Sunday, March 23, 2008
Choux Pastries (Cream Puffs)
Updated on 27th March 2009:

Jiaying, here's the recipe in which I had used from Florence but I've made some slight changes to it:

Ingredients: Makes 8 puffs

Choux Pastry:
85ml water
50g butter
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla essence
50g bread flour
20g cake flour
2 eggs (lightly beaten)

Creme Patisserie:
240ml skim milk (I used half skim milk and half UHT milk as I did not have enough skim milk.)
5 tbsp castor sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1 egg + 2 yolks
2 tbsp cornstarch

Method:

Choux Pastry
1. Cook water, butter, sugar and salt in a saucepan till bubbling hot. Turn the heat to low.
2. Add in the flour mixture in one go and mix with a wooden spoon till a dough is formed.
3. Still on low heat, cook the dough for 1 - 2 minutes till a thin white film is formed at the bottom of the saucepan.
4. Transfer dough to a mixing bowl and beat till it is lukewarm.
5. Add in egg by thirds and mix till well blended and smooth.
6. Place batter into piping bag and pipe it onto a lined pan in rounds of about 5cm in diameter. Spray some water on it.
7. Bake at 200C for 25 minutes then 180C for 8 - 10 minutes or till dry and golden brown in color. Turn off the oven and let it cool in the oven for 30 minutes. (I baked at 200C for about 20 minutes after I saw the puffs turn golden brown and lowered the temperature to 180C to bake for 8 minutes before turning off the oven to let them cool in it for 30 minutes.)

Creme Patisserie
1. Mix 60ml of milk with the cornstarch till smooth.
2. Add the beaten egg and yolks into the cornstarch mixture.
3. Boil the remaining milk with sugar in a saucepan till bubbling hot. Pour 1/3 of this hot milk into the egg cornstarch mixture. Stirring all the time.
4. Now pour the egg cornstarch mixture through a strainer into the rest of the boiling milk. Stirring constantly till mixture thicken. Do not burn the custard.
5. Cling wrap custard with glad wrap with the wrap touching the surface of the custard (this is to prevent a hard film forming on surface of the custard) and chill till ready to use.

Notes: Do not open the oven door in the baking process. Open oven door to remove puffs only after the 30 minutes in-oven cooling process.

Updated on 24th March 2009:

I tried another puff just now and it was still as delicious. :) The pastry wasn't as firm to the touch as before, but rather, it was slightly soft. And it still has the same light and airy texture to it. Here's a photo I took:



* * *

I've been feeling so happy since yesterday. :)

And it is all because I've successfully made these beautiful choux pastries (cream puffs) at my virgin attempt:

I've always wanted to try making these on my own as I've loved cream puffs (of all kinds) since I was a kid. But I never had enough courage to do so after reading all the scary stories about the puffs deflating after removing them from the oven, or the insides being uncooked still even after the specified baking time, etc.

But just last week, I was at my grandma's place and my aunt bought a few packets of some not-so-tasty cream puffs for her to eat. I tried one too and my first reaction was urgh. My grandma is really liking these puffs these days, therefore, I decided to make them for her yesterday. And I'm so glad I did.

They turned out really well (I think), though I wasn't sure if I had achieved the right texture. Maybe someone can advise me a little. My puffs are firm to the touch but once bitten into it, there is no feeling of firmness at all, and instead, it's light and airy. I left just one puff out at room temperature and it is really soft to the touch today. But I kept the rest in an airtight container in the fridge and the texture of those were just like the texture I had yesterday (firm to the touch but light, airy and soft when bitten). Is this correct? Hmm.

Here's a photo of my puffs naked:

Oh, and here's how the inside looks like (this was the best shot I could get):

Dressing them up with creme patisserie that was real smooth and it was not too eggy or sweet:

I just love how they looked:

My grandma really liked them and even had three in a row. I was feeling high because my grandma was actually feeling unwell these few months and she doesn't have the appetite for most foods, but I'm so glad she liked these. I'm so going to make them more often for her to eat. And my aunties gave very positive feedback too. :)

I'm going to try my hands on making Durian Puffs next Saturday and I hope those will turn out fantastic as well. *Crosses fingers.*

posted by An Economist Baker at 8:50 PM - 5 comments
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Sakae Sushi (Teatime Buffet)
Sakae Sushi: Teatime Buffet - 3.00pm - 6.00pm
Location: Century Square
Cost: $13.90++ (For Youth: 13 - 21 years old)

Daph and I finally managed to meet up on a weekday admist our busy schedules to enjoy Sakae's Teatime Buffet. I had two slices of wholemeal bread with strawberry jam (my breakfast) and a packet of Meiji's Chocolate Hello Panda (after I had 3 classes straight without a break in between) before I rushed off to meet her for the buffet. And she have had two Char Siew Baos. This means that we would be able to clear at least 20 plates easily.

Picking up sushi from the conveyor belt:

We were so excited as we had been looking forward to it for ages. Although it wasn't my virgin visit, I got high just thinking about the amount of Fried Hotate and Fried Tofu I could consume. So here's my favourite Fried Hotate: With a breaded crispy layer, topped with some mayonnnaise:

Fried Tofu: I love how thin the skin is, and I was surprised that it was slightly crispy as well. Upon biting into it, the super-soft tofu gushes out immediately and it melts in the mouth instantly.

Our all-time favourite sushi: Chuka Hotate, and I quite appreciated the generous filling:


An assortment: Chuka Hotate, Ebi Sushi, Salmon Sushi and the not-very-tasty Daikon Chips:


And here's a close-up of the weird-tasting Daikon Chips. It was fried really oily, and I didn't like how it greased my fingers. I expected this side dish to be the crispy or crunchy type, but it was rather chewy instead.

The smooth Sakae Chawanmushi: Not the best Chawanmushi I've eaten, but it's passable though:

Fried Salmon slices: This was only okay. nothing spectacular at all and we had a hard time trying to finish this plate as there were many slices and we got a little sick of the taste:

Here's a beautiful shot of Daph with her Ebi Tempura Temaki:

And this is what I had: Mango Avocado Temaki. I didn't really like this because the avocado was too mashed up and it was dumped on top of the lettuce, and then finally topped off with one teeny-weeny-sliced mango piece. The whole combination tasted too weird and mushy for my liking:

Halfway through, but we still continued eating slowly, by ordering more side dishes.

The Okonomiyaki: The batter is made of flour, grated yam, water or dashi, eggs and shredded cabbage, and usually contains other ingredients such as green onion, meat (generally pork or bacon), octopus, squid, shrimp, vegetables, kimchi, mochi or cheese. To me, this tasted similar like the Tako Yaki Balls (see below). It has exactly that kind of chewy texture and I liked eating it warm.

And these are the Tako Yaki Balls with octopus, dabbed with mayonnaise:


I usually liked this Kani Tempura from Sakae Sushi, but I had no idea why this was exceptionally oily that day and the skin did not taste light enough:


Here's an assortment of the different side orders we had: Tako Yaki Balls, Kani Tempura, Fried Hotate, and also the Gyoza that I had enjoyed very much.


This Kizami Unagi sushi was our very first plate and I thought it tasted really yummy. But I was skeptical about the tough seaweed though.

Well, I had not managed to take every single shot of what we had consumed but you get the general idea! :) And at 6.00pm, we were shocked to find out that we had cleared 38 plates in total. Here's a peek:

Oh yes, I felt awfully fat and bloated after that but it was a really nice meal and it was a good time to catch up with my best friend. Therefore, we started to cam-whore to distract ourselves from feeling so stuffed up:

And we made a pact to visit Kuishin-Bo for their buffet together. I can't wait. Hehe.

posted by An Economist Baker at 2:10 PM - 6 comments
Sunday, March 9, 2008
下了一整天的雨
This is one of my favourite Singaporean Kueh. Some call it Wa Ko Kueh (Steamed Rice Cakes), Mo Ko Kueh, or Smiling Kueh (the one I prefer). My mum always gets the Mo Ko Kueh from Bengawan Solo for me and theirs look slightly different, without the "smiley faces" you see here:


I think my mom bought this from one of the stalls in the nearby wet market and upon seeing them, I smiled widely because of the wide array of colors. My favourites are the Pink and Yellow ones, simply because they are the happy and bright-looking colors. These are simply treats that I'd never get sick of, although they taste slightly plain without the orange-colored sugar. A good Mo Ko Kueh should be soft and fluffy, and most importantly, not sticky. These that my mom had bought were really so soft that I could almost feel them melting in my mouth.

I want to smile as happily as these Smiling Kuehs.

今天下了一整天的雨,心情有点闷闷的。希望自己能像这些糕点一样笑得非常灿烂。

posted by An Economist Baker at 8:58 PM - 5 comments
Friday, March 7, 2008
莉莲蛋挞饼屋 (Lillian Cake Shop in Shanghai)
莉莲蛋挞饼屋 (Lillian Cake Shop)
Address: No. 1688, Sichuang N. Rd.
Average cost: RMB 12
Tel: 021-63256143

I was so elated to see a box of Portugese Egg Tarts from 莉莲蛋挞饼屋 (Lillian Cake Shop) that flew all the way back to Singapore from Shanghai, all thanks to my sister's boyfriend who's currently a pilot.

As you can from the box, it actually says that these tarts originated from Macau. So my guess was that these tarts were so delish that Lillian managed to set up several branches overseas.

And so the tarts came back in really good shape:

Well, according to the instructions printed on the box, I was supposed to heat up the tarts in the oven for two minutes before consumption:

And so, I jolly well did. The egg tart tasted reaally good even though I had not consumed it on the day it was bought. After heating it up, the pastry went back to being flaky and slightly crispy, and it was a real sensation biting into the slightly-warmed egg custard filling.

I was never a fan of Portugese Egg Tarts to begin with. I couldn't appreciate the custardy taste the filling had. I think it was because the eggy smell was just way too strong for my liking. My opinion towards Portugese Egg Tarts changed only when Wenjing brought me to this shop in Chinatown to try their pretty famous Portugese Egg Tarts and the shop actually specialises in traditional pastries. I fell in love with it after the first bite. After that, I could not find another Portugese Egg Tart in Singapore that had tasted as delicious as that. But now I've found one from Shanghai that tasted even better! No wonder Lillian was so confident to imprint these Chinese characters on the box:

And look! They sell other yummy-looking cakes too, besides their famous Portugese Egg Tarts.

Now, how I wish that there'd be a Lillian Cake Shop in Singapore too. :(
posted by An Economist Baker at 9:28 PM - 4 comments
About Me
Name: An Economist Baker
About Me: I'm a full-time Economics undergraduate and an avid baker who bakes as and when I feel like it. It is my dream to integrate these two important aspects of my life together, and I hope to have my own bakery cafe in the future.
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