Saturday, April 22, 2017

Baked Three-Cheese Tarts

Hokkaido Baked Cheese Tarts
Hokkaido Baked Cheese Tarts
Hokkaido Baked Cheese Tarts

Originating from Japan's island of Hokkaido, the most raved about Hokkaido Baked Cheese Tart is a crispy, and buttery shortcrust pastry base filled with a top-secret mix of three types of cheese produced in Hokkaido.  However what we are getting in Australia is a close replica, made with local quality dairy product. Today I decided to try my hands on making Meg's HBCT recipe.  And I was over the moon when my tarts came out from the oven - they were simply beautiful and bursting with cheesy aromas. Thank you Meg for sharing the recipe!

Tart Pastry:
100g plain flour
20g caster sugar
50g cold salted butter, cut into cubes
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp fresh milk

  • Place flour, sugar and butter into a large mixing bowl.  Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Add in egg yolk and milk and mix until the dough binds together.  Knead the dough gently into a ball and wrap it in clingfilm. Refrigerate the dough for about 1 hour.
  • Remove dough from the fridge.  Take a small amount of dough and press down gently with your fingers so that the dough is centred in the well. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork.  
  • Bake tart shells in 180°C fan-forced oven for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. After tart shells are cooled slightly, remove them from the moulds and cool completely before use.

Cheese Custard:
150g cream cheese
50g mascarpone cheese
20g parmesan cheese
30g salted butter
100g fresh milk

30g icing sugar
12g corn starch

1 whole egg
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp sea salt

  • Bring a small saucepan holding a couple of inches of water to a simmer over very low heat. Place a heatproof bowl on top of the saucepan ensuring that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water (you only want the steam from the simmering water to gently warm the bowl).
  • Place all ingredients (A) into the bowl and stir occasionally until all the cheese have melted.
  • Sift in all ingredients (B) and stir to combine.  
  • Add in all ingredients (C) and continue to stir until well blended.  The mixture will thicken.
  • Strain the cheese custard through a fine mesh strainer to get a velvety and smooth texture.  Leave the custard to cool completely before using.
cooking cheese custard over double-boiler
cooked cheese custard

To fill the tart shells:

Glaze - 1 egg yolk, beaten
  • Preheat oven to 230°C (fan-forced).
  • Fill the cheese custard into a piping bag with a nozzle and pipe custard into the cooled tart shells.  Brush the top of the custard with beaten egg yolk.
  • Bake the cheese tarts for 7 minutes.
  • Remove tarts from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

Note:  I managed to make 8 mini tart shells but didn't use up all the cheese custard. 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Potato Pizza

Recipe adapted from Sydney's Bourke Street Bakery: The Ultimate Baking Companion

600g bread flour
15g sea salt
10g dried yeast
15g milk
410g water
20g olive oil

1 large Desire potato
salt & pepper
chopped rosemary
  • Combine everything in a mixing bowl.  Using a hook attachment, mix on low speed for about 3 minutes.  Then increase the speed to high and mix for another 7 minutes or until dough comes away from the sides of the bowl and has a silky, smooth texture.  Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside to prove until doubled in size.
  • Lightly grease two 36 x 26 cm rectangular oven trays.  Divide the dough into two portions and use a rolling pin, roll each dough out to create two 40 x 30 cm rectangles, about 3mm thick. (Do this in stages to allow the dough to rest and relax between rolls). 
  • Gently transfer to the prepared trays, trimming the sides to fit the tray and set aside for about 15 minutes or until risen by half.
  • Meanwhile, dissolve about 2 tsp salt in about 1 litre of lukewarm water. Using a mandolin slice the potatoes very thinly and put directly into the salted water, which will prevent oxidation and also helps to soften them. Soak for about 30 - 60 minutes. Then pat dry on paper towels.
  • Using a fork prick the base of the pizza, spread garlic oil over the base and sprinkle with cheese.  Arrange potato slices over the base and sprinkle with chopped rosemary, salt, pepper and cheese.
  • Cook in a preheated oven at 220°C for about 10 minutes.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Sweet Potato Bread Loaf


230g bread flour
30g caster sugar
1/4 tsp sea salt
4g (1 tsp) dried instant yeast 
100g mashed sweet potato
25g egg (lightly beaten)
140g fresh milk
20g coconut oil

  • Combine flour, sugar and salt together until well blended. Add in dried yeast and mix well. Add in mashed sweet potato, eggs and milk.    Knead until it forms a slightly sticky dough.   
  • Then add in coconut oil.  Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic.  
  • Shape dough into a ball and placed in a bowl covered with cling wrap.  Leave it in a warm place to rise until doubled.
  • Punch down to expel trapped air.  Divide into 4 equal portions.
  • Rest for 10 mins.  
  • Flatten the dough and then roll up like Swiss Rolls. 
  • Place the rolls on a lined loaf pan.  Cover with cling wrap and leave to proof until doubled.
  • Using a sharp knife, make a slash on the bread and place strips of butter into the incision.  Then sprinkle some raw sugar over.
  • Bake in a  preheated oven at 180°C for 35 minutes or until golden brown.  

the dough rose to more than double...

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Japanese Castella Cake / Kasutera

Japanese Honey Sponge Cake
Japanese Honey Sponge Cake

This is my first Castella Cake!  I had no idea how Castella Cake taste like, but I am very happy that my first Castella Cake turned out so well.  Thank you Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids for sharing her Best & Fail Proof Japanese Castella Cake/ Kasutera recipe which she adapted from here.  This cake is definitely different from the normal sponge cake.  It is very moist and has a fine but chewy compact texture due to the gluten content in the bread flour.  
I read that the traditional Castella cake is made of just four basic ingredients - bread flour, eggs, sugar and honey. However, this version veered from the traditional recipe which has no oil or milk in it.  I am sure the addition of oil and milk in Zoe's recipe makes the cake softer and moist.  
Egg yolks mixture:
50g milk
30g coconut oil
40g honey 
55g egg yolks (about 3), room temperature
40g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla paste
115g bread flour (sift twice)

Egg whites mixture:

104g egg whites (about 3), room temperature
50g caster sugar

  1. Line the inside of a (20.5 x 10 x 7.5 cm) loaf pan with two layers of aluminium foil then two more layers of baking paper over it.  
  2. Preheat oven to 180°C. Position a rack on the second level (from the bottom of the oven).
  3. Place milk, coconut oil and honey into a small saucepan and cook over low heat to just melt the honey.  (Do not boil it as it will curdle the mixture).  Set aside to cool slightly (about 10 mins).
  4. In a large mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar until the mixture turns pale. Whisk in the honey mixture.  Then sift flour into the mixture and mix until everything is combined.
  5. Beat egg whites (using an electric mixer) under medium-low speed until foamy. Increase to medium speed and gradually beat in sugar. Continue beating until stiff peaks form and the meringue looks glossy. 
  6. Add one-third of the meringue into the egg yolk mixture and whisk lightly to combine until it is well incorporated (this is to lighten the batter which will help you fold the rest of the meringue through easily and more evenly).  With a silicon spatula, gently fold in the rest of the meringue in two batches.
  7. Pour batter into the prepared pan.  Gently drop the pan onto the kitchen bench from a height of 10cm (this is to remove any large air bubbles).
  8. Bake the cake at 180°C for 10 mins.  Decrease temperature to 140°C  and bake for another 1 hour **  Lightly press the cake with your finger, if it bounces back, that means your cake is done.
  9. Remove the cake from the oven.  Gently drop the pan onto the kitchen bench from a height of 10cm - to prevent shrinkage.
  10. Remove cake from the pan and discard the foil and baking paper. Immediately wrap the cake with cling film to keep it moist.  Store in an airtight container for at least one day.
  11. To serve, slice off the sides of of the cake with a sharp knife and cut into thick slices. 
This is how I lined my baking pan

For my oven, I baked the cake at 180°C for 10 mins, then 140°C for 1 hr 30 min to get a beautiful colour.  
Each oven works differently and you need to experiment with your own oven and adjust accordingly. It is always better to over-bake slightly rather than under-bake because under-cooked cakes will shrink after cooling.

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