Sunday, June 29, 2008

June Daring Bakers Challenge


Regarding this month's challenge, can I just say, WOW! Seriously, great job, Kelly of Sass & Veracity, and Ben of What’s Cookin’? . The recipe you guys picked is simply out of this world. YOUR recipe restored my faith in my own bread making skills! I would never have believed that I am capable of producing something like this, if not for this challenge!

Despite baking for almost 7 years now, I have only attempted bread a couple of times, and as for complicated pastry like the Danish, forget it!! Those two top my list of things NOT to bake, and frankly speaking, I panicked a little when I saw the challenge, and very nearly freaked out when I was pulling my dough together, because the dough seemed to like my fingers A LOT more than the working table. Jamie Oliver, you liar.

Anyhoo, somehow or another, I did mange to pull the dough together, and I am VERY proud of myself, so much so that, first chance I get, I'm going to move on to something I have always wanted to bake but never dared-- cinnamon buns!!!


Ok, back to the challenge. I decided to fill it with home-made red bean paste, because,

1. I LOVE anything red bean

2. I love red bean paste with bread

3. Did I mention that I love red bean?

I think all you intelligent readers get the idea. So, then, how to make red bean paste? Turns out, its idiot proof!!

INGREDIENTS

1 cup dried red beans [azuki or chinese]

1/2 cup sugar

Couple tablespoon of oil

Soak red beans in water, overnight. Once ready, drain well, pour into a pot, cover with enough water to reach four fingers above the beans, and boil until soft.

Once soft, drain and blend the beans to desired texture in a blender or food processor [add a little of the water the beans cooked in if the blender jams; just a little!]. If you want a silky smooth paste, press through a sieve to remove the skin. If you are happy with just smooth, and don't give two hoots about skin [like me], leave it =D

In a frying pan, heat up the oil until hot but not smoking. Pour in the bean paste and sugar, and stir it until everything is absorbed into the bean, and the paste looks relatively dry. Remove from heat and allow to cool. It will thicken and firm up beautifully once it cools. And voila, you have delicious, pillowy-mashmallowy red bean paste!


As usual, I won't go into the details of the recipe, but I will point out the highlights and the fun parts!!

The rising of the dough-- look at that!! Good work, my yeasty miracle workers!


And the braiding. Who knew it only took a matter of minutes to get the amazing braided look?? Is it just me, or does the unbraided dough resemble Davy Jones just a little?



I forgot to take pictures because I was in a bit of a rush [I woke up at 5.30 am to finish baking these babies!!], but I made a bunch of little ones, filling them with chocolate, cinnamon, and leftover red bean paste.


All in all, while being the most challenging DB challenge to date, it was also the most fun! While I would be even more thrilled if my braid had layered a bit more [check out some of the truly outstanding creations of the other daring bakers here!], I am very very pleased with my results =) My favorite flavor would have to be the chocolate one. Next time I make this recipe, I'll dedicate an entire half batch to chocolate!

This is the sum total of my yield; what a lot of bread!!

Also, since the challenge coincides quite nicely with Father's Day, and since my dad has a sweet tooth the size of texas, this challenge is dedicated to you, daddy!

23 comments:

madcapcupcake said...

I absolutely love your danish braid! - I am such a huge fan of red bean paste, and I had no idea that it was that straightforward to make. In fact, it never occurred to me to make it myself - so THANK YOU for teaching me how!! I can't wait to try it. And your little pastries are just to die for, they are so cute :) I bet everything was delicious - bravo, really well done :)

onespicymama said...

Yummy! Red bean paste is a fav of mine too! They look gorgeous!

Medhaa said...

Wow never tried red bean in this manner we just use it for savoury purposes. Lovely braid and I love the smaller ones they look so cute

Rachel said...

Red beans..wow that is a lovely choice....

Anzj said...

I've only heard of red bean paste in Japanese foods, but I think this a great idea. I guess it will work well with all kinds of beans, so thanks for the reat idea. I also like your topping on the braid. Looking good!

Jenny said...

Red bean paste, hmm? Sounds really interesting, and I love what you did with your leftovers!

Aparna said...

You can be proud of your braid, they look real good.
I've read of red bean paste but now I know how to make it.

Angela said...

I love the east-west fusion of red bean paste and Danish.

Your braid is beautiful!

Clumbsy Cookie said...

I have never had red bean, but now after seeing this I really want to try it. Beautiful!

DK said...

Red Bean paste!!!! Oh this is a goldmine - was curious to know abt that one. The braid luks amazing! and so pro :) Great job on the challenge

Lorrie said...

i love it and i love red beans, you did an awesome job.

breadchick said...

I love the idea of red bean paste since that is my favourite steamed bun filling! For someone who is terrified of breads, you did a fantastic job!!

Ally said...

I wish I could have a bite, I'm so intrigued with the red bean paste (and I'm a red bean, heck, any bean lover too!)

Barbara said...

Great job on your braid. I love the red bean filling.

On a totally separate subject, I notice you are from Singapore. My husband and I visited there in March. What a beautiful (but hot) place!

Ben said...

Oh my dear! Those are some amazing creations. Thank you for baking with us :)

Cynthia's Blog said...

Wow, in Singapore. I know from living in Malaysia for 3 years how hard it is to bake with butter. Your pastries were smashing! I also love the moon cakes during autumn festival time. I would never have thought of using a "moon cake" filling here!!!

dobetter said...

Wow, your danish braid looks fantastic. And I totally agree with you, this was a great challenge. Well done and said!

Gina said...

These look amazing! Red bean paste mmmmm.

Julie said...

I have never tried red bean paste, but now I really want to! Your braid turned out beautifully.

Lucy said...

looks delish :)
it didn't occur to me until after I'd finished mine that a savory one like yours would be great. nice work!

bethany said...

oh, red bean!!! yum. like many other comments say, thanks for including your prep for that!!

I will have to keep that in mind if I ever make these again!!!!:)

But I know that I will use the recipe for something else, thanks so much!

Jaime said...

wow you made your own red bean paste? i'm so impressed - i love those buns stuffed with red bean paste and i can only imagine how yummy these pastries were! congrats on overcoming your fear! your pastries are beautiful!

oh and if you are looking for a good cinnamon bun recipe, try the one in my blog :)

Dana McCauley said...

I think you get the award for the most creative filling - cool idea!

Great looking garnish on your braid, too. Nice work!