It’s Friday and Blogger in the Spotlight (BITS) wants to introduce its Creative Corner.
C&C’s creative corner showcases Malaysian’s bloggers whose talents lie in creative writing, artwork as well as cooking/baking.
To kick off the Creative Corner, we have a Recipe. Let’s get creative with Nigel in the kitchen this week . If you are home and wondering what snack to rustle up for your loved ones (maybe you have family and visitors to feed over this Easter weekend), try this. Nigel reinvents the Doughnut. It’s easy. Heck, even I can do it!
This tea time treat is really something to be savoured. Golden and slightly crispy on the outside and a touch creamy and tender on the inside. It’s actually one take on how you can cook Pate a choux with a few obvious differences. I call it Chinese Doughnuts.
Recipe for Chinese doughnuts.
210 ml water
2 tbsp vegetable shortening or unsalted butter (or lard if you prefer hehe)
A generous pinch of salt
110g bread/high protein flour
2 tsp of milk powder
1 tsp double action baking powder
Caster sugar/Cinnamon Sugar/Vanilla sugar for dredging
Enough oil to deep fry
1. Bring water and shortening to the boil in a non stick sauce pan.
2. Gently whisk the dry ingredients, i.e. flour, salt, milk powder, double action baking powder, together
3. Using a wooden spoon, tip the dry ingredients into the boiling liquid and stir vigourously for 2 minutes until the dough leaves the side of the pot cleanly and the flour is cooked thoroughly. If need be, lower the heat and cook a while longer. Don’t be alarmed if some sticks to the bottom of the pan. Just don’t allow it to burn.
4. Take off the heat and cool for 20 minutes and then stir in the eggs one at a time until smooth and sticky. Use a mixer if you find it easier. It should be very gooey at this stage.
5. Using 2 teaspoons, dip them in the COLD oil to prevent them from sticking to the spoons and form a small teaspoon of dough.
6. Drop the dough into the COLD oil. This is important. If you drop it into HOT oil a crust will form and it won’t expand.
7. Turn up the heat to medium high and watch them slowly fry. They will expand quite dramatically.
8. They are ready when they are a light golden brown.
9. Remove from the heat, dredge in the sugar of your choice and serve hot!
I can never get enough of these. They are like salted roasted peanuts. Addictive. Be warned!
Books on Baking:
The story behind the doughnuts:
My heart races as the wheels of the 747 screech on to the tarmac of Subang International Airport. It’s been 9 months since my last trip back home and I can’t wait to see Mum and Dad and all my friends who will also be on summer hols again.
I pick up my hand luggage from the overhead compartment and ask the stewardess for the strawberries I brought back from London for Mum and Dad. English Strawberries are the most amazing red little morsels of perfumed goodness. Just walk past the aisles at any of the little grocers (who hardly exist anymore) and their sweet, tart, perfume wafts past almost visibly. I pray they’re not all bruised.
I wave to Mum and Dad as I wait for my luggage by the carousel. It’s already close to midnight.
As we drive out from the airport and back to Federal Highway Mum turns round and says to me “I’ve enrolled you in a bread making and baking class tomorrow at 8am.” I groan melodramatically for effect and instantly change the subject and start talking about the strawberries.
I dutifully wake up at 7am on my first morning back home and blearily wash up and drive over to a nondescript terrace house in Taman Seputih, a little suburb about 10 minutes from where we live. It’s there that I meet Mr now Datuk Lim Bian Yam, an architect turned Ikebana specialist and Cordon Bleu (trained and qualified) Chef.
The man exuded joie de vivre and flapped his foreshortened right arm enthusiastically. It was a physical challenge that never slowed him one jot. I scribbled notes and found, through my reading of recipe books and cooking on my own, that I understood much of what he said. He demystified French cooking and made it all so accessible and applied French techniques to our homemade desserts. I felt most sorry for him as he was very patient with the majority of his class who incessantly asked the most nonsensical, irrelevant questions like, “what if I can’t find the brand of milk that you use. Can I use another brand?” I would like to think that I quickly became a favourite. Or perhaps that’s just because I truly liked the old chap.
He’s one of those I credit for inspiring and also giving me the knowledge to apply to all our cakes and desserts at Just Heavenly. These Chinese Doughnuts are his creation. Note that while the Austrians and Italians have something similar, his use of vegetable shortening was a nod in the direction of our health. He actually preferred lard. And lard does give the most wonderful savoury flavour to this tea time treat.
Nigel, ‘master-baker’ and friend.. he runs together with his other two partners – A Slice of Heaven, which has 3 outlets and can be found in Bukit Damansara, Jaya One, and Bangsar Shopping Centre at O Gourmet. You can say that these people are “Just Heavenly!”
Follow Nigel on twitter.
Website: Just Heavenly