Thursday, November 8, 2012

Do I get the "ooos" and "aahs" from you?

As most of you know, I was recruited to be on the panel of judges for The Nutriplus Baking Competition. I guess I was what might be referred to as the local "anchor" judge as I was to join each day of the event. 


Judges for the semi final -round 1
From left: Chef Bernard, Chef Federick and Quay Po

The competition took place over five days and a new panel of judges were empaneled each day, recruited  from the many celebrated chefs here in Malaysia plus me. Needless to say it was a little intimidating. On the other hand, it afforded me a ring side seat for the flurry of creativity that took place and that was thrilling. The first four days of competitive baking were for the semi-finalists, selected from all of the applications. On the fifth day the four finalists from the previous four days met for the finals round.  



Not only did I get to rub elbows with seasoned chefs (no pun intended) but I had the chance to watch other home chefs work their magic. Through observation, I gained knowledge about pastry making, not only from my fellow judges but also from the twelve very talented contestants.


Semi final - Round 1 contestants:
Semi final - Round 2 contestants:
Semi final - Round 3 contestants:
Semi final - Round 4 contestants:

The Charlotte recipe which I am going to share with you is inspired by the Winner of this competition, Wendy Yip of "Table for Two or more". Her winning bake was a water melon charlotte. She used ladies fingers, mousse and water melon. She made the ladies fingers from scratch. 



I was inspired by Wendy to make one. I did not make the ladies fingers from scratch but used what I had in my pantry which was store bought. For the fruits, I used strawberries and pineapple. Instead of making just mousse, I added  American sponge cake and marmalade jam to sandwich the mousse. There are many steps to make this but the result is stunning and the taste of the charlotte was to die for so it is all worth it. I can assure you that you will get lots of "ooos" and "aaahs" from the finished product. I want to see if I get that from you all. LOL!

Strawberry Pineapple Charlotte





Ingredients to make the marmalade jam: 
(This can be made ahead of time)
Please get the recipe from the link provided:

American Sponge Cake
Adapted from Joy of Baking

Ingredients:
3 large eggs, separated
½ cup (50 grams) sifted cake flour
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ cup (100 grams) granulated white sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoons water
Zest of 1/2 lemon  or orange

Method to make 6 inch diameter the Cake:
Have ready an ungreased 6 inch diameter cake pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees Separare the eggs, yolks in one bowl and the whites in another. Set asid and let eggs comes to room temperature (about 30 minutes).

Meanwhile sift or whisk the sifted flour with the baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Place the egg yolks and 2/3 cup (66 grams) of the sugar in the bowl. Use a hand mixer to beat on high speed until they are thick, fluffy and light in color.  Stop beating when you raise the beater and the batter will fall back into the bowl in a slow ribbon. Add evanilla extract, water, and lemon zest and mix well . Set aside while you beat the egg whites.

Whisk the egg whites until foamy and continue whisking until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1/3 cup (34 grams) of sugar and continue whisking until the egg whites are shiny and just form stiff peaks.

Next, sift the flour mixture over the beaten egg yolks. Gently but quickly fold  the flour into the egg yolk batter. Then gently fold a little of the beaten egg whites into the batter to lighten it, and then add the rest of the whites, folding just until incorporated Pour the batter into cake pan and smooth the top.

Bake in preheated oven for 28 - 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove and allow the cake to cool completely before unmolding (about one hour). Run a sharp knife around the inside of the pan and then invert the cake onto a greased wire rack. When it is completely cool, slice the cake into three pieces.

Ingredient for Vanilla Mousse:
Adapted from Shawn Scarborough

Ingredients:
1/3 cup of sugar
2 tbs of cornstarch
1 1/2 cups of full cream milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup whipped cream (see the recipe below)

Method to make the mousse:
Combine the milk, cornstarch and sugar to a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about three minutes, stirring constantly to prevent sticking. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow to cool completely.

Pour the contents of the saucepan into a mixing bowl and add the vanilla extract. Stir in the vanilla extract. Fold in the whipped cream and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Fruits:
Strawberries - cut off the top
Pineapple - diced

To assemble of the Charlotte:
To arrange cakes, ladies finger in 7 inch diameter cake pan:
Use a 7 inch cake pan, lay a parchment paper at the bottom and grease the side with oil or butter. Place one piece of cake at the bottom and line the sides with ladies fingers. Apply jam and ¾ of an inch mouse, put another piece of cake, repeat the process and end with the last piece of cake. Put in the fridge to chill for one day.  Prepare stabilized whipped cream(see recipe below) just before serving and top the charlotte with a layer of whipped cream as the same level of the top of ladies fingers. Arrange the fruits and tie a ribbon.

Stabilized Whipped Cream:

Ingredients:
2 tbs cold water
1 tsp unflavored gelatin
2 cups (1 pint) chilled whipping cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbs icing sugar

Method:
Prepare the gelatin: Place the dry gelatin in a small bowl. Pour cold water over it. Let it bloom for 5 minutes. Dissolve by placing it in a container over a small pot of simmering water. Set aside to let cool.

Next, place the empty bowl  and whisk in the freezer to quickly chill. Beat cream on high speed in its pre-chilled mixer bowl. Just before it becomes soft and billowy, slowly add the sugar and vanilla extract to the whipped cream at the sides of the bowl. Continue to whip on high speed until the cream barely starts to stiffen. Stop the whipping. Take about 2 tablespoons of the cream from the mixer bowl and stir it into the cooled gelatin. Return the cream/ gelatin mixture back into the main mixing bowl with the rest of the semi-whipped cream. Continue to whip the cream on high until soft peaks form. Finish whisking till the right consistency. Cover and refrigerate.

45 comments:

  1. So interesting. Too bad I missed the event.

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    Replies
    1. Hankerie, if I remember, you are not in KL right?

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  2. Congratulations on being a judge, it must have been fun. Ooooo Ahhhhhh that looks so good :-))) Keep well Diane

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  3. Eh what is the last picture? Is it a trifle? You definitely get the ooh and aaahhh from me. I'm lazy to make sponge cake so maybe I'll make the mousse only version! Hahahaha

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    1. Kelly, if you ask me what's the last picture, I ALSO DON'T KNOW lah!! hehe, Okay, look forward to see your charlotte soon.

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  4. Thanks for the recipe!! Your cake looks amazing!!! :) Love lots of fresh fruits on my cake!

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    Replies
    1. You are welcome and thanks for the compliment.

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  5. Ooo....ahhh...!!!! Can I place my order for Christmas?

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    Replies
    1. Can, Can but you have to come to KL collect it. LOL!

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  6. Quay Po, it's stunning! No number of "ooohhhss" and "ahhssss" can describe it!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Phong Hong. That is all I want to hear:D

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  7. Replies
    1. No jealous lah, you can bake better than this:D

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  8. Ooo! Aaahh!! Delish looking cake!! Opps, my keyboard is wet with my saliva~ :p

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  9. that looks so good, oooo ahhhhhhhhhhhh!

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  10. complicated and if I need to bake this i think i will need an extra pair of helping hands. Next time you make such a complicated recipe....i want to ring your bell and enter your house to learn from scratch.ahhahahahhah

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    Replies
    1. You want to learn this, just let me know when, always happy to show you how.

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  11. loss count on how many times Ooo...ahhhh..each time looking at this Charlotte.

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  12. Definately lots and lots of Ooooo and Aaaahhhhs!!! I also want to order for christmas!

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    Replies
    1. Kitty, I think my bakes not up to standard for ordering lah. You can see my layers are not very neat:D

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  13. wow! Quay Po, only oooo and aaahhhs came out from my mouth when i saw the pic of your charlotte!
    feel like licking the screen! yum!

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    1. Alice, don't lick your screen, try baking the charlotte. Email me if you need further assistance.

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  14. Oooo I love sponge cake but still not very good in making it. Aahhh, I must try it as it's so beautiful!

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    Replies
    1. Veronica, sponge cake and mousses is a great combination.

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  15. Hi Quay Po, long time not being heard from you! Both the cakes look so pretty! Must drop by Wendy's blog to congratulate her!

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    1. Ya, So sorry have not been visiting my blogger friends lately. Thanks for dropping by Jessie. Will do my rounds soon. XOXO.

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  16. how exciting, and what a delightful creation that came out of the experience!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, it is very inspiring to see home bakers come up with beautiful and tasty bakes.

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  17. oh looking at this ...can't help but say ohhhhs.... I feel bad I can only admire it by looking... I wanna have a bite ;(

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  18. ooooo aaaaaah!!!

    one day i would like to buy a oven and start baking!

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    Replies
    1. I hope you get your oven soon so that we can all drool over your bakes.

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  19. How exciting to be on the panel. What a great winning entry ooooo aaahhh!

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    Replies
    1. Yes, it was an exciting and memorable experience meeting so many people who share the same passion for food.

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  20. What a fun event to participate in! That charlotte looks amazing.

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  21. OOoohh and aaahhhh. So beautiful in picture must be beautiful in taste! You are truly good and that's no surprise why you were selected to be on of the judges..:)

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  22. No ooooh and aahhh...but WOW! Haha. It's great to know that you were chosen as one of the judges in baking competition! Oh, thanks for the recipes! Maybe I'll try to make one when I get free time...

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