Smoked Salmon Avocado Toast

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Changing things up a bit with a savory recipe!

Actually to be honest this toast is so easy to make that it shouldn’t even be considered a recipe. It’s one of my absolute favorite breakfast/brunch dishes to make on weekends, or even on weekdays, when I’m feeling completely sugared out (in case you haven’t noticed I have a borderline uncontrollable sweet tooth). The salty brininess of the salmon perfectly complements the rich and buttery smoothness of the avocado, and the eggs just make the dish extra satisfying. The best part? It comes together in just 15 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • Two slices of bread or English muffin
  • Smoked salmon
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Fill a small saucepan about halfway with water, salt it generously, and bring to a simmer.
  2. While you are waiting for your water to heat up, toast the bread or English muffin halves in a toaster, or, if you want a little extra flavor, spread some butter on both sides of each slice and crisp them up in a pan on the stove until they are golden brown on both sides.
  3. Meanwhile, slice up your avocado half and take out a few slices of smoked salmon. Set aside.
  4. Once your water starts simmering, crack one of your eggs into a small bowl or ramekin (be careful not to break the yolk). Using a spoon, stir the water so that you have a nice whirlpool. Slip the egg from the bowl into the center of the whirlpool. Repeat with the other egg. Use a spoon to skim off any foam or stray strands of egg white.
  5. By now your toast should be nice and crispy. Put your toast on a plate, lay your avocado slices on top of each piece of bread, and then add a layer of smoked salmon.
  6. Check your eggs: they’re ready when the whites are set but the yolks are still runny. This should take about 3-4 minutes. Once they’re ready, use a slotted spoon to carefully take them out and put them on a paper towel to drain. Once they’re drained, put the eggs on top of your toast.
  7. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy!

Sometimes I also like to top my toast with some green onion, which adds an extra layer of fragrance and aroma: I’ll just sautée the onion for a minute to release the flavors. If you don’t want to spend the money on smoked salmon, which can be expensive, bacon or pancetta also taste amazing here. And if poaching eggs is a bit intimidating, feel free to top the toast with a sunny-side-up or an over-easy. Try squirting on a bit of lemon for an even fresher taste. I like this as an alternative to Eggs Benedict, since there’s no need to make a Hollandaise sauce; the dish is so rich and flavorful already that any additional sauce would probably ruin it. It’s absolutely perfect for days when you’re too lazy to go out for brunch!

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Raspberry Frangipane Tarts

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It has been an absolutely crazy holiday season so far; not only was my family in NYC for five days, where we proceeded to stuff our faces with as much NYC deliciousness as possible (or maybe that was just me and my lack of self-control), but we’ve also attended three parties within the first five days of our return to San Jose. And we have another one tomorrow. Talk about holiday weight gain…

But no regrets! Life is about savoring all the memorable moments, and I assure you that this is a recipe that is truly memorable. I made some of these raspberry frangipane tarts for a New Year’s Eve party and my family stole a few while they were still warm, and I gotta say this is one of the best things I have eaten this entire year; the fragrance of the almonds and vanilla plus the floral sweetness and slight tartness of the raspberries are a match made in pastry heaven. This may even edge out tiramisu as my favorite dessert. Shocker, right?

It’s really a labor of love; you have to make a pâte sablée, a crème pâtissière, and a crème aux amandes. But if you break up the process through two or three days (the pâte sablée must sit in the fridge overnight anyways) it won’t feel like that much work. And please, do yourself a favor, forget about your new year’s resolutions to “eat healthy” and “lose weight,” and make these. I’m not joking when I say that these things are a revelation.

Crust, pastry cream, and almond cream recipes adapted from The Art of French Pastry by Jacquy Pfeiffer

Ingredients:

Pâte Sablée

  • 88g (3oz) European-style butter, 82% fat
  • 1g sea salt
  • 145g all-purpose flour
  • 17g almond flour
  • 55g confectioners’ sugar
  • 1g vanilla extract
  • 40g egg yolks

Classic Crème Pâtissière (Pastry Cream)

  • 187.5g whole milk
  • 19g European-style butter, 82% fat
  • 24g granulated sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 7.5g cornstarch
  • 7.5g cake flour
  • 24g granulated sugar
  • 45g egg yolks

Almond Cream

  • 75g almond flour
  • 75g confectioners’ sugar
  • 2g cornstarch
  • 2g cake flour
  • 75g European-style butter, 82% fat
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 1g vanilla extract
  • 45g whole eggs
  • 15g dark rum

Raspberries, sliced almonds, and confectioners’ sugar for garnish

Instructions:

Day 1: Make the Pâte Sablée

  1. Place butter, sea salt, and all-purpose flour in a medium or large mixing bowl. Using a fork or pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture is sandy and crumbly; avoid over-mixing.
  2. Once your mixture resembles coarse sand, add the almond flour and confectioners’ sugar and mix until everything is just combined. Add the vanilla and egg yolk and mix until the dough just comes together.
  3. Scrape the dough out of the bowl onto a flat surface and press into a 1/2-inch thick disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Day 2 (or 3): Make the Crème Pâtissière

  1. Line a sheet pan with plastic wrap and set aside.
  2. Split the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds. In a saucepan combine all but 3 tablespoons of the milk. Add butter, 24g sugar, and the vanilla bean seeds and pod. Stir and place over medium heat.
  3. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, add the cornstarch and flour with another 24g sugar. Add the reserved 3 tablespoons of milk and the egg yolks and mix together.
  4. When the milk mixture on the stove comes to a boil, turn off the heat and remove the vanilla bean pod. Set it on a paper towel to dry for another use (I like to put them in my sugar containers, but they can also be used to flavor tea). Pour half of the hot milk mixture into the yolk mixture. Then strain the egg yolk+milk mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining milk mixture to remove any solids.
  5. Turn the heat back on to medium and whisk the mixture very thoroughly, making sure to scrape all nooks and crannies of the pan so the cream doesn’t scorch. The second you feel the mixture start to thicken slightly on the bottom, remove the pan from the heat and mix for about 30 seconds until the mixture is slightly thick and uniform. Return the pot to medium heat and bring back to a boil. Once it has reached a boil, cook for an additional minute before removing from heat.
  6. Transfer your cream to the plastic-lined sheet pan and spread it into a flat even layer. Cover the cream with another layer of plastic and then place the sheet pan into the freezer for 10-15 minutes (this will stop the growth of bacteria).
  7. Remove from the freezer and place the cream in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk until it has a creamy texture, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready for use.

Day 2 (or 3): Make the Almond Cream

  1. Sift together the almond flour, confectioners’ sugar, cornstarch, and cake flour.
  2. Add the room-temperature butter, sea salt, and vanilla mixture into a medium mixing bowl. Mix on medium speed for about a minute.
  3. Add the nut mixture to the bowl and mix for another minute. Then gradually add the egg and mix until it is incorporated. Finally add the rum and mix.

Day 2 (or 3): Assemble and bake the tarts

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter a 9-inch tart pan (or several mini tart molds). Be careful not to use too much butter, as doing so may cause the dough to slide off while baking. Press the dough into the pan or molds and refrigerate for about 20 minutes to cool and harden the dough before baking.
  2. Mix the pastry cream and the almond cream together to make your frangipane. Fill your cooled tart pan or molds with the frangipane. Arrange raspberries on top and sprinkle on some sliced almonds. Bake at 350 degrees F until the frangipane starts to brown slightly on the edges; for two-inch tarts, this will take about 30 minutes.
  3. Once your tart(s) is/are done, remove from the oven and let cool for about 10-15 minutes before unmolding. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve warm.

Note: If you have leftover pâte sablée, you can turn it into sablée cookies by rolling the dough out to 1/8 to 1/4 inch thickness, cutting out cookies using a cookie cutter, and baking at 325 degrees F for 10-15 minutes until the edges are golden brown.

Croissants

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I honestly believe that there are few experiences that can eclipse that of eating a freshly-baked croissant. A well-made pastry is great served at any temperature, but nothing comes close to the degree of fluffiness and flakiness of one that’s fresh from the oven. It’s the closest to heaven that I’ve come so far in this lifetime.

But, like most classic French pastries, it requires lots of time, patience, and technique. Jacquy Pfeiffer, one of the founders of the French Pastry School in Chicago and author of The Art of French Pastry, includes plenty of tips and tricks in his recipes to help readers of his cookbook bring a little bit of France into their kitchens. So here’s Jacquy’s croissant recipe, with some of helpful pointers I’ve picked up through many, many attempts at making these little bites of heaven. This is quite a long and detailed description, but please read through the entire thing before you begin! Being meticulous in every step is crucial for success. Bear with me for a little bit, and I promise the end result will be completely worth it!

Ingredients (Use exact measurements):

  • 100g all-purpose flour
  • 100g warm water
  • 5g active dry yeast
  • 200g bread flour
  • 38g granulated sugar
  • 15g softened French-style butter, 82% fat*
  • 45g warm water, same temperature as the other 100g water
  • 30g egg
  • 7g sea salt
  • 150g French-style butter, 82% fat, cold
  • Egg wash: 1 whole egg mixed with 1 tbsp water
  • Dark chocolate bars if making pain au chocolat
  1. Put the warm water (slightly cooler than hand temperature) in a large mixing bowl. Add the yeast to the warm water and stir. Sprinkle 100g all-purpose flour on top; do not mix. Set aside for 15-20 minutes so the yeast has time to activate. It’s activated when there are cracks in the flour and when you can see foamy bubbles around yeast clusters.
  2. Once the yeast has been activated, add the following ingredients in the order listed: bread flour, sugar, 15g softened butter, 45g warm water, eggs, and salt. Mix together either by hand or using a mixer. The key here is to make sure that everything is incorporated thoroughly, but you don’t overmix the dough; you do not want to encourage too much gluten development. The dough should be smooth, soft, moist and just a little bit sticky, and when you press a finger into it there should be an indent. If there is not, then that means you have overmixed it, and your croissants will not come out well. There should be no traces of dry ingredients in the bowl when you’re done mixing, and the dough should not feel lumpy.
  3. Transfer the dough to another bowl dusted with flour, and dust the surface of the dough with a little more flour. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a towel, or if your bowl has a lid, then cover it with the lid, and let it rise for 1.5 hours or until it doubles in volume. Make sure the temperature of your rising environment does not exceed 80 degrees F, or else the butter will melt out.
  4. Once your dough has finished rising, dust a large work surface/counter with flour and place the dough on it. Shape into a ball; do not knead. Flatten into a 1-inch disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for an hour.
  5. While chilling your dough, prepare the butter layer. Take 150g of butter from the refrigerator and put it on a sheet of parchment paper. Fold the parchment paper over the butter so that both sides are completely covered and pound/roll the butter into about an 8×6 inch rectangle. Once you’re done, refrigerate the butter for 45 minutes.
  6. When both the dough and butter have finished chilling, remove from the refrigerator and check to see that they’re both cold. The dough and butter should have a similar softness/consistency. Pound lightly on the butter to soften it up. Roll out the dough to a 16×8 inch rectangle. Place the butter on the lower half of the dough and fold the dough over so that the butter layer is completely sealed in. You should not be able to see any butter; otherwise it will leak out as you roll.
  7. First roll: Make sure that the dough and butter are cold but pliable and that your work space is generously floured. Gently start rolling your dough until it’s about 20 inches long. Keys to remember: make sure to check every 10 seconds to see if your dough is sticking. If it is, sprinkle some flour onto the dough and add more flour to your work surface. If you feel like your dough is too soft or if it feels like it’s melting, stop rolling immediately and return it to the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes. If your butter is brittle and starts cracking as you roll, that means it’s too hard. In that case, leave on the work surface for a couple of minutes until it starts to soften a little. Working with melting dough will cause the butter and dough to mix together as you roll and destroy your butter layer, resulting in a product that’s more breadlike and not flaky at all. On the other hand, if your butter is too brittle, shards of butter may cut through the dough layer and become exposed to the surface, which also ruins the butter layer. It’s important that you maintain the dough-butter-dough arrangement as you roll. Be sure to also roll all the way to the edges, so that your layer is perfectly even.
  8. When your dough is about 20 inches long, do a book fold: imagine that there are two lines dividing the dough in thirds along the longer edge. With one of the shorter ends of the dough facing you, fold the top third down along the top imaginary line, and align the edge of the dough with the bottom imaginary line. Gently pull and stretch on the edge so that it is perfectly straight, or else your layers will come out unevenly. At this point, one half of your dough will have two layers, and the other half will have one layer. Then, fold the single layer on top of the double layer to create three layers. Again, make sure that the corners and edges line up as perfectly as you can make them. Once you’ve completed your book fold, carefully wrap your dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for half an hour.
  9. Re-flour your work surface if necessary. Take the dough out of the refrigerator, unwrap it and place it with one of the open ends facing you; this should be the shorter end. Again, roll out the dough to about 20 inches in length, making sure to maintain the butter layers. Follow the same technique as the previous rolling: keep the dough well-floured, pliant, and cool, and make sure to roll all the way to the edges. Once your dough has reached 20 inches in length, complete another book fold and cover and store overnight in the fridge. Your dough now has 9 layers.
  10. The next day, take the dough out of the fridge, again making sure that it’s not too hard. If it is, let it sit outside for a couple of minutes until it’s pliable enough to handle. Once it is ready, roll the dough out again to a 20-inch-long rectangle, do a book fold, cover, and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes. Your final dough should have 27 layers.
  11. Final rolling: roll the dough out to a 20×7 inch rectangle and get ready to shape!
    1. For regular croissants: on one long edge, make a notch every 4 inches. On the other long edge, make a notch 2 inches from one short edge, and every 4 inches after that. Cut out of the dough by making diagonal cuts connecting the notches from one edge to the notches of the other; your cuts should form a zigzag pattern. You will end up with 9 isosceles triangles, with two extra half-triangles. Gently press these extra half-triangles together to form a tenth isosceles triangle. To roll, take a triangle and place it base facing you and tip pointing away from you. Make a 3/4-inch cut in the center of the base. Take the sides of the incision and fan them outward, and roll the croissant like a scroll from base to tip. Place on a baking sheet covered with either parchment paper or aluminum foil. Repeat with the remaining croissants, and be sure to leave at least an inch between each croissant when placing on the baking sheet.
    2. For pains au chocolat: Cut the 20×7 rectangle in half width-wise into two 20×3.5 inch rectangles. Divide the two rectangles into five 3.5×4 inch rectangles each for a total of ten 3.5×4 inch rectangles. Take a small rectangle and place it longer edge facing you. Line some chocolate along the left short edge about a centimeter away from the edge, and fold the left edge over the chocolate as if you were going to roll it into a scroll. Place some more chocolate along the edge as before and continue rolling it into a scroll. Place on a baking sheet with the seam side down. Repeat with the remaining rectangles.
  12. Once you’ve shaped your croissants and have put them spaced out on a baking sheet or sheets, brush with a simple egg wash (just beat one whole egg with one tablespoon of water together until thoroughly scrambled). Let them proof for about 1.5 hours. To check if they’re completely proofed, dip a finger (or a chopstick or something similar) into some flour and gently poke one of the croissants. The croissant is fully proofed if the dough does not bounce back. If the dough bounces back quickly, it’s not ready yet; proof for another half-hour before testing again. From the side, you should be able to see the glorious layers that will eventually puff up into buttery flaky goodness. If you shake the pan, the croissants will jiggle like jello.
  13. Once your croissants are fully proofed, brush again with egg wash (be gentle so as to not deflate the croissants) and bake at 375 degrees F for 18-20 minutes or until they are golden brown in color. They should also look slightly rough and wrinkled and flaky. If you’re using multiple baking pans, be sure to rotate the pans and swap their positions halfway to ensure even baking.
  14. Let the croissants cool for 15-20 minutes before serving.

Notes:

-Using European-style butter with 82% fat is crucial, since it has less water. I’ve been able to find it in Whole Foods, Safeway, and even Walmart. Cheaper butter has less fat and more water, but more water means more steam during baking. This steam will cause the pastry to rise greatly, but it will eventually collapse.

-Using exact measurements is crucial in pastry, which is why you should use a digital kitchen scale to measure out the ingredients.

-Make sure you’re working in a relatively cool environment; if it gets too hot, then the butter will melt before you can roll out your dough properly.

-You can create an optimal proofing environment by putting a cup or bowl of boiling water in your oven and letting your dough or croissants proof in there with the oven door closed. Your proofing environment should be humid and warm without any drafts, but it should not be so warm that butter starts melting out.

-Croissants are obviously best served fresh, but they can be frozen for two or three months after they’re baked. When you want to eat some again, just let them defrost and then blast them in the oven at 450 degrees for 1 minute. If you want, you can even freeze the croissants right after you shape them. When you’re ready to bake these frozen raw croissants, let them defrost for a couple of hours and then proof and bake as instructed.

Egg Tarts

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One of my all-time favorite sweets is 蛋挞, literally translated to “egg tart.” This is somewhat of a misnomer, as the filling isn’t savory but rather a crème brûlée-like custard made with eggs, vanilla, sugar, and milk. Here in the US we usually associate egg tarts with Hong Kong style dim sum, but they actually were derived from Portuguese-style custard pastries called pastel de nata; the custard pastries made their way to Hong Kong through Macau, which used to be a Portuguese colony.

Why do I love it? What’s not to love? The silken and somewhat squishy custard filling, with its rich and robust vanilla flavor with subtle caramel notes, combines beautifully with the buttery and flaky crust. It’s a match made in pastry heaven.

The best part? This is actually a very simple recipe that shouldn’t take much time at all, especially if you use a store-bought crust dough. But since I generally refuse to buy anything that I can make, I like to use my favorite pie crust recipe.

Materials: large mixing bowl, set of 12 2.75-3 inch diameter tart pans (or you can use a muffin tin)

Ingredients:

  • Pie crust dough for 1 9-inch pie
  • 1 egg, 4 egg yolks
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 heaping tsp vanilla extract
  1. Beat egg and yolks together until fluffy. Add sugar, milk, and vanilla extract and mix until sugar is completely dissolved.
  2. Divide the pie crust dough into 12 pieces and press into greased tart molds or muffin tins. Pour in the custard filling.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes, or until nicely browned on top.

Seriously, that’s all there is to it. Feel free to use puff pastry instead of pie crust, which would be delicious too.

Make and enjoy!

Apricot Jam

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Yay, it’s finally summer! Which means that I suddenly find myself with a ridiculous amount of free time on my hands. And since I don’t have any jobs or internships lined up, what better way to spend it than cooking, eating, and taking pictures?

During the school year, I never have an extra couple of hours to spare for baking my favorite sweets, so the recipes that I’ve been meaning to try out have just been piling up. Well, I suppose that the amount of time I spend procrastinating and looking up said recipes could be spent in the kitchen (or I guess in the library doing work). Anyways, the point is that I haven’t baked anything since I was home for the winter holidays. But now that I have access to a kitchen with pretty much all the equipment and ingredients that I could possibly need, I can cook and consume sugary goodness until I become diabetic! 😀 Who needs a bikini body when there’s deliciousness like torta caprese to be made?

Today I decided to try my hand at something I’ve never done before: jam! Honestly I don’t eat jam more than a few times a year, if at all, but I thought this would be something fun. Plus, summer is apricot season, and there’s no shortage of the good stuff around here.

I chose to make David Lebovitz‘ version because it’s pretty easy to follow. As a jam novice, I couldn’t wrap my head around things like how the pectin content in different types of fruit influences how the jam sets or how to adjust the technique based on these variables. Usually I decrease the amount of sugar in each recipe I make, but that doesn’t work with jam since sugar is necessary for the jam to thicken properly.

Yield: 3-4 jars

Ingredients:

  • 2.25 lbs fresh apricots, about 13-14 medium to big fruit*
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  1. Cut the apricots in half and take out the pits. If desired, crack open each pit and place the inside kernel into each jar that you’re planning on filling; this will give the jam a subtle nutty flavor.
  2. Put the apricots in a big pot and add the water. Cook with the lid on over medium heat, stirring often, until the fruit is tender but not quite mushy.
  3. Put a clean small plate in the freezer.
  4. Add the sugar and continue cooking over medium heat, this time without the lid, stirring constantly. Skim off any foam that forms on the surface to remove any potential impurities.
  5. When the mixture breaks down to the point at which it looks like jam, turn off the heat. Take your plate out of the freezer and put a dollop of jam on the plate. Put the plate with the jam back into the freezer for 2 to 3 minutes, and then nudge the bit of jam with your fingers. If the jam sets and wrinkles slightly, it’s ready; otherwise cook a bit longer until it passes the so-called “nudge test.”
  6. Add the lemon juice and mix. Ladle jam into jars; you can make a funnel by cutting off the bottom of a paper cup to help with this process. Oven mitts and towels will also help protect hands from heat as you fill the jars. Seal tightly and let the jam cool to room temperature. Store in refrigerator after opening.

*Use only fruit that is perfectly ripe. Underripe fruit may not have enough pectin for the jam to thicken properly, and overripe fruit will have lost its pectin.

Breakfast is served!
Breakfast is served!

Waffles

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Waffles can trace their ancestry back to the Middle Ages with the emergence of communion wafer irons and the creation of the oublie, made with a batter of flour and water. Since then, with the addition of new flavors and ingredients, waffles have become a snack and breakfast favorite in homes across Europe and America. I had been craving some during my last few days at home, so I decided to make them for my last meal in California. These beauties are fragrant thanks to the hint of vanilla and maple syrup in the batter, and the yeast enables the texture to come out perfectly after cooking: light and fluffy on the inside with a perfect golden-brown crisp on the outside to give it more dimension. Add whatever toppings you like- Nutella+berries+bananas+walnuts, Speculoos cookie butter+strawberries, or just plain maple syrup all pair perfectly with this recipe! And the best part? The batter is ridiculously easy to make.

Adapted from King Arthur Flour

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups warm milk
  • 6 tbsp melted butter
  • 1-2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast

Steps:

  1. Mix the active dry yeast with the warm milk and let sit for 10-15 minutes in order to activate the yeast.
  2. While waiting for the yeast to activate, mix the rest of the ingredients together in a bowl. Add the yeast and milk mixture in last, after it has sat separately for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature for an hour. Once it has sat outside for an hour, move into the refrigerator and refrigerate overnight.
  4. The next morning, cook waffles using a waffle iron according to directions. Use about 1/2-3/4 cup batter for each waffle, depending on size of waffle iron.
  5. Once cooked, remove from waffle iron and put on plate, top with desired toppings, and serve.
I like mine with sliced strawberries and Speculoos cookie butter!
I like mine with sliced strawberries and Speculoos cookie butter!

That’s literally all there is to it. This recipe made six 8-inch circular waffles using my waffle iron. If you have leftovers, which isn’t guaranteed, you can always store them in a Ziploc bag and freeze them for several weeks and just put them in the toaster when you’re ready to serve again. My family’s obsessed with these disks of deliciousness, and one bite will show you why.

P.S. Once again, sorry for the horrible iPhone quality pictures 😦

Matcha Roll

5C3A1845-1I love the flavor of green tea, especially in pastries and baked goods. It’s a quick way to “Asian-ify” pretty much any traditional European dessert; simply replace some of the flavoring with a bit of matcha (green tea) powder and you’re good to go.

But what is this magical matcha powder that gives its delicious flavor to so many of my favorite baked goods? It’s green tea that is ground into a very fine powder and is the main focus of the traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony. It comes from shade-grown tea leaves, and several weeks before harvest the tea bushes are covered up to prevent direct sunlight from hitting the leaves. The finest tea leaves are picked, laid out flat to dry, and then ground into a powder. The powder is categorized into grades, with the highest quality matcha originating from the soft and supple leaves at the top of the tea bush that are dried indoors and ground using proper equipment and technique. I won’t go into the intricacies of the tea ceremony because that’s irrelevant (and frankly I don’t understand any of it), but, despite matcha’s priciness, its sweetness and unique color have made it a fantastic addition to any recipe for baked goods.

Recipe adapted from Cooking With Dog: https://www.youtube.com/user/cookingwithdog

Materials: Electric mixer, 3 mixing bowls, mesh strainer, parchment or other baking paper, 10×14″ baking pan (or similarly sized)

Ingredients:

  • 1/6 cup (40 g) cake flour
  • 1 tbsp matcha powder (can be found at Whole Foods or at a Japanese grocery store)
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 5 tbsp white sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup red bean paste

Steps:

  1. Combine the cake flour and matcha powder in a small bowl. Sift the mixture by emptying the bowl of powder and flour into the strainer and gently shaking the strainer over a large piece of parchment paper. Carefully pour the mixture back into the bowl. Repeat 2-3 more times.
  2. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add 1 tbsp of sugar, continue beating, add another tbsp of sugar, and beat until stiff peaks form.
  3. In another bowl, add 2 tbsp sugar to the egg yolks and beat until thick and creamy. Add the matcha/flour mixture and gently combine until the flour is moistened (no need to be completely mixed).
  4. Combine the egg whites and yolk mixture: Carefully place 1/3 of the whites in the bowl with the yolk. Using a spoon or spatula, scoop and drop the yolks and whites together until they begin to combine together. Repeat until completely mixed, all the while being careful not to break the foam of the whites.
  5. Add the rest of the egg white meringue in two parts and repeat the scooping and dropping motion to mix them together gently, while turning the mixing bowl each time. Scoop, drop, and rotate about 100 times. Batter should be glossy and smooth.
  6. Pour batter into baking sheet covered in parchment paper (I usually reuse the parchment paper from the sifting process) and spread evenly, again being careful not to break the foam. Drop the sheet a few times on a counter to break air bubbles.
  7. Bake at 340°F for 25 minutes, rotating it halfway through.
  8. Remove from oven, take the cake out of the pan and place another sheet of parchment paper on top. Quickly flip over the cake and gently peel away the parchment paper on which the cake had been baking. Roll the cake with the parchment paper and let cool.
  9. In another bowl, beat the 1/2 cup cream with 1 tbsp sugar until it has solidified. Combine with the red bean paste to make the filling.
  10. To roll: cut off one of the short edges with a diagonal cut to create the seam. Spread the filling evenly on cake, leaving some space near the edges. Starting from the uncut short edge of the cake, roll tightly and place the seam side down. Cover in plastic wrap and let cool in the refrigerator.
  11. When ready to serve, unwrap and sprinkle on some powdered sugar if desired. Cut using a dampened knife.

5C3A1851-1With this roll, you get the fluffy and airy softness of the sponge cake, the smoothness of the cream, and the graininess of the red beans in the red bean paste. The fragrant grassiness of the matcha goes perfectly with the milky sweetness of the cream. It’s definitely a dessert with an interesting combination of flavors and textures, and once you take a bite it’s easy to see why this is such a popular dish.