Tuesday, 31 August 2010

French Toast for Breakfast and Dinner




My son had a bit of a stomach bug yesterday and couldn't eat very much. He was hungry though and so I suggested making some French Toast. The eyes of my little princess lit up as she asked "Like the ones in hotels?"

Yes, I replied, just like the ones in the buffet breakfasts at hotels. To make the French Toast a little more interesting, I dusted them with cinammon and sugar. Rather yummy indeed!

This morning, being a public holiday for Malaysia's Independance Day, the kids again asked if they could have French Toast - this time for breakfast. I remarked that there was no more cinammon nor was there any more bread. The bread problem was easily fixed by popping over to the local petol station but there was no cinammon there. It was also too early to get any cinammon from the local supermarket. So, this time, I just dusted the toast with icing sugar.




Ingredients
4 eggs
pinch of salt
2 Tbsp milk
8-10 slices white bread

Method
In a shallow bowl, beat eggs, milk and salt lightly with a fork. Over medium-low heat, heat a skillet or shallow pan with a thin layer of oil or butter.
Dip the bread slices, one at a time, into the bowl to coat one side then carefully turn to coat the other side.

Transfer bread skillet and cook till the bottom is nicely browned before turning over to cook the other side. Remove to a plate and while hot, sprinkle with cinnnamon sugar or icing sugar. Alternatively, serve with some honey or maple syrup.




It's quite amazing how something so simple is so well liked. My little princess wolfed down 5 pieces - equivalent to 2.5 slices of bread. Her words said it all as she reached for piece number 5 - "I'm already full, but I'm still hungry!"

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Sungai Kelang Mud Cake



This is a really easy recipe that delivers quire a stunning dessert. I've had this recipe for quite a while but haven't made it in the longest time. I used to make this dessert without any baking.

However, I am a little averse nowadays to using uncooked eggyolks and so I now bake this recipe for a short while. However you can opt not to bake it if you so desire. That cuts out the baking and cooling time and makes this dessert even easier to make!

This dessert is one of those that doesn't look terribly attractive and neither does it photograph very well. It is definitely one of those desserts that you shouldn't judge just by looks alone! It is really delicious and its the kind of dessert that you just can't have one slice off...


This dessert is like a Missisipi Mud Pie and it uses crushed biscuits instead of flour to give it body. It tastes really good on its own and is even better with a scoop of ice cream. The cake needs to thaw a little once out of the fridge. Since we are far away from Missisipi, I decided to have a little fun and call this the Sungai Kelang Mud Cake. Sungai Kelang means Klang River - where Klang is a town in Selangor - and is in fact one of two rivers that meet at the confluence that gave Kuala Lumpur its name. I've mentioned this before in my Baked Mackerel recipe.




Ingredients
300g Good Quality Chocolate
200g Butter
2 eggs
150g caster sugar
225g Marie Biscuits or similar
100g chopped almonds
100ml cream
Method
Melt butter and chocolate in a double boiler. mix till smooth. Allow to cool. Beat eggs with sugar till light. Stir in cooled chocolate mixture. Meanwhile, whip cream till stiff. Add to chocolate mixture and fold in well. Crush the biscuits or process in a food processor till it forms crumbs. Mix biscuits into the chocolate mixture. Add in the nuts and mix well. Pour into a greased pyrex dish and bake for 20mins in a 180C oven. Allow to cool then refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

I made this recently and aside from the kids, who always enjoy my desserts, my Father-in-law really enjoyed it. The kids couldnt quite get enough of it and the dessert was had for lunch, tea, dinner, supper and again the next day after breakfast and lunch. Come dinner time, the kids looked at me wistfully and asked why there wasn't anymore of the dessert.


Why Indeed! It was as if everyone else had eaten it all and they hadn't had any!! It's always a pleasure when desserts are enjoyed!

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Another Birthday Cake for The Lovely Wife...



TLW celebrated another birthday on the 10th August so that means I'm late with this post. I wasn't late with her cake though so that's what matters! This time around, TLW knew what she wanted. One of her favourite desserts, if not the most favourite, is Tiramisu. I have my own version that she really loves. However, there is a certain restaurant/cafe in Kuala Lumpur that serves a Tiramisu Cake that she loves too. I specifically mention Tiramisu Cake as it is more a cake than a Tiramisu - which to me, needs to be served in a bowl and scooped out. But to each their own.

Everytime she mentions the Tiramisu Cake at Alexis (said Cafe/Restaurant), I feel a little stab at my heart. I have to admit that it is pretty good though. What is nice is that they use pralines/caramelised almonds on top. They also put a layer of chocolate in between the layers of cream. To finish it off, the cake is seated on a bed of strawberry coulis.

So for this birthday, TLW asked if I could replicate the Alexis Tiramisu Cake. I retorted that if I had their recipe, I could do it very easily but just to make her happy, I would see what I could do.
Type your summary here



I had it all planned out. However, a good plan doesn't always work out. I decided to use the Dorie Greenspan Perfect Party Cake for the cake layers. I would then use my Tiramisu recipe for the cheese layers, add in some chocolate shavings, make pralines for the top and use some strawberries for decoration. Sounded like a good plan.
However some things did go wrong. Firstly, the cake didn't whip up as well as it usually does. It was still nice, just not as light and fluffy as it usually is. I put that down to not using new eggs and the fact that I didn't have any cake flour and used plain flour.
Then my pralines didnt turn out as well as they usually do either. This was due to me trying a new method of making pralines. Usually, I make the caramel first and then thrown the roasted nuts in. This time, I threw the nuts together with the sugar and tried to caramelise the whole thing - as suggested in one recipe book I referred to. It kinda worked but was a little grainy. Next time I'll stick to my tried and tested method!




Since there were leftover egg yolks, I decided to make a Sabayon to add into the cheese mix to reduce wastage. I reduced the alcohol for the coffee mixture as the Sabayon had so much alcohol in it. I also doubled my cheese mixture but that left a lot of leftover filling.



All in all though, the cake turned out really good and TLW was very pleased with the cake. She did comment that the praline wasn't properly caramelised and she also didnt quite like the fact that there was so much cream filling around the cake. That was my mistake as I completely misjudged the measurement. Since there was so much cream mixture, I placed the cake in a large springform so there was too much cream around the cake.



Nonetheless, the cake was a real success. The kids loved it as well! TLW took some of the cake to her mother's the next day but made sure to keep enough at home for a second nights eating. And after we shared a piece after dinner, she snuck down later that night to quietly enjoy the final piece of cake on her own...!





Ingredients
For the cake - 1 perfect party cake recipe

For the Cream and Sabayon mixture
*Note - Mixture is enough for 1.5 cakes.
800ml whipping cream
3 Tbsp icing sugar
500g cream cheese
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup creme cacao
5 Tbsp sugar

For the Coffee Mixture
1 cup hot water
2.5 Tbsps Instand Coffee powder
1/2 cup Kahlua
1/2 cup cold water

For the Pralines
250g sugar
150g roasted almonds

200g dark chocolate bar
strawberries
cocoa

Method

Make the cake first and set aside. Then make the sabayon. Place the eggs, sugar and choc liqueur in a heatproof bowl. Place bowl over a pan of simmering water. Dont let the bottom of pan touch the water. Whisk with an electric beater till mixture is thick and pale, leaving a small trail when beaters are lifted. (about 10 mins)
Remove bowl from heat and continue whisking for another few minutes. Place in fridge.

Cream the cheese until soft. Set aside. Then whip cream with icing sugar until stiff. Mix Sabayon with cream cheese till smooth. Fold in cream and mix well till incorporated.

Using a large kitchen knife, shave or chop the chocolate lengthwise to get long shavings. Keep shaved chocolate in fridge until ready to use.

Dissolve coffee in boiling water. Let cool. Mix Liqueur and cold water. Pour into coffee.

Place the sponge in a springform pan or similar pan of the same size as the cake. Soak the cake with half the coffee mixture. cover with a thin layer of chocolate and then top off with the cream mixture. Place the second sponge layer on top and soak with remaining coffee. Top with remaining chocolate and cover with cream mixture. Smoothen the top and let set in fridge. Before serving, dust with cocoa and Cover with chopped pralines. Decorate with sliced Strawberries.



Perfect Party Cake
Courtesy of Dorie Greenspan’s Baking from My Home to Yours (page 250).
For the Cake

2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups whole milk
4 large egg whites
1 ½ cups sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
4 ounces butter, at room temperature
½ teaspoon pure lemon extract

Centre a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9 x 2 inch round cake pans and line the bottom of each pan with a round of buttered parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.

To Make the Cake
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl.
Put the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl or another large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant.
Add the butter and working with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light.
Beat in the extract, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed.
Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated.
Add the rest of the milk and eggs beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients.
Finally, give the batter a good 2- minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated.
Divide the batter between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cakes are well risen and springy to the touch – a thin knife inserted into the centers should come out clean
Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unfold them and peel off the paper liners.
Invert and cool to room temperature, right side up (the cooled cake layers can be wrapped airtight and stored at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to two months).



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