Wednesday, October 11, 2017

No-Bake Mini Strawberry Cheesecake



With fresh strawberries in abundance and relatively cheap I decided to make something out of these big, luscious, sweet strawberries.  After making the Lychee Cheesecake recently, of course Strawberry Cheesecake came to mind.  

This is a no-bake smooth, creamy and refreshing cheesecake where Greek yogurt is added to give a lighter texture and adds more flavour.  Top it with fresh strawberries before serving and it will suit any dinner party.


Crust: 
150g Marie biscuits, or any biscuits of your choice
85g butter, melted

Filling:
250g cream cheese, softened
150g caster sugar
350g strawberries, washed and hulled
6 gelatin sheets
40g lemonade (I used Sprite)
125g thickened cream (chilled)
125g Greek yogurt

  • Process biscuits finely in a food processor.  Add in melted butter and mix to combine.
  • Press biscuits into individual dessert mould and using a glass, firmly press down the crust to compact it.  Refrigerate while preparing the filling.
  • Beat chilled cream and yogurt together until soft peaks form.  Set aside in the fridge.
  • Place gelatin sheets into a bowl of cold water for about 10 minutes to soften them. Meanwhile gently heat up the lemonade. Squeeze out excess water from the gelatin sheets; then add into the warmed lemonade and stir gently until it dissolves.  Set aside.
  • Using a stick blender blend the strawberries to get 250g of strawberry puree.  Then push the puree through a fine sieve.  Add gelatin mixture into the strained puree and blend to combine.
  • Beat softened cream cheese and caster sugar until smooth and creamy.  Gradually add in the strawberry puree and beat to combine.   
  • Lastly fold in whipped cream and yogurt mixture.
  • Spoon the mixture into crusts and cover with plastic wrap.  Chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.  
Note:  If you are using gelatin powder, dissolve  15g gelatin powder in 40g strawberry puree or lemonade.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Homemade Mandarin Pancakes

Peking Duck Pancakes
Peking Duck Pancakes


Mandarin pancakes or Peking Duck Pancakes are traditionally served with slices of duck with thin and crispy skin together with cucumber batons and scallions as well as Hoisin sauce which was spread onto the pancakes.

Fancy having your own 'Home-style' Peking Duck? Why not make your own mandarin pancakes and have a takeaway roast duck from your favourite restaurant. Carve out the meat together with the skin, and wrap with the pancakes.

This is one of the recipes that I've been wanting to try out for a long time. Actually it is not difficult to make, however  it is quite challenging for me to get really round pancakes. I tried out two methods in cooking the pancakes - steamed and pan fried. The steaming method took longer time compared to pan fried as you have to steam one pancake at a time.  


Ingredients:  Makes 32 pancakes 

240g plain flour
10g tapioca starch
1/2 tsp sea salt
160g boiling water
extra tapioca flour or cornflour for dusting

Note: *  Tapioca starch is added for chewiness.  

  • Dissolve salt in the boiling water and pour into the flour mixture.
  • Stir with a pair of chopsticks until the dough comes together.  When the dough is cool enough to handle,  knead until it forms a smooth ball. 

  • Place the dough in a plastic bag and tie it.  Allow the dough to rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes.  It should be smooth, soft and pliable after being rested.
  • Dust your working surface with tapioca starch and roll the dough into a log and cut into 32 equal pieces.  
  • Dusting with tapioca starch, roll each piece of dough into a ball.  
  • Then flatten the balls with your palm into small discs (about 4cm in diameter).

METHOD 1:  STEAMED 

  • Using a rolling pin roll out the discs in circles.  Dust with tapioca starch and stack them up.
  • Meanwhile prepare the steamer, place a plate on the steamer rack.
  • Working with one pancake at a time, roll it into paper thin circle of about 16cm in diameter.


  • Place one pancake at a time onto the plate, cover and steam for 1 minute until the pancake is almost cooked.  While the first pancake is steaming, roll another piece of pancake.  Place the second pancake on top of the first one.  Continue to steam for 1 minute before placing the next piece.  Repeat the process until all the pancakes are done.       
    (TIP:  To easy transfer the thin pancake, roll the pancake onto the rolling pin, then unfurl it onto the steamed pancake)
  • Once all the pancakes are cooked, separate them so that they do not stick to each other.  Then stack them onto a plate and cover with clingwrap to prevent from drying out.

METHOD 2:  PAN FRIED 

  • Brush sesame oil (or cooking oil) onto the top of one disc, ensuring the sides and the entire surface are coated with oil.  Press another disc over it to form a two-layer pancake.


  • Using a rolling pin, roll the double pancake thinly into large circle of about 16cm in diameter.  Dust the working surface with more flour to prevent sticking.
  • Heat a frying pan over medium-low fire.  Place a pancake into the pan and fry until you see some air pockets forming in between the two pancakes.  
  • Flip the pancake and fry for about half a minute. The pancake should be white with just some light brown spots. 
  • Transfer the pancakes onto a plate.  Carefully separate the two pancakes at the seams while they are still warm.  Cover the pancakes with a damp kitchen towel to prevent from drying out.  


TO REHEAT THE PANCAKES BEFORE SERVING:
  • Place the pancakes onto a bamboo steaming rack and steam for about 3 - 5 minutes.  Serve immediately.
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Monday, October 2, 2017

No-Bake Lychee Mini Cheesecake

cheesecake


Crust:
150g Marie biscuits
85g butter, melted

Filling:
250g cream cheese, softened
145g caster sugar
250g pureed lychee (blend 150g canned lychee + syrup)
1/2 tbsp lime juice
5-1/2 gelatin sheets
40g lychee syrup
250g thickened cream (chilled)
extra lychee, chopped coarsely
  • Process biscuits in a food processor.  Add in melted butter and mix to combine.
  • Press biscuits into individual dessert mould and using a glass, firmly press down the crust to compact it.  Refrigerate while preparing the filling.
  • Beat chilled cream until soft peaks form.  Set aside in the fridge.
  • Place gelatin sheets into a bowl of cold water for about 10 minutes to soften them. Meanwhile gently heat up the lychee syrup. Squeeze out excess water from the gelatin sheets; then add into the warmed lychee syrup and stir gently until it dissolves.  Set aside.
  • Blend the lychee and enough syrup to get 250g of lychee puree.  Add in lime juice and gelatin mixture and blend to combine.
  • Beat softened cream cheese with caster sugar until smooth and creamy.  Gradually add in lychee puree and beat to combine.   
  • Lastly fold in whipped cream and chopped lychee.
  • Spoon the mixture into crusts and cover with plastic wrap.  Chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.  
Note:  If you are using gelatin powder, dissolve  15g gelatin powder in 40g lychee syrup

Loose base pan

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