Thursday, 25 April 2013

Match Made in Heaven, Taste Hailed on Earth - Blueberry Cheese Tarts

Blueberry Cheese Tart is one of those international delicacies loved by many Malaysians. Despite the sweet and tart taste of the cream cheese batter, the overall look of the blueberry cheese tart is appetizingly inviting.
The Individual Tart pans for molding and baking the Tart Shells
The typical construction of a blueberry cheese tart is simple! There are 3 components to make up these lil' sweet things; the tart shell (sugar crust), blueberry filling, and the cream cheese batter. The tart shell is as basic and classic pastry crust as you could ever imagine. Sugar Crust is better suited for sweet desserts like blueberry cheese tarts. For this blueberry cheese tarts, the sugar crust or the tart shells will be blind-baked first before proceeding to the assembly and make up process (the second bake is for the cream cheese batter which does not require a long time to cook). Sugar crust recipe has been innovated through various ways and ingredients until now. It can be quite overwhelming to pick an ideal and mistake-proof recipe out of the bunch. However, I’ve seen now that these tart shells being sold increasingly in bakery supply shops. For those who always in time-constraints can always benefits from this. But regardless, sugar crust is versatile that it could compliment other pastries too.
Perfectly baked Tart Shells should come out Golden Brown. You can make a bunch of these in advance to ease future production.
 The blueberry filling is actually optional, but to say a tart is a blueberry variation, of course you have to put in something to do with blueberry right? The way we normally do it is to put some of the filling in the center of the cheese tart shell. When talking about the filling, there are several options in the matter of form. Blueberry Filling is much more favorable option as it is better in keeping the tart shells from getting soggy. Budget friendly filling always opted for blueberry jam or preserves. These work as well but the higher moisture content in these types of jellies will result in soggy tarts. Unless if they are to be consumed right away then it will be fine.
A well balanced recipe will produce Soft but Firm Tarts (not tough and hard) with Crumbly Crust. Too much moisture will soften the crust and make them Soggy.
As do with other bakers, marbling the cream cheese batter has always been the fun factor in making the cheese tarts. Here in Malaysia, we can see that some baker will marble part of the blueberry filling on top. However, due to the different texture of both filling and batter, the baked cheese tart will have irregular texture on top. The swirled filling will dry out in the process of baking and create some ridges and wells. Although this might look unsightly to some people, the taste of the cheese tart never altered. Another way to create the marbling effects on the cheese tart is by using the batter itself. Have fun with colors! Usually, bakers will spare a little batter and tint it deep purple to mimic the color of blueberry. The tinted batter then, used to create swirls on the poured batter in the tart shells. An advantage of using this technique is that the surface of the tart will baked smoothly without any weird texture.
Simple Swirls and Marbling Effects to uplift the Appetite
So much to say about little pastries but never the less, the taste speaks for itself. I'd say it's a match made in heaven of Blueberry and Cheese. Like those of White Chocolate & Raspberry, Lemon & Poppy Seed, and Pecan & Coffee.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Subtle Sweet, Etheral Appeal - Sugar Cookies

Sugar cookies can be said as one of the famous cookies ever created. Not so much on its taste but the versatility to serve in different occasion as individually distinctive. You can find sugar cookies used on seasonal periods like the Easter Celebration, Christmas Celebration, and other occasions internationally. In Malaysia on the other hand, you will find sugar cookies easily in near Eid or Hari Raya Aidilfitri. Muslims will prepare a range of cookies to be served continually during the Eid month. However, the cookies that I am talking about does not named similarly to “Sugar Cookies”, instead, we call it “Mama Carey”. I haven’t got any clue of how the term “Mama Carey” came about, but I know it is the same basic idea of sugar cookies. Mama Carey in Malaysia tends to be thicker in depth and smaller in size (as with other types of cookies), and always made in heart-shaped figure. The royal icing on top is not as lavish as the international sugar cookies and the creative design used would always be the marbleized effects.
The texture of sugar cookies is crunchy but with a little bit crumbliness (this is subject to the ingredients and recipe used). More or less like sugar crust you use to make tarts and pies shells. However, sugar cookies taste better than the sugar crust with slightly sweeter bites. Additionally, the royal icing gives the cookies more dimension in tastes, texture, and the overall eye appeal. A little touch of décor can make them even fancier!
Talking about royal icing, it is basically a hard sugar coating/icing and traditionally used to cover pastry products to preserve its freshness. Civilization has taken the royal icing into a decoration options and this had allowed creativity to engage in pastry production ever since. Further read on Royal Icing can be directed from here.
Frankly speaking, the main joy about making sugar cookies (or Mama Carey, for that matter) is the post-baking or the decorating process. Weighing, mixing, and baking the ingredients can be a little bit boring at times. Of course there is nothing creative in reiterating same recipe over and over again right? Hence I devote my time in the decorating process. Decorating the cookies always excite me with ideas in transforming them from dull pieces of cookies into cute little fancies.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Chocolate Versatility - Chocolate Ganache

Smooth Criminal - Guilt-free Chocolate Indulgence
Chocolate Ganache is just voluptuously divine! Why? First of all, it’s chocolate!, second, it tastes awfully wonderful and chocolaty, and third, its smooth texture caresses your glutton inside. It's a definite chocolate decadent regardless of anything else! Lol!

Soft enough to spread, Firm enough to its hold shape
It is actually not that hard to make your own Chocolate Ganache. Two simple ingredients that make up chocolate ganache are; the quintessential – chocolate, and cream. Some will add in butter for additional shine and some will use vegetable oil instead. How simple are the ingredients? People say “less is more”, with Chocolate Ganache, I couldn’t agree more. Simpler ingredients really do make an powerful impact.

Some example of Chocolate Ganache used as Piped Ornamental Decoration
Chocolate ganache is a soft textured chocolate cream used in variety of different purposes like icing a cake, as filling for the cake or cookies, and also as centers to chocolate truffles. The ratio of chocolate to cream may be different in recipes as some require ranges of specific consistency and firmness. Simple principle suggests that more chocolate incorporated, the final ganache will set firmer and on the other hand, with lesser chocolate, it will result in softer ganache. Considering Malaysia is a tropical climate country, with hot and humid climate, firmer ganache is much favorable. At least it can hold through high temperature of the climate and what's more important, it'll taste even better with higher ratio of chocolate to the cream (don’t you think so?). Plus, firmer Chocolate Ganache will allow you stability in piped decoration like those with Royal Icing.

Piped Ornamental Decoration - Shell
Using chocolate ganache as a cake icing will require strict temperature control as it will melt in higher temperature environment. As mentioned earlier, having to cope with tropical climate all year round, has made chocolate ganache used widely only for fillings. Some will get away with the ganache iced cake served in an air-conditioned room, or offsetting the chocolate-cream ratio in the recipe by gradually increases the chocolate amount. Draw backs to this - taste, structure, and consistency of the end products may also fluctuate accordingly.

Piped Ornamental Decoration - Fleur De Lis
Come to think again, who cares if it melts down or firms up, we indulge chocolate guilt-free in any consistency it offers right?

Piped Ornamental Decoration - Rope

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Ma Petite Chérie - Little Darlings of Spring

It has been a long time since the last time this blog being updated. Apologies for that as I have been really busy with my study, assignments and other jobs. Never the less, I have been gathering materials to keep this blog posted. InsyaAllah.

Soothing Turquoise reminiscent of Spring
Just recently I’ve made a wedding gift cake for the client of Butik Pengantin Kaseh Collection as part of the complimentary extras of the package chosen. I have to admit that I had a hard time trying to finish up the cake as I mentioned before that I was busy with other things. But, it went all right at the end. The cake turned out better than I expected. Alhamdulillah
Wedding of Ejan and Ekin - Johan Setia, Klang
The flavor of the cake was Semi-Sweet Chocolate Cake (since it’s a favorite!) with chocolate buttercream filling. I’ve been told that the color theme of the client’s wedding was turquoise and hence to selection. The décor wasn’t much elaborated – Message on cake and just scatters of little royal icing roses. The base fondant is tinted with turquoise color to match the wedding theme and the little roses were inspired by the Spring Season.
Little Darlings of Spring
The overall color pallet chosen was generally primary colors but in slightly off towards soft and muted shades. Pinks replace Red, Turquoise replaces Blue and Yellow. A light Green tinted royal icing was used to make the flowers' leaves just to enliven the overall Spring appeal.
Soft-tonal Primary Hues