Thursday, September 11, 2014

Matcha Ice Cream 綠茶雪糕

Summer seems never end in Southern California. Mid Autumn Festival is over but it still has a few weeks before official Fall (Sept 23) arrives. This Asian flavor matcha ice cream is refreshing and full of green tea flavor. It greatly helps to relieve some summer heat.

(Ice cream base recipe reference: Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams At Home, by Jeni Bauer)

Ingredients to make about 1 quart
2 cups whole milk 全脂牛奶
1 1/4 cups heavy cream 奶油
1 tbsp+1 tsp cornstarch or tapioca starch 玉米粉或木薯粉
3 tbsp softened cream cheese 奶油芝士
1/8 tsp fine sea salt 海鹽
120g/ 2/3 cup sugar 糖
2 tbsp light corn syrup 玉米糖漿
1-1.5 tsp matcha powder 綠茶粉

1)  Take about 3 tbsp milk and mix with cornstarch or tapioca starch in a small bowl. Set aside.
2)  In another large bowl, hand whisk cream cheese with salt
3)  Put the rest of the milk, heavy cream, sugar and corn syrup in a large pot. Bring to a steady boil for 4 minutes without covering it. Adjust the heat so that it would not boil over. Remove from heat.
4)  Add the cornstarch slurry to the boiled milk mixture, stirring constantly. Return to heat for a minute with constant whisking.
5)  Pour a little of the hot milk to the cream cheese. Whisk until you have no lumps, then gradually pour in the rest.
6)  Add matcha powder and stir well. Let it cool to room temperature and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
7)  Churn in an ice cream machine, following the manufacturer's instruction.

1)  Whole milk is preferred over low or non-fat version in making ice cream.
2)  Do not use more than 1.5 tsp matcha powder. Too much will give the ice cream a bitter taste.
3)  If the matcha powder does not fully dissolve, a blender can help finish the job.

1) 先將約三湯匙的奶與玉米粉在一小碗内拌勻。
2) 將其餘的奶、奶油、糖及玉米糖漿放一大鍋內煑滾,不加蓋煑四分鐘,熄火。
3) 將玉米粉漿加入,邊加邊攪,再開火煑一分鐘。
4) 在另一大碗內,將奶油芝士與鹽攪至鬆軟,將熱的奶慢慢倒入,邊倒邊攪,
5) 加入綠茶粉攪勻,待冷後放雪柜至少四小時或過夜。
6) 倒入雪糕機內攪成雪糕。

1) 做雪糕要用全脂牛奶,無脂或低脂含過多水份,影響質感。
2) 綠茶粉不可放過多,會有苦澀味。
3) 如綠茶粉沒有完全溶解,可放攪拌器內攪拌。

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Godiva's Chocolate Mooncake 巧克力月餅

The Mid Autumn Festival or August Moon Festival is the second most celebrated holiday in Chinese culture. If you live in an area highly populated with Chinese people, there will be some sort of celebration around this time of the year. This holiday, to the Chinese, is like Thanksgiving to Americans; the first thing that pops up in your head when it is mentioned is, most likely, food.

In my childhood, moon cakes with lotus seed paste was the norm. I remember my parents used to participate in a moon cake program hosted by the local bakeries. Every month they would make a payment and by the time the festival came, they could redeem a certain amount of moon cakes. It worked like a savings program so the customers did not have to come up with a large amount of money to buy boxes of moon cakes for gifting.

Those were the old days when the economy in Asia was bad. But nowadays, Asia's economic success is undeniable. More and more world companies are eyeing this untapped industry. Luxury handbags, watches, automobiles, and wine, are status symbols, but when it comes to the Mid Autumn Festival, those with buying power will not be satisfied with just an ordinary-looking moon cake.

The Belgian chocolatier giant Godiva is one of those companies that are buying in on this opportunity. This limited edition chocolate box of moon cakes is especially crafted with Asian flavors, like ginger spiced mandarin orange mousse, goji berry mousse, and green tea infused chocolate ganache. I especially like the grapefruit black tea one--inside the black tea infused dark chocolate, there is a layer of crunchy grapefruit mousse with hints of lemongrass and vanilla. It provides different textures and at the same time incorporates some bold flavors.

For those chocoholics out there, there is now one more delicious way to celebrate the festival!

(The chocolate moon cakes are complimentary from Godiva. I am not compensated for writing this post.)







Friday, August 15, 2014

Custard Moon Cake 奶皇月餅

These exquisite moon cakes are created by innovative bakers from Hong Kong. A box of eight reportedly fetches almost HK$500 (~USD$65-70)!! The cake is filled with moist and rich custard with a nice coconut flavor. The recipe is straight forward but it takes some tricks and a lot of practice to create a nice and distinctive look.

I tried different recipes and finally came up with this one with modifications.

這款近年風靡香港的奶皇月餅,身價越來越貴,據報一盒八個要港幣近五百大元 !!

Ingredients to make 12 mini custard moon cakes, about 55g each

Crust 餅皮:
47g sugar 糖
182g cake flour 低筋麵粉
12g custard powder 吉士粉
18g half & half or evaporated milk 花奶
15g egg 蛋液
91g butter, softened 室溫牛油

Custard fillings 奶皇餡:
60g sugar 糖
18g cake flour 低筋麵粉
18g custard powder 吉士粉
18g milk powder 奶粉
25g condensed milk 煉奶
30g egg 蛋液
100g coconut milk 椰奶
30g butter 牛油
3 salted egg yolks, optional 鹹蛋黃

Egg wash: 1 egg yolk with 1/2 tsp water 掃餅面蛋液:一個蛋黃加半茶匙水
Syrup: 1 tbsp sugar dissolved in 1/2 tsp warm water 糖水:一湯匙糖溶於半茶匙水

Make the filling:
1) Mix sugar, flour, custard flour and milk powder in a large bowl. Add condensed milk, egg and coconut milk. Mix well and add butter. Pour into a shallow dish for steaming.
2) Steam for 15-20 minutes. Take out and mix it well. Let it cool and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.

Make the crust:
1) Cream room temperature butter with sugar in a stand mixer or use a whisk in a large bowl for a few minutes.
2) Add egg and half & half. Mix until incorporated.
3) Add the flour and custard flour and mix until incorporated. Do not over mix.
4) Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.

1) Divide the filling into 12 balls about 25g each (put in a quarter of a salty duck egg yolk, if use). Divide the crust into 12 as well, 30g each.

2) Flatten a portion of the crust dough between two pieces of plastic wrap. Put in a portion of the filling and close up the seams.

3) Roll it in a small dish of flour. Put it in a moon cake mold and press. Continue with the rest the same way.

4) Bake in a preheated 480F oven for 5 minutes.
5) Take out the tray and brush very lightly with egg wash. Let them dry for 10 minutes.
6) Brush another layer of egg wash and return to the oven for 5 more minutes.
7) Take the mooncakes out and brush a layer of syrup. Then return to the oven and bake for one more minute.
8) Take out the cakes and let them cool completely on a rack. They can be kept at room temperature for up to 3 days or refrigerated for two weeks. They may be reheated in a 350F oven for 7-8 minutes. Do not microwave.

1) It is very important not to brush too much egg wash otherwise it will smear or distort the delicate pattern/design of the moon cakes.
2) Avoid rolling too much flour before pressing with the mold. Just enough to prevent sticking with the mold.

1) 將糖、所有粉類放大碗內,加入煉奶、椰奶及蛋液,攪勻,加牛油(不用攪勻)。
2) 大火蒸十五至廿分鐘,取出搓勻,待冷後放雪櫃過夜。

1) 室溫牛油加糖攪拌幾分鐘。
2) 加蛋及花奶,再攪至均勻。
3) 加麵粉及吉士粉,攪至沒有乾粉便可。用保鮮紙包好放雪櫃至少三十分鐘或過夜。

1) 將餡料分成十二份,或廿五克一份(如用鹹蛋黃,可此時加入四份一個)。分餅皮成十二份,或三十克一份。
2) 將一份餅皮放兩張保鮮紙之間,用手掌壓平,或用擀面杖擀開,包入一份餡,收口後滾滿麵粉,放入模內壓出花紋。
3) 放入已預熱至480度焗爐焗五分鐘。
4) 取出掃上薄薄一層蛋液,十分鐘後再掃上一層,再放回焗爐焗五分鐘。
5) 取出掃上一層糖水,再焗多一分鐘便成。放架上待涼,放室溫可保存約三日,或放雪櫃一兩星期,食時放350度焗爐焗約七、八分鐘,不要放微波爐叮。

1) 掃蛋液不可太多,太厚會看不清楚餅面花紋,但太少又沒有金黃色,要適量啊。
2) 包好月餅後只須滾上薄薄麵粉,不可太厚。

Friday, July 25, 2014

New Classes 又有新班啦

Custard Moon Cake 酥皮奶皇月餅

Date: 8/23/14
Time: 1pm~3pm
Place: Diamond Bar
Fee: $30

In this hands-on class, you will learn how to make this popular and exquisite moon cake at home. No experience required. Moon cake molds and special gift packaging boxes are available for purchase.

Snowy Moon Cake 冰皮月餅

Date: 8/16/14
Time: 1pm~3pm
Place: Diamond Bar
Fee: $30

This popular class is back by demand. Learn how to make this simple, easy-to-make and healthy moon cake. Moon cake molds and gift packaging boxes are available for purchase.

Each class is limited to 8 students. Questions and registration:

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Moon Cake Mold 月餅模

This year's Mid Autumn Festival is on Sept 8, less than two months away. In order to make homemade moon cake, either the baked traditional kind or easy-to-make snowy moon cake, you will need an indispensable tool. This plastic moon cake mold is so much easier to use than the traditional wood mold that it makes the whole process a breeze.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Sliver Thread Roll 銀絲卷

"Fun to eat and easy to make" is the best description of this dim sum bao. A variation of mantau, the sliver thread roll is made by cutting the dough into many thin strips and wrapping them together in a bundle. The most common way to enjoy it after breaking open the outer layer is to pull out and eat the threads one by one. Some people like to dip it in condensed milk. I like the deep fried version: the outer layer is crispy while the threads inside are still soft.

I have been searching for a good English translation for the name of this bread: sliced roll, bread roll, etc, but I've given up and am now using my own translation.

For a successful roll, please read the whole recipe and pay attention to the notes below.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Lychee Mousse Cake 茘枝慕斯蛋糕

Oh summer is here...this means there will be plenty of mangoes, peaches, plums, watermelons, and lychee around. Lychee is a tropical fruit that originates in China. Through global trading and local cultivation, many countries around the world can also enjoy this delicious, flavorful fruit.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Lemon Cream Tart 檸檬撻

When pastry chefs develop recipes, there are a few elements that they always have in mind. Being able to incorporate different textures is important in producing a delightful dessert. Furthermore, it would be wonderful if the dessert also has some acidity to balance the sweetness. Therefore this lemon tart truly satisfies all of the above: a creamy, smooth and tangy lemon curd with a sweet and crunchy meringue topping a flaky tart shell. A dessert made in heaven!!


Friday, May 23, 2014

Seeded Whole Wheat Bread 全麥種子麵包

Since I started making my own bread a few years ago, I have almost exclusively been using the Tong Zhong method. It gives me consistently soft and fluffy bread that lasts up to four or five days at room temperature. However, I learned this is not the only method for soft, long-lasting bread.

I have been exploring new ways to make bread with a higher percentage of whole wheat. Most breads that are labelled as whole wheat in the market are made with only 30% whole wheat flour while the majority is white bread flour. I think the main reason is not so much the cost but the nature of wheat flour.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Mango Ice Cream 芒果雪糕

Many of you would probably think fresh mango is the best choice to use in homemade mango ice cream. But contrary to that thought, freeze dried mango is a better option. Fresh fruits are best to enjoy when they are ripe and juicy. However, when they are used to make ice cream, the juice is your enemy. The more juicy it is, the worse it is to make ice cream. That may be the reason why watermelon is rarely used in ice cream even though it maybe good in making sorbet. Juice will turn into ice and make ice cream icy instead of creamy.


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