Sunday, 22 May 2011

SUMMER LOVIN'


When you see lemons in abundance, you know that summer has arrived. I love lemons - so fragrant, so versatile.  And they are especially plump and juicy this season.


The time has come, said Chillicrab, to make French-style Lemon Yogurt Cake. 

It's hard not to fall in love with this cake. Just how good is it? My parents gobbled up 3 slices even before I had time to take my camera out from the cabinet.  When I take them to work, they're gone long before I had a chance to draft the hi-everyone-there-is-cake-in-the-usual-corner-email.  It's that irresistable.  One cake never last very long.

So how about FOUR?






Gâteau au Citron
or, French-Style Lemon Yogurt Cake
Adapted from this recipe by Orangette

Makes two 16.5cm x 8cm x 7.5cm loaves or
two 18.5cm x 9.5cm x 5cm
one 20.5cm x 10cm x 5.5cm

For the cake: 
125 grams plain yogurt
200 grams granulated sugar
3 large eggs
140 grams all-purpose flour
60 grams ground almond
2 teaspoons baking powder
Grated lemon zest from 2 lemons
95 grams canola oil

For the glaze: 
Juice from 2 lemons
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Preheat your oven at 180 degrees C.

In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, sugar, and eggs, stirring until well blended. Add the flour, baking powder, and zest, mixing to just combine. Add the oil and stir to incorporate. At first, it will look like a horrible, oily mess, but keep stirring, and it will come together into a smooth batter. Pour and scrape the batter into oiled cake pan/s.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the cake feels springy to the touch and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Do not overbake. 

Cool cake on a rack for about 20 minutes; then turn it out of the pan to cool completely. 

When the cake is thoroughly cooled, combine the lemon juice and powdered sugar in a small bowl and spoon it gently over the cake. The glaze will be thin and will soak in like a syrup.

Serve.

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Sunday, 1 May 2011

Baking Session at Steph's

Steph fell in love with this Matcha Azuki Financier from Japan.  So we made tried a hand at making it today.  To cope with the big turn out over at Steph's home this afternoon, we tripled the recipe.  At first I was secretly doubtful if we would be able to cope but I shouldn't have worried.  Everyone eagerly contibuted in her own way - shopping for ingredients, measuring them out, greasing baking tins, whisking the 12 egg whites, melting and filtering butter, spooning cake mixture into tins ...

In Steph's kitchen, the saying "Too many cooks spoil the soup" doesn't apply.  In fact, the many heads provided more solution to problems. For instance, when the melted butter was taking much too long to cool someone suggested, "Let's put the saucepan in a bowl filled with cold water!"  "Add ice into the water!" chipped in another. (I wish I had thought of that earlier.  Duh.)


I used the Financier recipe from Bea's.  Do check out her blog where she shares the most amazing recipes and photograhy.  Some people call these little cakes Financiers, some call them Friands.  No baking powder is used.  The rising agent is egg white, which we whisked until foamy, but not firm.  We didn't have the proper financier molds so we made used of whatever baking tins we had on hand.

The 1st batch was overdone but I love the colour and the crispy crust.


The next batch has a softer centre.  (At first we debated whether the insides were undercooked.  However, I came home to check Bea's photos and her financier appears to have a soft centre so we did do things right!)

Next up: Mini Cha Siew Buns. I wanted a bread dough that is soft and rich so I chose the recipe from Page 58 of 孟老师的100道面包by 孟兆。The ingredients are:

100 grams bread flour
50 grams all-purpose flour
20 grams caster sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
20 grams egg
80 grams milk
10 grams unsalted butter


The dough was hand-kneaded, mostly by Diane.  When I told everyone, "The bread dough should rise in a warm environment" someone offered "Shall I warm up the microwave oven then push the dough in?" 


See how beautifully the it has risen?  This dough is in a gooood place.  Proof that many cooks in one kitchen can spark off some really great ideas. I'm so going to use the warm microwave method in the future!

The buns were well received.  People were wolfing them down and exclaiming with every bite, "Oooh these are SO good!"  It must be because of the wonderful cha siew filling, handmade by Jane!  It has the right balance of meat, fat and just the right amount of sweetness.  Yummy!


Jane is a great cook who has endless cooking tips to share.  All you need to do is ask. She also makes a mean roasted pork (烧肉) - the kind with the crispy crackling.  I hope she will teach me to make it some time.