Sunday, 25 March 2012

Fresh Mint Macarons for a 3 in 1 Birthday Celebration


Fresh Mint Macarons

One day at the weekend after the 21st of March is always chosen to celebrate 3 birthdays in our family. This year, it was yesterday. We gathered in my sister A's home, had a good Tumpeng Nasi Kuning (yellow rice in a cone shape)for lunch. For the dessert, I made Klappertaart (young coconut tart), Mint Macarons and Tamarind Pineapple Macarons. And the best was... we enjoyed all the good jokes and discussions we had there.

Tumpeng Nasi Kuning  Tumpeng Nasi Kuning

I am sorry that I can only share the picture of the Tumpeng Nasi Kuning and not the recipe. In fact, I've never made one. Several times I made yellow rice, but not shaped it into a cone or a tumpeng. Here in Indonesia we cook yellow rice using turmeric, and usually shape it into a tumpeng for a celebration on something as our way to thank the Lord for His blessings and for whatever good thing just happens in our lives. Such for birthday, newly born baby in a family, graduation, house warming party, etc. You see from the picture that it's not simply a cone-shaped yellow rice, but it's elaborated with so many condiments around it to eat Nasi Kuning with.

As its name, Klappertaart was introduced by the Dutch when they occupied our country. Made from eggs and young coconut (when the coconut flesh is still soft and gelatinous). However, I still need work on the recipe to make it better. I used a recipe from an Indonesian cookbook, but it's not as perfect as I want it to. So, I will only post the recipe whenever I am sure that it will make a perfect Klappertaart.

Tamarind Pineapple MacaronsTamarind Pineapple MacaronsTamarind Pineapple MacaronsFresh Mint Macarons and Tamarind Pineapple Macarons

Now the macarons. You have the recipe for my Tamarind Pineapple Macarons, which is my favorite after the Lemon one (you know I like everything sour). Unfortunately, I ran out of palm sugar and used all white sugar powder instead. What a big difference it makes. Flavorwise, the palm sugar one was way much better than the white sugar one. Now I can tell you to use palm sugar for the best result. Trust me.

Fresh Mint Macarons and Tamarind Pineapple Macarons

I decided to try baking Mint Macarons since I often see fresh mints being sold in a small vegetable and fruit store in my apartment. I like the taste and the smell of fresh mints, and imagined how if I make macarons out of it. So, there I was, baking Mint Macarons using fresh mints in its shells and its filling. However, I consider that the flavor is not strong enough, so maybe next time I will add some mint extract into the recipe. But if you like soft and mild flavor of mints... there you have the recipe.

Fresh Mint Macarons

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Tamarind Pineapple Macarons

Tamarind Pineapple Macarons

I always want to share with you something unique and it's always my pleasure to experiment with different flavors. The Indonesian culinary has many desserts I can choose to replicate and switch into cupcakes... so many specific ingredients with particularly tasty combinations: palm sugar, coconut and coconut milk, rice, sago, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, vanilla, lemongrass, ginger, tamarind, and a lot of tropical fruits. As you know I like tart and sour tastes, and I like tamarind a lot. So... this time macarons flavored with tamarind. Tamarind is one of the key ingredients for Rujak sauce. Rujak is a different fruits' cut with palm sugar-tamarind sauce as its dipping sauce. The sauce is tart because of the tamarind, sweet from the palm sugar, and some chillis to make it hot.

Tamarind Pineapple Macarons


Tamarind, palm sugar, and pineapple. Those are the main flavors in our macarons this time. The shells is flavored with palm sugar. However, I wasn't sure whether it's possible to add tamarind into the shells, so I just leave it out for this first try. In fact, I wasn't sure with the palm sugar either, but I thought I should give it a try. So for the first try, I substituted about a third of the powder sugar with palm sugar... and it worked like magic!! Then for the filling, it represents the Rujak dessert. So, with tamarind, palm sugar, and fruits chutney or puree. For the fruit, this time I used pineapple, but green sour apple (like Granny Smith apple) will create a good combination also. I incorporated the tamarind in the buttercream filling and pipe the pineapple puree inside the tamarind buttercream.

I was pretty happy with the result. It's sour as I want it to be and since palm sugar is less sweet than the beet/cane sugar, it's resulted in a less sweeter shells. Besides, the palm sugar gives a nice soft palm-sugar flavor to the shells. Perfect.

Tamarind Pineapple Macarons

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Pumpkin Parmesan Scones

Pumpkin Parmesan Scones

Back again after four months. I spent two months holiday in France with my loving husband. We celebrated Christmas and New Year with some of our best friends there and been invited here and there for good lunch or dinner. I savored so many good foods, experiencing different new flavors I had never tasted before and every time I eat, my taste-buds were wildly flapping their wings of to the ceiling... Now I am back in Jakarta, and after one full month catching up with the work, and getting used to Jakarta's traffic jam again, I think this weekend is the perfect time for "blogging time".

Pumpkin Parmesan Scones

In November, before I left for my long holiday, I was stunned by Stacy's pictures of her Pumpkin Parmesan Scones in her Bakercourt blog. They are gorgeous and my mind went wild imagining how the taste would be. I have to bake one. Unfortunately, I was so busy with my work and traveling here and there (also for my work). And since I was going to leave for a long holiday at the end of that month, I tried to limit my grocery-shopping so I would not have many things sitting in my fridge.

Pumpkin Parmesan Scones

This morning I woke up and suddenly remembered that I still had half of orange kabocha pumpkin (japanese pumpkin) in the fridge. If it's still good then it would be perfect for Stacy's Pumpkin Parmesan Scones. In fact, it was still in perfect condition after sitting there for two weeks, as if it was just being cut in half one day before. A little part of it was frozen because I put it in the very back of the fridge (that's why I forgot it for long). But it didn't matter since it would be pureed anyway.

The original recipe doesn't explain how to make pumpkin puree, and I have no idea how the consistency should be. I assumed it should be like tomato puree. So I had to find my own technique for that. I decided to microwave the pumpkin, because I didn't want to add any liquid in it. Boiling or steaming would add moisture or water and make the puree more liquid. Baking it in the oven would give a kind of roasty slightly burnt flavor which I don't want.

While mixing the ingredients, instead of having 3/4 cup of pumpkin puree as in the original recipe, I accidentally pour one full cup in. Oops! my dough was too soft and sticky. But that was not a big problem. I just oiled my palms and shaped the dough (apparently this is easier and less messier than rolling and cutting the dough) in round discs of 7 cm diameter and 2 cm thick. I want big scones!

Pumpkin Parmesan Scones

I did several changes on the recipe, even though I think they are not that important and I also think they don't change the overall end result. I also didn't have self-raising flour as the original recipe calls for, so I simply used all-purpose flour and baking powder. One important thing in making scones is to avoid gluten formation. Gluten will make scones chewy and harder and we won't have a soft and crumbly scones. Use cold ingredients whenever possible. In this recipe, I recommend using cold milk and cold puree. And... working on the dough as little as possible. Knead or mix just enough to blend all the ingredients in. Not too long.

Pumpkin Parmesan Scones

There are several things I like from this pumpkin scones: the scones have a nice thin crust outside (maybe because of a little bit of oil from when I shaped the scones and from the egg-yolk) and quite moist soft and crumbly inside (I think that's because of the moisture from the pumpkin puree). The mix of parmesan cheese, freshly cracked black pepper and salt flakes appears to be a brilliant idea. It gives a nice salty cheesy-peppery flavor to balance the slightly sweet pumpkin flavor. Then a hint of nutmeg flavor complete the perfect blend of flavors for this scones. I like this Pumpkin Parmesan Scones a lot. So, thanks to Stacy for sharing the recipe.

Pumpkin Parmesan Scones