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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Flour types

There are a variety of flours available on the market.

Often,we do get a headache over which flour is best for our recipes

They are generally classified according to protein content, into high-gluten,medium-gluten and low-gluten.
Below is a table showing comparisons of the protein level and texture indifferent types of flour

Type of flour

Protein content


Idea for
Bread Flour






All-purpose/Plain Flour



General baking,yu tiao,roti-prata
Cake Flour



Pound Cake,Sponge Cake
Superlite Flour


Steamed buns
Top Flour


Chiffon,Swiss roll

Friday, April 22, 2011

Colourful Macaroons

175g icing sugar
125g ground almonds
3 large free-range egg whites
75g caster sugar
20 ml water

For the Buttercream filling
150g butter, softened
75g icing sugar

For the Custard fillings
½ cup (120 g) of sugar
4 egg yolks
1 stick (120 g) of butter
2 organic lemons

1. Preheat Methothe oven to 160°C/fan140°C/gas 3. Whizz the icing sugar and ground almonds in a food processor to a very fine mixture, then sift into a bowl.

2. Add the sugar to 20ml of water in a sauce pan, and heat until 245oF.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt to soft peaks, then gradually whisk in the syrup until thick and glossy.(At this point you can stir in flavour extract, such as peppermint or lemon, and corresponding colouring such as blue or yellow, to your meringue mixture, depending on what kind of macaroons you want – see chef's tip. Or divide the meringue among different bowls if you want to make more than one colour.

4. Fold half the almond and icing sugar mixture into the meringue and mix well. Add the remaining half, making sure you use a spatula to cut and fold the mixture until it is shiny and has a thick, ribbon-like consistency as it falls from the spatula. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm plain nozzle.

5. Line 2 baking sheets with baking paper. Pipe small rounds of the macaroon mixture, about 3cm across, onto the baking sheets. Give the baking sheets a sharp tap on the work surface to ensure a good ‘foot’. Leave to stand at room temperature for 10-15 minutes to form a slight skin. This is important – you should be able to touch them lightly without any mixture sticking to your finger. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool.

6. Meanwhile, make the filling/s (unless making chocolate macaroons – see chef's tip). In a bowl, beat the butter until light and fluffy, then beat in the icing sugar. (You can now add flavouring or nuts, and colour – see chef's tip.)Use to sandwich pairs of macaroons together.

Alternatively, you can make custard fillings,beat the yolks with the sugar in a bowl and pour them into a small saucepan together with the juice and the zest of the 2 lemons... cook on a low flame until the custard is nice and thick, as you can see; then remove the pan from the heat and fold in the softened butter.(You can now add flavouring or nuts, and colour – see chef's tip). When the butter is completely melted, place the custard in the fridge to set.

Chef's tip
To flavour and colour your macaroons, in step 2, add around ½ tsp flavour extract, then add the appropriate colouring, a drop at a time, until you reach the desired intensity. Flavour and colour the buttercream in the same way.

For chocolate macaroons, replace a quarter of the icing sugar with cocoa powder and use Nutella as the filling.

For pistachio macaroons, replace half the ground almonds with ground pistachios (whizz in a blender or finely chop by hand), and use green food colouring to achieve a pastel green. Fold chopped pistachios through the filling, if you like


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Russian Napoleon Cake

For pastry:
• ==========
• 2 eggs
• 1 cup sour cream (regular or light)
• 2 sticks unsalted butter
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 1/3 tsp baking soda
• 1 tbsp white vinegar
• all-purpose flour enough to make soft dough

For cream:
• ==========
• 1 1/2 quarts of whole milk
• 1 cup of milk (this is not a mistake)
• 1 1/2 cups white sugar
• 4 egg yolks
• 4 very full tbsp flour
• Pinch of salt
• 1 shot of vodka, brandy, or rum
• (Amaretto or Bailey's are also good)
• 1 lemon (zest only)
• vanilla essence or vanilla powder to taste
• Pinch of nutmeg
• 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter


Mix eggs, soft butter and sour cream together till they blend well. Add salt.
In a table spoon, dissolve baking soda in vinegar - you will see "bubbles". When bubbling stops, add soda+vinegar to your mixture. Stir well.
Start adding flour, cup-by-cup, make soft smooth dough. Don't knead it too much, just enough to make it smooth and "un-sticky".

Split dough into 16 pieces, form little balls.
Cover the dough with plastic, and put in the fridge to chill.
While it's chilling, prepare cream.

Custard Cream:
Pour 1 1/2 quarts of milk into thick bottom pot and bring it to boil.
Don't use aluminum pots - it will burn !

While the milk is warming up, prepare the cream mix:
Separate egg yolks and stir them very well with sugar and a pinch of salt
- until mix turns very light yellow.

Add flour, mix well.

Add 1 cup cold milk, mix very well. Avoid lumps.

When your milk starts to boil, reduce the heat immediately to low.

Pour the cream mixture into boiling milk very slowly, using a whisk to stir the cream.

Bring the mixture to boil again, constantly stirring it.
When it starts boiling, you will see it become thicker.
Let it simmer for 2-3 minutes, don't forget to stir at all times.

Remove from the stove, add lemon zest, vanilla, nutmeg, and vodka (rum, brandy, or liquor).

When you are able to touch the pot, add butter and mix it in as it melts. Set aside.

Back to pastry:
Preheat oven to 420 degrees F.

Turn off the phone, so no one can distract you for 1 hour.
a. Get 1 piece of dough from the fridge, roll it into a very thin crust on well floured surface - as thin as you can, forming a round or a square crust.

b. Roll the crust onto rolling pin, and unroll it onto UNGREASED baking sheet.

c .Pierce crust with the fork all over.

d. Bake in the oven for 2 minutes or until lightly golden. Don't over bake. It is better when it is not dark.

e. Remove the crust from the oven and put aside.
Repeat steps a-e for all the rest of the dough.

Never leave the kitchen while the crust is in the oven - check it all the time - it bakes very quickly.
Bake the last crust a little longer than others, letting it turn brown.

Put one crust on the cake dish.
Pour a ladle full of cream onto it.
Use skimmer to spread the cream evenly on the crust.
Repeat for all crusts, except for the brown one.

Crush the brown crust on the board, using the rolling pin - just roll it over the crust several times - it will make great fine crumbs.

Pour the crumbs over the top layer of the cake.

Let the cake soak for 2-3 hours. Cut out the uneven edges, forming your favorite cake shape - square or round, or oval. You get to eat all of the cut-offs... mmmm...


Napolean sponge



2.6kg. self-rising flour
794g. butter, room temperature
1-3/4 cups. white sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp. water
Raspberry jam


600g. butter (room temperature)
600g. white sugar
570g. self-rising flour
2 tbsp. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
Strawberry frosting
Shredded coconut


Cream butter and sugar. Blend egg yolk with water; mix with butter and sugar mixture. Blend in flour. Roll out very thin. Line a grease lamington tin with half of the pastry. Prick well and spread with a good layer of raspberry jam.


Cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs. Fold in flour, then milk and vanilla. Pour this mixture into the pasty case, making a slight hollow in the center. Roll out the remaining half of the pastry; spread with raspberry jam. Place on top of cake with jam side face down.

Bake in moderate oven 180ºC/350ºF for 35-40 minutes, or until pastry is browned and sponge cake is done. Turn onto a wire rack to cool. When cold frost with strawberry flavoured pink frosting, then sprinkle with shredded coconut.


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