Monday, May 22, 2017

Whip It!

After a series of cakes for my in-laws' kenduri last weekend, I had plenty of leftover dairy and non-dairy whipped cream in the fridge. I hated the idea of it going to waste, so I decided to make two of Hubby's favourite desserts - Pavlova and Cheesecake! Both needed some amount of whipped cream in them, but I guess it still wasn't enough because there's at least half a box of each variant still in the fridge. Must find more recipes with whipped cream... Perhaps a batch of creme brûlée or some cream puffs are in order!

I apologize for the series of baking posts. This is turning into a baking blog pulak instead of a parenting one. Well mummies need to feed their husbands and kids with yummy cakes and such kan kan kan? And it's so close to Ramadhan so bagi chan lah with the calorie count.

I digress. Back to the cakes. First up, pavlova! I've always used Joy of Baking's recipe for my pavlovas and they've always turned out beautifully. But this time around I decided to make a chocolate pavlova instead, using Joy of Baking's tried and tested recipe. The only difference between the chocolate pavlova and the conventional pavlova, is the used of cocoa powder and chopped chocolates.

No chopped chocolates, please. Just stick to cocoa powder.

If you're not a big fan of sweets, I strongly urge you not to add the chopped chocolates in the batter. If you're like me, then add more chocolates!! *giggles* No, seriously, I have a high tolerance for sugar. Being half Kelantanese, I chugged the air gula to check for diabetes during pregnancy macam takde hal lah. But I really hate the thought of anyone having to amputate their legs because of my pavlova, so yes seriously, leave out the chopped chocolates.

Tips and tricks:
  • When beating sugar and egg whites, test to see if the sugar is fully dissolved by rubbing a little of the meringue between your fingers. The meringue should feel smooth, not gritty. If it feels gritty the sugar has not fully dissolved so keep beating until it feels smooth.
  • Do not take the pavlova out immediately after the timer rings. Crack your oven open just slightly, and let it cool down completely for a few hours.
  • If you're looking for a soft center in your meringue, bake it for 60 mins. If you prefer a slight crunch, do 75 mins. The longer you cook it and let it dry out (in the oven), the firmer it will be.
  • When constructing your pavlova, dip the center and keep the sides slightly higher so you can a slight well in the middle. This helps greatly when you're trying to fit the cream.
  • I tried using non-dairy whipped cream instead of the normal dairy one. Loveeee it! As the cream held well, it didn't make my pavlova 'wet'. Usually pavlovas break down pretty quickly due to the moisture of the cream and fruit. Definitely doing this again next time.
  • If you're looking for a cake to present to your future mother-in-law, this is NOT the cake to make. Takut nanti tak jadi kawin! This cake does not cut well, and is very messy to eat. You might as well spoon it into a bowl when serving.

Chocolate Pavlova
(recipe adapted from Joy of Baking)

120 grams egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar or lemon juice (I did not use this cos I didn't have any)
200 grams castor sugar
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon corn flour
15 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
30 grams semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (please omit this!)
240 ml cold whipping cream (I used non-dairy)
Fresh fruit  of your choice - I usually use, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and kiwi fruit

  • Preheat your oven to 150 degC. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and draw a 7 inch (18 cm) circle on the parchment paper. 
  • In the bowl of your electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and the cream of tartar on medium speed until you have soft peaks. Then add the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, and continue to beat, on high speed, until the meringue is shiny and holds stiff peaks. 
  • Add the vanilla extract and vinegar and beat until combined. Using a small strainer, sift the cocoa powder and cornstarch over the top of the meringue and, with a rubber spatula, fold in. If you like you can then fold in the chopped chocolate.
  • Gently pile the meringue inside the circle drawn on the parchment paper, smoothing the edges.
  • Place the baking sheet into the oven and immediately reduce the oven temperature to 120 degC. Bake the Pavlova for about 60 - 75 minute.
  • Turn the oven off, leave the door slightly ajar, and let the meringue cool completely in the oven (about two hours).
  • Shortly before serving gently place the meringue on your serving plate. Whip the cold cream in your electric mixer, with the whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Mound the whipped cream into the center of the meringue and arrange the fruit on top of the cream. 
  • Serve immediately as this dessert does not hold well.
So messy... but so good!

Ok, next up! Mango Cheesecake. This is a simple, no-bake cake. All you need is a fridge! I usually stay away from cakes that do not need to go into the oven, but surprisingly this one was quite good. It is really easy to do too; the most difficult part of making it is waiting while it sets in the fridge! *chuckles*

Tips and tricks:
  • Do not make your mango purée nor cut your mangoes into cubes before the base crumb is done. The mangoes will sadly turn brown. If you really must, cover the puréed/cut mangoes with plastic wrap and store in fridge. Similarly, try to finish the cake in a day, or your cubed mangoes decorating the top of the cake will turn brown too.
  • You can substitute Marie biscuits with Digestive or even Oreos!
  • If you want to impress your future mother-in-law, try making this in small individual clear glasses or mousse jars, instead of a cake pan. Bonus points for presentation!

No Bake Chilled Mango Cheesecake
(recipe adapted from Dapur Tanpa Sempadan)

200 grams Marie biscuits
100 grams melted butter
250 grams cream cheese
60 grams castor sugar
2 mangoes, one puréed , the other diced
1 1/2 table spoon halal gelatine
125 ml warm water
200 ml cold heavy whipping cream

  • Pulse biscuits in a food processor or put biscuits into a ziplock bag and crush until it resembles coarse crumbs. In a bowl, combine crushed cookies and melted butter. 
  • Pour biscuit crumbs into a springform cake pan and press down with the bottom of a cup/glass to create the crust. Put in the freezer to let the crust set.
  • Use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth and creamy. Fold in mango purée and beat until well combined. 
  • In a different bowl, whip the cream until thick and fold into the cream cheese mixture.. 
  • Whisk the gelatine and hot water in a small bowl until the gelatine dissolves. Stir into the cream cheese mixture then add half of the cubed mangoes. Mix well.
  • Pour the mixture on top of the refrigerated crust and flatten the top using a spatula. Keep in the refrigerator until set (about 3-4 hours).
  • Remove pan sides and transfer cake to platter. Just before serving, decorate with the remaining mango cubes.

As always, happy baking!

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