Custard crepe cake

I have never made crepes before and after seeing the milk crepe cake (ミルククレープ) around the kaiten sushi (the conveyer belt contraption that is also on the big Whole Foods in the LES) place I like, I decided to try it.  Crepes are pretty easy if you get the hang of it, and once again I have adapted a recipe from Smitten Kitchen.  Note that this is not a mix and it’s done kind of recipe.  It will take two days!  Everything that takes more time and effort has a bigger payoff right? RIGHT!  Many thanks to my older brother from another mother, Thian (find him here) for the great photo!

 

Crepe cake layers custard cream

Layers and layers!

Custard crepe cake

Prep time: 30 minutes                Cooking time: 1 hour            Servings: 10-16

Budget for ingredients: ¥1000

Equipment:

1 pan
1 big bowl
Electric mixer
Plastic container –  I use a ziploc one.
Spatula
Spoon

Ingredients:

For the crepe batter:
100 g butter
3 c milk
6 eggs
1 1/2 c flour
7 T sugar
Pinch salt

For the custardy cream:
2 c milk
1 vanilla bean, halved and scraped
6 egg yolks
1/2 c sugar
1/3 c cornstarch
3 T butter

For assembly:
1 t butter
21 c cream

Directions:

  1. In your pan, cook the butter until brown like hazelnuts. It will be bubbling. Should take around 10 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  2. Using the same pan, heat the milk until steaming, and also set that aside.
  3. Using your pot and mixer, beat together the eggs, flour, sugar and salt. Slowly add the hot milk and browned butter. Pour the mixture into your plastic container.  Refrigerate overnight.
  4. Time for the custardy cream!  Bring the milk with the vanilla bean (and scrapings) to a boil, then set aside for 10 minutes; remove the bean.
  5. In a medium heavy-bottomed pan, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch. Gradually whisk in the hot milk, then place pan over high heat and bring to a boil, whisking vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes.   The mixture is going to congeal.  Don’t worry! Let it cool to room temperature.  Then put it into the refrigerator overnight as well.
  6. The next day, take the batter out and bring to room temperature. Swab the frying pan with butter, and turn on the stove to the 4th notch, aka medium heat.
  7. Add about 3 tablespoons batter and swirl to cover the surface. Cook for 3 minutes, and then flip with your spatula to cook the other side for another minute.
  8. Place finished product on a plate.  Repeat until you have 20 pretty crepes.
  9. Whip the cream into the custard.
  10. Lay 1 crepe on a cake plate. Using your spatula, completely cover with a thin layer of pastry cream.  Repeat until you finish with a crepe.  Dust with powdered sugar if you would like.  Let the cake rest for 2 hours or so before slicing and serving.

Egg tarts (蛋撻)

So, it was the 5000th Chinese New Year this year!  Great, I didn’t know either.  However, when I got invited to a Chinese New Year dinner at my friend’s house, how could I go empty-handed?  and HOW, could I not try and make a traditional Chinese dessert?  Thus, I began my very first time of making egg tarts, called danta, in the HK style.  Not too healthy but no worry, Chinese New Years is ALL ABOUT THE GLUTTONY.   Thanks to Greg again for the lovely photo.  Hopefully looking at this photo and comparing it to ones taken with my dinky digi will motivate me to put money towards a SLR! Or to just make more friends that are talented!!

Egg tarts Danta 蛋撻

新年快樂!!!

 

Egg tarts

Prep time: 20 minutes                Cooking time: 40-45 minutes              Servings: 12-15

Budget for ingredients: ¥1500

Equipment:
Big bowl
Fork
Cupcake tin (I already used these when I made Yorkshire puddings)
Whisk
Frying pan
Sieve

Ingredients:

1/2 c powdered sugar
3 c flour
1 c butter
1 egg, beaten
1 dash (~1/8 t) vanilla extract  

1/2 c white sugar
1  c water
5 eggs, beaten
1 dash vanilla extract
1/2 c evaporated milk

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, mix together the confectioners’ sugar and flour. Mix in butter with a fork  until it is in small crumbs. Stir in the egg and vanilla until the mixture forms a dough. The texture should be slightly moist. Add more butter if it is too dry, or more flour, if the dough seems greasy.
  2. Roll the dough with your hands into 1.5 inch ~2 inch balls.  Then, flatten it against the cups. 
  3. Combine the white sugar and water in a pan, and bring to a boil. Cook until the sugar is dissolved, remove from heat and cool to room temperature. 
  4. Strain the beaten eggs through a sieve, and whisk into the sugar mixture.
  5. Stir in the evaporated milk and vanilla.
  6. Strain the filling through the sieve again, and fill the tart shells.
  7. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the oven at 200C until golden brown.

GF Chocolate Cake

With Valentine’s day, that sappy, Hallmark-manufactured holiday, just around the corner, what could be better than sharing the ideal dessert?  In Japan, the tradition is that the girlfriend makes chocolates/cakes for her man.  NOTHING is received by the girl until the next month rolls around, aka White Day.  Either way, and for either gender, this is a definite crowd pleaser.  It also happens to be gluten-free, so if you have any friends with celiac, they can enjoy it two times if not three times as much.  This cake is adapted from Gluten Free Goddess.  Props to my friend Greg, a really talented photographer and budding film maker for the photo! 
 
Gluten free chocolate cake

Happy Valentine's Day!

 

GF Chocolate Cake

Prep time: 20 minutes                Cooking time: 40-45 minutes              Servings: 10

Budget for ingredients: ¥1500

Equipment:
Knife
Chopping board
Big bowl
Spatula
Whisk
Springform pan
Toaster oven

Ingredients:
500 g chocolate *
1 c brown sugar
1/2 c white sugar
3/4 c HOT black coffee **
200 g butter, cut into pieces
2 T  cocoa powder
8 eggs
1 T vanilla extract

Optional:

1 package of strawberries
Powdered sugar

*Daiso is currently selling blocks of chocolate at a steal for 120 g for 105 yen!

** You can just buy the heated black coffee drink at your combini! 

Directions:

  1.  Chop the chocolate up and mix with the sugars in the big bowl.
  2. Add the coffee which will magically melt the chocolate!  If this doesn’t work off the bat, just set up a double boiler method (aka frying pan with water, steamer stand, and glass bowl) to melt it.
  3. Add the butter and chocolate powder.
  4. Mix in eggs one by one.  The mixture should definitely be wet and gloppy.
  5. Pour into springform pan and cover with foil.  Bake at 160C for 40-45 minutes. 
  6. If desired, add fruits and powdered sugar.  Tada!  ❤  True love at first bite.

Chocolate mocha cake

This entry is dedicated to my friend Estrella.  It is her birthday today, and even though I live in Japan, I think a combo of things including me starting to cook/bake and really love it, have brought us closer together…FOREVER.  I miss her very much, even though I would venture to guess that since she has been studying for bar exams I wouldn’t see her if I was in the states anyways.  This is from my little apt in boonie Japan to whatever batcave you are studying in!  Hope this brightens your day.  ❤

chocolate mocha cake
look at the photo below for the caption i would have written
wishing estrella happy birthday
WAHOOO!!! Party here in Japan. Thanks Dave, Lia & Celia for celebrating too.

Sap story ended, back to the cake!  This was my first time trying a coffee/chocolate thing.  I even made coffee frosting to go with it!  Pretty easy considering all you need is just one bowl to mix everything in!  Adapted from All Recipes.

Chocolate mocha cake

Prep time: 30 minutes                Baking time: 40-45 minutes              Servings: 8-10

Budget for ingredients: ¥1000

Equipment:

1 big bowl
Electric mixer
Spatula
Pan
Toaster oven

Ingredients:

For the cake:
2 c  flour
2 c sugar
2/3 c cocoa powder
1/2 c vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 c buttermilk *
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 T instant coffee powder
1 c hot water

For the frosting:

2 c powdered sugar
1/4 c butter, room temperature
3 T coffee
1 t vanilla extract
5 T milk

* Special note: Like I said before, make your own buttermilk with this recipe.

Directions:

1. Put all ingredients except for coffee and hot water into a bowl.

2. Add coffee to hot water and then add to mixture.

3. Use electric mixer to blend until smooth.

4.  Put half of the batter in a pan in the toaster oven for 20 minutes at 140 C.

5.  After the first layer is done, let it rest for 10 minutes and cool down before removing it from the pan.  Repeat for second half of batter.

6. Beat together all ingredients for the frosting and spread it on.  If the frosting is too solid, add in more milk.  Decorate with whatever chocolate pieces or chocolate snacks you can find.

Apple juice

Ok, why am I even blogging about one of the things you can literally buy in every corner you ask?  Because it is literally AMAZINGLY delicious, easy, and quick!  I am kind of surprised I didn’t blog about this sooner.  Plus, the flavor is seriously the EXACT SAME of farm fresh apple cider which reminds me of home. This place to be more exact.  Thank you to Nobuko, who I learned this amazing recipe from.

apple juice

one apple makes this much juice!

Apple juice

Prep time: 5 minutes                Servings: 2

Budget for ingredients: ¥200 (for the big spenders aka bigger apples, more $$ for that honey)

Equipment:

Grater
Peeler
Knife
Bowl
Handkerchief

Ingredients:

2 apples

Directions:

1. Peel and core the apples, and cut them into quarters.

2. Place handkerchief inside bowl.

3. Grate the apples on top of the bowl.

4. Grab the handkerchief and use it like a cheesecloth to squeeze out all the juice and throw away the pulp.  OR be environmentally friendly and use the pulp as compost for plants!

I actually tried to take the environmentally friendly one more step by trying to eat the pulp, but unfortunately, it was not oishii.  Don’t try that at home. kids!

Perfect yorkshire puddings

Oops…ohisashiburi (it’s been a long time)!

I recently got addicted to watching everything Gordon Ramsay, and believe that Kitchen Nightmares (UK version) is pretty much the best tv show ever made.  In many episodes Gordon goes to pubs and almost always eats Yorkshire pudding.  I had never seen what it was, but it is usually a side dish to the roast dinner, served with gravy. Anyways, after googling it seems as though they are REALLY easy to make.  They were quite gorgeous if I do say so myself.  Adapted from About!

Yorkshire Pudding

perfectly crisp on the top, kinda mushy in the middle

Yorkshire Pudding

Prep time: 10 minutes                Baking time: 25-30 minutes              Servings: 6

Budget for ingredients: ¥600

Equipment:

1 big bowl
Whisk
Spatula
Cupcake tin
Toaster oven

Ingredients:

4 eggs
1 cup of milk
1 t of salt
1 cup of flour
3 T butter

Directions:

1. Whisk eggs and milk together and add the salt.

2. Slowly add flour until well blended.  Let it sit for 30 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 190°C.

4. Put 1/2 t of butter into the cupcake tins.  Place it inside the oven and get it bubbling!  This takes around 3-4 minutes.  DO NOT BROWN THE BUTTER!  This part is really crucial!

5. Meanwhile, whisk the batter really quickly and add in 1 T or so of ice cold water.

6. After you take out the pan, immediately put in that batter!  Fill up the tins 1/3 of the way.

7. Bake for 15 minutes.  Serve!  Become every English(wo)man’s best friend.  Especially if you make vegetarian gravy as well!