This site will be migrating to a new address.
Please visit me at @Køkken and change your subscription to this blog to my RSS Feed

You Will Be Redirected!

Please do not leave any more messages on this blog. I will not be publishing or responding to any more comments left here. You will be automatically redirected to All posts have been migrated. You will be able to locate any posts by performing a quick search at my new site. Thank you.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Lemon Curd Bites - Experimenting With Meyer Lemons

Lemon Curd Bites 3

Lemon Curd Bite 2

Meyer Lemons
My business travels wreak havoc on my blogging activities but they also give me interesting new exposure to elements that very often turn into inspirational fodder for my blog.... provided if I find time to tap into those inspirations before they fade away in my memory....

I was back in the Big Apple region for almost 3 weeks, working on business plans. Between the cold rainy weathter, the floods in New Jersey and the first transfixing images of the engulfing tsunami in Japan, I was still fortunate enough to be blessed with 2 sunny, fair weathered weekends to roam the streets of New York. 

I saw these Meyer Lemons at Dean & Deluca on my first weekend in town. Fascinated by the collection of cross-bred citrus varieties available, I made a mental note to bring home some blood orange, meyer lemons and mandarinos... Unfortunately by the time I returned again on the weekend just before my departure, the stock has already dwindled to a haggard looking bundle, stripped of the barrels of sunshine I had seen a week earlier. I picked out half a dozen of the best looking Meyer Lemons I could find and hand carried them on my flight home.

Just a little bit of background on the Meyer Lemons for those who are interested - this citrus is a cross bred between a lemon and a mandarin orange. Believed to have been first bred in China for ornamental purposes, US started to consume this in the early 1900. However, I believe I have only become aware of this after I have seen this featured in gourmet magazines and Martha Stewart's recipes over the last 2 years.

Rounder than the ordinary lemon with a deeper orangey hue, the fruit smelt gorgeous like a sweet grapefruit with a mild hint of the lemony zest.  Taste wise, it is less tart than an ordinary lemon but with alot more tang than a sweet orange. I would think that the juice of the Meyer Lemon would be perfect as it is for a lemonade drink without the need for additional sugar.

I deliberated over what to do with the Meyer Lemons when I got back. Now, on hind sight, I have to admit that I had been too narrow minded and was too boxed in by my own pre-conception that to test a lemon,I would need to make a lemon curd. I played safe and fell back on Tish Boyle's Lemon Curd Bites from her The Good Cookie cookbook. 'The miniature tarts made with a tender cream cheese dough was filled with tangy lemon curd. Very posh, very sophisticated.' - I was sold.

Lemon Curd Bite 5
These turned out to be pretty little things and yes, I could imagine them looking posh and sophisticated among a tea party spread but I have to admit that the Meyer Lemons did not quite give the right taste to the tarts. Lemon curd, I have come to conclude, should be smooth and tart. One expects the lemon curd to be bright and zesty. However, the subdued tartness of the Meyer Lemons was not enough to deliver the kick. With this recipe, I found that the curd was a little lost in its flavour. At one point, I think my disappointment even wryly hallucinated me into thinking that I was tasting Benadryl...  now I am really lost...

I have not lost heart. I still have 4 lemons in my fridge. I will think of something.....

After thought : I probably should have cut the sugar for the lemon curd by half and that would give me a more tart finish...

Lemon Curd Bite 2(100)
Lemon Curd Bites (from Tish Boyles's The Good Cookie)

Cream Cheese Dough
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup confection sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter cut into tablespoons
3 oz Cream chees,cut into 1/2 inch chunks and frozen for 30mins
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Lemon Curd
1 large egg
4 large egg yolks
1 cup plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
Pinch of salt
6 tbsp unsalted butter cut into tablespoons

1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, confectioners' sugar, baking powder, and salt and process for a few seconds, until blended. Sprinkle the butter and cream cheese pieces over the mixture and pulse about 18 times until the butter pieces are the size of peas and the mixtures resembles coarse meal. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and vanilla with a fork. Add the mixture to hte processor and pulse just until the dough starts to come together.

2. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and gently press it into a disk. Wrap the dough with cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, until firm.

3. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400F (205C). Coat 2 12 cup miniature muffin pans with non-stick cooking spray. Cut out twenty-four 2-inch squares of aluminum foil.

4. Remove the dough from the fridg and divide it in half. Divide each half into 12 portions. Shape each piece of dough into a ball. Place one ball in each muffin cup and press down into the center of the ball with the knuckle of your index finger to form an indentation, then press the dough up the sides of the cup to its rim. The cups should be completely lined with dough. Prick the bottom of each crust with a fork. Line each crust with a alumninum foil and fill with a few pie weights, dried beans or rice.

5. Bake the crusts for 10mins. Transfer the muffin pans to a wire rack and reduce the oven temperature to 350F (175C). Remove the foil and weights from the crusts and bake the crusts for another 7 to 9 mins until golden brown around the edges. Cool down the muffin pans completely before removing tart cases from the pan.

Lemon Curd
1. Set a fine mesh sieve over a medium bowl and set aside. In a medium sized heavy nonreactive saucepan, whisk together the egg, yolks and sugar until blended. Stir in the lemon juice and zest, salt and butter and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens, 7-10mins. (do not let the mixture boil, or it will curdle). Immediately strain the mixture through the sieve, pressing it through with a rubber spatula. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the curd until chilled, about 1 hour.


1. Placing the chilled lemon curd in a pastry bag fitted with a medium star tip, pipe a generous rosette of lemon curd into each crust.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Palm Sugar Rice Cakes (Kuih Kosui)

Kosui 5

Kosui 8

Gula Melaka
South East Asian cuisine, as one knows, is diverse in a rich and colourful way. Distinct sharp flavours often puctuated by the clever use of exotic spices and earthy fresh ingredients have come to depict the identity of SE Asian cuisine to many.

Needless to say, gastronomy nostalgia for me, with my Singaporean roots, will always have to involve food or ingredients that transport me back to the region. Dessert will always be a category that grips many and for many of us who reside in the South East Asia, Kuih, those bitesized snacks that come in a myriad of textures, colours and taste will always evoke fond memories and comfort.

Common ingredients for Kuih include coconut products, root vegetables such as tapioca or sweet potato, rice flour (SE Asia's staple carb component) and.... Gula Melaka (palm sugar) which transforms our sweets further with its exotic sweetness. Commonly used in Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesian cuisine, the palm sugar resembles brown sugar but has a more distinct caramel or butterscotch like flavour. The palm sugar, being more accessible and cheaper than refined white cane sugar was very often the sweet note on the simplest desserts such as sago pudding, coconut milk based chendol and in this case, the no frills, straight forward rice cake, Kuih Kosui.
Kosui 2

Kosui 6
I have to admit that Kuih Kosui has never been my favourite kuih but it is possibly the one that best celebrates the flavours of palm sugar. Commonly steamed in a tray and cut into rectangular slices to be coated with grated coconut, there are others who also steam these in little cup molds. I have decided today to try to work with these little leaf cups which I had bought at a wet market in Chinatown, Bangkok. However, I must admit regret in dressing up the kuih in these cups for the the dried leafy cup carries with it a scent that I feel do not meld with the palm sugar.

Overall though, this is definitely one classic dessert which sets off the sweet exotic flavours of Gula Melaka in an honest, earthy manner and for many of us who hail from the region, I have no doubt that it will bring back sweet dessert memories we grew with.

Kosui 7(100)
RecipePalm Sugar         100g
Water                 100ml
Sugar                  60g
Rice Flour           5 tbsp
Tapioca Flour     2 tbsp
Alkaline water     1/2 tsp
Grated coconut    50g (salted and steamed)
Salt                      1/2 tsp

Method :
1. In a heavy saucepan, place palm sugar and water. Heat up to dissolve the palm sugar. Add castor sugar, and continue to heat until sugar dissolves.
2. Add Alkaline water and Rice flour and Tapioca flour and mix well.
3. Return the saucepan over the stove and over low heat and with stirring, cook the batter until the batter starts to become a thicker flowable batter.
4. In a spearate pot, heat up water to prepare for steaming.
5. Pour (3) into molds (either a rectangular tray or small cups)
6. Steam (5) over high heat for about 15mins.
7. Cool down and garnish with salted grated coconut.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Luxe Pound Cake With Kumquat Compote

Pound Cake 1-1

Pound Cake 3

Kumquat Compote

Pound Cake 5

Pound Cake 9

The regulars who read my post would know that there are a few cookbooks that I tend to cook from alot. Bourke Street Bakery is my latest favourite and there is Keiko Ishida's Okashi which has inspired me again and again. For anyone who is interested in baking, Tish Boyle's classic duo, The Cake Book and The Good Cookie would probably be part of their baking bibilical collection. Her books are the type of rare classics which you know, just by reading the recipes, you can trust. The books have  a straight forward, down to earth quality which suggests 'tried & tested' - goodness and authenticity guaranteed.

Hence, when I decided to bake a simple, authentic pound cake to go with the Kumquat I lugged back from Korea, I knew I had to turn to Tish Boyle for inspiration. The Kumquat, macerated in a vanilla flavoured syrup has been known to pair well with a simple, buttery pound cake. When one returns to basic simplicity devoid of frou frou and destractions, you know you have nowhere to hide and have to make sure that the recipe delivers 100%.  A good example is the sponge cake. As basic as it appears to be, I am still afraid of making the genoise sponge. When technique is not on point, you risk ending up with a coarse, dry cake, but thankfully, most of the time, we dress up the cake with other frills such as frosting,fruits and chocolates, making the less than perfect cake less noticeable.

Tish Boyle's Luxe Pound Cake needs none of those frilly 'life-savers' . The combination of vanilla and almond extract gives this dense, moist cake an uncomparable flavour. If you've never tried combining vanilla and almond extract together, I strongly urge you to do so as this is possibly one of the best pairing I have worked with- especially for basic recipes such as butter cake, pound or sponge.
The Luxe Pound cake has a fine crumb and it was so delicious that when I tasted my first slice of  the freshly baked cake, I actually did a little dance.  So, instead of smothering the cake with the Kumquat compote, I decided to just leave it on the side as a garnish and a taste exciter.  I imagine the cake would taste equally good with orange flavoured fresh cream. Make yourself a nice cup of Darjeeling or Earl Grey, you would have the created for yourself, the perfect Luxe Afternoon Tea.

Pound Cake 1(100)
Recipe : (From The Cake Book by Tish Boyle)

Cake Flour           342g
Baking powder     1/4 tsp
Salt                       1 tsp
Unsalted butter      227g (softened at room temperature)
Castor sugar          600g (I used 360g)
Eggs                      7
Vanilla extract        1 tbsp
Almond extract      1.5 tsp
Heavy Cream         240ml

Kumquat Compote
Kumquat               100g
Castor Sugar         100g
Water                    100g
Vanilla paste          1tsp

Method :

Pound Cake
1. Preheat oven to 160C. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together. Set aside.
2. Place softened butter in a mixer fitted with a paddle fixture. Cream butter at medium low speed. Add sugar in 3 separate additions, allowing sugar to be incorporated with butter after each addition. The butter should be creamy and pale after all sugar has been well mixed.

3. Add eggs one at a time, allowing the egg to be mixed well with the butter after each addition.
4. Add vanilla and almond extract.
5. Reduce mixer speed to low and add flour mixture in 3 portions, alternating each addition with a portion of the heavy cream until all flour is added.
6. Pour batter into a lined/ buttered pound cake pan.
7. Bake at 160C for 50mins or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
8. Cool down cake to room temperature before turning out the cake carefully from the baking pan.
9. Serve with Kumquat Compote.

Kumquat Compote.
1. Clean Kumquat and slice each kumquat horizontally in half. Remove pits.
2.. Place sugar and water in a heavy saucepan. Heat up the saucepan until sugar dissolves and just begin to simmer. Add Kumquats and simmer for about 5 mins.
3. Cool down to room temperature. Place a round piece of baking paper over the kumquat to keep it submerged in the syrup. Leave this in the fridge overnight.
4. Strain kumquat from Syrup. Return syrup into saucepan. Heat up syrup to a low simmer. Add vanilla paste and let simmer for 3 minutes.
5. Remove from heat. Pour syrup over kumquats in a storage container. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Strawberry Soy Pudding

Strawberry Pudding 6

Strawberry Pudding 9

Strawberry Pudding 7

My first quarter of 2011 was already totally done in before 2010 could end. 2 months into the new year and I am already in a daze.... I can't imagine how I could have travelled to Bangkok, India, Australia, Shanghai, Korea, celebrated Chinese New Year and still blog in the last 2 months... Just 2 weeks ago, I had been given a new assignment by the Singapore office. With our office lease expiring this year, we are now evaluating our next office space option. I sit on the office project committee and have been given the enviable task of being responsible for the interior design of the office.

I love tasks that allow me to spend other people's money, especially one that lets me work with aesthetically pleasing items. I knew I wanted a clean and fun  modern decor for our office,inspired by the colourful and fun spirit I had seen once at the Google office. When CSN notified me that they had expanded yet again their sites to include AllModern.Com, I immediately went on-line to gather inspiration. So many things caught my eye but these bean bags, in particular were unforgettable. If CSN would ship these to Singapore, I would order these for the new office in a heartbeat!   

I imagine these bean bags going into our cosy corner where we can chill out and unwind - occasionally I can bring treats like these Strawberry Soy Pudding and have my colleagues be my taster.... Dreamy satisfaction.

Strawberry 1
These puddings were made with the remaining strawberries I had lugged back from Korea. No longer as fresh and luscious as they were last week, I decided to incorporate them into a strawberry mousse and marinated the sliced strawberries in a syrup for garnish.
To keep this a light dessert, I had also chosen to work with a soy pudding base - with a texture that is very similar to the soya bean curd.

When I distributed these little pudding jars over lunch at the office, everyone went... 'wah'.... and I beamed....

Strawberry Pudding 11(100)
Soy Pudding  (adapted from The Sweet Trick by ES Koyama)

Unsweetened Soya Milk            300g
Castor Sugar                             25g
Gelatine Sheet                           4g
Fresh Cream                             130g

Method :
1. Place sugar and soya milk in a saucepan and heat until sugar dissolves. Turn off heat. Add in softened gelatine sheet and stir until completely dissolved.
2. Run (1) through a fine sieve into a mixing bowl.
3. Cool down (2) over an ice bath and add in liquid fresh cream.
4. Fill half a glass/ jar with the soymilk pudding and refrigerate until set.

Strawberry Mousse
Strawberries              180g
Gelatine powder         8g
water                         50ml
Milk                          100ml
Castor sugar              30g
Lemon juice               1 tbsp
Fresh cream               100ml

Method :
1. Puree strawberries in a blender. Add lemon juice to Strawberry puree.
2. Mix gelatine powder with water until it turns transparent.
3. In a saucepan, heat milk and castor sugar until sugar dissolves. Turn off heat and add (2) and stir until dissolved.
4. Sieve (3) through a fine sieve and cool over an ice bath.
5. Add (1) to (4).
6. Whip fresh cream until soft peaks are formed. Fold the whipped cream into (5).
7. Scoop (6) into jars with set soymilk pudding. Refrigerate to set.

Marinated Strawberries
Strawberries         100g
Sugar                   100g
Water                   200g
Lemon juice          1 tbsp

1. Cut strawberries into slices or sections.
2. In a heavy saucepan, add water and sugar. Heat until sugar dissolves. Continue heating to reduce syrup until volume is halved.
3. Add lemon juice into (1). Add the hot syrup from (2) to the strawberries. Refrigerate and keep overnight.
4. Use marinated strawberries as garnish and scoop a little syrup over the set pudding.


Related Posts with Thumbnails