Saturday, July 20, 2013

Cronuts Homemade


What is a Cronut? It is described by many as a half croissant, half doughnut, this pastry hybrid by Chef Dominique Ansel from Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York's Soho neighbourhood, is taking the world by storm. After its launch on May 10, 2013, Cronut fans spanned the world from Berlin to Singapore, making it the most viral dessert item to date. I just read he invented something new again, like a custard ice cream in marshmellow.

He took two months to perfect the Cronuts recipe. Chef Dominique Ansel’s creation is not to be mistaken as simply croissant dough that has been fried. It is made with a laminated dough which has been likened to a croissant, the Cronut is first proofed and then fried in grapeseed oil at a specific temperature which he of course did not reveal. Once cooked, each Cronut is flavoured in three ways. It is rolled in sugar, filled with cream and topped with glaze. Once fried, these things have a short shelf life. As the hours wear on without eating it, the exterior crispness suffers whilst the centres soften. It will still be tasty, but not as tasty as they could have been if consumed close to making. They should not be stored inside the fridge.

People queue up for hours for it and there are scalpers that sell up to $100 a pop. As I won't be going to New york anytime soon, I tried making some myself just for fun and curiosity. Croissant dough is difficult to make and after reading that it is actually laminated dough, I thought of a short cut method. I used puff pastry and add butter to it. I didn't need to proof the dough at all. It still tasted fantastic to me. It was fluffy and crispy at the same time. A different kind of feeling in the mouth from croissant or a donut.

CRONUT Recipe:

2 sheets of square puff pastry, frozen (I used Pampas, please do not thaw)
80g cold unsalted butter
Grapeseed oil or Canola oil for deep frying
Fine or castor sugar for coating
Pastry cream


Cut out 2 medium sized freezer bags (plastic bags, cut out one of the sides and the bottom)
Lay out one piece of puff pastry straight out of the freezer onto one side of the freezer bag.
Cut thin slices of chilled butter (about 40g) and lay them on one half of the puff pastry.
Fold the pastry into half.
Flip the other side of the freezer bag over and cover the pastry.
Roll the pastry thinner lengthwise. (the rolling pin will not be dirty as it is rolling on the freezer bag and you don't need to use extra flour on the pastry.
Fold the pastry into thirds.
Roll again into a bigger rectangle.
Now fold again into a smaller square.
Now it is about 2 cm thick.
Put the pastry in the fridge to firm it out.
Repeat with the another sheet using the other 40g of butter.

Adapted from All Recipes

500ml milk
100g sugar
1 vanilla bean or 2 tsp of vanilla extract
5 egg yolks
4 tbsp plain flour
60g unsalted butter
1 pinch salt

Place the milk, half the sugar and the vanilla bean in a saucepan over medium heat. (If using vanilla extract, add it only later)
Combine the egg yolks and the remaining sugar in a bowl and whisk until light in colour. Add in the flour and the salt, mix to combine.
When the milk just begins to boil, remove from heat and remove vanilla bean.
Very slowly dribble the hot milk into the yolk mixture, stirring all the time.
When about half of the milk has been added, place all of the yolk mixture into the saucepan over medium heat.
Using a spatula or a whisk, mix the pastry cream as it heats, making sure to reach all of the corners of the pan when you stir.
Bring the mixture to the boil. Let boil for about 1 minute, stirring constantly. The mixture will be thick.
Remove from heat and add the butter. (If you are using vanilla extract, add in now)
Strain if you wish for a smoother cream.
Place into a bowl and cover directly with cling film to stop a skin from forming on the cream.
Chill and use within a few days.
Adapted from All Recipes

120g icing sugar
2 tsp milk
1 tsp melted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
Melt the butter and add to rest of ingredients. Mix until creamy and thick.
Take out the pastry from the fridge.
Use a donut cutter to stamp out donut rounds, it will yield about 4 rounds to 5 rounds, plus the middle portion which you take it out and the sides after you have lifted the rounds. (I did not leave any wasted)
Repeat for the second piece of pastry.
Heat up the oil in a pan and fry the pastry till golden brown.
Drain the fried pastry.
Let it cool for a while and dip the pastry into the sugar to coat it all round.
Put the creme patisserie into a piping bag with a nozzle and push the tip of the nozzle to pipe the cream into the pastries from the sides.
Spoon the glaze onto the top of the pastries.
Enjoy while it is still warm and crispy.
PS: My experimental cronuts are not high and the layers are not as profound as the one you see from Dominique Ansel Bakery of course. I reckon if you want it much higher with many layers, do stack two sheets of puff pastry together and it will definitely need more butter needless to say. That means even higher calories! I leave it up to you. Mine is good enough for me.
Donut cutter
Puff pastry sheets

Friday, March 22, 2013

Seafood Crispy Tofu

I first ate this in a restaurant long ago and I really liked it very much. I remember it was very tasty and I could not stop eating it. It certainly has full of ingredients in the tofu. I had to bring some food to my friend's house one day and she requested for a tofu dish. I thought of this particular tasty tofu dish and I did not hesitate to look for the recipe on the net. I did find a few versions but just had to adapt and add on my own ingredients to the recipe.

Mine turned out just the way I wanted it.
This recipe is adapted from WendyinKK

Seafood Crispy Tofu


6 tubes of egg tofu
1 block of white soft tofu (choose the one for steaming)
200g fish paste (fish that is blended to a pulp)
6 pieces of prawns, chopped and mashed
2 eggs
Half a grated carrot
6 water chestnuts, chopped or diced
2 tbsp of finely sliced spring onions
2 tbsp of finely sliced coriander
1 1/2 tbsp of corn flour
Salt and pepper to taste
1 packet of potato flour for frying
Oil for deep frying


Get ready a heat proof metal tray or cake pan which is at least 2 inches deep.
Line it with heat resisitent plastic wrap for easy removal.
Put water in the steamer to boil.
Unwrap all the tofu and put it in a mixer.
Add in fish paste, prawns, carrots, water chestnuts, spring onion and coriander.
Turn the mixer on to low speed.
Mix thoroughly till well blended. 
Add the eggs and mix well again. 
Put in salt and pepper to taste and mix again.
Put the mixture into the lined pan.
Steam on medium heat for around 20 minutes. Checking it after 10 minutes.
As soon as it is hardened, test it with a skewer, if it comes out clean, it is done. Do not over steam the tofu.
Let the steamed tofu be totally cooled before removing it from the pan.
When the tofu is cooled, lift up the plastic wrap from the pan and onto the chopping board.
Cut the tofu into rectangular pieces.
Heat a pan of oil for deep frying.
Dip the pieces of tofu in the potato flour and coat it well.
Fry the pieces of tofu till golden brown.
Arrange the pieces nicely and serve warm.
It is nice to serve it with Thai chilli sauce and sweetened golden orange 'oil'. (gek you)


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Frangipane Tart with Blueberries

Frangipane is a filling made from or flavoured like almonds. This filling can be used in a variety of ways including cakes, tarts and other assorted pastries. It is normally made of butter, sugar, eggs and ground almonds. 
I like anything with almonds in it and you can add fresh fruits, can fruits or jam and it is good to go.
This particular sweet tart dough is a little sweet, very crispy and has also ground almond in it. It is a little different from ordinary sweet tart dough and worth making a batch to keep in the freezer and take it out whenever you need it. The filling is enough for 6 to 7 individual tarts and the tart dough needs pre baking but do not need to weigh it down with baking beans if you poke enough holes in them.
This recipe is adapted from Jamie Oliver 30 minute meals and Pierre Herme's Desserts. 

Frangipane Tart with Blueberries Recipe

Ingredients for Sweet Tart Dough (enough to line two 9 inch tarts or 12 individual tarts)
285g butter (softened)
188g icing sugar
50g ground almond
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
500g plain flour (sifted)

For making the sweet tart dough, put the softened butter in a mixer bowl, put on the paddle and mix till light and fluffy. 
Add icing sugar, almonds, salt, vanilla extract and eggs and mix on low speed. Blend well after scraping the sides.
Add the sifted flour in a few additions, do not add all at once.
Switch off the machine as soon as dough comes together. Do not over mix.
Divide the dough into two or three portions. Roll each portion into a ball and wrap with food plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours preferably. You can store the rest in the freezer if you are not using it. This can be stored for up to a month.
Heat the oven to 180 C, when you are ready to make the tart, cut out a freezer bag or a big clean plastic bag, and put the dough in between to roll out. Cut according to size of the tray. 
Press gently onto the tray and poke holes all over with a fork so that it allows air to go around when baking.
For a big tart, put beans on alluminium foil before baking at 180 C for 18 to 20 minutes, remove the beans and bake for another 5 minutes till golden brown.
For individual small tart shells, we do not need to use beans for weighing them down.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 180 C till golden brown for the small tarts.

Cool the tart shells on a rack and prepare the filling.

Ingredients for the Filling:
1/2 punnet to 1 punnet of fresh blueberries
100g butter (softened)
100g ground almond
100g sugar
1 egg
Zest of 1 orange
1 tsp of vanilla extract

Heat the oven to 180 C.
Put butter, almond, sugar, zest, vanilla extract and the egg into a mixing bowl. Use a silicon spatula and mix the ingredients together to a paste. It is that simple. 
Fill the individual tart shell first with a big spoonful of filling, put about 10 of the blueberries in them, then top the tart with the another spoonful or two of the filling. You do not need to smoothen the filling as it will spread out on its own during baking.
For a big tart, put in half of the filling into the tart shell, spread the blueberries onto the filling and add in the remaining filling. 
Bake at 180 C oven till golden brown, around 30 minutes. Checking after 20 minutes of baking.
Cool the tarts on wire racks. Remove tart from metal tart trays and serve warm. You can serve them with Vanilla ice cream if desired.

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