Taiyaki is one of my favourite Japanese snacks. I remember trying it for the first time in a Japanese mall in the USA and absolutely wowed over the crispy exterior and fluffy dough with custard oozing out. So when I came back to Melbourne, I tried to find a good one here but to no avail as yet. I was so tempted to buy a Taiyaki pan on eBay but the cost of shipping would have set me back quite a bit, however, I was fortunate enough to come across a really light one on this street that sells all these commercial kitchenware in Asakusa, Tokyo. I found this recipe from Just One Cookbook that has a nice Taiyaki recipe which is easy enough to follow, and tastes great too.
Taiyaki (By Namiko Chen from Just One Cookbook)
Makes: 5 Pieces
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Passive Time: 1 hour
150g Cake Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 Egg, Beaten
3 tbsp Caster Sugar
100g Red Bean Paste
1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
1. In a large bowl, sift the cake flour, baking powder and baking soda.
2. Add the caster sugar to the flour mix whisk to combine.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg. Add the milk and whisk until well combined.
4. Add the egg and milk mixture to the dry mixture and whisk well. Place the batter in the refrigerator for at least an hour to rest.
5. Take the mixture out of the fridge and pour the batter into a measuring jug. The batter should be around 1 1/4 cups.
6. Place the Taiyaki pan over the stove, and heat the pan on low medium heat. Brush the pan with the vegetable oil.
7. Pour the batter into the mold to around 60% full. Make sure the batter covers all around the mold.
8. Roll the red bean paste into a cylindrical shape and place into the centre of the mold. Pour batter on top to cover it. Close the lid and immediately flip.
9. Cook the Taiyaki for around 2 to 2.5 minutes each side. Then flip and cook for another 2 to 2.5 minutes. Open the pan to check if the Taiyaki is golden in colour. Remove the Taiyaki from the mold and allow to cool on a wire rack.
This recipe for Passionfruit Meringue Tarts is one of my favourites. I absolutely love the slight acidity and tartness of passionfruits while the flavour of the passionfruits being so bold and refreshing. The pastry also as this lovely butteriness to it with a hint of orange zest. You also can’t go wrong with fluffy charred meringue on top, now can you? The recipe was a combination of a few recipes and tweaked slightly so thank you to Halo Baking Emporium and Chocolaterie for the Passionfruit Curd recipe, Jo The Tart Queen for the pastry and The Tasty Bite Blog for the Italian Meringue!
Passionfruit Curd Tarts
Makes: 14 Mini Tarts
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour
Passive Time: 8 hours
205g Passionfruit Pulp
30ml Lemon Juice (Optional)
100g Caster Sugar
190g Unsalted Butter, Cubed
2 Eggs, Lightly Beaten
250g Plain Flour, Sifted
125g Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature and Cubed
100g Caster Sugar
60g Egg (Roughly One Large Egg)
1 tsp Orange Zest
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
3 Egg Whites
1/4 tsp Cream of Tartar
140g Caster Sugar
30g Toasted Coconut Flakes (Optional)
1. Stir together the passionfruit pulp, caster sugar, butter and eggs in a heatproof bowl. Add in the lemon juice if you find the curd isn’t as acidic as you would like.
2. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the surface of the water. Stir for 15 to 20 minutes until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon.
3. Pour into a bowl, and cover the surface of the curd with cling film so that the curd doesn’t form a skin when it cools.
4. Place in the fridge until slightly set, about 2 hours or overnight.
5. In a food processor, combine the butter, plain flour and caster sugar until it forms breadcrumbs like texture.
6. Add in the zest, eggs and vanilla extract into a food processor. Pulse until it the ingredients all come together.
7. Take out the dough from the food processor and roll out the dough into a flat disk. Cling wrap the dough and place it in the fridge to rest for at least 20 minutes.
8. Dust flour over the dough and with a rolling pin, roll the dough out to around 3mm thick. Using a cookie cutter, cut out a small circle and then place onto a mini muffin tray and gently press together so it holds its shape.
9. Gently prick the dough with a fork and then rest the dough in the tray for around 15 minutes before baking.
10. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
11. Place a sheet of crumbled baking paper over the top of each tart shell and add in a few baking weights or uncooked rice/beans. Make sure you don’t add in too many as it can make the base of your tart uneven if it’s too heavy.
12. Blind bake the tart shells in the oven for around 20 minutes. Take the tarts out of the oven and remove the baking weights and baking paper, and place back into the oven for around 5 minutes or until the tarts are golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before filling.
13. Fill the cooled tart shells with the cooled and set curd. Chill the filled tarts in the fridge for at least 2 to 3 hours or overnight. Serve with a sprinkling of flaked coconuts or pipe Italian meringue on the tarts before serving.
14. Place the caster sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves.
15. While the syrup is cooking, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar in a mixer at medium speed until stiff peaks form.
16. Bring to a boil until a candy thermometer registers 120°C, around 5 minutes then take off the heat.
17. Gradually add the syrup in a small stream into the egg white mixture and beat until the mixing bowl is cool to touch, around 7 minutes. The mixture should be thick and glossy.
18. Place the meringue mixture into a piping bag and pipe onto the cooled filled tarts. Lightly brown with a blowtorch and serve.
I grew up drinking Milo and sometimes as a kid I’d just eat a spoonful of the stuff. I love the crunchiness and malt chocolate taste of it. It also goes great as a topping on a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Though I haven’t yet tried making Milo Ice Cream, the next best option was to make a Milo Panna Cotta. I love the smoothness of this dessert, and you can definitely taste the Milo which I was happy about. It’s also pretty easy to make, the hardest part is waiting for it to set!
Milo Panna Cotta (adapted from Nestlé Milo)
Makes: 4 -8 servings
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Passive Time: 2-4 hrs
375ml Whipping Cream
90ml Skim Milk
20ml Boiling Water
40g Caster Sugar
60g Milo Powder
1/2 tbsp Gelatin Powder
Extra Milo Powder for topping
1. Add the 15ml of water to the gelatin powder and set aside for around 5 minutes to soften up.
2. In another small bowl, add the milo powder and then pour in the boiling water and mix until it forms a smooth paste.
3. Combine the caster sugar, skim milk and cream in a saucespan and bring to boil.
4. Add the Milo paste to the cream mixture and whisk until combined.
5. Take off from the heat, and then add the soften gelatin to the mixture and stir until the gelatin has completely dissolved.
6. Sieve the mixture to remove any undissolved Milo.
7. Pour the mixture into pudding moulds and allow the Panna Cotta to set in the fridge for 2 to 4 hours.
8. Serve with a teaspoon of Milo powder on top.
I love making desserts that aren’t traditional and pairing Asian flavours with Western desserts. I really wanted to try infusing tea flavours into a Portuguese Egg Tart and couldn’t find any recipes on how to do it. So I had to think on how I would normally infuse a milk mixture with tea. Found a nice Portuguese Egg Tart recipe from Not Quite Nigella that I tweaked a bit with the addition of the jasmine tea. The end result was quite good, the Jasmine Tea flavour is subtle yet distinct as Jasmine Tea can be quite intense and overpowering but here it worked really well actually!
Jasmine Tea Portuguese Egg Tarts (adapted from Not Quite Nigella)
Makes: 12 Tarts
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 40 minutes
Passive Time: 2-3 hours
2 Egg Yolks
100g Caster Sugar
2 tbsp Cornflour
400ml Full Cream Milk
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Sheet Ready Rolled Puff Pastry (300g)
1 tsp Jasmine Tea Leaves
20ml Hot/Boiling Water
1. In a heatproof cup or bowl, pour in the hot/boiling water and then add in the jasmine tea leaves to steep for around 10 minutes.
2. Combine the milk and jasmine mixture in a saucespan and heat over medium heat and bring to the boil. Turn off the heat, cover the saucespan and allow the mixture to cool and steep further for around 20 minutes.
3. Place the eggs, egg yolks, sugar and sifted cornflour into a medium sized bowl and whisk together until smooth.
4. Strain the jasmine milk mixture and using a spoon to press against the tea leaves to extract more flavour from the leaves.
5. Gradually add in the milk mixture to the egg mixture and whisk until smooth.
6. Pour the mixture in a saucespan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally so that the the bottom of the mixture doesn’t overcook, until the mixture thickens and comes to the boil. Do not over stir as that can cause the custard to split. Remove from the heat.
7. Add in the vanilla extract and stir until combined. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and cover the surface of the custard with cling wrap as a skin will form if this is not done. Leave to cool.
8. Grease a 12-hole 80ml muffin tray and preheat the oven to 200°C.
9. Cut the pastry sheet in half, and the place one half of the sheet on top of the other and set aside for 5 minutes.
10. Roll the pastry tightly from the short end and then cut into 12 equal pieces.
11. Lightly flour the surface and roll out each until each is 10cm in diameter and then place the pastry sheets into the greased muffin tray.
12. Remove the cling wrap from the cooled custard and spoon the mixture into the pastry tarts.
13. Place the muffin tray into the oven for around 20 to 25 minutes or until the pastry and custard are golden. Leave the tarts in the tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
I have this slight obsession on how many different desserts I could add green tea to. I haven’t come close to what I want to achieve yet, slowly but surely I’ll be finally satisfied! I found this recipe from Anncoo Journal for a lovely green tea (matcha) milk pudding, it isn’t as heavy or rich as a panna cotta would be since it doesn’t use cream and I recommend using full cream milk instead of a low fat option just because it kinda needs that slight richness to it.
Green Tea Pudding (from Anncoo Journal)
Serves: 3-4 people
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Passive Time: at least 2-3 hrs
2 1/2 tsp Green Tea Powder
2 1/4 tsp Gelatin Powder
2 tbsp Water
Cooked Sweet Red Beans (Optional)
1. Add the water to a small bowl, and then add in the gelatin powder and allow it to soak.
2. In a small saucespan, add the milk, sugar and green tea powder and cook under medium heat until almost to the boil.
3. Lower the heat, and then add in the soaked gelatin and mix until the gelatin has completely dissolved then remove from heat.
4. Strain the mixture if necessary and then pour into moulds and allow to cool. Place in the refrigerator to set for a few hours before serving. Optional: Serve with cooked sweet red beans.