Sunday, March 06, 2011

Women's Appreciation Day Desserts

This entry was delayed for a few weeks, so here are the details at last. I made a red velvet cupcake and a sourcream cake with lemon curd, mini chocolate cups with chocolate mascarpone topped with raspberries. I've made my own chocolate cups before, but for this project, I needed more professional looking chocolate cups.

I don't remember the exact recipe I used for the red velvet cupcakes, but there are two elements that are critical to the great texture.

First, add a mix of baking soda and vinegar, their mutual neutralization gives a wonderfully fluffy and light texture to the cupcake. This is the same technique used in chocolate "crazy/wacky" cakes.

Second, fill each cupcake liner to no more than 2/3 full. Any further, and you risk the cupcake collapsing on itself.

Top the cupcake with a cream cheese icing and red sprinkles/shaved chocolate.

For my sour cream cake with meyer lemon curd, I used this recipe for the sour cream cake, baking one giant sheet cake, then I stamped out shapes using cutters.

The lemon curd I made was one of the best ever; I credit that to the meyer lemons (on sale at Whole Foods) I used, which gave the curd a wonderfully bright flavor.

Basic lemon curd recipe (I think I decreased the amount of butter):

For the picture, I stenciled a cocoa powder line to subdivide the plate in half. I made a three-layer petit four from the sour cream cake, then I topped the petit four with a bit of cardamom vanilla bean whipped cream, and a strawberry slice. On the other side are two raspberry chocolate mascarpone cups.

Moo Shi Chicken with Chinese Pancakes

Growing up, we used to make moo shi/moo shu pork as a special family project, and I would always help my dad with the pancake making. Well, mainly the pancake pan frying.

So I thought it would be a fun project if I tried making moo shi by myself from start to finish; making the filling and pancakes myself. For the filling, I didn't have any pork on hand, so I used chicken breast seasoned with soy sauce and oyster sauce. I also added shiitake mushrooms, shredded carrots, cabbage, and scrambled eggs. Other proteins may also be used, such as turkey breast or pork.

For the pancakes, I made a hot water dough, brushed two circular halves with sesame oil, lightly pan frying them, then peeling apart.

Served with some fresh cut scallions, and the awesome hoisin sauce!

Slightly malformed pancake, haha.

How do you eat moo shi you ask? First, start with a big stack of pancakes/Chinese "tortillas", and a nice jar of hoisin sauce.

Next, get your pot of filling ready.

Add a little fresh scallion to the pancakes.

Then add a bit of the filling to the middle.


Now roll it up for eating! Also, the pancake plain with just hoisin sauce is delicious!