Sunday, March 22, 2009

Orange Cotton Cheesecake

My son Gabriel loves this cotton cheesecake. (He told me to type this)

My hubby bought me this book from Msia - Agnes Chang's 'I can Bake'. It has many recipes, from cakes to cookies to bread. I had this book for almost a year already, but hardly tried anything from there, cause I'm almost always distracted by the wonderful recipes I find online. Finally got to bake this cotton cheesecake for my cellgroup meeting.

The recipe calls for a 10 inch square tin, but my little oven is unable to accomodate a water bath tin bigger than that.. so I settled for a 10 inch round and a 7 inch square. I only managed to take pictures of the square one.

As the name implies, the cheesecake is cotton soft. Very fluffy and nice. Its not too cheesy. Personally, I find it not cheesy enough. But some people prefers it this way, as its less jelat.

It has a nicely browned top.

Fluffy interior.

Orange Cotton Cheesecake

250g cream cheese
220ml fresh milk
100g butter

70g plain flour, sifted
20g corn flour, sifted
60g caster sugar
6 egg yolks
1 orange, grated rind and squeezed juice

6 egg white
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
60g caster sugar

1. Put the cream cheese and fresh milk into a double boiler. Double boil till the cream cheese has melted. Remove from heat, add butter, stir till the butter has melted and leave to cool.
2. Add A into cooled cream cheese mixture and stir well to form batter
3. Whisk B till thick and glossy (soft peaks form), fold into cream cheese mixture till well combined
4. Pour cake mixture into non-greased 10"square baking tin ( I lined the bottom of the pan with baking paper)
5. put baking tin into a large roasting pan half filled with hot water. Steam bake at 150 degree for 1.5 hours till golden brown and cooked.
6. Remove cake from the oven, invert the cake onto a cake rack and leave to cool completely.

Other variations
- for lemon cotton cheesecake, use one lemon to substitute orange
- for mocha cotton cheesecake, use two tbsp instant coffee dissoved in 4 tbsp hot milk to substitute orange

Friday, March 20, 2009

Polo Buns

Its the school holidays. Took couple of days off to keep the children company. Plus also use the extra free time to bake. Tried my hands at polo buns. I've heard how tasty they are, but have never tried them.

Mine looks like this.

Not quite as pretty as the ones I saw on the internet. Taste wise, its OK. When fresh out of the oven, the covering dough was a little crispy, but the taste was not as buttery as what I expected. Maybe the quality of butter was not that good, I used the relatively cheap ones from Phoon Huat 'Greenfields'.

The bun was really soft. I used a recipe from Creative Culinaire. Even after two days, pop into the microwave at high for 20 s and its still as soft as before.

Proofed, but before baking:

I mixed some butter and icing sugar and put some into each bun. I've done this before for butter buns and they tasted delicious. But this time, the taste of butter was so mild.... lesson learnt.. don't stinge on butter.

For variation, I made some garlic butter buns too.

To my surprise, little Samantha loved this batch of buns. She polished off almost 4 in 2 days.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Healthy Granola bars

Had not been baking much. Busy.

Samantha brought back the stomach flu virus and passed it on to almost my entire family. Prayerfully, little Nathalie was spared, thanks to the many prayers from family and friends. Gabriel is still suffering with lots of gas in the tummy.

Nathalie has very sensitive skin. PD confirmed she has eczema. She has rashes on the face, hands, legs and feet. Sometimes its so bad that a sticky liquid oozes out. On some days it bothers her so much that she could not sleep. She used to sleep through the night, in fact she was able to do that in her first month. But ever since the rashes came about, she wakes up two to three times in the middle of the night. Sometime due to the itch, sometimes due to diarrhea. After some research and trials, I realised that she is sensitive to peanuts and milk. When I consume those (I am still breastfeeding), she breaks out in rashes. So I have to stay away from dairy products and peanuts. The diarrhea has stopped, her rashes better, but still flares up occasionally. There is still something in my diet or the environment that she is sensitive to. Pray for wisdom.

My hubby enjoys cycling. He suffered two falls recently. Thank God no major injuries. You can read his blog here. He had been eating just granola bars for lunch for past week and was telling me how expensive good bars are. So I ventured to bake him some.

I searched the internet for recipe and decided to use this. I was sold by the beautiful pictures and it looks easy enough.

Granola Bars
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup pepitas
1/4 cup flax seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 cup whole almonds (or other nut)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup honey*
1/4 cup natural peanut butter*
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup dried cranberries (or other dried fruit)
Preheat the oven to 325. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Next, line a square baking pan (8 or 9 inches) with two perpendicular sheets of parchment paper that are long enough to leave an overhang. The sheets will form a “basket” for you to lift out the sheet of granola, before you cut it into bars.

Combine the oats, coconut, seeds and nuts; spread out evenly on the rimmed baking sheet and toast for 15 minutes. When the oat mixture has been toasting for about 10 minutes, combine the honey, peanut butter, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and vanilla in a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. If the sugar dissolves before the oat mixture is done toasting, reduce the heat to low.

When the oat mixture is done toasting, transfer it to a large bowl and add the honey mixture and fruit; stir to incorporate. Spread the mixture in the prepared square pan, using the back of a wooden spoon or bottom of a measuring cup to press the mixture into the pan and create a smooth, even surface. Bake the granola mixture for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool completely on a wire rack.

Using your parchment “handles,” lift the granola sheet out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Using a large sharp knife, Cut the sheet into one-inch wide bars. Next, cut the series of bars in half, lengthwise. Store in an airtight container.

I modified the recipe and replaced the nuts with what I have on hand. I used sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and crushed the whole almonds. I also added some wheat germ.

The oats and nuts toasted.

Mixed the nuts with the peanut/honey/sugar mixture. I had problem with it coming together that I rushed to make another half batch of the peanut/honey/sugar mixture. After mixing, put into a 10 inch pan.

Press and press and press with wooden spoon till surface is even.

When cool, cut with sharp knife and the granola bars are ready to be consumed. It was quite difficult to cut. I think its too dry and a little crumbly, not the soft chewy granola bars I am familiar with. Maybe the baking time was too long.
Here's a close up.

Taste wise, its not too bad. Not sweet, very nutty and certainly very healthy.

Next time, will try a more chewy recipe.