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Apple Roses 蘋果玫瑰

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Apple Roses 蘋果玫瑰

Beautiful aren’t they? I stumped on this video ‘Rose di pasta sfoglia’ on YouTube while I was looking for six-braid challah braiding instructions, and thought, I’M MAKING IT! The instructions are in Italian (I think) so I was just guessing the amount of ingredients based on the video. Despite its fancy look, these edible roses are quite easy to make using store bought puff pastry dough, and I guarantee the receiver(s) of these roses will go WOW!!

Well, being the first trial, and just like the beautiful fragrant roses in the garden, they have challenges. My problem this time was that the pastry dough didn’t cook through towards the center. The bottom was already quite brown, the outer layer pastry puffed  up, and ‘petals’ was getting burnt, but the inner pastry layers were still not done!! I ran out of time, and also couldn’t bake it any longer without risking my beautiful rose petals. Maybe I set oven temperature too high (400°F)?

I made these apple roses for Alexander’s birthday, and we had some leftovers the next day. I reheated the leftovers in preheated 375°F oven for 10-15 minutes to see if the pastry part improves~ well, it puffs up some more, but still not all layers puffed up… Luckily this is an easy and quick dessert so it’s not that hard to make a different batch for next trial.

Apple Roses 蘋果玫瑰 Recipe (makes 12 roses)

Ingredients:
3 large golden delicious apples
Juice of 1 lemon
5 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

2 sheets (or 1 box) Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheet– thawed

Method:

  1. Peel and core apples. Slice thin, about 1/4 inch thickness. Sprinkle lemon juice, toss to coat well.
  2. Melt butter in a pan over medium high heat. Add sugar, salt and cinnamon. Mix to blend well. When sugar dissolves, add in apple slices (drain lemon juice).  Stir and cook until apple slices become soft enough to roll up (the juice should be almost dried up at this point). Remove from heat and cool completely.
  3. Take a sheet of pastry and cut into 6 strips lengthwise. Roll out each strip to 15 inches long.
  4. Arrange apple slices on one side of a pastry strip, with part of apple hanging over the strip (it’s okay to overlap apple slices). Leave a 1/2 inch space at both ends. Fold the pastry on the other side over apple slices. Use a fork to press to seal both ends.
  5. Coil pastry strips up, and tuck the end under the pastry rose. Bake at preheated 400°F oven for 15-18 minutes.

Regina’s Note:

  • As I said, this is not a perfect recipe yet~ My problem is the puff pastry didn’t cooked all way through especially towards the center. The outer layer of pastry was puffy and the bottom was quite brown already but not the center!! I think my temperature maybe too high. If I lower to 375°F then will the pastry puff up? or maybe I coil up too tight? If I loose up a little will the pastry in the center bake up better? I couldn’t bake any further this time as the bottom of the roses were quite brown, and the roses start having a burning edge on their “petals” already… hmm, more trial to come.
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Apple Roses 蘋果玫瑰

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Apple Roses 蘋果玫瑰

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Apple Roses 蘋果玫瑰

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Apple Roses 蘋果玫瑰

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Apple Roses 蘋果玫瑰

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Apple Roses 蘋果玫瑰

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I saw lots and lots of pictures, read up on lots and lots of recipes, but I still can’t make it right(frustrations!!).  Some recipe bloggers said it was pretty easy and the results are guaranteed everytime, but not for me– the cake sometimes turns out slightly better, but other times not! 😦 I think there will be at least a few more trials until I get it right (golden crust that’s not sticky, tall and not shrink horribly, moist and very fine cake crumb)– I believe I did the batter correctly– my problem might be the oven (temperature and/or moisture), which is more challenging than mixing the batter… sigh.

Here’s the result–

The Look:

  • I finally got that nicely browned top crust that I always look for in a Japanese cheesecake, and the crust doesn’t get sticky after cooling.
  • But the cake top cracked pretty bad, which indicates oven temperature is too high, and possibly not enough steam in the oven (found out, after baking, that water dried out during baking!)–> next trial, use 350°F/325°F or even 325 all the way, and more water.
  • I removed cake from the oven right after baking, cool for a few minutes then remove the spring-form side (I was afraid moisture will trap and make the cake wet). At first the cake was tall and handsome, but it started to shrink in no time, HORRIBLY!!–> next trial, turn off oven after baking, take out water tray (to avoid extra steam in the oven which may cause the cake too moist), and let the cake stay in the oven for at least 20 minutes with oven door ajar opened.

The Taste:

  • Very light, and mild cream cheese taste even though I used original full fat version.
  • Lemon flavor is too subtle for me–> next trial, increase lemon juice to 4 tbsp.

The Texture:

  • Very fine cake crumb and moist, but not wet like bread pudding.
Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake Trial #2

Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake Trial #2

Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake Trial #2

Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake Trial #2

Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake Trial #2 (makes one 9-inch cake, spring-formed pan)

Ingredients:

Egg Yolk Mixture:
1 block (8 oz) cream cheese
4 tbsp unsalted butter
50 ml milk
1/4 tsp salt
5 yolks– room temperature
1 whole egg– room temperature
grated lemon zest of 1 lemon
2 tbsp lemon juice–> should increase to 4 tbsp for more lemon flavor
1/2 cup cake flour

Egg White Mixture:
5 egg whites– room temperature
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
2/3 cup sugar

Method:

  1. Fill a shallow pan with tap water to half way, place the water pan at the lowest rack in the oven. Place another oven rack at the second lowest level, this is where the cake bakes. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease, and lined the bottom and side of a spring-form cake pan with parchment paper, leaving 2 inches higher than the rim of the cake pan.
  2. Melt cream cheese and butter in a big bowl over double boiler (alternatively can be done in microwave), add milk and salt and hand whisk with a balloon whisk until smooth. Cool slightly if the mixture is too warm.
  3. Whisk in egg yolks and whole egg, one at at time, and blend well after each addition. Add in lemon zest and lemon juice, whisk to blend very well.
  4. Sift cake flour to the yolk mixture in 3-4 batches, whisk to blend really well before next batch and no visible small lumps.
  5. Whip egg whites on high speed (KA stand mixer speed 8) until tiny bubbles form and no visible clear egg whites, add cream of tartar and continue on high speed (speed 8). Scrap down the bowl if necessary.
  6. When the egg whites turn white and the bubbles becomes more fine, slowly add in sugar. Continue whipping on high speed (speed 8) for a few minutes. Scrap down the bowl at least once. When the egg whites has a sheen look like pearl, turn to low speed (speed 4) for a few more minutes to push out big air bubbles. Whip until its is soft peak (curly tip on the whisk when lifted upside down).
  7. Gently fold in whipped egg whites to yolk mixture in 3-4 batches until all blended well and no egg white lumps. Slowly pour batter to the cake pan (this will avoid big bubbles and last check for any egg white lumps, you can also sift batter through a strainer to cake pan). Tap cake pan a couple of times on a surface.  Then place cake pan inside a larger baking pan (to catch any spills if it happens during baking).
  8. Bake at 375°F for 10 minutes, then reduce temperature to 325°F for 50 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a rack slightly before unmolding.

Regina’s Note (learning from the failure, and hope for success!):

  • Oven temperature: next trial, use 350°F/325°F or even 325 all the way.
  • Water tray: next trial, use a deeper/wider tray for more water.
  • Lemon Juice: next trial, increase to 4 tbsp.
  • Cooling cake: next trial, cool cheesecake in the oven (with temperature off and water tray removed) for at least 20 minutes. Then cool completely before unmolding.

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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)

Ingredients:

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

Method:

  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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We got lots of oranges from our neighbor. I used some to make smoothie last weekend and used some for this recipe. I have always wanted to make crepes but never get to do it until today. The crepes are soft, slightly sweet and crispy on the edge, even delicious on its own. Best of all crepes can be prepared ahead of time and coated with orange sauce right before serving. Typically the orange sauce consists of Brandy and orange liqueur, creating flaming crepes at the table… but I don’t want to cause a fire in my house! Hahaha… it is just as good though– buttery, tangy and refreshing at the same time.

Crepe Suzette

Crepe Suzette

Crepe Suzette

Crepe Suzette

Crepe Suzette Recipe from Desserts by Rosemary Wilkinson– serves 4-6

Ingredients for crepes:
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup milk
2 tbsp orange flower water/orange liqueur (optional)
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

additional melted butter for frying

Ingredients for orange sauce:
6 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup fresh orange juice
grated rind and juice of 1  large orange
grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup orange liqueur, plus more for flaming (optional)
brandy, for flaming (optional)
orange segments, to decorate

Method: (I combine Rosemary’s and Alton Brown’s method)

  1. In a blender, combine all of the crepe ingredients(except melted butter) and pulse for 10 seconds. Place the crepe batter in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Strain the batter.
  2. Heat a crepe pan over medium heat. Stir melted butter into crepe batter. Brush the hot pan with additional melted butter and pour in 2-4 tbsp batter (depending on your pan size). Quickly tilt and rotate the pan so batter will cover the bottom to form a thin layer. Cook for 1 minute until the top is set and bottom is golden. Carefully flip over the crepe and cook for 30 seconds on the side. Transfer to a plate and continue until batter is finished.
  3. To make the sauce: melt butter in a pan over medium heat, then stir in all ingredients until sugar dissolves. Turn to medium low and let it cook for few more minutes.
  4. Place a crepe in the pan (golden side down) to lightly coated with the sauce. Fold it in half twice then push to  the side of the pan. Continue this step with all crepes. (I don’t have a large pan so I transfer the crepes to a shallow plate instead of pushing to the side of pan).
  5. To flame the crepes, heat 2-3 tbsp each of orange liqueur and brandy in a small saucepan over med heat. Remove the pan from the heat then carefully ignite the liquid. Gently pour it over the crepes. Scatter orange segments over the crepes and serve immediately. (I skip this step).

Note:

  • Chill the batter at least 1 hour as suggested by Alton Brown. If the batter thickens, add a little milk or water to thin.
  • Crepe batter will keep up to 48 hours in the fridge. Once the crepe is cooked it can be stored in the fridge for several days or in the freezer up to 2 months.
  • Other crepe serving suggestions: whipped cream with mixed berries, bananas with nutella/chocolate sauce. Something savory? hmmm… how about serve with curry chicken or ikan bilis (just like roti jala). I believe the crepe batter can also be used for making roti jala. Will try it out next time!

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