Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas Panettone


There is something so festive about the puffed dome of the Panettone, the Italian Christmas bread.  The word panettone literally means "big sweet bread".  Originating from Milan, this bread which combines a variation of ingredients such as raisins, candied oranges, lemon zest, etc, is traditionally eaten during Christmas and New Year.  

I decided to make my own Panettone this Christmas using Carol's recipe and it was pretty good for a first try.

I would  like to take this opportunity to wish all my friends and readers a wonderful Christmas and a very happy New Year.  And thank you very much for your support and encouraging words and visits which keep this blog going.  

(A)  Tangzhong dough:
165g cold water
35g bread flour
  • Whisk together the flour and water until there are no lumps.  
  • Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a silicon spatula, until the mixture has evenly thickened and is nice and smooth.  
  • Remove from heat and transfer into a clean bowl.  Cover with cling wrap and gently tap the cling wrap down on top of the tangzhong to keep as much air out as possible; this is to prevent it from drying out.  Let it cool to room temperature before use. (Tangzhong can be stored in the fridge).

100g Tangzhong dough
250g bread flour
50g plain flour
30g sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp instant dried yeast
1 egg, lightly beaten
80g milk (I replaced with orange juice)
30g honey
zest of 1 orange

50g butter, cut into cubes

150g dried fruits (mixture of raisins, dried cranberries, dried apricots & candied orange peel) 

  • Line the bases and sides of 4 mini springform pans (12cm) with baking paper, bringing the paper about 4 cm above the edge of the pan.
  • In a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine all ingredients (B) together. 
  • Knead until it forms a slightly sticky soft dough. Then add in (C).  Continue to knead until smooth and elastic.   Finally add in (D).  Knead until well combined.
  • Shape the dough  into a smooth ball and place in a greased  bowl.  Cover with  cling wrap.  Leave it to proof in the fridge overnight.  The next day take the dough out from the fridge and set aside to proof until doubled.
  • Punch down by pressing the dough out evenly with your hands to release the air.
  • Divide the dough into 4 equal portions.  Roll into balls.  Cover and rest for about 15 mins.
  • Flatten each dough and roll into balls again and place into the prepared pans. 
  • Mist the rolled dough with water and loosely cover with cling wrap. Proof until just about doubled (90%).
  • Bake in a preheated oven (170 deg C) for about 25 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Remove from the pans and let them cool on a wire rack.  

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas Tree Scrolls


Recipe taken from my last Christmas Tree Bun post.


220g bread flour
80g plain flour
20g caster sugar
2 tsp active dried yeast
1/4 tsp salt
130g plain yoghurt
80g egg whites
45g  rice bran oil

Coconut Filling:  [Mix everything together except the cranberries]

100g dessicated coconut 
a few drops of pandan paste (or green food colouring if desired)
150g caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
40g plain flour
100g butter, melted

3/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped into small chunks
egg wash

  • In a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine flours, salt, sugar and  yeast together.  Add in the yoghurt and egg whites to form into a slightly sticky soft dough.  Continue to knead until smooth and elastic.
  • Add in oil and continue to knead until fully incorporated.   [At this stage, the dough should be able to stretched to form a window-like thin membrane without breaking].
  • Shape the dough  into a smooth ball and place in a greased  bowl.  Cover with clingfilm.  Then place it in a warm place to allow the dough to rise until at least double its original size.  [To determine if the dough has risen long enough, poke a floured finger into the  dough.  When you remove your finger, the dough shouldn't spring back at all.  If the dough springs back immediately, it is under-proved and needs more time to proof further.]
  • Once the dough has doubled in size, punch down by pressing the dough out evenly with your hands to remove air bubbles.
  • Flatten the dough.  Spread coconut filling on the dough and sprinkle cranberries over it.
  • Roll up the dough into a log and cut into 12 pieces.
  • Arrange the scrolls, slightly apart, on a lined baking pan in the shape of a Christmas tree.  Cover with clingfilm.  Leave them to rise in a warm place until they nearly doubled in size.
  • Preheat oven to 170 degrees C.
  • Brush the scrolls with egg-wash and bake for about 20 - 25 minutes or until golden brown
  • Dust with icing sugar after it is cooled.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Fresh Milk Mantou (鮮奶饅頭 )

Flower Mantou
  Flower Mantou

Recipe adapted from  Carol Easy Life

(A)  Overnight Sponge Dough:

120g plain flour
1/4ts instant dried yeast
80g lukewarm water 

(B)  Main Dough:
100g Overnight Sponge Dough
225g plain flour
75g wheat starch
15g caster sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp instant dried yeast
180g fresh milk 
20g oil
  • (A) Overnight Sponge Dough:  Mix everything together and knead into a smooth dough.  Cover and leave in the refrigerator overnight.
  • In a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine all the ingredients together, except oil.
  • Knead until it forms a slightly sticky soft dough.  Gradually add in oil.  Continue to knead until smooth and doesn't stick to the sides of the bowl.
  • Shape the dough  into a smooth ball and place in a greased  bowl.  Cover with  cling wrap.  Then place it in a warm and moist place to allow the dough to rise until doubled.
  • Punch down by pressing the dough out evenly with your hands to release the air.
  • Divide the dough into 12 equal portions.  Cover and set aside to rest for 10 minutes.
  • Flatten the dough and roll into an oval shape.  Brush with oil and make a few slits (make sure you don't cut right up to the end of the dough); then twist it gently around your thumb and index finger and tuck the end underneath the bun. 
  •  Place the bun onto a square piece of baking paper.  Repeat with the rest of the dough.  Cover and proof until almost doubled.  
  • Steam mantou in medium-high heat for about 15 minutes. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Buttermilk Blueberry Muffins


Recipe Source: Joy of Baking

Ingredients:  [Makes 12 regular size muffins]

325g plain flour
150g caster sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
125g fresh blueberries

zest of one orange
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk
120ml canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Preheat oven to 180 deg C.  Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper casings.
  • In mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients (A). Gently fold in the berries. 
  • In a measuring cup, whisk together the wet ingredients (B).
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir only until the ingredients are combined.  Do not over mix.
  • Using an ice cream scoop, fill each muffin cup almost full with batter.
  • Place the muffin pan into the oven and bake until a skewer inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean (about 20 - 25 minutes).
  • Transfer muffin pan onto a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes before removing muffins from the pan.
 Note:  Bake a little longer if using frozen berries.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Braised Beef Brisket

Ngau Lam



850g beef brisket, trim excess fat and cut into chunks, blanched in boiling water
2 daikon (white radish) peeled and cut into chunks
3 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1 large onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, chopped
50g (approx) ginger, chopped
cooking oil 
salt & ground black pepper, to taste

Put these aromatics into a tea bag: 
1 tsp coriander seeds 
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 star anise
1 sassia bark or cinnamon stick
3 cloves
1/2 tsp white peppercorn
1 piece dried mandarin peel

2 tbsp Chu Hou sauce (柱侯酱)
1 tbsp rock sugar
3 tbsp chinese cooking wine
3 tbsp light soy sauce

  • Heat about 2 tbsp oil in a big saucepan, fry beef brisket until brown on all sides.  Transfer onto a plate and set aside.
  • In the same saucepan, with a little more oil saute ginger, onion and garlic until fragrant.  Then put in the brisket, spices and sauce.  Add enough water to cover the meat.  
  • Bring to the boil.  Then lower the heat and simmer for an hour.  Add in daikon and carrots.  Continue to cook for at least another hour or so until beef brisket is soft and tender.  Add more water if sauce starts to dry out.  Season with salt and ground black pepper.  
  • Serve with steamed rice or noodles.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Eggless Tiramisu

When we talked about Italian food, instantly we think about pasta, pizza, risotto, etc.  And at the mention of Italian dessert, Tiramisu comes to mind immediately.  Tiramisu which means "pick me up" is a popular dessert found on almost all the Italian restaurant menu.  

To celebrate the first day of summer in Melbourne, I am serving Tiramisu as dessert for lunch, yes lunch!  as we can't wait until dinner  ;-)    The authentic Tiramisu recipe usually calls for raw eggs but since I am not a fan of using raw eggs in my cooking or desserts, I decided to go with an eggless recipe.

Recipe loosely adapted from here

Ingredients:   [Pyrex rectangle dish (2.6L)  approx 17 x 22 cm]

250g mascarpone cheese (or cream cheese), softened
250ml fresh cream
110g caster sugar
1 cup strong coffee
50ml Kahlua
cocoa powder

  • Combine the coffee with Kahlua and leave it to chill in the refrigerator.
  • Whip fresh cream until stiff and chill in the refrigerator.
  • Whip cheese with sugar until cheese is smooth. Fold in the whipped cream.
  • Quickly, dip sponge fingers into the coffee mixture and arrange in a single layer in the glass dish.  Spread cheese mixture over.  Lay another layer of sponger fingers and top with cheese mixture. 
  • Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  • Before serving, sieve a layer of cocoa powder over the tiramisu or garnish with chocolate shavings.

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