The joy of baking
We often experiment cooking different cuisines at home by watching tutorials; baking is mostly avoided by the viewers considering the complicacy and expense. But interestingly the baking community in Dhaka has grown hugely in the span of past few years. There are plenty of home bakers and professionals coming up with exceptional creativity and talent.
I have shared four recipes, all very easy to make at home and a dish to stand out on the serving table. There are hints to my personal customisation in all the recipes to try out.
Hand painted honey lemon macarons
Macarons are considered to be one of the most sophisticated and difficult to execute French desserts. Although this has only four basic ingredients — granulated sugar, powdered sugar, almond flour and egg white but it can still go wrong at even a slight delay. It has a very specific timing that needs to be followed strictly. They can stick to the parchment paper if over baked, they can be soggy and soft if not baked properly. I have given my personal touch with floral hand painting on the shell and bringing the essence of refreshing honey and lemon on the classic recipe.
For macarons —
28g almond powder
40g powdered sugar/icing sugar
23g egg white
15g granulated (regular) sugar
Gel food colour and thin paint brush for hand painting
For filling —
20g egg yolk
10g corn starch/corn flour
30g lemon juice
Clean the beating machine with soap and soak before to make sure to remove any kind of greasiness from the mixing bowl.
Firstly, mix powdered sugar and almond flour and strain the dry ingredient mixture using a strainer. Beat the egg white until completely stiff and foamy. Add one drop of any gel food colour of your choice with the foam. For darker colour add 2 drops. Even the excessive beating can cause broken shells.
The meringue from the egg is the half of the whole macaron so separate all the egg yolks completely. Then while the egg white is getting beaten add the granulated sugar one tablespoon a time and keep whipping until it dissolves. The meringue will be stronger with the longer period of time for mixing sugar in a slower pace. When the meringue is ready add the dry ingredients that is only the powdered sugar and the almond flour.
Fold the dry ingredients with the meringue using the spatula for 30 to 40 times and it will slowly turn into a batter. In the egg whites, the more we fold, the proteins that blew up while beating the egg white starts to deflate creating a batter. When the batter is a little bit runnier falling from the spatula and not cracking up transfer it to a piping bag with the tip cut in a small hole of half inch. Seal the bottom with a twist to make sure the batter does not keep flowing from the bottom while filling out. Take a baking tray, brushed with butter and covered with butter paper.
Keep a little space between the macarons on the baking tray since they will expand. After the tray is filled tap it a bit to remove the air bubbles that might crack the smooth macaron shell later. After that let it rest and sit for 40 minutes. The tray is ready to go in the oven if the surface of the cookie has a fine dry layer on the top not coming off on a gentle touch. Then slide them into the oven for 16 minutes in 150 degrees Celsius.
For filling —
Beat the egg yolk, sugar and corn starch in a bowl using a spatula. Add lemon juice in it and mix well. Now pour warm milk on the batter and then put it on the stove in medium low flame. Keep stirring till a thick texture comes out. Then put it off the stove and let it cool down. On a separate bowl beat the butter using spatula and keep mixing honey in it. Now mix it with the previously cooked creamy mixture of the egg. Fill this mixture in a piping bag and pipe the cream in between two macarons giving it a sandwich shape. For the finishing touch hand paint your desired design above the macaroon shell using gel food colour, thin paint brush and water as colour thinner.
Baked Oreo Choco cheese cupcake
7-8 pieces Oreo
1½ tbsp butter
50g grated cooking chocolate bar
8 tbsp cream cheese
½ tsp vanilla essence
3 tbsp sugar
Cherry (for decoration)
Sliced chocolate (for decoration)
Firstly, powder the Oreo in a mixer. Then mix the butter in the powdered Oreo. Now on a cupcake mould put cupcake liners and fill 1 tsp of the mixing in each. On a double boiler or in a microwave oven (for 30 seconds) melt the cooking chocolate. Beat the cream cheese using a beating machine for 3 minutes in a bowl. Add vanilla essence and sugar the cheese. Then again beat the mixture for 2 minutes. Add the whole egg and beat for 1 more minute. Add the melted chocolate and again beat for 1 minute. Now on the cupcake liners above the Oreo layer pour this mixture until filled up. Bake in a pre-heated electric oven for 20-25 minutes in 160 degrees Celsius. After the baking is done cool it down for few minutes and serve with red cherries and sliced chocolate on top.
Japanese jiggly souffle pancake with a twist of strawberry
2 egg yolks
3 egg whites
20g liquid milk
10g cooking oil
½ tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp vinegar
Beat the egg yolks for 2 minutes. Then mix liquid milk, vanilla essence and sugar with the egg yolk and beat for 2 minutes. Keep adding the flour in the mixture slowly with 1 tbsp on each turn. Now beat the egg white until it gets completely foamy and mix 1 tsp vinegar while beating. After it is done mix this egg white foam with the previously made batter. On a non-stick frying pan brush butter and on low heat pour the batter of 1 scoop and fry both sides to make the pancake 1 minute each side. Now on a separate bowl take a cup of whipped cream and mix with 2 tbsp of strawberry syrup. Stack the pancakes with whipped cream mixture and sliced strawberries in the middle. Perfect breakfast o snack is ready to serve!
Tutti Frutti summer tart
For tart —
100g butter (room temperature)
50g icing sugar
Half an egg
1 tsp vanilla essence
20g corn flour
For filling —
100g milk powder
30g corn flour
1 tsp vanilla essence
Fruits (sliced mango, red cherry, kiwi, dragon fruit etc)
Tart making —
Mix butter and icing sugar in bowl and beat until it gets fluffy. Add the half of egg, vanilla essence and beat again for 1 minute. Now strain the flour and corn flour using a strainer and mix the strained mixture with the batter. After mixing it will turn into a dough. Keep the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes. On a cupcake mould fill with liners and the liners with tart dough pressing with fingers giving a shape of a basket. Bake 25-30 minutes in an electrical oven in 170 degrees Celsius.
Filling making —
On a saucepan boil 300ml water and sugar. In a separate bowl mix 100ml water, powdered milk, corn flour, egg and pour on the boiling sugar water while on the heat and keep stirring. When turns into thick texture put off the heat and mix vanilla essence, butter with it. Once it cools down fill it into a piping bag, cut the tip half an inch and fill above the tart. Serve it with the sliced fruits on top.