Monthly Archives: June 2012

Fast Food Apple Pie Inspired

Fast food apple pies are top of my list of guilty pleasures. I love the mix of a slight savory pastry couple with cinnamony apple innards which I find hard to resist. They are mostly deep fried (woohoo!) but I can’t help to feel super guilty after woofing down a packet of this bad boy.

Since I’ve made a conscious decision to live as far away from fast food joints as possible (last year I was living right opposite to them), it surely demotivates me driving all the way there just to get a packet of hot apple pie. So I’ve decided to make my own but minus the deep frying.

Fast Food Apple Pie Inspired

(The filling is recipe is by The Original Masterclass Le Cordon Bleu – Tarts & Pastries Series)

(Pastry recipe is mum’s)

Makes about 7 x  11cm by 5cm (4 inches by 2 inches) sized pies

What you’ll need:-

Apple Filling

  • 2 apples, peeled and cored and diced
  • Juice of 1/4 lemon
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon (I added about 1/2 tsp)
  • 30g (1 ounce) unsalted butter
  • 30g (1 ounce) caster sugar (superfine sugar)
  • Pinch of vanilla sugar (I added 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract)
  • 50 ml (1.75 fluid ounces) water – which I have omitted – see Note 1


  • 200g (7 ounces) all-purpose flour + extra while rolling the dough
  • 100g (3.5 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut in cubes
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • *optional* caster sugar t0 your liking
  • 1 egg, beaten (as eggwash)

Note 1 – I didn’t add water because there’s a fair bit of juices ozoed out of the apples while cooking. If yours seem a bit dry, add water as specified in the original recipe.

To make the pastry: (1) Use a food processor to process the butter and flour until resembles fine crumbs.  (2) Pour the crumbs into a medium mixing bown and gradually add cold water and stir with a fork until a dough is formed. (3) Wrap the dough with a cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.

To make the filling: (1) Dice the peeled & cored apples. Set aside. (2) In a medium sized pot, melt butter and sugar over medium heat and cook until lightly colored (golden brown).  (3) Add apples and saute for 2 minutes. Then add lemon juice, vanilla sugar or extract, cinnamon and water (if needed). Bring to the boil  and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the water has evaporated. Set aside to cool.

To make the pies: (1) Use a rolling pin to roll out the pastry on a floured surface. The dough may feel a little sticky so be generous with dusting the dough with extra flour on the surface of the dough so it won’t stick to the rolling pin. Use a sharp knife to cut the flatten dough into rectangle sections (14cm/5.5 inches by 11 cm/4.3 inches) – the thickness of of the flat dough is approximately 0.25cm/0.1 inch. Scoop the apple filling to fill half of the pastry and fold the pastry into half (see picture above). Use your index fingers to press the sides gentle to adhere the openings. Then use a fork to press around the sides. Make some holes on the apple pie to let the steam out while baking.  Just before baking, brush the pies generously with egg wash. Bake in a preheated oven of 180 degree Celsius (350 degrees F) for 20 minutes or until golden brown and pies are a bit puffed up.


Tim Tamisu Tart

I love everything with coffee. It has such a wonderful aroma and bitterness which in my opinion, has the characteristics to be the perfect ingredient for desserts. When I speak of coffee desserts, it’s hard not to think of Tiramisu – which is a favourite of mine.

The classic Tiramisu that we are familiar with is a beautiful assemble of espresso filled Savoiardi (Italian ladyfingers) and the luscious liquer-laden-custardy mascarpone filling. I’ve decided to take the Italian ladyfingers out of the equation and substitute with a fine rubble of Tim Tams (the iconic biscuits of Australia) in the form of a tart shell.


Tim Tamisu Tart

Makes a 20cm/7.8 inches tart

What you’ll need:-

Tart Shell

  • 1 x 200g/7 ounces packet of Tim Tams + 4 individual biscuits (this means you’ll need to buy 2 packets of Tim Tams) – see Note 1
  • 50g/2 ounces of butter & extra for greasing, melted & cooled – see Note 2
  • 1 x 20cm/7.8 inches loose-bottom tart pan


  • 300ml/ 10.1 fluid ounces pure cream (whippable cream)
  • 200g/7 ounces mascarpone
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar (super fine sugar)
  • 1 tbsp instant coffee
  • 2 tbsp warm water
  • Cocoa powder for dusting
  • Berries as accompaniment *recommended*

Note 1 – you may notice that I used double coated chocolate Tim Tam for this recipe. I would recommend if you use the normal one i.e. more biscuit bits than the chocolate so that it is easier to process into fine crumbs.

Note 2 – the melted butter has to be cooled so that it won’t melt the chocolate biscuits.

Note 3 – My version is a child-friendly one i.e. no liquer. If you wish to add liquer such as rum or Tia Maria, add 1 tbsp of your preferred liquer and reduce the water to 1 tbsp.

Prepare tart shell: Using a food processor, process Tim Tams until resemble fine crumbs (confession: I could have processed mine a bit more). Transfer the Tim Tam crumbs into a mixing bowl and add cooled and melted butter, mix until well-combined.  Transfer the Tim Tam crumbs onto a greased tart pan. Use the back of a spoon and press the crumbs from the bottom to the sides of the tart pan. Chill the tart shell in the fridge while you move on to making the filling.

Filling: Stir the coffee with warm water until fully dissolved. Set aside. Whisk mascarpone in its container (or if it comes in a bag, whisk it in a bowl) until fluffy and set aside. In a clean (separate) mixing bowl, beat the cream and sugar until soft peak (using a handheld or stand mixer). Then using a rubber/silicone spatula, fold in the mascarpone, coffee mixture, liquer (if using) and  vanilla extract until well combined. Pour the marcarpone mixture over the tart shell and smooth the top using a spatula. Cover and place in the fridge to chill overnight. Dust the tart with cocoa powder just before serving.

To serve: Please note that the tart doesn’t resemble no-bake cheese cake as the filling maintains a mousse-like texture (slightly firmer than mousse). Hence with a little courage, use a large serving spoon to “scoop” a good section of the tart and serve it in ice cream bowls. To add a flair to the dessert, I’d recommend topping each bowl with your choice of berries.

When Harry Met Sally, you got this unforgettable romantic film.

When Tiramisu Met Tim Tams, you got this unforgettable dessert called Tim Tamisu.

Let’s get Truly, Madly Tim Tam, shall we?


Note – This is a RocketFuel sponsored post.


How to steamboat {Part 2 of 2}

It’s all about the details for the second part of the steamboat how-to.

What to add into the broth (which I called the side dishes) is totally up to you. I’m not aware of any rules on what you can or cannot add into the broth.  The usual ingredients are thin slices of meat (i.e. chicken, pork and *beef), fishballs, meatballs, firm or silken tofu, seafood (i.e. slices of fish, prawns etc.), chinese vegetables and fresh noodles (i.e. hokkien noodles, rice stick noodles or  mung bean threads).

As for me, I like to keep it simple. I’m not keen on mixing seafood and meat in the broth. This steamboat which I have made was a chicken one so you won’t be seeing fishballs or seafood around here. Also, if you are new to steamboat and wish to give it a shot, this one will be a good start. This is because I try to use ingredients that are fairly accessible. The following is a breakdown of my side dishes:-

* beef – you can get pre-sliced paper thin beef slices which are meant for steamboat from the Asian supermarkets. If you want to add beef, it’s better if you slice as thinly as possible yourself rather than buying the stir-fry version from the supermarket chain as the latter is still to “chunky” for steamboat. And that’s my opinion.

Process #3 – Preparing the side dishes

  1. A bunch of choi sum (the green leafy vegetables) and a half of Chinese cabbage (akak Chinese Wombok) – wash and cut into sections.
  2. A pre-package enoki mushrooms (trim the ends) and silken tofu (drain & slice in large cubes) – available in Woolworths and sometimes Harris Farm Market.
  3. A pre-package oyster mushrooms (slice the bigger pieces in half) – available in Woolworths.
  4. Homemade chicken meatballs, used some of the minced chicken as fillings for fried tofu puffs (available in Harris Farm Market, in the fridge section where the yoghurt is) and bullhorn chilli (also from Harris Farm) – see below for recipe and instructions. A large packet of mung bean threads/cellophane noodles (about 200g and available in Woolworths in the Asian food aisle).  Rehydrate the mung bean threads in cold water. Drain and set aside on a plate. If you decide to use rice stick noodles, rehydrate in cold water too. The texture for both noodles will be still a little hard but remember, we are going to cook the noodles further in the broth so if you rehydrate the noodles using boiling water, it will be overcooked by the time you let it simmer in the broth.

Process #4 – Make your own meatballs

What you’ll need:-

  • 1 kg minced chicken
  • About an 1.5 inches knob of ginger, peeled & grated (yielding 1 tsp of grated ginger)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled & grated
  • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp light soy sauce (Kikkoman Naturally Brewed Soy Sauce)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 3 dashes of ground white pepper
  • 2 bullhorn chilli *optional
  • 1 packet of fried tofu puffs (The tofu puffs come in two sizes in Harris Farm. Pick the larger ones.) *optional*

Let’s get started:-

(1) Using your hand, mix all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl until pliable. As a variation to the plain meatballs, I’ve decided to fill the mince chicken in bullhorn chillies and tofu puffs. (2) To fill the bullhorn chillies – Use a small sharp knife, slice one side of the chilli in the centre and use the tip of the knife to remove the seeds. Then use a teaspoon, spoon the mince into the chilli. Pack the filling as much as you can and use your fingers to make sure the filling is well-adhere to the chilli. Then slice the chilli in 4-5 sections. (3) To fill the tofu puffs – use a small sharp knife, slice a tofu puff in half but not all the way (leave the bottom bit still attached). Then use the tip of the knife to remove the content to the tofu puff and fill it with the mince. Then use your finger to adhere the tofu with filling. Repeat steps with the remaining tofu puffs.

Process #5 – Make you own dipping sauce(s)

Out of the 3 sauces below, sauce no #1 is the most popular with my friends.  My personal favourite is #3 because I like a bit of sweetness in my food so hoisin sauce seems to fit the bill. My other friend taught me how to make peanut sauce (#2) and I made it just for her.

I made the sauces according to my taste. For the sauce #3, the hoisin sauce to peanut butter ratio is 2:1.

Before I end this mammoth post, I’d like to talk about the “rules” to eating steamboat.

So everyone gathers around the table waiting for the pot of soup to boil (I actually tranfered some of the broth to another pot which is a bit more shallow). When the broth is boiling, the ingredients (i.e. meat) which take the longest to cook should go in first followed by ingredients (vegetables, tofu & noodles) which require lesser time.

Also, everyone on the table should have the common understanding that once the ingredients are cooked and ready to serve, no raw ingredient should be added until all the cooked ingredients are been taken out for obvious reasons.

{You may notice I used a different burner from the last post. I ran out of gas in the first burner so I switched to another electric burner.}