Monday, 31 October 2011

Spiral Curry Puffs - Take 2

I'm calling this post Spiral Curry Puffs - Take 2 simply because Take 1 didn't happen! You cannot believe how much work goes into this dough until you try it and of course, the dough from Take 1 ended-up in the dustbin because I'd not rolled it right, cut it too small, was a complete mess-of-a-failure and couldn't even be used as curry puff dough or anything else for that matter!

Yes, lots of exclamation marks in the above paragraph. I felt like an exclamation mark myself just after I had to dump the dough after slaving over it for two hours. Two hours! Two hours of when I could have been mixing up a batch of shortbread from one of Alice Medrich's recipes. Aaaaaaarrrrgghhh...

Right then, now that that is out of the way let's get down to the curry puff story.

The curry puff story began when Girl started buying curry puffs for the Toad on days when she could and thought he hadn't had his lunch. The first curry puffs came from a stall at BB round the corner from Triple Round. In fact, Girl still buys Toad curry puffs from there to this day. The Toad liked his 'samosas' as he called them before bring told that they were curry puffs la.

One day, while Girl was out for lunch at a BB kopitiam, Chinese Uncle came along with a yellow tray full of goodies and pastries. There were curry puffs in the tray and Girl bought them for Toad whom she knew was coming to BB later in the day. That was the end of it.

See... Toad had developed an addiction for curry puffs by then, and when he had the yellow tray curry puffs, the world of curry puffs as he knew it changed. Sigh. Girl had forgotten that there are curry puffs and there are CURRY PUFFS. The yellow tray ones were CURRY PUFFS and took Toad's addiction to a whole new level of CRAVING. Curry puffs were not enough anymore. He wanted CURRY PUFFS!

Of course Chinese Uncle with the yellow tray hasn't been found again during lunch at BB. So how? Poor Girl decided to attempt Spiral Curry Puffs. Though as of today, she's ashamed to say it's not quite CURRY PUFF yet. On the other hand, she's quite pleased with herself for actually making it and having it turn out (somewhat) despite having trouble rolling the pastry, overfilling it with potatoes and making a mess of this  crimping-the-edges business.

Girl will be taking the curry puffs in the photo above into work with her for Toad in hope of helping him satisfy a CRAVING even if it is in a small way.

Meanwhile, Girl hasn't told him about the fabulous crispy curry puff stall in the Food Hall basement of Takashimaya in Singapore or even Old Chang Kee. (grin) Perhaps he could be persuaded to take a holiday down south soon!

Some things to remember/do before attempting to make the pastry:
  • The pliability of both the water and oil dough must be similar. Chill both doughs a while if need be.
  • Do not let the oil dough leak out of the water dough during the rolling stages. Roll gently but firmly using a small rolling pin for better control.
  • Learn and practise crimping the edges of the puffs.
  • Cook the filling first and let it cool while you make the pastry.
  • It is better to use vegetable shortening/Crisco/ghee/clarified butter/cooking oil instead of butter in this type of pastry.
Take 2 pastry recipe came from this website - Do What I Like - while the rolling directions came from this website - Corner Cafe. Please go to these websites for detailed instructions on wrapping and rolling the dough. The photos and step-by-step instructions are excellent.

Spiral Curry Puffs - Flaky Pastry
Adapted from Do What I Like

Water Dough
210 g plain flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
15g Crisco
1 egg, lightly beaten
95ml warm water

Oil Dough
100g - 160g plain flour
60g Crisco
  1. Make the filling. Set aside to cool. (recipe in a separate post)
  2. Water Dough - Rub shortening into the flour and salt until breadcrumbs form. Make a well in the middle and mix in the egg and water bit by bit. Once the dough leaves the sides of the bowl cleanly, knead lightly until it forms a smooth, pliable ball.
  3. Oil Dough - Rub shortening into the flour until coarse breadcrumbs form. With your fingers, bring the dough together to form a soft ball. Knead lightly until the dough leaves the sides of the bowl cleanly adding pinches of flour if necessary to bring the pliability of the dough to be similar with that of the Water Dough.
  4. Place both balls of dough in fridge for about 15 - 20 minutes in a bowl covered with clingfilm.
  5. Remove dough from fridge and divide both types of dough into two equal parts.
  6. Roll out one half of the Water Dough into a circle. Place a ball of Oil Dough in the middle. Wrap the Oil Dough and seal the edges.
  7. Do the same for the remaining pieces of dough.
  8. Follow the instructions in Corner Cafe or Do What I Like for wrapping, rolling and shaping the dough.
  9. Place filling in the centre of the rolled circle of dough. Do not overfill.
  10. Fold over the pastry carefully and crimp the edges shut.
  11. Continue until the pastry and hopefully all the filling is finished.
  12. Heat enough oil in a wok for deep-frying.
  13. Deep-fry the curry puffs two at a time until done and drain on kitchen towels.
  14. Place on a clean plate and serve immediately.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

1-2-3 Butter Cookies

It really is that simple, I promise. 

1-2-3 Butter Cookies

100g icing or castor sugar
200g butter, cold and cubed small
300g plain flour
  1. Preheat the oven at 130 Celsius. Line a baking tray or two with baking paper.  
  2. With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar for 2 minutes.
  3. Fold in flour gently by hand until just incorporated.
  4. Chill dough for 15 - 20 minutes.
  5. Remove from refridgerator. Divide dough into two. Put one half back in to chill.
  6. Place the other half of dough between two plastic sheets and roll out about 4 - 5mm thick.
  7. Working quickly but surely, cut into your favourite shapes using a biscuit cutter. Place shapes on prepared baking tray.
  8. Once the first half of the dough is used up, take out the remaining half and do the same until all the dough is used up. (You may need 2 baking trays if your shapes are larger)
  9. Place tray in the oven and increase the temperature to 150 Celsius.
  10. Bake for about 20 - 25 minutes until the bottom edges start browning slightly.
  11. Remove from oven. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.
  12. Store in an airtight container.
  • The actual recipe comes from a magazine cut-out which was given to me a long time ago. I cannot remember which magazine it came from as it was already cut-out when passed to me. If anyone of you knows where it is from, please let me know as I would like to give the magazine due credit. I have also adapted the method to suit my own style of mixing biscuit dough.
  • I used icing sugar instead of castor for a finer texture.
  • I used unsalted butter in this batch and missed the salt terribly. Lesson learnt. I will use salted butter next time, or add in 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt. Yes, I have two feet firmly planted in the I-like-using-salted-butter-to-bake-for-better-flavour camp.
  • I made an orange-poppyseed flavoured biscuit with 1 tablespoon orange blossom water, 1 tablespoon poppyseeds and the grated zest of 1 orange.
  • For a vanilla biscuit, add in 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence or seeds scrapped from a vanilla pod at the creaming stage.
  • This is a versatile dough. You can flavour it any way you like.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

A little dash of rum...

There are so many lovely recipe websites out there, but none so good as my favourite BBCGoodFood. They have lots of simple, yet gorgeous recipes that I love. I found this particular recipe when I was looking for Mexican Wedding Cookies. I certainly didn't need any encouragement to even try this recipe as it included RUM.

I simply couldn't keep my hands off the dough. I pinched away at it and it of course, found its merry way into my mouth! The flavour of rum is strongest before the actual baking (ahem... hence my pinching) and very mild in the finished biscuit. Perhaps an extra tablespoon of rum the next time I try this recipe? Let's see. The Toad loved them, so I just might make some more tomorrow... with the extra dose. Cheers!

Little Almond Cookies (or Rum Biscuits as I personally like to call them)
Adapted from BBCGoodFood

50g almond nibs, toasted
100g butter, softened
2 tablespoons castor sugar
1 tablespoon dark rum
140g - 175g plain flour
Vanilla seeds, scrapped from 1 vanilla pod
Icing sugar, to coat
  1. Preheat the oven at 140 Celsius. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Cream butter, sugar, vanilla seeds and rum about 1 minute with an electric mixer.
  3. Gently fold in the flour until mixed through. (I only needed 140g of plain flour)
  4. Gently fold in the toasted almond nibs.
  5. Bring it together into a soft dough.
  6. Roll dough between sheets of plastic to about 4 - 5mm thick.
  7. Using a biscuit cutter, cut out small circles and place onto the lined baking tray.
  8. Bake at 150 Celsius for about 20 - 25 minutes until the biscuit is just set with a tiny bit of browning along the edges. Remove from the oven.
  9. While still hot, coat in icing sugar. Let them cool completely on wire racks. Once cool, coat in icing sugar again.
  10. Store in an air-tight container or wrapped up individually in tissue/glass paper for a more fancy look.

Lime Meltaways

They're beautiful aren't they these snow-dusted lovelies? Reminds me of Christmas. The flavour is all at once sweet, slightly mouth-puckeringly-sour from the lime juice and melts in your mouth. I've made them more than a few times over the years. So here's the recipe and a big thanks to Martha Stewart for it!

Note: I've changed the original cup measurements to metric as I prefer to weigh my ingredients for consistent results.

Lime Meltaways
Adapted from Martha Stewart

180g butter, softened
100g icing sugar, sifted
225g plain flour, sifted
15g cornflour, sifted
1/4 teaspoon salt
Zest from 3 limes
2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/2 teaspoon sweetened lime paste (optional)
Green food colouring (optional)
Icing sugar, to coat
  1. Cream salt, butter and icing sugar about 2 minutes with electric mixer.
  2. Add in lime zest, vanilla, lime paste and juice. Mix about 1 minute.
  3. Gently fold in by hand the plain flour and cornflour.
  4. Add tiny drops of green food colouring into the dough  mixing gently until you achieve the intensity of colour you like, then stop.
  5. Divide the dough and roll in two separate pieces of baking paper. Twist the ends close and leave it in the fridge for 2 hours or overnight.
  6. Preheat oven to 150 Celsius. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  7. Remove a roll from the fridge and cut  into slices with a sharp knife. Place slices on the lined baking tray, leaving some space in between each one as they will expand a bit. (Leave the remaining roll in the fridge for the time being)
  8. Put the baking tray into the oven and bake for about 20 - 30  minutes until the edges of the biscuits just turn a little brown. Remove from the oven and let it cool on wire racks.
  9. Continue with the remaining roll in the fridge or leave it for a biscuit craving later in the week.
  10. Once cool, coat in icing sugar on all sides, place in paper cases and store in an air-tight container.

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