Mango pudding – Chè xoài

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Fruit pudding is intricately delicious that I do not resist each time I finish my dinner. In Vietnam, the mango pudding has some derivatives in that they add a little of heavy cream on top so that each bite of this dessert has a fatter feeling than the original recipe. Depend on which type of mangoes you choose, you should adjust the amount of sugar added to the pudding. For me sugar added does not necessarily make the pudding so sweet because the fruit itself has its natural sugar.

This fruit pudding is easy to make and easy to eat. There is only one tip you should care here is that the chosen mangoes for the pudding. Mango should be ripe enough to have the best taste.

Ingredients (for 4 ramekins) 

– 3 ripe mangoes,

– 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp sugar

– 1/2 cup milk

– 1/2 cup heavy cream

– 1 3/4 tsp gelatin powder

– Extra heavy cream for serving

Method

– Peel mangoes and cut only the fresh flesh of them

– In a clean blender, puree the mangoes until smooth

– Sprinkle gelatin powder to the milk and cream. Let gelatin powder sit for 10 minutes. Note that gelatin powder has to be sprinkled onto the cold liquid. 

– Combine sugar, mango puree and gelatin mixture to a pan.

– Bring the mixture to a boil then remove the pan from the heat.

– Divide the mango mixture into ramekins or any kind of cups you like

– Refrigerate for at least 4 hours to let mango pudding set.

– Serve cold with heavy cream on top.

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Japanese Ricotta cotton cheesecake

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You may like my recipe for Japanese Yogurt cotton cheesecake if you’re a big fan of this soft like cloud cheesecake. 

Last week when buying Ricotta cheese, I tentatively used it for making Lasagna, which is as old as a fairy tale; however, my store-bought Ricotta was too big to use it all since my baking pan was small enough for 4 persons. I quickly used the leftover for our dinner dessert and this cheesecake came to my head, unintentionally. Why ? I was watching Cooking with the Dog (Oh my, am I freely advertising this channel but Francis the dog is so cute that I like watching him again and again ) and thinking of something Japanese.

Not only is Ricotta cheesecake tangy but also sweet flavored. Ricotta itself is not as sour as the regular cheese so that Ricotta does not bring you the vinegar feeling. I like serving this cake with jam (ideally strawberry jam or preservatives) or blueberry or any kind of fruits that you like. Serve warm or cold has its own taste and sometimes, I’m so gluttonous that this cake has no chance to be served when it’s cold.

Ingredients

– 250 g Ricotta cheese

– 7 eggs, separated

– 80 g butter

– 1 tbsp amaretto

– 60 g cake flour

– 100 ml heavy cream

– 130 g sugar

Method

– In a double boiler, melt butter, amaretto, cheese and heavy cream with 30 g sugar until combined. Set the bowl aside for 10 – 15 minutes to cool down.

– Lightly beat the egg yolks then gradually mix in the cheese mixture.

– Sift the cake flour and gently fold in the yolk mixture.

– Use a fine mesh strainer, strain the yolk and cheese mixture to have a very fine mixture.

– Beat the egg whites with 100 g sugar at low speed until the beaten whites reach stiff peak.

– Use a whisk to fold the whites to the yolk mixture.

– Use bread pan (as I used here) or any mold you like to steam bake the cake at 300 F (150 C) for 1 hour and 10 minutes.

– Let the cake sit in the open oven for 5 minutes before unmolding. This technique can prevent the cake from shrinking.

Here’s my tutorial video for making this cake

Baguette ( Banh mi ) – Bánh mì bột chua

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Tell me that I’m not the only one who likes freshly baked bread and don’t tell me that I’m the only amateur bread baker. Everyone can make bread himself, given he has a perfect recipe. I tried making bread a couple of years ago and had no success. I’m wondering why my bread is crunchy only when it’s out from the oven. To be honest with you, I don’t like the guidance of bread baking books in that they rarely tell you how to adapt the water to your bread flour. It’s really worth learning how much water is needed because water can make your bread go to your dinner table or is directly thrown into trash.

I’ve figured out that the age of flour decides how much water that flour needs. Thus, the experience here is that you shouldn’t follow the recipe exactly. Just remember that add around 3/4 water to the flour if you don’t know your bread flour is as old as the recipe’s flour, then adjust the remaining water slowly  to the dough just until your dough is roughly incorporated but does not stick to the bowl. The required quality of the bread is that the bread has to be crunchy on the outside but fluffy like pillow on the inside.

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Ingredients (for 3 baguettes)

Starter

– 1 cup bread flour

– 1/2 cup warm water

– 1/8 tsp active dry yeast

Sprinkle yeast in the water and let the yeast sits for 5 minutes. Then add in the flour and mix until you have a sticky dough. Cover and let the starter sit at room temperature for 10 hours. The maximum time for this process is 12 hours. After 12 hours, your yeast needs to be fed so that you have to work with the starter.

Baguette

– All the starter

– 3 1/2 cup bread flour or unbleached all purpose flour can substitute

– 2 tsp active dry yeast

– 1 1/8 to 1 1/2 cups water, depending on the flour or the temperature

– 1.5 tsp salt

– 1 tbsp oil

– 1/2 tsp sugar

Method

– Mix sugar with 1 1/8 cups water and yeast. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes until you see the bubbles on the surface of water.

– Mix all the yeast mixture, starter, salt and bread flour in a bowl (you can safe time by using a stand mixer). Using a fork, stir well until flour absorbs all the liquid ingredients.

– Knead by hand (or stand mixer) until a non-sticky dough is formed. During the kneading time, you can add more water slowly, 1 tbsp a time, to make sure the dough is not dry but no sticky to the bowl.

– Add the oil to a clean bowl and keep the dough cover for the fermenting process.

Fermentation

– Let the dough sit for 3 hours first, then deflate the dough, turn it over and let it sit for 2 hours.

– Divide the dough into 3 equal portions. Fold and roll each dough into a log that fits your baking pan.

– Let the dough sit for another 1 hour or until your dough is double in size.

Baking

– Preheat the oven to 500 F for 15 – 30 minutes or until the oven reaches 500 F

– Slash the puffed baguette with a very sharp knife. This technique can help the bread evaporate the steam from the inside, thus stimulating the puffing process in the high hot oven.

– Spray water onto the surface of the breads. Bake at 10 – 15 minutes until the breads are golden.

Japanese sushi – California roll

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I think sushi is the all in one good eat that can not only make you feel full easily but also consist of enough nutrition for a good health. I’ve never been to Japan to luckily enjoy the original sushi there but here in America, Japanese restaurants are ubiquitous so that my sushi craving can be resolved anytime.
Sushi in America has its own name, depending on where that sushi originates from. Correct me if you find that American sushi has the same name as its brother in Japan. California roll, well, its name probably tells you where it is from. This sushi is very easy to make and of course, very easy to eat. I’m not a big fan of avocado but the combination of this fruit and crab really balance the flavor of the sushi. You shouldn’t be intimidated when rolling sushi. Just practice and practice.

Ingredients
– 3 cups hot cooked sushi rice (botan rice is good)
– 200g imitation crab leg, chopped
– 1/2 cup mayonnaise
– 1 tsp chili sauce (Sriracha is good )
– 1 big avocado or 2 small Mexican avocado, 2 mm sliced
– 1 tsp lemon juice
– 2 tbsp toasted white sesame seeds
– 3 nori sheet, halved
Sushi rice vinegar
– 3 tbsp sugar
– 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Method
– mix sushi vinegar with hot cooked rice with a fork. Set it aside
– add the lemon juice on the green side of avocado to prevent the avocado from getting dark
– mix mayonnaise, chili sauce with imitation crab. Set aside

Assemble
– divide the sushi rice into 6 portions and follow the pictures to know how to roll the sushi
– Note that you should use a sharp knife when cutting the sushi. After each slide, use a damp cloth to clean the knife. This tip can help you have a beautiful cut.

To serve: dip with soy sauce mixed with washabi

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