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Archive for February, 2009

Pineapple Tarts

Pineapple Tarts

Pineapple tart filling

Pineapple tart filling

This is one of the items I made this year for Chinese New Year– everything is from scratch… it’s very time consuming and yet the result is very rewarding. This is one of my family’s favorite.

Pineapple Tart Recipe (makes 75 pieces):

Pastry Ingredients:
2 (4oz)sticks + 2 tbsp butter
2 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup milk powder
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 egg

Filling: cooked pineapples (see below for recipe)– make into 75 small balls.

Glazing: 1 beaten egg yolk + few drops water

Method:

  1. In a large bowl, microwave butter until soft (not melted).
  2. Cream soften butter and icing sugar. Add egg and mix until well blended.
  3. Sift flour and milk powder into butter mixture. Use a spatula to mix well to form a dough. The dough should be very soft (like play dough) and not sticky.
  4. Divide dough into 75 portions and wrapping in the pineapple filling. Shape the tarts into log shape, use a fork to press on the top to make pineapple pattern, glaze the tarts and bake at 340°F for 20 minutes till golden.

Pineapple Filling (2 pineapples from Costco will yield about 90 small balls for pineapple tarts):

Ingredients:
2 large pineapples ( I used Golden Pineapples– 1 ripe and 1 unripe)
4 cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1 1/2 cup sugar

Method:

  1. Remove the skin, “eye” and core of pineapples, cut into pieces and blend in food processor until no visible chunks.
  2. Cook blended pineapple in a big pot on medium high heat uncovered, add in cloves and cinnamon powder. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon until most of the juice almost dry out (yeah it’s very time consuming– it took me about 2.5~3 hrs).
  3. When the juice is drying out and turning into pineapple jam like, turn the heat to medium or med. low. This is the point when you have to keep stirring to prevent burnt at the bottom. Add sugar (use more or less according to your taste, the flavor should be sweet and tangy) and keep stirring until the jam get thicker– you will feel it as your arm will be getting sore :). For enclosed pineapple tarts, cook the jam a bit more to get a drier consistency. Every cook top has different levels of heating elements so please adjust the heat according to your stove.
  4. Let the jam cool completely before using in pineapple tarts. Keep in the fridge for up to 1 week or freeze until ready to use.

Note:

  • Use ripe pineapple for flavor and unripe pineapple for texture/fiber. Squeeze out the juice before cooking definitely will cut down the cooking time, but the jam won’t be as flavorful… ok, to compromise maybe use only 1/2 or 2/3 of the juice next time?…
  • Use a pot with larger surface for the liquid to evaporate faster. I use wooden spoon (with long handle) and let it stay in the pot the whole  time. It’s easy to stir and won’t pass the heat during the long cooking process.
  • Corner Cafe posts a microwave method of cooking the filling, and it takes much less time of course…will try it out next time. (Note: my friend tried the microwave method, the filling is lighter in color but because pineapple juice was squeezed out, thus the pineapple filling is not very flavorful… hmmm maybe next time I will cook pineapple (with juice) on the stove till 1/3 of juice left then pop into microwave to cook some more– making the painful process a little faster??)
  • Cook the filling a bit drier for enclosed pineapple tarts.
  • Glazing: adding a couple drops of water will thin down the mixture and easier to glaze the tarts.
  • I made the tarts smaller than usual so my boys can finish it in 1 bite then there will be less crumbs falling everywhere 🙂

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I’ve been posting a lot of entries about foods recently. It’s time to do some updates on the kids:

Alexander: Alexander is now in kindergarten. He loves school. He loves books as always ever since he was little. This boy loves math too. Lots of time I found him wrote himself math problems on piece of paper and solved the problems too. Recently he’s into multiplication… hard to believe that next week he’s turning 6. Alexander never quite like veggie except for a few, but he is expanding his veggie varieties. He now takes kabocha squash, carrots, some leafy veggies like snow pea leaves, yu choy sum… Thanks for trying little boy. One thing very sweet of him is that he usually shares especially his candies…Despite his misbehavior sometimes, he’s a very sweet, loving and caring child. I know he will protect and look after his little brother and sister.

Ethan: Ethan now is 3 1/2 years old and so terrible three that’s him. He is now in preschool 3 times a week– getting more opened up at school which is good. This boy is more active than his big brother Alexander ever since little… always more into play than into books. However he shows interest in books recently and flipping books by himself. This boy has a chocolate tooth– chocolate is his first choice for candies. I remember one time when Alexander was eating M&M’s, and Ethan said “Ger-Ger (big brother in Chinese), don’t eat chocolate… it’s junky food!”( yeah… you can tell how bossy he is). Minutes later, he said to Alexander, “Ger-Ger, can I have some M&M’s ?”… lol. Unlike his brother, Ethan takes a lot more different vegetables (especially leafy ones). His favorites are kabocha squash, snow pea leaves, yam leaves– he wants big bites. While Alexander lacks of creativity, Ethan is just the opposite. He has more imagination and pretend play a lot of time. One time we heard him was screaming, and it turned out that he was screaming at himself (with a mean look, while looking at his reflection on the baby book mirror), “Hey, don’t copy me okay?”… it was funny! Ethan’s Chinese is not as good as Alexander, lots of mix use of Chinese and English in his sentences, so funny and cute…

Audrey: Audrey Bell just turned 6 months last week. Growing up surrounded by people, she is not happy when no one in sight. I think she remember previous doctor’s visits because she started crying when I laid her down in the exam room. Starting last week we have been feeding her some rice cereal along with little water in bottle. She takes cereal okay but doesn’t quite like bottle other than biting on the nipple (with no teeth of course). But I believe all babies are  trainable so I’m gonna try giving her bottle everyday… wish me luck. Also, whenever Audrey sees me she gets VERY anxious/excited. I guess I am a milk production machine to her 🙂 At this point she still wakes up once in the middle of the night for feeding. Very rare occasion that she would sleep throughout the night… we can’t wait till the time when she sleeps all the way till next morning… yeah, that will be very nice!

To Alexander, Ethan and Audrey:
Each one of you is unique and holds a special place deep in my heart. I love you all and want you growing to be a happy, kind and good person. A mother’s love is unconditional and you’ll understand when you become a parent. For now, sweet dreams and good night…. zzzzz…..

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New Header Image

I don’t like the misty look image that comes with the theme but just don’t have the time to change it.  Well today I finally get rid of it and put a much better picture in its place. It’s a snapshot of my backyard garden in spring. I love all the colors of the flowers… can’t wait till they all bloom again!

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Rose Cake-- piping with Pastry Pride

Rose Cake-- piping with Pastry Pride

Rose Cake-- piping with Pastry Pride

Rose Cake-- piping with Pastry Pride

I made this cake over 2 years ago. I’m posting it here to be included in my cake decorating profile.

This was my first trial using Pastry Pride, which is a non-diary whipping cream like. It tastes like whipped cream and yet it is able to hold the shape. I wanted a 2-tone color roses with pink on the outter edge of the petals and pale yellow towards the center, but somehow I put the cream in wrong side of the pastry bag and the colors reversed on the petals. About the vines, I was lazy and just dip toothpick into green coloring and drew straight on the cake. On the side of the cake, since I only used a little of each shade of pink, so I just started piping with the lightest pink strings, then add more pink coloring to the leftover light pink icing to create darker shade of pink. This cake also gave me a good chance to practice beads– something I always fancy.

I love color theme and the look of the cake. It looks like a cake for a princess or for sweet sixteen. Now that we have a princess at home, I sure will make a cake like this for her…I’m already thinking about painting her room in the same color theme…

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Jing's Baby Shower Cake-- Bundle of Joy

Jing's Baby Shower Cake-- Bundle of Joy

Jing's Baby Shower Cakae-- Bundle of Joy

Jing's Baby Shower Cake-- Bundle of Joy

I made this cake over 2 years ago. I’m posting here to be included in my cake decorating profile… can’t remember what kind of tips/methods I used, would have to look closer at the picture.

I made this cake for our friend Jing when she was pregnant with her baby. It was a good chance for me to practice piping booties, beads, daisy flowers, ribbons, leaves, ruffles etc. Colors used: white, blue and yellow. I saved some basic white icing aside for beads and ruffles. Base coated the cake in light blue, then added in more blue coloring as I moved along for the words, string on the ruffles and the strips on the side of the cake. This was the first time I came up with multicolor strips on the side, so you can see there were gaps between strips. Luckily the base coat was in blue so the gaps were not as obvious. I later bought a cake marker and it makes the job a lot easier. About the words, I didn’t want the very typical “It’s a Boy!”. I saw “Peek-A-Boo” on internet, but decorated a baby peeking out of the blanket was too much work– finally I came up with “Bundle of Joy”. I need more practise on the words though. Overall I was happy with the cake, especially with the baby blue color theme.

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Richard's Birthday Cake-- Xbox 360

Richard's Birthday Cake-- Xbox 360

Richard's Birthday Cake-- Xbox 360

Richard's Birthday Cake-- Xbox 360

I made this cake over 2 years ago. I’m posting it here to be included in my cake decorating profile.

When I first took cake decorating class, I was so into it. Since our family likes whipped cream much better than super sweet icing, so I decided to decorate using fresh whipped cream. This was my first trial using whipped cream. I think I over whipped the cream though. Also, I found out it’s impossible to decorate using whipped cream other than simple cake border as it won’t hold the shape.

Inside the cake is just 3 layers of sponge cake with fresh strawberries filling. I let the decorated cake sit in the fridge overnight for Richard’s birthday next day– the cake turned out very moist because of the whipped cream… very delicous indeed. We love it and had LOTS of it for breakfast that day.

About the theme: Back then Richard wanted to buy a Xbox 360 so very much when it first came out, but I found the price to be too much , plus he has already had a Xbox…. so I decided to give him my version of Xbox 360 instead. Richard got a real Xbox 360 months later… with a good deal  of course (almost half of the price)!:)

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Green Pea Cookies

CNY Snack: Green Pea Cookies

This is one of the Chinese New Year goodies I made this year. The result– you can taste the green peas flavor but a bit too sweet. Not too bad considering it’s my first attempt… will improve upon next trial.

Green Pea Cookies Recipe from “New Year Cookies” by Alan Ooi:

Ingredients:
1 cup flour
1 cup grounded green peas
1 cup icing sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil

Glazing: 1 beaten egg yolk

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 325° F.
  2. Combine all ingredients (except egg yolk). Mix well to form a dough– if the dough is too dry can a little more oil.
  3. Roll the dough into small balls (1 inch diameter). Place balls onto baking sheet and use finger to gently press down to form a disc. Alternatively you can also roll out the dough between 2 sheets and use cookie cutter to cut out the shape.
  4. Glaze the top with beaten egg yolk. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Cool on the rack. Store in air tight container.

Note:

  1. I find the cookies are little too sweet to my liking… will cut down icing sugar to maybe 3/4 cup next time?
  2. I gounded the green peas using food processor and there were some big chunks of green peas left. Will try to ground the peas using coffee grinder next time to see if it will be more fine texture.
  3. For glazing: next time use beaten egg yolk plus few drops of water so it won’t be too thick.

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