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Monday, June 27, 2011

Daring Bakers' Baklava

I have to admit that from the outset I was not so keen of this challenge, simply because I was not moved by how Baklava looked. It vaguely reminded me of Apple Strudle challenge quite long time ago. Rolling dough until it was transparent was just as challenging back then, but I had done that with Apple Strudle and that was the second reason I wasn’t quite interested.

But then I had a strong reason to join this challenge – I was so eager to make the home-made phyllo, the compulsory of this challenge. It might be astonishing, phyllo is an ingredient one could never find in Bangkok. I remembered ordering a phyllo pack from a shop in Singapore and my friend who had picked it up left it in his fridge and totally forgot about it on the day he left for Bangkok to see me.

Apparently I could make good use of my huge rolling pin which helped expand the phyllo dough as wide as possible quite easily. I had decided to go moderate with the recipes and be happy with a smaller size Baklava: 4 inch x 11 inch.

When the baking was done, I couldn’t resist tasting Baklava while it was still hot and crispy. I figured that it would taste better without soaking it in syrup but simply brushing the top with a layer of syrup to create a glossy surface. What do you think?

My first bite into Baklava was just delightful, it was delicious - the nutty fragrance and crispiness had fulfilled my most anticipating palate. Felt good I had taken the Baklava challenge and right there and then, I was glad I could tell everyone how delicious this Greek dessert was.

Thanks so much to Erica of Erica’s Edibles for this luscious dessert! Erica of Erica’s Edibles was our host for the Daring Baker’s June challenge. Erica challenged us to be truly DARING by making homemade phyllo dough and then to use that homemade dough to make Baklava.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Macarons Learnt From The Queen

In between my time of decorating fondant cakes, I regularly manage to allocate some time to bake macarons or stumble into things related to them. And for that I need to update this blog regarding my meeting with the Queen of Macaron, Thip of Bonbini, recently in Bangkok.

It was a nice Wednesday morning when we arranged to meet at Heart Core Café run by Thip’s friend in Chaeng Wattana Road. And as everybody would have suspected, it was Thip’s kindest gesture to show a small group of friends how to bake macarons.

Thip was just so friendly and it was pleasant to meet her and her sister, Ba (middle in the photo) of Sawasdee Blog Culinaire. Had a great time chatting with both of them. Thip was very generous to share with us – like what she would normally do in her macaron classes – tips and technique of baking macaron. And for that special occasion, she had picked Italian meringue style to bake chocolate macarons with chocolate ganache filling.

During delicious lunch break which was also the time to leave the piped macarons form skin on the surface, I had ample great time to talk some more with Thip and Ba. The macaron session was finally wrapped up with a luscious tasting of chocolate macarons. Yummy! Soon I was back home, I just had to remake macarons learnt in Thip's session! And the result can be seen in these pictures...

“Thanks so much, Thip! I wish to see you again in San Francisco, and good luck to you for your future endeavors!” For those who are interested in learning macarons with Thip, do check out Bonbini!

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Flower Spray

What could be more interesting than decorating cakes with flowers? In this case, gumpaste flowers. While before I found my passion for fondant decoration, my cakes were mostly decorated with either fresh fruits, chocolate pieces, or buttercream piping.

Only when I embraced the muse of fondant world, the decorating ideas became truly limitless. And I enjoyed every design and color possibility - it is like pushing myself back into graphic design all over again - only now I fiddle with fondant and gumpaste as my media.

For those who love flower gumpaste, mostly are big fans of Alan Dunn, the author of uncountable cake decorating and sugar flower books. Alan is a true inspiration for many of us who admire the natural beauty of flowers and plants, and make an attempt to mimic them into cake decoration.

I am sure his upcoming book "Tropical and Exotic Flowers for Cakes" that will be published in August this year will become a big hit. Can't wait to get a copy of it!

Meanwhile, I was spending my free time developing this set of birthday cakes for my boss' birthday celebration. Apparently he was very excited about the flower spray - he started pulling the blossoms out from the arrangement and giving to the female staff in the office. The white rose which was the centerpiece, was given to his assistant. All in all, it was a wonderful celebration and everyone seemed to enjoy his or her slice of chocolate cake.