Category Archives: Dessert

Bitter Chocolate Raspberry Tart

It’s probably about time I shared this recipe. Even though I haven’t quite perfected it, I think it comes out pretty lovely each time. Also, while I think it’s a French dessert, I wouldn’t dare.

Made from three main components, this tart comprising sweet shortcrust pastry, glossy chocolate ganache and fresh raspberries will rock your socks off. I hope. I guess you’d probably find better recipes for the perfect pastry out there, but I’m pretty pleased with my chocolate ganache.

These numbers are for approximately two 6-inch tart tins:

Pastry

  1. In a 150g heap of plain sifted flour, make a hole in the middle so the flour is now in a ring.
  2. Add in, tiny cubes of soft unsalted butter, about 80g in total.
  3. And about 40g of caster sugar.
  4. Using your fingertips, incorporate the sugar with the butter until there are no more big lumps.
  5. Then, add in an egg yolk, and mix with the butter and sugar, until creamy.
  6. Finally, bring in the flour gradually, until it sits as a single ball.
  7. Wrap it in cling film and let it rest in the fridge for at least 15-20 minutes. Apparently, you can keep it at this stage for up to a day in the fridge.
  8. When ready to use, TIP! roll the pastry out between two sheets of cling film. This makes it way easier to handle. Roll it out till it’s 2mm thick.
  9. Transfer the pastry layer onto a well-greased tart tin and gently but surely, press it well against the tin walls.
  10. Blind-bake it with ceramic beads on baking paper (or if you’re daring enough, copper coins), for about 20 minutes at 180ªC. It must be fully cooked, but not overdone.

Chocolate Ganache

  1. In the meantime, with a tablespoon of liquid glucose in a pot, add 150ml of single cream (or double cream if it tickles your fancy).
  2. Once the sweet cream mixture comes to a boil, take it off the heat.
  3. Immediately, add in 200g of dark chocolate chunks (70% cocoa), and about 80g of unsalted butter.
  4. Stir well until smooth, and set it aside for use later.

Raspberries

  1. As much as possible, using only the larger raspberries, half them vertically with a small knife.

Combining

  1. Once the pastry is baked and done, let it cool.
  2. Then, put in the raspberries. Don’t just throw them in, arrange them radially cut side down. You will be duly rewarded when you cut into the tart later.
  3. Pour the chocolate ganache in and make sure it sits evenly.
  4. Chill in the fridge for about an hour, or till the ganache is no longer runny, but yet still slightly gooey.
  5. If you’re extravagant, serve with sifted icing sugar atop, and a fancy chocolate decoration. If not, JUST DIG IN.

Photography: Sarah Lee

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New Year’s Dinner 2012

You’d know by now that we’re in 2012, unless you live under a rock. In which case, I think it’s awesome how you have internet access under there.

Anyway, I was fortunate enough to spend the new year with my best mate Sam and his lovely family. We’ve known each other since we were ten, and this new year’s day, I had the privilege of making dinner for his family, who are my family’s friends as well.

Planned out a three-course meal, which I wouldn’t say went perfect in terms of timing. After a coupla not-so-smooth processes and hair-pulling moments in the kitchen, here’s what was served:

Starter

Poached and butter-roasted leg of chicken on carrot smash. Served with a deviled egg of spinach and cheddar, and a white-wine lemon jus.

Main

Roasted beef and peppers, dwarf beans and sweet potato gratin. Garnished with a seared mushroom of fresh lemon juice.

Dessert

Bittersweet chocolate raspberry tart

Photography: Gerard Bong

•••

After this episode, I know how much more I should be doing in the kitchen, there is indeed a lack of finesse, dynamism and flare. 2012, here I come!

In any case, everyone here at Cook For Myself wishes you a splendid year ahead, may you be blessed with a great abundance of superb food, preferably of those made in your kitchen. Merry New Year to all!

***

And what do you know, during this time of festivity, I’ve been given the chance to direct and produce the music video of Binary Concept’s English acoustic cover of Let It Snow. Check it out!


Apricot Jam Mug Cake

I’ve been wanting to try out a recipe like this for a really long time now. Not only ‘cos I crave cake at the end of every hearty dinner at home, but also ‘cos I’m amused at how easy it sounds.

Originally, I wanted to do the Nutella Mug Cake, which can be done in a coupla of minutes in a microwave. But I’ve got no Nutella at home. The horror, I know. :/

Anyway, here’s the successful result of my little experiment, of substituting all the chocolate with jam:

Perfect for a quick cake fix.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons self-rising flour
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons apricot jam
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
Steps:
  1. Get it all in a large coffee mug and whisk till smooth with a fork.
  2. Stick it in the microwave on high heat for about 1.5 – 3 minutes, depending on your microwave.
  3. Serve with more jam atop.

Bandung

This is slowly being forgotten and washed away from the childhood’s of little kids here in Singapore. When I was young enough to barely peep over the kitchen counter, this pink drink rocked my world. It’s called Bandung, pronounced as bahn-doong, not band-dung. I emphasis on how to say it right, but I’ve no idea what that word means, or what language it is either. I just know it’s happiness in a cup. So easy to make, so cheap, and yet incredibly satisfying. Especially since this sunny island never enjoys temperatures lower than 20ªC, you can savour this beverage all year round!

  • 3 tbsp rose syrup
  • 200ml water
  • 4 tbsp fresh milk
  • 5 cubes of ice
  1. Put the syrup in the glass first, then add water. Have a taste, to see if it’s sweet enough or too sweet for you. Tweak it accordingly with more rose syrup or more water. TIP! It should be slightly sweeter since you’re gonna be adding ice.
  2. Now add the ice and add the milk. TIP! Add the milk in small quantities, stopping when you think it’s getting too milky for your liking. Some people I know like their Bandung a sexy pink, as opposed to baby pink.

Happy days, cool afternoons.


Brownie Upsized

Okay, so I’m not a sucker for dessert like most people are. But I do appreciate the occasional sweet treat to end a hearty meal. Besides, dessert always scores the points for a multi-course meal; always the crowd-pleaser. I’m not really a baker but just recently, I learnt how to make some pretty damn good brownies (courtesy of Sarah).

Now with brownies in my hat of tricks, check this out:

When the brownies are nice and warm, top with a scoop of ice cream – vanilla works best, in my opinion. Drizzle honey and a bunch of oats or crushed nuts. Serve.

It’s that simple. You can even plop a small glob of blackcurrant jam instead of honey and oats, whatever makes you happy.

This works even when you have an batch of brownies, which you baked the day before, in the fridge.

Photo Courtesy of Jiahui Chong

Simply pop a couple into the microwave, land a scoop of ice cream on them and enjoy your happy treat over your kitchen counter. Alone. At midnight. If done quietly, nobody’s gonna know.

It’ll be our sweet little secret.