Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Hits and Misses

Over the last few weeks, I have had some hits and misses. Actually more miss than hits.

The first miss was the Japanese Soft Cheesecake. I had wanted to bake this for the longest time but never really got round to doing it for fear of failure. I have heard so many 'horror' stories like the cake collapsing the moment it came out of the oven or even midway through baking and also the texture being very dense and heavy. Hearing all these make me nervous to even attempt it until two weeks ago. I was so careful to follow the recipe to the T (or so I thought). After popping the cake into the oven, I started to clear the tabletop and lo and behold, tucked behind the jar of sugar was the little plastic bag of cornstarch that I had measured out but forgotten to add to the batter. For a second or two, I was debating whether to just leave the cake as it was or to remove the pan and dump everything into the bin. What the heck! I then decided to just pour the batter back into the mixer and give it a quick whisk with the cornstarch. By then, the egg white which I had so nicely whisked up were all deflated. I just poured the batter back into the pan, slam the oven door shut and twiddle my thumbs and hope for the best.

This was how the cake #1 turned out.
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Feeling extremely angry with myself, I attempted the cheesecake again the next evening. This time, fearful that I will leave some ingredients 'hidden' away, I place everything in full view.

This is cake #2.
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Honestly if you asked me, I preferred the texture from cake #1 which is closer to the ones sold in the bakeries. Cake #2 was way too light and it felt too 'airy' in the mouth.

The second miss was the Hongkong Smiling Paus. Recently two bloggers had tried with great success the recipe posted by me in 2006 at a cooking forum. Their positive feedback to me prompted me to make some myself. It turned out a disaster. I had failed my own recipe. The Paus did not 'smile' at all. In fact they were rather dismal looking. Fortunately, I had only wrapped and filled six paus and then to do a test steaming. I threw away the rest of the dough as I did not want to waste the beautiful char siew fillings on the sad looking paus.
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An hour later (and still feeling angry), I mix up a batch of oil and water dough to make the baked Siew Paus. They were terribly difficult to wrap. Despite being careful not let any of the fillings come into contact with the sealing edges of the pau skin, the shaped paus kept popping open the moment I put them on the baking tray. I managed only a few nice ones. I placed those that insisted on popping open into disposable muffin cups to bake.

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Ugly looks aside, they were really good. The skin was crispy yet melt-in-the mouth and the fillings juicy.

The only hit I had was this Semolina Cake with Honey Citrus Syrup. Semolina cakes are known to be quite dry. However, this cake is really good. Honey, lemon and blood orange juice is boiled till syrupy. This is then drenched over the cake the moment it came out of the oven. The syrup helps to keep the cake moist without being soggy.

Semolina Cake with Honey Citrus Syrup topped with dried figs.
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18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I do experince the same miss when my 'mood' is not around.hehe

Btw, Is semolina=sugee? I wanted to buy semolina the other day, they gave me sugee flour.

dd

Rusti said...

Hi dd

Yes, semolina is sugee. Sama sama.

Ginny

Anonymous said...

Your smiling pau look great for me. All your baking are beautifully make. I'm affray to try making pau because I had not clue how to plead the pau. So it make me sad and give the courage to try again. Could you show us (step by step) how to plead a pau next time you make it.

thanks you

Stephie

airenchan said...

Hi, your pao is alright looking, go and look at the Dim Sim restuarant's ones. Most of them are leaking too. How can that be done as you want them to smile and don't leak. The only thing is you didn't twist the dough as you were sealing the opening.Once you seal the opening to the last part you have to twist the dough that you have between your thumb and your finger. You have to have a fish mouth look alike (like a mini carter of a volcano) on top of your pao. Then it will not leaks.
Have fun, Ciao
Regards

Kathryn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kathryn said...

Would you be willing to share your recipe for the char siew that you use for the Char Siew Pau please? it looks delicious & juicy.

Rusti said...

Hi Kathryn
This is the recipe for the fillings:
Ingredients
150gm char siew, chopped
2 stalks Chinese Parsley, chopped
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1 clove chopped garlic
2 tsp oil

Seasonings
3 Tbsp water
¼ tsp sesame oil
1½ tsp oyster sauce
2 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp dark soy sauce
½ tsp cornflour
1½ tsp creamy peanut butter
1/2 to 1 tbsp honey
1/2 tbsp Huatiao wine

Method
1. Mix seasoning together
2. Heat oil and saute garlics, add seasoning and simmer till gravy thickens.
3. Add char siew and mix well.
4. Off fire, add sesame seed and chopped parsely.
5. Cool and use accordingly.

Note:
You can thicken the gravy with a little bit of flour which has been mixed in water. Flour is preferred over cornflour as it can maintain the vicosity even when cooled.

Rusti said...

Hi Kathryn
This is the recipe for the fillings:
Ingredients
150gm char siew, chopped
2 stalks Chinese Parsley, chopped
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1 clove chopped garlic
2 tsp oil

Seasonings
3 Tbsp water
¼ tsp sesame oil
1½ tsp oyster sauce
2 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp dark soy sauce
½ tsp cornflour
1½ tsp creamy peanut butter
1/2 to 1 tbsp honey
1/2 tbsp Huatiao wine

Method
1. Mix seasoning together
2. Heat oil and saute garlics, add seasoning and simmer till gravy thickens.
3. Add char siew and mix well.
4. Off fire, add sesame seed and chopped parsely.
5. Cool and use accordingly.

Note:
You can thicken the gravy with a little bit of flour which has been mixed in water. Flour is preferred over cornflour as it can maintain the vicosity even when cooled.

Kathryn said...

thanks a million for your recipe :D really appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

Could you post your Semolina Cake recipe please?

Thanks.

jf

Rusti said...

Hi JF
Give me a couple of days to look for the recipe I tore the recipe page off the Australian Women's Weekly and I cannot remember which file I place it in.
Ginny

Anonymous said...

sure, really appreciate your time.

jf

SC said...

Hi Rusti,

Your sugee cake looks lovely! Moist and buttery..yums. Possible to post up the recipe please? Thank you!

SC

Rusti said...

Hi JF and SC
Please me my posting of May 25.
Cheers
Ginny

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your recipe.

Jf

Anonymous said...

Thanks Ginny.

SC

lizziebeh said...

I had some failure doing the Jap cheesecake myself.. When I put it in the bain marie.. water seep into my springform tin. Should have covered it with foil. Can I have your cheesecake recipe? Yours looks so much better than my last try.

lizziebeh@gmail.com

Liz

Rusti said...

Hi Liz
Yes for springform pans it is a must to wrap tightly in foil. Nevermind, we all learn through mistakes. I will email the recipe to you separately.
Ginny