Wednesday, May 27, 2009

May Daring Baker's Challenge

It would seems that, when it comes to strudels, Singaporeans have been living in an alternate universe. All my life, thanks to Ritz Apple Strudel, I've believed that strudels looked like this:
So imagine my surprise when May rolled around, the challenge was revealed, and everyone in the Daring Baker community [and beyond] told me that strudels actually looked like this:

Bear with me for a little while more, and imagine my disappointment when my own strudel turned out like this:
I find myself to be utterly hopeless at all manner of dough stretching/kneading/tossing, as proven by the bread, pizza, and lastly strudel challenge. I suspect this failure can be attributed to using baking paper instead of cloth, but I didn't have a big enough piece of cloth.

However, I [and my family] was extremely pleased with the filling. I filled the pastry with flambe-ed peach halves in rum and butter, and let me tell you, it was AWESOME, and so quick to whip up. Flambe-ing the peaches were a ton of fun too!
The May Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Linda of make life sweeter! and Courtney of Coco Cooks. They chose Apple Strudel from the recipe book Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Caf├ęs of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers.

1 can peach halves, well drained.
3 tbsp butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup rum
**There's some debate on whether you can flambe on a non-stick pan, so just to be on the safe side, avoid doing that. I don't have a non-stick pan so I just used the most shallow pot I have. Worked great.
  1. Melt butter and add sugar to it. Cooked til dissolved and very bubbly.
  2. Add peaches to butter mixture and cooked til peaches take on a brown sheen and smells awesome.
  3. Remove from heat [****VERY IMPORTANT! DON'T ADD THE ALCOHOL OVER OPEN FIRE****] and add the rum. Stir well.
  4. Place back on fire and ignite either with a long matchstick or one of those stove lighter things.
  5. Sit back and enjoy the pyrotechnic. The fire will burn down once all the alcohol is burned off.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Vanilla Poached Pear Crumble

I am leaving with my sister for a 2 week backpacking trip in Borneo this coming Tuesday, and I decided it would be in bad form to leave my readers with my last post. I don't want to be [even more] responsible for spewing forth more anger and violence into an already crazy world. So I decided to leave you with this. Vanilla-y, crumbly, sweet, gooey pear crumble.

I forgot to put sugar into the crust, so I compensated by making a thick syrup out of the cooking juices of the pear and drizzling it over the crumble. Worked very nicely, and I'm keeping the left-overs for making vanilla lattes. However, this didn't turn out exactly as I expected, because despite adding a whole vanilla bean to poach with the pear [scrapped with pods thrown in], the vanilla scent was MINIMAL. I have no idea what went wrong, and if you do, please enlighten me.

Vanilla Poached Pear Crumble

3 large pears or whatever approximate you deem fit, peeled, sliced and cored
1 vanilla pod
3 tbs sugar
Crust and Crumble:
One recipe of short-crust pastry, made to the crumbly stage. Rubbed in, water added but not kneaded. [refer here]
Handful of walnuts/almonds/pecans/whatever
2 tbs sugar
1 tbs cinnamon
Cooking juices
1/2 cup sugar
  1. Poach pear, sugar, split vanilla beans and pod in just enough water to cover. Until tender.
  2. Drain pears and leave open to dry out as much as possible.
  3. Take 3/4 of short-crust pastry 'crumbs' and press into a pan/pie dish/whatever. Poke full of holes and bake at 180 degree celcius for 15 minutes or until cooked. You'll smell it when its cooked.
  4. Mix remaining 'crumbs' with other ingredients.
  5. Arrange pear slices over crust, spread crumble evenly over and bake until browned at 180 degree celcius.
  6. To make syrup, simply reduce juice with sugar until desired consistency. I find reducing to be best done in a flat pan like a non-stick pan. Water evaporates so much faster!
  7. Dig in! =)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Scroll down if you came here for cheesecake and baked goods.

How nice. That time of the semester again when I feel like murdering everyone in sight, especially those on my 'list'. That professor who never did return my grade. That other professor who set an exam paper completely differently from what she told us would come out. The noisy morons who think the library is their own personal cafe. Random assortment of other morons and idiots. Wait a minute, there's no list afterall, all who annoys me qualifies. Can't WAIT for next semester.