purpose)
15g milk powder
50g sugar (if you prefer a sweeter dough, increase the sugar to 70g)

2. To this dry mix, you will add in
1 egg, beaten
100 to 120 ml of lukewarm water (use milk if you have omitted the milk powder in the step above)

3. Combine all ingredients till you get a slightly sticky dough. Knead to get a smooth dough. You can do this in a bread machine, a stand mixer or simply knead it by hand. I have done all three methods and found that kneading using the stand mixer will give you the best result.

4. Leave dough in a well greased bowl and cover with a clean towel. Let dough proof for 1 hour in a warm, dry place.

5. After the first proofing is done, take dough out and place it on a clean, lightly floured work surface. Divide dough equally into 12 portions. If you are making plain rolls, divide it into 16 portions. Roll dough into a tight ball and let rest for 10 mins before shaping.

6. Here's when the fun begins. I have learned from the aforementioned blog on how to shape your hotdog buns in the form of a croissant, sort of. First, you will want to roll the dough into a carrot shape.

Using a rolling pin. stretch the dough out thin, start from the narrow end and work your way to the wide end.

7. Place a hotdog on the wide end of the dough, the dough need not encase the entire length of the hotdog.

 Roll the dough towards the narrow end, you will end up with a croissant-shaped bun.

8. Placed rolled hotdog buns on a baking sheet lined with parchment, or lightly greased with butter, cover and let rise for 30 mins.

9. Preheat oven to 355F. Brush egg wash lightly on top of rolls. Bake for a full 22 mins, turning the pan halfway to ensure even browning. Let cool on wire rack before serving.

You can also change the filling to ham and cheese. Those are always a big hit at our house.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

World's Best Cake, Kvaefjord kake

As proclaimed by the Norwegians, Kvaefjord cake is the best cake in the world - Verdens Beste! Naturally, if they claimed it as the best, I will have to bake it to figure out why and how. Thankfully, after going through tons of recipes online, I happened to find one from the pNorwegian embassy pastry chef in D.C.

The best part about her recipe is that it has been converted into U.S. measurement, making it easier to replicate at home. So, one free weekend, and the obsession that kicks in to try my hand on the cake later, here it is.

The meringue part was definitely impressive. It makes the whole cake looks elegant and adds a nice touch of sweetness to the cake without being overly sweet. Nicely done! Absolutely love the vanilla pudding and whipped cream filling. With the addition of strawberries in the center, it just came out sublime. Light and airy, the best part is it doesn't weigh you down after you had a slice or two or three. Will I make this cake again? You betcha!

Verdens Beste Kake (Kvaefjord Cake)
Recipes adapted from here

Recipe For “Kvæfjord-Cake”:
Step 1 - First layer of base 5½ ounces butter
¾ cup sugar
6 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
6 tablespoons milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder

Whisk the sugar and butter until smooth and pale. Fold in the other ingredients. Mix well. Spread on a 14 x 17 inch baking pan lined with baking/greaseproof paper.
Step 2 - Second layer of base (meringue)6 egg whites
1 cup sugar
Whisk sugar and egg whites together until stiff peaks form (meringue). Spread evenly over base made in step 1. Sprinkle 4 ounces sliced almonds on top of the meringue.
Bake the two layers together at 350 degrees Fahrenheit in lower part of the oven, for 25-30 minutes.

Step 3 - Filling
1 package instant vanilla pudding mix (I used homemade vanilla pudding)
1 cup heavy cream
To make filling, whip the cream and make the vanilla pudding separately. Then mix the cream and vanilla pudding gently together, and refridgerate until cold and firm. Let the cake cool down after removing it from the oven. Cut it in half. Spread the filling on top of one half, and cover with the other. Garnish with fruit or berries.