Glutinous rice flour is a wonderful thing– when cooked, it’s chewy and dense in the most pleasant way possible. Rice flour comes in two types, either glutinous or non-glutinous. Glutinous rice flour (aka sweet rice flour) is made from grinding short grain sticky rice, and its starch content is very high, making it a great thickening agent. Despite its name, it’s neither sweet nor does it contain gluten. Regular rice flour can be made from medium or long grain rice, and it’s used more commonly in gluten-free baking. I’m super partial towards the glutinous type, just because lots of my childhood favourites were made with glutinous rice flour… I can see myself going through a phase of subbing out regular flour with glutinous flour in my recipes, just to see how well that chewy factor fits with the recipe.
Exciting news: I have conquered pie and live to tell the tale.
It wasn’t all the bad, actually.
Admittedly, I have always shied away from pies and laminated doughs. They’re at the very top of the pyramid of my personal #bakinggoals. Laminated dough at the top. Then pie. Then entremets which I am dying to make but am also deathly afraid of.
The pie-spiration comes from none other than Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book, which is the first official non-second-hand-actual-hardcover-cookbook that I have bought. I’ve refrained from buying cookbooks for the longest time, telling myself that I wouldn’t actually cook everything inside, or that there’s a wealth of cookbooks in the library, or that there’s so many gorgeous blogs in the blogosphere nowadays. Which may be true, but to turn through the crisp pages and to be able to make notes in it and call it yours forever and ever—– it may be worth it.
And this book is a true beauty. Beautiful pictures, great crust-making tips (with large pictures showing the texture you should be looking for), an introduction about their beginnings, family business and the start of their pie shop, and a detailed yet comprehensive discussion about ingredients, sourcing them, and tools. I also really appreciated how their belief in using local, seasonal ingredients is inherent in how they decided to structure their book. Continue reading →
If you ask me at any given moment, would I rather live in the past or in the present, I would unfailingly choose the past. My nostalgia can be overwhelmingly hopeless at times… as if I were clutching onto fragile branches of the past, while the currents of now and today are grasping at me, relentlessly pulling me deeper into turbulent water.
With two unexpected events that occured within the past two months– my grandma’s passing, and my brother’s wedding reception date set– I felt like I’ve been ripped away from what I’ve always known and thrown into the deep. While one is a cause for mourning and the other celebration…neither of those events did I ever expect to happen now. Continue reading →
Repetitiveness and discipline are the secrets of cake decorating. The art comes from the meticulous technique, the way it does for a dancer.
I laughed the entire time I was making this cake. Laughed at myself.
So I had this vision in my head that I wanted to execute– a small, mini, tall cake with clean layers, and naked frosting. Because for the longest time, I’ve just been in love with the many naked cakes of the world. There’s less frosting (usually overly sweet, and just a nuisance), you have more layers in between your cake layers and show those off, plus it lends itself better to floral decorations, or just minimal decorating.
And I wanted to do it with black sesame, black tahini, and banana, with as little sugar/fat as I can get away with. For a higher flavour and nutritional payoff.
Stir, stir, stir. Oh, the batter seems a bit too wet. That’s okay, I’ll just bake it a little longer. (Note: I have an irrational fear of over mixing, and over baking). Take it out of the oven– first thing I notice, the 2 cakes are of uneven height. That’s okay, I’ll just trim the taller one once they’re cooled.
I busy myself for a few hours, and now it’s slightly past midnight. I prefer to bake at night, and shoot the next morning. This can only happen on non-busy weekends. I usually don’t get a chance to shoot with natural light on a weekday– I’m up before it’s bright, and back as the sky is dimming.
The cakes have cooled, and I whip out my KitchenAid mixer to beat together my mascarpone frosting. Dad: “you know, if we lived in an apartment, you wouldn’t be able to do this”.
Yes, Dad. I’m lucky we have cool neighbours. I mean, they tolerated twelve years of my piano practicing. Who can be cooler than that? Continue reading →