Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Steamed Sponge Cake

This is easy to put together and cooks in a rice cooker steam tray. Note: next time try 2 egg ratio.

  • 3 eggs
  • scant 1/2 c sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 3/5 c cake flour
  • optional: 1/4 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t vanilla
  1. Beat the eggs and sugar for 5 minutes. The volume should increase quite a bit as air is incorporated.
  2. Mix salt, cake flour and baking powder in small bowl. Slowly add to the egg mixture.
  3. Beat in the vanilla.
  4. Line bottom of rice cooker steam tray with parchment paper (to prevent batter seeping through holes and easy separation). Pour in batter.
  5. Add 1/2"-1" of water to rice cooker and place steam tray on top. Cover and turn on. Steam for about 25 minutes, until done.
  6. Carefully remove lid so as not to drip water on the cake.
  7. Use knife to separate cake from sides and flip over onto plate.
  8. Serve with fresh strawberries.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Da Bing

My family would order this bread in a restaurant in San Jose when visiting family. Back on the east coast we had no such source for purchasing. So my dad learned how to make it himself, perfected the technique and gave me his recipe. This is similar to the scallion pancake recipe, but a raised dough. I like it better, but it is much more time consuming - you need about 4-5 hours to complete this.

The Dough
Da means Big in Chinese - Big Bing!

  • 1.5 c warm water
  • 1.5 T sugar
  • 1.25 t salt
  • 1.5 T olive oil
  • 4 c flour
  • 1.25 t yeast
  1. Mix first group of ingredients well, using water just warmer than skin temperature (about 85F). Let it sit for 10 minutes at 82 degrees*. Knead it well for 5-10 minutes and then let it rise at 82 degrees for 30 minutes. To maintain warm dough for good rising put it in the oven and turn on the light or put in a couple jars (with lid on) of hot water to raise the temperature mildly.
  2. Alternatively - stick first 6 ingredients in bread machine and set to dough cycle for 30-40 min.

The Bing

  • 1-2 bunches of scallions
  • 6 pinches of salt
  • 2-4 T oil (canola or sesame)
  • sesame seeds
  1. Stretch the dough out into a thin square/rectangle by pressing the edge on the counter and working around the edge until the dough is spread out as big as possible, without any holes. You don't need to have a perfect shape; having an even thickness is more desirable.
  2. Spread the oil evenly on the surface, using your fingers. Then sprinkle the salt on.
  3. Sprinkle 2/3 of the scallions on 2/3 of the bing, leaving 1/3 uncovered. Fold in the uncovered portion over. Then fold in the other third.
  4. Sprinkle oil, salt and remaining scallions. Fold in the other direction to make it into a 9 layer square.
  5. Spread sesame seeds in a 10" round baking container (smaller is also ok). Place the dough inside. Put a heavy cover on top. Let rise at 100 degrees for 40-60 minutes.
  6. Turn the dough upside down to put the sesame side on top. Sprinkle more sesame seeds before placing dough down (or oil or flour) for easy removal later.
  7. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes with a heavy cover on top. This is to encourage the bing to spread sideways into the pan instead of just up. My dad recommends using a large dish for easy cleaning, with a metal lid on top. Just be sure everything is oven safe!
  8. Uncover and bake an additional 10-15 minutes. Increase to 375 if you like an extra crunchy crust.
  9. Optional: Leave the bing in the oven for another 5-10 minutes after turning off the heat.
  10. Put on a cooling rack. 
Note
Use all of the scallion OR cut off the white parts and use just the green parts. Stick the whites in a cup of water to regrow more scallions.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Apple Pastry

The nice thing about this dessert is that there's sections for those that really like crust and for those that care more about the apples. This is a sweet empanada dough with apple filling. Each BD put together a fish - kid friendly.
  • 3 c flour
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 5-6 T cold water
  • 7-8 apples, peeled - divided
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • cornstarch/flour/thickener
  • optional: raisins, almonds
  • sugar, cinnamon
  • wash: 1 egg
  1. Make the dough.
    1. Combine flour, sugar and salt. Cut butter in large pieces.
    2. Mix in eggs and water until crumbly.
    3. Shape into 2 balls. Flatten and refrigerate for at least 30 min.
  2. Prepare the filling.
    1. Dice 2 apples and combine with brown sugar and cinnamon in small pan. 
    2. Saute on low heat until softened and liquid has come out. 
    3. Mix in cornstarch to thicken the liquid.
    4.  Remove from heat and let cool.
  3. Roll out dough very thin. Cut into desired shape (of fish). Place on parchment paper on baking tray.
  4. Cover head tail and fins with 1/2 of the apple filling. Spread the filling on body as well.
  5. Cover the body of the fish with apple slices, to look like fish scales.
  6. Roll out leftover pieces of dough again and cut out shape for head, tail and fins coverage. Use any remaining dough to make railing for sides so juice won't drip off the fish. Optional: Make eyeball out of small ball of dough.
  7. Repeat with other dough and remaining apples.
  8. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  9. Sprinkle apple slices with sugar and cinnamon.
  10. Brush egg wash on pastry.
  11. Bake for 30-35 min at 375 F until nicely browned.
  12. Let cool before eating.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Apple Blintzes

Being still on an apple kick with no yeast in the house I made apple blintzes today - or crepes wrapped around apple filling. One was filled with mini chocolate chips and banana slices. Other filling options are chocolate mousse, jam, butter and cinnamon sugar, or savory (in which case leave the sugar out of the batter) - cheese, ham, spinach, mushrooms.

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1/4 t salt
  • Chinese spoonful of sugar (or up to 1/4 c)
  • 1 c flour
  • 2 T butter, melted
  • butter for cooking
  • filling of choice
  1. If required, prepare filling of choice. For apple filling:
    1. Dice 2 apples.
    2.  Saute for 10 min on low heat with heaping spoonful of sugar and 1/2 t cinnamon. 
    3. If too much liquid, add cornstarch slurry to thicken.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs. 
  3. Stir in the milk, water, salt and sugar.
  4. Slowly sift in flour and stir to combine.
  5. Quickly stir in melted butter.
  6. Drop ~1/4 c into greased pan over medium-low heat. Immediately tilt the pan so the batter spreads evenly into circle, covering the bottom. (If batter is not thin enough to spread easily, add a bit of milk to the batter for the next one.)
  7. Cook for up to 2 min until golden. Then flip and cook about 30 seconds more until done. 
  8. Fill with deliciousness - roll, folding in ends as you go.

Variations

Egg White Crepes - if you have leftover egg whites to use up
Pancakey Crepes - thicker than crepes

Cong You Bing - Scallion Pancakes

My family made these quite often when I was a kid. A successful bing has many layers.
4/26/20 For one bing I put in spicy chutney powder instead of cong+salt. Deliciously spicy!

Dough
  • 2 c flour
  • 3/4 c boiling water (up to 1 cup)
Filling
  • 2 stems of scallions
  • salt
  • oil (sesame, canola)
  1. Slowly add the boiling water to the flour in a food processor and process for 15 seconds OR mix by hand.
  2. Let sit covered in an oiled boil for 30 min (or longer).
  3. Divide dough into 4 pieces.
  4. Roll into large flat shape, as thin as possible.
  5. Cover with oil and salt. Spread with fingers. Sprinkle chopped scallions on top.
  6. Roll the long side. Start coiling into a snail, end with a second snail coil on top of the first.
  7. Squash it with your hand and roll out to final size (NOT as thin as the first time).
  8. Cook on low-medium heat in oiled frying pan until nicely browned on each side.
  9. Slice into wedges and enjoy warm.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Apple Tea Bread

I was craving an apple bread that was fun to make - found a recipe for tea bread and adapted it with an apple filling.
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 1/4 c water
  • 1/8 c butter
  • 1 egg
  • 2.5 c flour
  • 2 1/4 t yeast
  • Wash: 1 egg + 1 T water
  • Filling: 2 apples, 1/3 c sugar, 1/2 t cinnamon, cornstarch or flour
  1. Place dough ingredients in bread machine and set to dough cycle.
  2. Prepare filling
    1. Dice the apples. 
    2. Cook over low heat with sugar and cinnamon for 10 min.
    3. Add cornstarch or flour to thicken sauce.
    4. Let cool.
  3. Roll dough out to 12"x15". Spread filling. Roll long end.
  4. Place on parchment paper into circle shape.
  5. Use scissors to make cuts 1" apart, 1" from center, all around.
  6. Optional: turn the cut slices to the side.
  7. Cover with cloth for 30 min.
  8. Brush with egg wash.
  9. Bake at 350 for 25-30 min until golden brown.
  10. Enjoy warm or cooled.


Thursday, April 2, 2020

Baked Apple Donut Shapes

I had a craving for doughnuts but don't like deep frying things so found this baked recipe from my to try list (from 10 years ago!). Substituted butter for the olive oil and almond flour for the wheat germ and it turned out just fine. I think a filling of sauted cubed apples might make it more appley - as is it is more like just a cinnamon donut. 
6/27/20 I wanted more apple oomph so this time sauted an additional 2 c diced apples with sugar+cinnamon to scoop in as a filling.
  • 1 c milk
  • 1/4 c almond flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t salt
  • 3 T brown sugar
  • 2 apples, grated (what would it be like if they were diced?)
  • 3 3/4 c flour
  • 2.5 t cinnamon
  • 1 t ginger
  • 2.5 t yeast
  • topping: butter, cinnamon, sugar
  1. Combine main ingredients in bread machine and set to dough cycle.
  2. Move to floured surface.
    • Roll out to about 1/2" thick. Cut out ~14 shapes using cookie cutters.
    • Take munchkin size balls and roll for donut holes.
    • Make larger donuts as flattened balls.
    • Make hole donuts by poking thumb through ball and making very large hole, to account for increase in size from rising during rest time and bake time.
    • Roll out to 1/4" thick. Cut out circle shape. Place on prepared sheet (as below). Add 1 tsp of diced apple filling. Cover with additional 1/4" circle. Seal edges.
  3. Place shapes on parchment paper on cookie sheets.
  4. Let rise for 30 minutes.
  5. Bake for 15 min (or until browned) at 350F.
  6. While hot, melt butter on surface and then dip in cinnamon-sugar mixture.
  7. Let cool on rack. Enjoy warm or for snack later.