Archive for July, 2008

Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream

I felt time just flies so quick these days, it was again the time for a new challenge as a daring baker. Another sophisticated cake , yearning for great piping skill… which unfortunately I’m far away from having it, yet  I needed the exercise 😉

So thank’s again Chris (I still remember that my first food event was her “cinco de mango” ) for hosting this month challenge, it was a great recipe.  The praline butter-cream, chocolate, whipped cream and forest fruits (mix berries) glaze ( instead of apricot) are definitely superb flavors for an ultimate “rich” cake.

I made a half of the recipe,  I regreted the decision later on because it was soo good 😉


From Great Cakes by Carol Walter

1 Filbert Genoise
1 recipe sugar syrup, flavored with dark rum
1 recipe Praline Buttercream
½ cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
1 recipe Apricot Glaze
1 recipe Ganache Glaze, prepared just before using
3 tablespoons filberts, toasted and coarsely chopped

Filbert Genoise

Because of the amount of nuts in the recipe, this preparation is different from a classic genoise.

1 ½ cups hazelnuts, toasted/skinned
2/3 cup cake flour, unsifted
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
7 large egg yolks
1 cup sugar, divided ¼ & ¾ cups
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. grated lemon rind
5 lg. egg whites
¼ cup warm, clarified butter (100 – 110 degrees)

Position rack in the lower 3rd of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a 10” X 2” inch round cake pan.

Using a food processor, process nuts, cake flour, and cornstarch for about 30 seconds.  Then, pulse the mixture about 10 times to get a fine, powdery mixture.  You’ll know the nuts are ready when they begin to gather together around the sides of the bowl. While you want to make sure there aren’t any large pieces, don’t over-process.  Set aside.

Put the yolks in the bowl of an electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, and beat until thick and light in color, about 3-4 minutes on med-high speed. Slowly, add ¾ cup of sugar.  It is best to do so by adding a tablespoon at a time, taking about 3 minutes for this step.  When finished, the mixture should be ribbony.  Blend in the vanilla and grated lemon rind.  Remove and set aside.

Place egg whites in a large, clean bowl of the electric mixer with the whisk attachment and beat on medium speed, until soft peaks. Increase to med-high speed and slowly add the remaining ¼ cup of sugar, over 15-20 seconds or so.  Continue to beat for another ½ minute. 
Add the yolk mixture to the whites and whisk for 1 minute.

Pour the warm butter in a liquid measure cup (or a spouted container). * It must be a deep bottom bowl and work must be fast.*  Put the nut meal in a mesh strainer (or use your hand – working quickly) and sprinkle it in about 2 tablespoons at a time – folding it carefully for about 40 folds.   Be sure to exclude any large chunks/pieces of nuts. Again, work quickly and carefully as to not deflate the mixture. When all but about 2 Tbsp. of nut meal remain, quickly and steadily pour the warm butter over the batter.  Then, with the remaining nut meal, fold the batter to incorporate, about 13 or so folds.

With a rubber spatula, transfer the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the surface with the spatula or back of a spoon.  **If collected butter remains at the bottom of the bowl, do not add it to the batter!  It will impede the cake rising while baking.

Tap the pan on the counter to remove air bubbles and bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes. You’ll know the cake is done when it is springy to the touch and it separates itself from the side of the pan.  Remove from oven and allow to stand for 5 minutes.  Invert onto a cake rack sprayed with nonstick coating, removing the pan.  Cook the cake completely.

*If not using the cake right away, wrap thoroughly in plastic wrap, then in a plastic bag, then in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. If freezing, wrap in foil, then the bag and use within 2-3 months.

Sugar Syrup
Makes 1 cup, good for one 10-inch cake – split into 3 layers

1 cup water
¼ cup sugar

In a small, yet heavy saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Cool slightly before using on the cake.  *Can be made in advance.

Praline Buttercream
1 recipe Swiss Buttercream
1/3 cup praline paste

Blend ½ cup buttercream into the paste, then add to the remaining buttercream.  Whip briefly on med-low speed to combine.  Blend in rum.

Swiss Buttercream
4 lg. egg whites
¾ cup sugar
1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly firm
1 tsp. vanilla

Place the egg whites in a lg/ bowl of a elevtric mixer and beat with the whisk attachment until the whites are foamy and they begin to thicken (just before the soft peak stage). Set the bowl over a saucepan filled with about 2 inches of simmering water, making sure the bowl is not touching the water. Then, whisk in the sugar by adding 1-2 tablespoon of sugar at a time over a minutes time. Continue beating 2-3 minutes or until the whites are warm (about 120 degrees) and the sugar is dissolved.  The mixture should look thick and like whipped marshmallows.
Remove from pan and with either the paddle or whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and sugar on med-high until its a thick, cool meringue – about 5-7 minutes. *Do not overbeat*. Set aside.

Place the butter in a separate clean mixing bowl and, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter at medium speed for 40-60 seconds, or until smooth and creamy. *Do not overbeat or the butter will become toooooo soft.*

On med-low speed, blend the meringue into the butter, about 1-2 Tbsp. at a time, over 1 minute.  Add the  vanilla and mix for 30-45 seconds longer, until thick and creamy.

Refrigerate 10-15 minutes before using.

Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days, or can be frozen for up to 6 months. If freezing, store in 2 16-oz. plastic containers and thaw in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature for several hours.

Praline Paste
1 cup (4 ½ oz.) Hazelnuts, toasted/skinless
2/3 cup Sugar
Line a jelly roll pan with parchment and lightly butter.

Put the sugar in a heavy 10-inch skillet.  Heat on low flame for about 10-20 min until the sugar melts around the edges. Do not stir the sugar. Swirl the pan if necessary to prevent the melted sugar from burning. Brush the sides of the pan with water to remove sugar crystals.  If the sugar in the center does not melt, stir briefly. When the sugar is completely melted and caramel in color, remove from heat. Stir in the nuts with a wooden spoon and separate the clusters. Return to low heat and stir to coat the nuts on all sides.  Cook until the mixture starts to bubble.  **Remember – extremely hot mixture.** Then onto the parchment lined sheet and spread as evenly as possible. As it cools, it will harden into brittle. Break the candied nuts into pieces and place them in the food processor.  Pulse into a medium-fine crunch or process until the brittle turns into a powder. To make paste, process for several minutes. Store in an airtight container and store in a cook dry place.  Do not refrigerate.

Apricot Glaze
Good for one 10-inch cake

2/3 cup thick apricot preserves
1 Tbsp. water

In a small, yet heavy saucepan, bring the water and preserves to a slow boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes. If the mixture begins to stick to the bottom of the saucepan, add water as needed.

Remove from heat and, using a strainer, press the mixture through the mesh and discard any remnants. With a pastry brush, apply the glaze onto the cake while the cake is still warm.  If the glaze is too thick, thin to a preferred consistency with drops of water.

Ganache Glaze
Makes about 1 cup, enough to cover the top and sides of a 9 or 10 inch layer or tube cake

**Ganache can take on many forms.  While warm – great fudge sauce.  While cool or lukewarm – semisweet glaze. Slightly chilled – can be whipped into a filling/frosting. Cold & solid – the base of candied chocolate truffles.

6 oz. (good) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, like Lindt
6 oz. (¾ cup heavy cream
1 tbsp. light corn syrup
¾ tsp. vanilla
½ – 1 tsp. hot water, if needed

Blend vanilla and liqueur/rum together and set aside.

Break the chocolate into 1-inch pieces and place in the basket of a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.  Transfer into a medium sized bowl and set aside.

Heat the cream and corn syrup in a saucepan, on low, until it reached a gentle boil.  Once to the gently boil, immediately and carefully pour over the chocolate.  Leave it alone for one minute, then slowly stir and mix the chocolate and cream together until the chocolate is melted and incorporated into the cream. Carefully blend in vanilla mixture. If the surface seems oily, add ½ – 1 tsp hot water. The glaze will thicken, but should still be pourable. If it doesn’t thicken, refrigerate for about 5 minutes, but make sure it doesn’t get too cold!

Assembling Cake

Cut a cardboard disk slightly smaller than the cake.  Dividethe cake into 3 layers and place the first layer top-side down on the disk. Using a pastry brush, moisten the layer with 3-4 Tbsp. of warm sugar syrup. Measure out 1 cup of praline buttercream and set aside.

Spread the bottom layer with a ¼-inch thickness of the remaining buttercream.  Cover with ½ of the whipped cream, leaving ¼-inch border around the edge of the cake.  Place the middle layer over the first, brush with sugar syrup, spreading with buttercream. Cover with the remaining whipped cream.

Moisten the cut side of the third layer with additional sugar syrup and place cut side down on the cake.  Gently, press the sides of the cake to align the layers. Refrigerate to chill for at least 30 minutes.

Lift the cake by sliding your palm under the cardboard. Holding a serrated or very sharp night with an 8-ich blade held parallel to the sides of the cake, trim the sides so that they are perfectly straight. Cut a slight bevel at the top to help the glaze drip over the edge. Brush the top and sides of the cake with warm apricot glaze, sealing the cut areas completely.  Chill while you prepare the ganache.

Place a rack over a large shallow pan to catch the ganache drippings.  Remove the gateau from the refrigerator and put it the rack. With a metal spatula in hand, and holding the saucepan about 10 inches above the cake, pour the ganache onto the cake’s center.  Move the spatula over the top of the ganache about 4 times to get a smooth and mirror-like appearance.  The ganache should cover the top and run down the sides of the cake. When the ganachehas been poured and is coating the cake, lift one side of the rack and bang it once on the counter to help spread the ganache evenly and break any air bubbles. (Work fast before setting starts.) Patch any bare spots on the sides with a smaller spatula, but do not touch the top after the “bang”.  Let the cake stand at least 15 minutes to set after glazing.

Leftover cake can be covered with foil and kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


Cheese Biscuits

This time around is a very simple challenge for the KBB, our host Regina and Swi picked this recipe from  Vogue Australia: Wine and Food Cookbook, and they suggested to let members who have children, to let their children help out. I asked my son to help out rolling the dough in sesame seeds.

So, no fancy shmancy techniques, but the result are crunchy biscuits, combo of cheesy bites (I used Grana Padano) and spicy chayenne pepper. I made two batches, one plain and one with sesame seeds.


  • 225g grated mature cheese
  • 125g butter
  • 125g flour
  • cayenne pepper to taste
  • sesame seeds


With finger tips, mix together cheese, butter, flour and cayenne pepper until mixture forms a mass. Butter a biscuit tray. Make small balls of the dough. Roll some in sesame seeds and press on tray, placing them fairly far apart as they will spread while cooking. (We have pressed walnuts on some of the biscuits and, for a colour contrast, some chopped pistachio nuts). Bake biscuits in pre-heated oven 180’C for 15 minutes. Store in an airtight container.

Orange Blossom Strawberry Tiramisu


It’s my second time sending an entry to SHF, host this month by Susan from the foodblogga, with berrilicious theme.   I wish I have the privilege of using fresh blueberries, raspberries or any other berries in my dessert, instead of strawberries. Unfortunately strawberries is my only choice, as raspberry’s season has passed by, and blueberries are way to expensive  (7$ for 50gr ???), the rest of the “berry” clan is not even in the market here 😦

Anyhow, tiramisu (recipe) is an all time favorite, with a little twist of orange blossom marinated strawberries, it gave a fresh taste of summer and when it’s combined with the robust coffee and mascarpone flavors, it’ll simply going to “pull your head” two times 😉


Camembert Pastrami Basil Stromboli

Way back in my college years in Holland, I used to waiter on holidays for 5 stars hotels/restaurants to get some extra pocket money, before that time I could not understand why people choose to have cheese plates for dessert instead of sweets. Then, my love for cheese started to grow because everytime  new cheese supplies came in, the chef always asked every F&B staffs to taste and gave some introduction too, for our product knowledge sake. So, despite of hating the hard work I’ve done, now I’m kind of thankful for my “serving” time, because at least I got some knowledge out of it.

Now, move on with the cheese… I usually just have the basics in my fridge, ricotta, mozarella, cheddar and some blue cheese, but Camembert is special to me because eating it, I feel like eating two kinds of cheeses at the same time… the “skin” part ,I loooove it so much, some people like to take the skin out, but sometime I like to eat only the skin… I’m weird 😛 .

 I like Camembert better than “regular” brie because it has a distinct “little bit longer” after taste, which I can not quite explain why, but maybe from the grass soil that cows in camembert ate or who knows what… for whatever reason, I just like it 🙂 , and the reason why I’m telling you all of this is that there is a “Say Cheese”  food-event , that I just had to send my entry to… yea…the name of the event says it all 🙂

 With this stromboli I try to put 3 different worlds in one dish, french, mid-east and Italian…all of the rustic tastes, enjoy 🙂




  • 4 Cups bread flour
  • 1/4 Cup barley flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1tsp caster sugar
  • 1,5 tsp fast action dried yeast
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1,5 cups water
  • fresh basil
  • beef pastrami

  • camembert cheese


  1. Put the flour, salt, sugar and yeast into a large bowl. Add the olive oil then gradually mix in enough warm water to make a soft dough.
  2. Knead well on a lightly floured surface for 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. put the dough back into the bowl, cover loosely with oiled clingfilm and leave in a warm place to rise 1 hour or until doubled in size
  3. Tip the dough out on to a lightly floured surface and roll out, dust the outside part with barley flour. Arrange the fillings, then cover loosely with oiled clingfilm and leave in a warm place to rise for 15 minutes.
  4. Remove the clingfilm and bake in a preheated oven 200′C for 30 minutes.
  5. Serve while hot.

Thai Fish Cake

Another simple recipe but rich in flavors,  just love the delicate taste of lemon grass on the fish batter with the Thai’s chili sauce, I’m telling you, it’s finger licking gooood 🙂


  • 250 gr white meat fish fillet
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbs all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbs tapioca flour
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 3 tbs lemon juice
  • lemon grass (cut about 10cm each)
  • cilantro
  • salt
  • vegetable oil to fry


  1. Heat the oil
  2. Mix all ingredients except lemon grass in a food processor
  3. Wrap the batter around the lemon grass
  4. Fry in heated oil
  5. Serve with chili sauce


Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake


Have I told you that I’m actually obsessed with cheese cake? To be exact with CHEESE + CHOCOLATE + CAKE!!! 😀

The only  setback with this recipe is you have to chill them at least 6 hour after you bake it, so you have this super delicious aroma around your house while you’re baking it, but then you have to wait for 6 hours to EAT it???  Well, nothing is perfect…

I baked this cake just before I went to sleep at night, so I could dream about it and waking up in the morning finding my dream’s coming true… 😉 Joy, Joy, Joy!

Recipe adapted from here , I made half of the recipe and changed the crust’s ingredients.



  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 2 cups flour
  •  ½ cup powdered sugar
  • Filling
    15 ounces (1 3/4 cups) part-skim ricotta
    8 ounces lowfat cream cheese, room temperature
    1 cup sugar
    1/2 cup lowfat sour cream
    1 large whole egg
    2 egg whites
    1/4 teaspoon almond extract (or to taste)
    2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
    1/4 teaspoon salt

    3 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
    1/2 teaspoon instant-espresso powder
    3 tablespoon bittersweet chocolate chips


    Heat oven to 350°.

    Melt butter.  Combine 2 cups flour and ½ cup powdered sugar, and then mix in melted butter.  Pat down flat in  pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Set aside


    Purée ricotta in a food processor until smooth, about 1 minute. Add cream cheese, sugar, sour cream, egg, egg whites, almond extract, flour and salt; puree until smooth. Whisk 2 tablespoon hot water, cocoa powder and espresso powder in a bowl until well combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Stir 1 cup plain filling into chocolate mixture. Set aside. Pour remaining plain filling into prepared pan. Drizzle chocolate filling in a circular pattern over plain filling. Using a knife, make circular strokes to create swirls in the plain filling. Add 1 inch hot water to a shallow baking pan; place springform pan in baking pan. Bake until cheesecake is firm around the edge and slightly soft in the center, 45 to 55 minutes. Run a knife around inside of pan. Remove foil; let cool on a rack. Chill 6 hours or overnight before removing sides of pan.

    Framboise Litchis Gelee avec de la sauce à lait



    When I red this post I couldn’t just ignore these flavors combo playing around in my head, and the fact that the temperature here keeps rising and rising, makes the need of refreshing dessert becomes inevitable.

    The only adjustment that I did, was to exclude the rose scent because I want the lychee taste to be dominat, and instead of creme supreme, I choose to prepare it with milk sauce or the dutch call it “licht vla”

    For the Jello recipe you can check out  Vi’s site, below you’ll find the milk sauce recipe.



    • 150 ml condensed milk
    • 150 ml milk
    • 100 ml lychee syrup
    • 1 tbs corn flour


    1. Make paste first the corn flour with  a tablespoon of milk, set aside
    2. Mix the condensed milk and milk together on low heat until incorporated, add the corn flour paste and lychee syrup.
    3. Bring it to boil