I grew up eating Agar Agar jelly as a kid, and would always see it featured in some form or another at potluck gatherings with friends and family. Sometimes it’d be flavoured but most of the time it’s jelly with some fresh fruit inside. These agar agar jellies have a bit more bite to it, and it’s why you can use jelly moulds to make these because they should come out of the moulds with ease and still hold its shape. You can also use agar agar powder as a vegan substitute for gelatin so there’s actually plenty of uses for it!
Makes: Around 16 Jellies
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Passive Time: 1 hour
600ml Lychee Syrup (From can of lychees in syrup)
5g Agar Agar Powder
Can of Lychees, Strained
1. Place the lychee syrup and agar agar powder into a saucepan and heat over low/medium heat until agar agar powder as dissolved completely.
2. Pour the mixture into a measuring cup so it’s easier to pour. Place a lychee into the jelly moulds then pour the mixture into jelly moulds to the top.
3. Place the moulds into the fridge for at least 1 hour or until set completely. Take out of the fridge and push the jellies out of the moulds and serve with in a bowl with some leftover lychee syrup and lychees or by itself.
This is probably the best recipe I’ve come across and of course it’s from world renowned pastry chef Pierre Hermé. The macaron shells came out absolutely perfect, it has that crispy outer shell and slightly chewy inside. I’ve attempted to make macarons several times before, and apart from a one off success and using Zumbo’s premix pack, nothing came close to the consistency I was after. Finally found the perfect recipe and while although the shells are flavourless, the filling packs a fruity punch with the lychee flavour coming through. A lovely summer treat.
Lychee & White Chocolate Macarons (adapted from Pierre Herme’s book Macarons)
Makes: 72 Macarons (Around 144 shells)
Preparation Time: 1 hour
Cooking Time: 25 minutes
Passive Time: 2 hours + 24 hours
300g Ground Almonds
300g Icing Sugar
110g Liquefied Egg Whites (See note below)
300g Caster Sugar
75g Mineral Water
110g Liquefied Egg Whites (See note below)
4g Strawberry Food Colouring (Optional)
4g Carmine Red Food Colouring (Optional)
Lychee & White Chocolate Ganache
410g White Chocolate
400g Lychees (Preserved in Syrup)/240g Lychee Purée
60g Liquid Crème Fraîche or Whipping Cream (35% Fat)
Lychee & White Chocolate Ganache
1. Drain the lychees and blend, then strain the lychees to obtain a smooth purée. You will need 240g purée.
2. Chop up the white chocolate so that it can melt more quickly and then place in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Making sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water.
3. In a separate saucepan, bring the cream and lychee puree to the boil.
4. Pour the lychee mixture over the melted chocolate a third at a time. However, with the last third, check if the chocolate mixture is thick enough because if your puree is quite runny already you won’t be able to pipe the ganache properly but also note the ganache will thicken when cooled as well.
5. Once mixed together, pour the ganache into a bowl and then cover with clingfilm, making sure that the clingfilm touches the surface of the ganache so a skin doesn’t form. Set aside in the fridge for the ganache to thicken.
1. Sift the icing sugar and ground almonds in a large sized bowl.
2. If you wanted to add food colouring, you would add this to your first portion of liquefied egg whites. Pour the egg white mixture over the icing sugar and ground almonds but don’t stir it.
3. Combine the water and caster sugar in a saucepan and bring to boil and when the syrup reaches 115°C, simultaneously start whisking the second portion of liquefied egg whites in a stand mixer to soft peaks.
4. When the sugar mixture reaches 118°C, take off from the heat and slowly pour into the egg whites making sure the egg whites are still being whisked to avoid cooking the eggs. Whisk the mixture until the meringue cools down to 50°C.
5. Fold the meringue into the icing sugar/ground almonds mixture. Spoon the batter into a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle.
6. Pipe the batter into circles around 3.5cm in diameter. Space these around 2cm apart on lined baking trays. Leave the shells to stand for at least 30 minutes or until they form a skin. You should be able to touch the shell without the batter sticking to you.
7. Preheat the fan oven to 180°C then put the trays in the oven. Bake for 12 minutes, quickly opening and shutting the door two times during cooking. Once down, take out of the oven and slide the shells onto a work surface and allow to cool.
1. Once the ganache has cooled, spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle. Pipe a mound of ganache onto half of the shells. Then press together the piped shell with the clean shell. Store the macarons in the fridge for 24 hours and bring back out at the point of serving.
I purchased a Mochi recipe book a few years back and finally got around to trialling one of them. The recipe book is called Mochi, Fresh Handmade Mochi by Fiona Fong and has quite a number of interesting Mochi recipes. This recipe caught my eye because it was one of the simpler recipes and I the ingredients were easily obtainable, plus I do like Soya Bean milk. Win-win!
Soya Bean Mochi (adapted from Mochi by Fiona Fong)
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Passive Time: 150 minutes (Cooling Time)
Japanese cornstarch, dusting
50ml Whipping cream, whipped
15g plain flour
30g glutinous rice flour
30g caster sugar
135g soya bean milk (unsweetened)
2 tbsp butter/shortening
2 tbsp condensed milk
Soya Bean Cheese Filling
50g soya bean milk (unsweetened)
50g cream cheese
40g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
100g whipping cream, whipped
4g gelatine powder
20g icy water
1. Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl well. Pour in a container and place in a steamer to steam for 5-10 minutes over high heat until solid.
2. Take out the dough and let cool. Then transfer it to the fridge to chill for 1-2 hours.
3. Knead to smooth and elastic dough
Tofu Cheese Filling
1. Place cream cheese in room temperature to soften. Whip the soft cheese and caster sugar with a whisk to stir well. Add in soya bean milk and egg yolk to mix until smooth and combined.
2. Mix gelatine powder and icy water in a bowl and combine. Sit in a hot water bath (double boil) and stir until gelatine dissolved.
3. Fold in the whipped cream and gelatine solution in the cheese mixture. Place in fridge to chill for 20-25 minutes.
1. Roll 30g of the dough with a rolling pin. Place in dusted cornstarch in an ice cream scoop.
2. Put 5g of the filling, whipped cream and 20g of the filling inside the dough. Seal the opening
3. Place the opening at the bottom. Transfer to fridge to chill for 20-30 minutes. Take out the mochi 5-10 minutes before serving to soften again (if preferred)
Wanting to make a Panna Cotta but without the trouble of pureeing fruits like mangos to make the Panna Cotta, I found this white chocolate recipe on Taste.com.au. The addition of the coffee syrup intrigued me as it seemed too delicious not to give it a try. I’ve made this a couple times already and have made a few changes to the recipe to my liking. As something extra, I tried to add some toffee on top just to make it look nicer.
You will need eight 150ml capacity dariole moulds for this recipe. If you like to serve it in bowls, just any small bowls will do.
600ml thickened cream
1 x 180g pkt white chocolate, broken into small pieces
160ml (2/3 cup) milk (can use light milk)
70g (1/3 cup) caster sugar
2 tbs boiling water
3 tsp powdered gelatine
Coffee Syrup (Version 1)
100ml freshly brewed strong espresso coffee or 3 Nespresso capsules using the espresso function
3 or 4 tsp white sugar
Coffee Syrup (Version 2)
100ml freshly brewed espresso coffee (3 Nespresso capsules using the espresso function – froth skimmed off)
100g raw sugar/caster sugar
215g (1 cup) caster sugar
60ml (1/4 cup) water
1. Heat water in a small saucepan over medium/high heat until it starts to boil. In a separate heat-proof bowl place the cream, chocolate, milk and caster sugar in the bowl and over the saucepan over medium/low heat. Cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes or until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth.
2. Place the boiling water in a heatproof bowl. Sprinkle with gelatine and whisk with a fork to remove any lumps. Set aside for 3 minutes or until gelatine dissolves. (I also just place the bowl of gelatine on top of my bowl of boiling water which helps keep it warm/dissolve any extra gelatine powder)
3. Add gelatine to cream mixture and whisk to combine.
4. Pour among eight 150ml capacity dariole moulds. Place on a baking tray. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 6 hours to set. Or overnight. Make sure the plastic wrap is tight as some of the heat from the mixture may create water droplets and affect the consistency on the top layer of the panna cotta (Although not an issue if using dariole moulds and turning them upside down)
5. Dip moulds, 1 at a time, into hot water for 1-2 seconds, then turn onto serving plates. Drizzle with coffee syrup (steps below) to serve.
Coffee Syrup (Version 1)
1. Place the coffee and white sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Set aside to cool.
Note: You may not even need to heat it over a saucepan if you can dissolve the sugar in the hot coffee/espresso. If using Nespresso capsules, just skim off the froth before serving.
Coffee Syrup (Version 2)
1. Place the coffee and sugar in a small saucepan over medium/high heat until it starts to boil. Reduce down to a medium/low heat and stir until the syrup coats the back of the spoon or until the consistency desired. Please note that if you place the syrup in the fridge (or when cooled down) the syrup will be slightly more thicker and viscous than when it was cooking. Set aside to cool and then place into the fridge if you prefer it to be a thicker consistency.
1. Stir water and sugar in a saucepan over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Don’t bring it to the boil until all the sugar is dissolved.
2. Increase heat to high. To dissolve any sugar left on the side of the pan, brush down with a wet pastry brush. Bring to boil.
3. Cook until the mixture is a rich golden colour – don’t let it burn. Remove from heat – the residual heat continues to colour toffee.
- Toffee troubleshooting: A common problem when making toffee is crystallisation. The sugar clumps together into a white and grainy syrup that turns into a messy solid mass. To avoid starting again, try these tips.
- Dissolve the sugar completely before increasing the heat and bringing the mixture to the boil. You’ll know when it’s dissolved – there won’t be any crystals on your spoon.
- Brush any sugar crystals from the side of the pan with a wet pastry brush during the toffee-making process. Undissolved sugar on the side of the pan causes crystallisation.
- Don’t stir the toffee mixture once it comes to the boil – this also leads to crystallisation.
I reduced the sugar from the original recipe as I find the white chocolate already adds a significant amount of sugar to the panna cotta. The panna cotta here is smooth and creamy but slightly denser due to the larger quantity of thickened cream used. Some may prefer a lighter panna cotta (I actually do) but due to the amount of cream used and in the white chocolate too, it really can’t be helped. I’m not sure if increasing the milk quantity and lowering the cream would result in a panna cotta that sets properly but certainly I’ll keep you updated to see if that does work.
The coffee syrup (Number 1) is a more liquid syrup with less sugar. It allows the bitterness and strong espresso flavour to come out and since the panna cotta has enough sweetness, the contrast makes an excellent combination.
Version 2 of the coffee syrup is sweeter due to the requirement to make it more viscous and thicker. You don’t know how many times I tried reducing the first version into a thicker syrup when it couldn’t possibly do so with the minimal sugar added. The consistency of version 2 is lovely though.
As mentioned above, the toffee should only be added at the very last minute, as it will start to turn to liquid when either in contact with the panna cotta or coffee syrup slowly.
This recipe was a crowd pleaser so I definitely can recommend giving it a try and it’s very easy to make as well.
Mooncake Festival is one of those Chinese traditions, where you eat a considerable amount of mooncake to celebrate well, a full moon. There are a number of Chinese festivals and it’s hard to keep track of them all but the Mooncake festival is one of those bigger occasions other than Chinese New Year. Lately I’ve become fond of the “snow skin” mooncakes and staying away from those traditional mooncakes which are golden brown in colour and have a wonderful fragrance to it. It’s probably due to my affection for mochi. We decided to give this a try using Christine’s Recipe. Check it out below
Pandan Snow Skin Mooncakes with Coconut Mung Bean Filling (Christine’s Recipes)
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 60 mins
Yield: 16 mini mooncakes (50 grams each)
55 gm glutinous rice flour
45 gm rice flour
25 gm wheat flour / wheat starch
60 gm caster sugar
190 ml milk
30 ml condensed milk
25 ml vegetable oil (such as sunflower oil or canola oil)
40 ml pandan juice
2 to 3 drops of pandan paste / pandan essence, optional
320 gm peppermint lotus paste (or any other filling you like!)
2 Tbsp cooked glutinous rice flour, for coating
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine glutinous rice flour, rice flour, wheat flour and sugar well.
2. Mix milk, condensed milk, pandan juice and oil together. Pour into the flour mixture and stir to combine. Drain through a fine sieve into a large and shallow pan.
3. Steam the batter in a wok over medium-high heat, for about 15 to 20 minutes. Try a bit of the dough. If it doesn’t have any raw flour taste, it’s cooked through. Remove from wok and let it cool down.
5. Divide mung bean filling into 16 portions, 20 grams of each. Roll each into a round shape.
6. Wrap each filling ball with a dough portion. Roll with your palms and lightly coat with cooked glutinous rice flour. Shake off any excess flour. Place into a mooncake mould. Press to print the pattern. Repeat this step until finish all the dough and fillings. Store the mooncakes into an air-tight container. Put kitchen paper on top to prevent any condensed water dropped on the mooncake surface. Refrigerate overnight. Enjoy.
– How to prepare cooked glutinous rice flour: Simply cook the flour in a frypan without any oil over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. When smoke releases and the flour turns light yellow, it’s cooked. Remove from the heat and let it cool down completely. Then you can use it to coat your mooncakes.
– When the dough is still hot, it seems to be quite oily. Don’t worry. It won’t be greasy at all, when it cools down completely.
– The snow skin mooncakes can be stored in freezer up to a few weeks. Before serving, just transfer the mooncakes to fridge for about 3 hours, until they become soften a bit.
I used a peppermint lotus paste for this recipe which I kindly received from a family friend in Malaysia. It had quite an interesting flavour to it but I’m not quite sure if it would be too many peoples’ liking.
For this recipe I used a bit more pandan essence as when I tasted the mixture, it was almost non existant but YMMV. I found I could only make 10 mooncakes with this recipe, I’m uncertain if it’s because the mixture evaporated or Christine used smaller moulds. I thought these were quite small anyway.
Eaten fresh, these mooncakes are soft with a bit of bite to them but once left out in the open for sometime they seem to harden up. I’m unsure if that’s just normal with these snow skin mooncakes because I’ve tried a Hong Kong variation which is stored in the fridge that was very soft to the touch and absolutely delicious (Mango flavoured). I’ll probably try a different recipe next time but these turned out relatively so it’s not a bad recipe by any means.
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