Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Be Patient

Everyday we learn new things. Nothing is frivolous. Today I learn something about maple syrup and the differences between pies and tarts. I learn maple syrup is graded according to the Canada, United States, or Vermont scales based on its density and translucency.

I have always buy pure maple syrup for pancakes but have never known its grading and colour. There are also not much choices to buy here. The most popular brand is Macdonald's maple syrup which is labelled as 100% Pure Grade A, dark amber. Pure maple syrup is not cheap and once you have tried pure maple syrup on waffles and pancakes, you will never go for the flavoured ones.

The maple syrup which I am using for this Maple Nut Pie was bought from Australia. I was looking for its grade but couldn't find any. It is simply labelled as original Canadian maple syrup. I suspect the syrup is adulterated with corn syrup though it is very dark with a rich maple flavour. This is a typical Grade B which is used primarily for cooking and baking.

Is there a difference between a pie and a tart? Yes, there is. They are like close cousins with distinct differences.
 A pie is a sweet or savory dish with a crust and a filling. According to thekitchn.com, the sides of a pie dish or pan are sloped. It can have just a bottom, a top or both a bottom and a top crust. Pies are served straight from the dish in which were baked.

A tart is a sweet or savory dish with shallow sides and only a bottom rust. Tart crusts are usually made from pastry dough traditionally flour, unsalted butter, cold water, and sometimes sugar. Tarts are baked in a pan with a removable bottom, or in pastry ring on top of a baking sheet so that it be unmolded before serving.

Well, my Maple Nut Pie obviously has the tart look. I used a removable base tart tin, and I hope it is acceptable in Bake Along. I do not have a pie dish but I followed the recipe closely. I adapted the recipe from Lena of Frozen Wing, I thought her Maple Nut Pie looks fantastic. I just love her rustic looking pie.

Maple Nut Pie
Williams Sonoma Baking Book
half of the original recipe, makes two 12cm pie

Pastry Dough


200gm plain flour
1/2 tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
63 cold butter, cut into cubes
3 tbsp ice water


  • In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, sugar, salt and pulse to blend. Add the butter and pulse 5-6 times until the mixture of texture of coarse meal with butter pieces are larger than small peas.
  • Add 3 tbsps of water, pulsing once after each addition and adding just enough to make crumbly dough, it will not hold together on its own but when gathered into ball with your hands. Add more water if necessary, 1 tbsp at at time.( I mixed the dough by hand)
  • Transfer the dough onto a floured work surface, roll into a ball and flatten into a disk with a few gentle taps of the rolling pin. Lift the dough and give it a quarter turn and roll out. Continue to turn and roll out to a wider circumference than your pan. 
  • Transfer the dough to the pie dish or tin, trim the edge of the dough round, leaving about 2 cm overhang. Fold the overhang under itself and pinch it together to create a high edge decoratively and freeze the pie shell until firm, about 30 minutes. 
  • Lay a foil paper and put in some pie weights or raw rice and partially bake the pie shell on a preheated oven at 190C for about 20 minutes. Remove the beans and further bake for another 10 minutes until the shell is pale gold.
  • Remove from oven. While the shell is baking, can proceed to make the filling.

Filling (for one 12cm tart tin)
1 cup maple syrup (half cup)
1 large egg, lightly beaten (1 small egg)
2 tbsp brown sugar
pinch of salt
1 tsp unsalted butter,melted
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
90gm pecans, coarsely chopped ( top pie with nuts, 50gms)


  • In a saucepan, over medium heat, bring the maple syrup to a boil and boil for about 4-5 minutes to reduce by about one fourth. Remove from heat and pour into a heatproof bowl or measuring pitcher. The syrup should reduced to about 3/4 cup(1/4) or a little less. If necessary, return to boil until the syrup is sufficiently reduced. Let cool down for a while before proceeding.
  • In a bowl, stir together the eggs, sugar, reduced maple syrup, salt, melted butter and vanilla until well mixed. Add the pecans and stir well. Pour into the partially baked pie shell, making sure the pecans are evenly distributed.(I top the shell with pecans instead). Bake the pie until the center is slightly puffed and firm to touch, about 30 to 40 minutes (25minutes). Remove and let cool on the wiring rack.

This pie should really be eaten with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It is  perfect accompaniment to pecans and maple syrup.

This post is linked to Bake Along 69 hosted by Joyce, Zoe and Lena.

Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains.
James 5:7

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

God of All Grace

 In 2010, the first series of Junior Masterchef Australia was won by a 12 year old girl from Queensland, Isabella Bliss. This Lemon Meringue Cupcake was Isabella's first mystery box challenge which she completed in 40 minutes. With no recipe in hand, the talented 12 year old completed the challenge using the ingredients in the mystery box. The result was these luscious looking cupcakes which I have been recreating and baking again and again for friends.

There are 3 components in the cupcake which are the cake, the tangy lemon curd and the meringue. The cake is made of thickened cream instead of butter, and it is a breeze to make them though I always take more than the 40 minutes challenge to complete the whole process.

A blowtorch is ideal to brown the meringue but I do not have one. It is a shame that my meringue is unevenly brown with some burnt ends, otherwise these would have made it to the most gorgeous cupcakes I ever made.

Isabella's Lemon Meringue Cupcake
makes 12


250ml pure cream
220g caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
225g self raising flour
finely grated rind of 1 lemon

Lemon curd
1/2 cup lemon juice
100g butter
110g caster sugar
1 egg
3 egg yolks

3 egg whites
110g 1/2 cup caster sugar


  • Preheat oven to 180C. Place 12 patty cake liners in a 12 hole 1/2 cup capacity muffin pan.
  • Place cream, sugar and eggs in a large mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. Gradually add flour and zest and continue whisking until mixture is thick and smooth. Divide mixture between prepared liners and bake for 15-20 minutes or until cakes spring back to touch. Cool in muffin pan.
  • For lemon curd, heat lemon juice and butter in a small saucepan and simmer until butter has melted. Add sugar, egg and yolks and cook, whisking continuously until mixture becomes thick and glossy. Pour into a shallow oven tray to cool.
  • For meringue,beat egg whites in an electric mixer until firm peaks form,gradually add sugar, a tablespoon at a time beating until sugar has dissolved between each addition. Spoon meringue mixture into a piping bag.
  • To serve, preheat grill to medium high. Cut a small hole in the top of each cupcake and fill with 1 -2 teaspoons of lemon curd. Pipe a swirl of meringue mixture on the top of each cupcake and place under heated grill for  60-90 seconds or until golden. Arrange on a serving plate with spoonfuls of lemon curd if desired.
You can also try my favourite lemon curd.

2 eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
165g caster sugar
90g chilled unsalted butter
zest and juice of lemons

Whisk whole eggs, yolks and sugar in a saucepan until smooth, then place pan over a low heat. Add the butter, juice and zest and whisk continuously  until thickened. Strain through a sieve into a sterilised jar. Lemon curd keeps, covered, in the fridge for 2 weeks.

For a more stablised meringue, you can do Italian meringue.

186g sugar
84g water
3 egg whites, 90gm

Combine sugar and water in a small pot over medium high heat. Without stirring, bring the syrup to a boil and let it cook gently until the temperature reaches 115C(soft ball). Meanwhile begin to whisk the egg whites while the sugar syrup is bubbling. Whisk egg whites to stiff peak, gradually pour the syrup in a small stream into the egg whites. Continue whisking until the mixing bowl is cooled to touch.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.1 Peter 5:10

Thursday, 9 October 2014

By The Will of God

I know my kabocha cookies are quite hideous looking but hey they're supposed to be Halloween bakes. I don't celebrate Halloween but Halloween bakes are fun things to do. I have done muddy fingers and spider cupcakes( they're not in the blog) and children love them.

These are simple soft cookies suitable for toddlers to nibble too. I like that it has no butter and very little sugar.

Kabocha also known as Japanese pumpkin is naturally sweet. It has an abundance of beta carotene, vitamin A, B and C, iron, potassium, calcium and folic acid. Kabocha skin is edible too.

Kobocha cookies for Halloween
adapted from cookpad


40g pumpkin flesh
20g sugar
20g vegetable oil
50g cake flour


  • Microwave pumpkin and remove skin.
  • Preheat oven to 170C. Mash the pumpkin and add sugar and oil.
  • Add in flour and mix pumpkin mixture into a dough.
  • Shape pumpkin into ovals and lightly press them down.
  • Cut pumpkin skin into small triangles and stick them to the heads.
  • Make eyes and smile on the face.( I used chopstick and toothpick).
  • Bake in oven for 15 minutes.

This post is linked to LTU 'Pumpkin' hosted by Eileen from Eileen's Diary
Organized by Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen from My little favourite DIY.

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God. 2 Corinthians 1:1

Paul was an apostle by the will of God. He serves by the will of God.
We serve by the will of God, and He is pleased when we do this.
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