Archive for November, 2007

Mad about Lemon Meringue Tarts

Sunday, November 25th, 2007

Lemon Meringue Tarts

My friend, S, gave me a bottle of her homemade lemon curd a while ago and I managed to do her deliciously tangy lemon curd justice by using it in these 4″ wide lemon meringue tarts.

Lemon Meringue Tarts

I was feeling too tired to bake tart shells from scratch and went with finely crushed digestive biscuits, caster sugar and melted butter for the crust. While it was convenient, I was to discover later that I should have made a proper crust.

               Lemon Meringue Tarts

For the fluffy tuffs of meringue, I used the cooked meringue method, which according to Jamie Oliver’s book, Cook with Jamie, gives a meringue even more stable than italian meringue. I had the most fun with this little project when browning the meringue with my small blow torch, which incidentally has been acting up for some time now. I suspect I’ll be needing a new one soon.

Cut Lemon Meringue Tart

The tangy lemon curd went wonderfully well with the sweet meringue. The crushed biscuit crust, however, turned a little soft after a while out of the refrigerator, probably because I couldn’t press the crumbs together as tightly in the small tart rings. Next time, I’ll definitely be more diligent and make a proper baked crust.

Mad about Christmas Macarons

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

Ginger Macaron

When I received my first enquiry back in August about Christmas baking, I thought it’d be a great idea to come up with limited period macaron flavours just for the Christmas season.

              Peppermint Macaron Shells

I was pretty excited about the new flavours I’d dreamt up, but the steady stream of orders for macarons and cakes meant that I never had the time to actually try them out until this week.

All three new flavours have a hidden centre, which I thought was wonderfully appropriate for Christmas; biting into the macaron to find a hidden surprise in the middle would be like opening up a beautifully packaged Christmas present to get to the gift inside. Well, almost…

              Peppermint Macaron

Peppermint Shells with Mint Tea White and Dark Chocolate Ganache

After all, what would Christmas be like without peppermint candy canes? While I love mint, I didn’t want the flavour to be overpowering and decided to go with chocolate as a filling. Even my husband who isn’t a great fan of mint likes the occasional After Eight thin chocolate square. For a subtler mint flavour, I went with mint tea infused white chocolate ganache as the main filling and a dark chocolate ganache in the centre. For those who don’t fancy white chocolate, there is also a mint tea dark chocolate ganache only version.

Christmas Spice Macaron

Christmas Spice Macaron with Ginger Rhubarb Buttercream and an Almond Paste Centre

I’ve always associated the smell of freshly baked gingerbread cookies with Christmas. It was easy to come up with just the right mix of spices for the macaron shells, but the filling was a little more difficult. I finally settled for a mildly tangy ginger rhubarb buttercream and a wonderfully aromatic homemade almond paste centre. Inspired by the deeply coloured macarons offered by Pierre Hermé and Ladurée, two of the finest pâtissieries in Paris, I went with a deep pink (almost red) colour for the shells. It wouldn’t be Christmas in a box without a touch of red now, would it? :)

Christmas Flavours

Ginger Macarons with Ginger Rhubarb Buttercream and Candied Ginger (pictured in the first photograph above)

My sister had told me many months ago about a ginger flavoured macaron that her colleague had tried. While I was mildly intrigued, I wasn’t too sure if it’d be well-received. Then I remembered those blistery cold winter nights in Sweden and how wonderful that cup of firey hot ginger tea I’d shared with WL and SH had felt then. While Christmas in Singapore isn’t quite as cold, there are days when it’s cold enough to make me wish for that extra bit of warmth. I suppose it was worth a shot.

The results were surprisingly good. I kept the ginger flavour in the shells and buttercream on the mild side and added candied ginger to the centre for a stronger flavour. It made for a mildly tangy macaron until you hit the slightly spicy candied ginger centre.

Christmas Macarons Cross Section

The downside of having waited so long to make these Christmas macarons is that I only have a few slots left for anyone wishing to try them.

Available for Purchase: Christmas in a Box @ a Price of S$45. Includes 28 macarons (3 Christmas flavours or any other flavour you fancy from the list here) in a long glossy red custom made box with fat green or gold ribbon.

Mad about Strawberries

Thursday, November 15th, 2007

Another Birthday Cake

The thing about using fresh strawberries (or any fresh fruit for that matter) in cakes is that one is always at the mercy of the latest shipment that arrives from where ever it is that the local supermarkets or grocers at the wet market get their fruit.

Personalised Birthday Cake

The truth be told, I get just a little nervous whenever I receive orders for strawberry cakes because I never quite know what I’m going to find on the supermarket shelves. This is especially true in the period between the end of the US season and the beginning of the Australian / New Zealand season. There have been days when I almost cried tears of dismay at the awful state of the strawberries that were available - over-ripened ones that were already beginning to turn to mush, under-ripened ones that were 1/3 greenish white, monsterously huge ones and sad tiny ones (both kinds in the same punnet) - I’ve seen them all.

Birthday Cake

These days, I get my strawberies from the fruit stands at the local wet markets and they’ve been great so far. I believe it’s because the grocers are more fastidious when picking produce for their stalls. Now if only the supermarkets could afford the time to sort their produce…

Cheesecake with Strawberries

The cheesecake pictured here is the 1st cheesecake order I’ve received. Many thanks to L for giving me room to experiment with a new recipe!