Posts Tagged ‘dessert’

We had a big bag of Bing cherries from our cherry U-pick back in last May, sitting at the bottom of my freezer. In an attempt to clean it out of my freezer in a glorious way, I had planned to make cherry pie as dessert, to go with Honey Baked Ham dinner on Christmas Day.

Perfect, right?


I got sick… (and never been happier that Walgreen is open on Christmas Day!)

Needless to say, no pie on Christmas Day.

And then my children were taking turn getting sick. My pie mood was fading away, just thinking about the hassles of making two pie crust, fitting into pie pan, seal the edge, slit the top… (and cross my fingers that bottom crust is not soggy when it’s baked)… All too much for just making a cherry pie.

Then I suddenly thought of ONE word: GALETTE– The easy, open face pie with a rustic look. Yes!

I walked to the kitchen, put on my apron, rolled up my sleeves…

Hours later, five happy satisfied faces walking out of the kitchen. Happy New Year!

Sweet Cherry Galette

Sweet Cherry Galette (yields 1 galette, 4-6 serving)


For the Crust:
1 1/2 cup flour
3 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter– dice into small cubes and freeze until ready to use
3-5 tbsp ice water

For the Filling:
4 cups Bing cherries, pitted (see note below)
3 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon
1/8 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1 tbsp cornstarch

1 egg– beaten for egg wash
Turbinado sugar– for sprinkle on top


  1. Sift flour, sugar and salt into a mixing bowl. Add frozen butter. Use fingers to break butter apart and rub into flour, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  2. Add just enough ice water, one tbsp at a time, until the dough just incorporated. Do not knead. Shape the dough into a disc. Wrap the dough with plastic wrap, chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
  3. Combine all filling ingredients in a different bowl.
  4. Roll out chilled pie dough to 12-14 inch diameter. Piling cherries to the center of the dough using a spoon. Spoon in 1 tbsp of the juice if desired but not all, as it will flood the galette, thus higher chance of soggy crust. Use a paper towel to soak up the juice if it’s flowing out the dough.
  5. Fold in the edge of the dough. Apply egg wash over the edge and sprinkle turbinado sugar. Bake in preheated 425F oven for 35-45 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.

Regina’s Note:

  • Butter: To produce flaky baked goods like pies, scones and biscuits, butter needs to be chilled and worked quickly into flour (so it will remain cold). I like to dice my butter into small cubes then freeze it before use. I take the frozen butter cubes (straight from freezer) and break apart in the flour. The small cube size not only speeds up freezing time, but also makes it easy to break apart/rub in flour even just with fingers.
  • Cherries: If you use frozen cherries like I did, be sure to thaw the cherries first. Drain the juice really well, because when lemon juice and sugar were added later, more liquid will draw out.
  • Baking position: Although the bottom crust wasn’t soggy, it could be browned more. Next time I should try changing baking position– bake galette at lower rack for maybe 25 minutes to brown bottom crust, then switch to upper rack for remaining baking time to brown the top.

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I join a group on Facebook called Baking Wonderland, and people pose all kinds of delicious food photos all the time. This cheesecake recipe comes from Baking Wonderland. What caught my eyes was that it uses only 3 simple ingredients: cream cheese, chocolate and eggs. Yes, very simple. Flourless and oil free too. Original 6-inch cake recipe calls for 3 eggs, 120g cream cheese and 120g chocolate. Since I don’t have 6-inch cake pan, 1 block of cream cheese in U.S. is 220g, and 1 package of chocolate chips is 10 oz, I figure I will just kinda double up the recipe to fit my 9-inch cake pan , and conveniently save my time measuring the amount of cream cheese and chocolate chips.

Why trial #1? Well, because this is a VERY simple recipe (we tend to like simple works don’t we all?). And who doesn’t like chocolate?? Plus, I made a boo boo this time during baking– I was supposed to turn off the oven and let the cake sit in the oven for another 15 minutes after baking at 300°F, but I forgot to turn off the oven heat!! So my cake baked an extra 15 minutes at the end, creating a cracked cake top. 😦

I could hardly wait for the cake to chill so I could try the taste. But… uh oh! The cake was a lot denser than I expected, and it was just too crumbly– I just couldn’t make a nice cut at all.  My mood went straight down to the bottom. The taste was good though– rich creamy chocolaty with a tangy flavor from the cream cheese. At the end, we finished this big piece of “chocolate crumbs”. Consider its simplicity, I might try making it again.


Flourless Chocolate Souffle Cheesecake Trial #1


Flourless Chocolate Souffle Cheesecake Trial #1– crumbs, crumbs, crumbs…

Flourless Chocolate Souffle Cheesecake (makes one 9-inch round cake)


Egg yolk mixture:
8 oz. (1 block) cream cheese– room temperature
10 oz (1 package) bittersweet chocolate chips
5 egg yolks– room temperature

Egg white mixture:
5 egg whites– room temperature
1/4 tsp cream of tartar or fresh lemon juice


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Arrange oven rack to lower 2/3 (so the cake bakes in the middle of the oven). Boil a pot of water.
  2. Line the bottom of a  9-inch springform cake pan with parchment paper. Then double wrap the bottom of cake pan with foil (or put cake pan in a larger shallow pan). Prepare another large roasting pan for the water bath.
  3. Put cream cheese and chocolate chips in a double boiler over medium heat. Stir until it melts half way. Remove from the heat and continue mixing until all blended well. The mixture will be dense and sticky.
  4. Add in egg yolks, one at a time, and mix well to combine. The better will look smoother.
  5. Whip egg whites on high speed (KitchenAid Stand Mixer speed 8) until no visible clear egg whites. Add in cream of tartar or lemon juice, continue on high speed (speed 8). When the egg whites become meringue looking, turn down the speed (speed 6) so it whips out big air bubbles, whip for another 2-3 minutes until pointy peak forms.
  6. Gently fold in whipped egg whites into egg yolk mixture, in 3 batches, until all blended well. Pour batter into springform pan. Smooth the top.
  7. Add boiling water to the roasting pan (water level is about 1-2 inches high), then put cake (if using larger shallow pan: springform cake pan in shallow pan, then together in the roasting pan) in the roasting pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F, for 15 minutes. Then reduce further to 300°F for another 15 minutes. The cake should be done at this point (toothpick/skewer inserted into the cake center should come out clean). Remove from the oven. Cool completely before chilling in the fridge. Served chilled for best flavor.

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This recipe is from Diana’s Desserts, which is very popular over internet. Many recipe bloggers use or adapt from this recipe and said that the cheesecake is really light and soft. Long ago, I tried this recipe and it turned out to be a disaster– the top half of the cheesecake had a fine cake crumb but the bottom half was wet and dense like bread pudding. I was discouraged… until recently I saw people posting beautiful Japanese cheesecake photos on their blog, and I decided to give it a try.

Here is the verdict–

The Look:

  • As you can tell from the picture, the cheesecake was still quite tall and handsome (I believe it’s because of the large amount of eggs used) even after cooling and shrinking.
  • I personally would like the cake browned a bit more to a beautiful golden brown with smooth top crust, not the wrinkly crust after cooling!–> maybe increase oven temperature to 350°F during last 10 minutes of baking?
  • After cooling, the cake surface sticks upon contact with cling wrap, finger… turning the cake quite ugly with patches missing everywhere. Why?? Could it be oven temperature too low/ too much steam/ not baked through??

The Taste:

  • I used low fat cream cheese so the cake didn’t have much of cream cheese taste to it.
  • Very very light lemon flavor too–> will increase amount of lemon juice and add grated lemon zest next time.

The Texture:

  • This time the cheesecake has the fine cake crumb texture. It’s moist but not wet like bread pudding. It’s very similar to my souffle cheesecake.
Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake Trial #1

Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake Trial #1

Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake Trial #1– recipe adapted from Diana’s Desserts (makes one 8-inch round cake)


2/3 cups (140g) fine granulated sugar
6 egg whites
6 egg yolks
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
4 tbsp (50g) butter
1 block/8 oz (250g) cream cheese
100 ml fresh milk
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup (60g) cake flour
1 1/2 tbsp (20g) cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Boil a pot of water. Prepare a shallow pan (I used my meat roasting pan). Grease and line the bottom and sides of a 8-inch round cake pan with parchment paper, leaving 2 inches above the rim.
  2. Melt cream cheese, butter and milk over a double boiler. Cool the mixture. Sift in the flour and the cornstarch, mix well. Add egg yolks, lemon juice and mix well again.
  3. Whip egg whites with cream of tartar until foamy. Add in the sugar and whip until soft peaks form (curly tip on the whisk when lifted upside down).
  4. Gently fold in whipped egg whites to the yolk mixture in 3-4 batches, until well blended.  Pour into the cake pan. Tap on the surface once.
  5. Put the shallow pan/roasting pan at the lowest rack. Pour in boiling water carefully. Then carefully place the cake pan inside the water pan.
  6. Reduce temperature to 300°F. Bake cheesecake in a water bath for 1 hour 10 minutes or until set and golden brown.
  7. After baking, turn off oven and continue let the cake sit in the oven for 30 minutes with oven door ajar open. Remove from cake pan and continue cooling on a rack. Chill completely before serving.

Regina’s Note:

  • Baking method: Water bath vs. steam bake–> I wonder if steam bake method will make the cake more dry and produce fine care crumb rather than wet pudding-like texture.
  • Cooling in the oven: Maybe removing water pan and take away extra steam will make the cake surface less sticky?
  • Oven Temperature: I used 300°F but original recipe uses 325°F. Could this make my cake look pale browned and sticky because not baked through?
  • Cream cheese: Should use full fat original version for a full flavor.
  • Lemon juice: Should increase to 2 tbsp next time for more lemon flavor, add lemon zest too.

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Hi all! I am excited to tell you that I was invited to be a guest blogger on my friend, Luisa Ormonde’s blog– Tales of Three Bakers. It is my very first guest blog and I feel very honorable. The recipe I chose was chocolate hazelnut tart. I am only posting the pictures here, for recipe please visit her website 🙂

I met Luisa through the Nishihiras, close friends of our family. She is a very good cook, and runs a gourmet food catering business. We are always drooling over the pictures of delicious food that she made. If you have catering needs for any occasions, check out her catering website. I am sure you won’t be disappointed!

Chocolate Hazelnut Tart

Chocolate Hazelnut Tart

Chocolate Hazelnut Tart

Chocolate Hazelnut Tart

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I had some ganache leftover from making Alexander’s birthday cake, and there were some strawberries and blueberries in my fridge. All I had to do is to make the tart crust and assemble them together. They are a treat to the eyes and to your stomach. Best of all these tarts can be prepared ahead of time for party and you’ll definitely get a wow from your guests.

Chocolate Fruit Tarts

Chocolate Fruit Tarts

Chocolate Fruit Tart Recipe (makes 12 tarts)

Ganache Ingredients (use equal part of chocolate and whipping cream – by weight):
1/4 lb semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used half bitter-sweet and half semi-sweet)
1/4 lb whipping cream

Warm whipping cream over a double boiler, pour in chocolate chips and stir until chocolate melted. Take care not to let the chocolate have contact with water. Set aside to cool. The chocolate sauce will thicken as it cools and can even be a frosting. Alternatively, you can warm whipping cream in microwave too.

Tart shells:
from my Pineapple Tart pastry recipe and it makes about 24 tart shells. Bake them at preheated oven 350°F for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from molds and cool on the rack completely before use or store in air-tight container.

To assemble:
Spoon 1 tbsp of ganache into the tart shell and arrange fruits nicely on the top.

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