Mango tartlets!

My last trip to Guimaras saw me coming home with three big boxes of mangoes and tons of ideas on what to do with them. I was thinking of creative and fun flavour pairings but in the end, I decided to go with the idea that would best show off the natural sweetness and the golden hued flesh of the mangoes best- I made mango tartlets!

My favourite way of arranging mangoes on tarts is to arrange them in a rose pattern. The skin is carefully peeled and discarded, and the mango cheek is then separated from the seed. Using a VERY sharp knife (a blunt knife would just bruise the mango and your rose pattern would not be defined), slice relatively thin slices of the flesh and then arrange them in a rose pattern starting from the center of the tart! But hey, who am I to dictate how everyone else should do it! cut them into cubes, scoop them out with a melon baller... whatever you want!

Mango tartlets (recipe adapted from www.bbc.co.uk)

Makes 12

 

For the pastry

350g plain flour

pinch salt

125g unsalted cold butter, cut into small cubes

125g sugar

2 eggs, whole and 1 egg, yolk only

1 egg, yolk only, beaten for egg-wash

For crème pâtissière

500ml milk

1 lemon, zest only

1/2 orange, zest only

1 tsp vanilla extract

6  eggs, yolks only

120g sugar

50g plain flour

2 mangoes, sliced thinly 

1/2 cup mirror gel

Method

For the pastry, preheat the oven to 190C

Lightly grease and flour 12 x 8cm tart tins

Stir the flour and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter into the flour and rub in the mixture with your fingertips until they resemble course breadcrumbs/ pea sized pebbles.

Add the sugar, mix together the eggs and egg yolk, and to the mixture. Gently mix with a spatula, until the dough comes together in a ball.

Lightly flour a work surface, tip the pastry ball out onto it, and knead until you have a smooth soft dough. Shape the pastry into a square, to make it easier to roll out.

Place the dough the fridge to chill for an hour minimum, preferably overnight.

Remove the pastry from the fridge and lightly flour a work surface. Roll out the pastry 2-3mm thick and line the 12 tins, leaving an overhang of pastry. Place some greaseproof paper over the top and fill with baking beans. Rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Once chilled, place the pastry tart cases on a baking sheet and cook for 15 minutes. Lift out the paper and beans, brush with beaten egg yolk, and place back in the oven for 8 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Then trim the edges and lift out onto a cooling rack.

 

For the crème patissière, place the milk, orange and lemon zests and vanilla into a large saucepan and warm though.

Place the eggs, sugar and flour in a large mixing bowl and whisk until the colour changes and becomes pale. Gradually add the warm milk and vanilla to the egg mixture, whisk together, then return the mixture to the pan. Cook on a low heat until it the mixture thickens, then pour into a clean bowl. Place a layer or cling wrap on the mixture, to stop a skin forming.

 

To make up the mango tarts, spoon the crème patissière in a piping bag, and pipe into the pastry cases. Top the tarts with the sliced mangoes, in a circular pattern, starting from the center. 

Mix a tablespoon of water into the mirror gel until smooth. Using a brush, brush on the mirror gel on the mangoes to prevent discolouration from oxidation.

Guimaras; 4 reasons why it's your next secret island destination! WIN A PAIR OF CEBU PACIFIC AIR TIX TO ILOILO!

Have you ever watched one of those tv shows, or read an article about insanely beautiful islands? One of those islands off the beaten track and those you dream of going to at least once in your lifetime but you know you might never get to? Be it because of exorbitantly priced flights or the sheer number of hours/ days it takes to just get there?

Well, let me tell you a little secret. That undiscovered secret island dream is now within reach! Need a little more convincing? Here are 4 reasons why Guimaras should be your next secret island destination!

1) Untouched beach paradise! 

White sand beaches and sandbars that connects two islands together at low tide? Checked.
Crystal clear jewel toned waters? Checked.
Floating cottage in the middle of the ocean where you can jump off into the above mentioned crystal clear jewel toned waters? CHECKED!!
Barely any other tourists around to ruin your pictures? YAAAASSS!!!

Two mornings of island hopping just wasn't enough. I wanted our boat to stop at every single pristine beach, just to frolick in the waters under the sun and do more of just soaking up the natural beauty of the Western Visayas. The rock formations were just as beautiful, a jarring contrast of sharp and jagged VS the soft, lapping waves of the ocean.

Places to visit:

  • Ave Maria Islet
  • Pirate Cave
  • Igang Marine Station
  • Taklong Island Marine Reserve
  • Suba Malawig Mangrove Eco Tour

We spent nights at:

  • Jannah Glycel Beach House
  • Magic Island Resort

    Amenites were basic, clean and comfortable, with amazing views!

2) Manggahan Festival = Mango Errthang!

The Manggahan Festival is an annual celebration of mangoes in the island of Guimaras, where they are also grown and harvested. Known as one of the sweetest mangoes in the world, these golden fleshed juicy babies certainly does not disappoint! It is a month long cultural festival and peaks in the 3rd week of May. There is even an all-you-can-eat mango buffet! Fortunately for mango lovers (PUT YOUR HANDS IN THE AIR! ME! ME! ME!), this also means that you can find anything and everything mango here! We had our fair share of mangoes on the trip, from sweet to savoury. Be prepared to be amazed by how versatile Guimaras mangoes are!

Below are just some of the mango delicacies we savoured-

Manggahan Festival:
  • Mango Shake
  • Mango Sticky Rice
The Pitstop Restaurant:
  • Mango Beef Stew 
  • Mango Chicken Adobo
  • Mango Fish Sisig
  • Mango Spaghetti
  • Mango Pizza
Mc Nester Food Products:
  • Mango Carbonara

The island itself generally makes full use of mangoes, so expect to want to try everything.  I came home with a bag full of mango products, such as mango ketchup, mango puree (for drinks), mango polvorone, dried mangoes, mango jam and of course, 10kgs of fresh mangoes!

3) Unique cultural experiences/ Hospitality of the people

From the moment we landed in IloIlo, everyone we met was really friendly and eager for us to have a good time and enjoy their country, not just for its beautiful landscape but its people. The Manggahan Festival showed us that these people have a fierce pride of their culture, their identity and they are not afraid to show it! We were treated to performances where different tribes within Guimaras competed for the lauded top spot of best cultural performance. Decked in layers upon layers of colourful costumes, they danced their hearts out under the scorching sun at midday, each while telling their story with an unwavering megawatt smile on their face.

I had a sneak peek of their warmth and hospitality when we first landed in the island of Guimaras; they had a big welcome banner with MY name on it! (GASP! Cover face from embarrassment and yet, touched by their gesture). Their pride at having us on their island did not stop there. There was about approximately 5 announcements during the mango festival itself, announcing that we were there. And, we had umbrellas sheltering us from the sun everywhere we went during the festival. Even though we insisted that we were good without the umbrellas! They served with pride their sticky rice with sugar to us at every tea time, for a local mid afternoon snack, knowing that we will love it. Travel wise, we even had our own dedicated mango "limo"!

Another incident that touched me was that the owner and staff at Jannah Glycel Beach House, where we spent the first night, knew that my companion and I are Muslims and so she got halal chicken specially for us from the nearest mosque, just so we could have some meat for dinner! (THANK YOU!!!) 

4) Accessibility

Cebu Pacific Air flies to Iloilo, a province of Philippines, up to 3 times weekly. We took a late night flight (3.30am!!) and was ready to fall asleep right after takeoff. However, we were happily interrupted by the cute air steward (ooooh hello there! *wink wink*), who promptly gave us blankets and eye masks to aid us in getting much needed rest before our island adventure! The whole flight from Singapore to Iloilo took slightly more than 3 hours.

From Iloilo, Guimaras is just a 15-20 min boat ride away. Welcome to untouched paradise!

“The Philippines’ largest airline, Cebu Pacific Air flies from Singapore to Iloilo thrice weekly. Lowest year-round fares start from SGD 142 each way. For bookings and promos, visit www.cebupacificair.com  or call +65-315-80808.”

 

CEBU PACIFIC AIR IS GIVING AWAY A PAIR OF TICKETS TO ILOILO TO KICKSTART YOUR OWN SECRET ISLAND ADVENTURE!

TO WIN, LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW IN THIS FORMAT-


Name:
Email Address:
Why you need this much needed break : 

*Contest ends 4 June 2016, 11.59pm. All entries after that will be disqualified. Results of giveaway is final. Winner will be announced on 6 June 2016.

 

P.S: Thank you Cebu Pacific Air for bringing us there. To the good people at the Philippines Department of Tourism Region 6, thank you for hosting us and making sure we were well taken care of. Special thanks to Pam and Rosemary, for making sure we had fun, every step of the way. To our new friends Winifred and Melissa, you guys are the coolest Singaporean Blahgaars. ❤️ 

Xoxo,
Syaira

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Smore Cookie Sandwiches

Ahhhhh. We have come to one of my most favourite things in the world. Melty, gooey, warm, toasted marshmallow. And how do we make this awesome experience even better? SMORES, OF COURSE! 

I was at the Bali airport recently and a magazine with a Smores cookie on the cover just got me walking, no wait, running to it! Picked it up, brought it home and WHAM BAM, next thing I knew I was making it. I used gingersnap cookies instead of graham (you can use digestives) and or course, dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate as the marshmallow and cookie can be quite sweet. 

One thing I realised is that it can be hard to torch your marshmallow to perfection. Which means toasty on the outside and totally melty gooey on the inside, without burning the whole damn thing with a torch. My suggestion is to torch it on a REALLY small flame setting, or if you don't have a torch, stick a marshmallow on the end of a satay stick, slowly torch it on your kitchen stove, rotating the stick like a rotisserie, not too close to the flame and be careful not to burn the whole thing. Or you could just pop the marshmallow in the oven until puffed and then quickly place it on the cookie. Whatever works, u know!  

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 Chocolate Smore Cookie Sandwiches

Adapted from: Donna Hay Magazine, Issue 86

Yield: 12 sandwiched cookies

100g dark chocolate, chopped
40g unsalted butter
135g brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g all purpose flour, sifted
25g cocoa powder, sifted
2 tsp baking powder, sifted
100g gingersnap cookies, crushed
12 large marshmallows
50g dark chocolate, melted, for drizzling

1) Melt 100g dark chocolate in a bain marie or in the microwave on 10s bursts. Set aside to cool slightly.

2) Beat butter and sugar in a stand mixer for 2 mins till well combines. Add the egg, vanilla and cooled melted chocolate and beat to combine. Add the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder and beat till combined. Pop it into the fridge for 30 mins or till firm.

3) Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius. Place crushed cookies into a bowl. Roll chilled dough into 24 balls. Toss them onto the crushed cookies and roll to coat. Arrange them on baking trays lined with greaseproof paper, and press them with your palm to flatten them out a little. Allow room to spread.

4) Bake them for 8 mins, till surface of cookie cracks and edges crispy. The centres of the cookies will still be soft. Let cool completely on tray.

5) Top one half of the cookie with a marshmallow. Use a torch to lightly toast the marshmallow (on low flame setting) till marshmallow is puffed and toasted. Quickly drizzle some of the extra melted chocolate on it and sandwich it with another cookie. Eat IMMEDIATELY! :)

Recipe: Creme Brûlée Cheesecake Bars!

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I've been doing a lot of thinking lately.
About expectations of women in this culture.
About how I am a concoction of all the experiences I've been through and circumstances I've been in. It's like I'm a mash up of strict parenting, rebellious streaks (oh trust me I was very naughty), expectations of being a preacher's daughter, awesome girlfriends who each brought a different lesson to my life, a few low paying jobs, bittersweet experiences like dealing with Ashraf's cancer scare and good experiences like skydiving and travelling.

Then while thinking about good experiences, it got me thinking about all the reeeeaaallly good desserts I've eaten and what flavours I love. I really love cheesecake. Rich, creamy, decadent goodness! And creme brûlée. That crackly sugar, that sound when you initially crack your spoon into the bowl. And when the custard is just set and not too eggy. Wowwww. Oh god. It's making me hungry. It's really godsent when I get both cheesecake and creme brûlée all mashed into one!

And not forgetting how I love to play with torches. If I have a choice I will want to torch everything I make, just so I get to torch things. I have the inclination to think that it's because when I was younger, my mom said not to play with fire because it's dangerous. So naturally I want to do whatever she said NOT to! Haha!

If you live in Singapore, you can get small baking torches at Phoon Huat/ TOTT/ good departmental stores like Tangs, amongst other places.

Crushed cookies, butter, flour and brown sugar makes up the crust

Crushed cookies, butter, flour and brown sugar makes up the crust

Flatten it all down into a smooth and even layer. I like to use the back of a measuring cup! 

Flatten it all down into a smooth and even layer. I like to use the back of a measuring cup! 

Easy peasy filling! All you need is cream cheese, sugar, eggs and vanilla!

Easy peasy filling! All you need is cream cheese, sugar, eggs and vanilla!

Don't forget to line the pan with overhanging sides so it's easier for you to take it out of the pan after baking! 

Don't forget to line the pan with overhanging sides so it's easier for you to take it out of the pan after baking! 

And this moment is the one we've all been waiting for. Why do I love playing with fire so much?  

And this moment is the one we've all been waiting for. Why do I love playing with fire so much?  

And there you have it. Take a fork and crack through that torched sugar crust just to dig into that luscious cheesecake filling and crunchy cookie base. YOU ARE SOOO WELCOME! 

And there you have it. Take a fork and crack through that torched sugar crust just to dig into that luscious cheesecake filling and crunchy cookie base. YOU ARE SOOO WELCOME! 

So here you go, a dessert that incorporates both elements of these desserts that I love! 

CREME BRÛLÉE CHEESECAKE BARS

You need: 7" X 10" rectangle pan
Yield: 6 square bars

For the crust:

1 1/2 cups crushed digestive/graham cookies
1/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
113g unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

16 oz cream cheese, room temp
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla

sugar, for torching

1) Preheat oven to 170 degrees celcius. grease and line your pan with grease proof paper, making side the sides are overhanging on the longer sides

2) In a small bowl, mix together crushed cookies, flour and brown sugar. Stir in melted butter until combined. Press mixture into the bottom of the pan with the back or a spoon or spatula and bake for 10 mins.  Set aside. Keep oven on at the same temperature.

3) With a stand mixer and a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and sugar till smooth and fluffy. 

4) Add in eggs and vanilla and beat for a minute on low speed or till combined.

5) Pour the cheesecake mixture over the baked crust. Bake for 20 mins till filling is just set. Let cool completely before refrigerating until completely chilled. (3 hrs is good, but best chilled overnight!)

6) Using a hot knife (torched or dipped in hot water and wiped dry), cut into square bars. Sprinkle sugar over the bars and torch them to perfection. ENJOY!

Giveaway: WE HAVE A WINNER!

Oh gosh! Y'all were excited for this one! So overwhelmed by the number of entries! 

That's how excited I was to post this. I didn't even let the paint dry! 

That's how excited I was to post this. I didn't even let the paint dry! 

And the winner by random number generator is:  

Name: Nad Shah

Email address: nad.141491@gmail.com

 

LUCKY LUCKY YOU! 

Here's what you won: 

1 X Crate and Barrel cake stand

1 X Jala springform pan

1 X Masterclass bundt pan 

1 X Cuisipro whisk

1 X Le Creuset wide spatula

12 X Fluff Bakery cupcakes of the week

Unfortunately, Mufasa the rascal Bengal not included as part of prizes.

Unfortunately, Mufasa the rascal Bengal not included as part of prizes.

You will receive an email from us very soon!

In the meantime, for everyone else, keep your eyes peeled for a bright and citrusy recipe to bring you back to basics, coming to you reaaaallyyy soon!

xoxo, 

Syaira

Recipe- Chocolate Hazelnut Feuilletine Jewel Bars!

Ashraf and I used to live on the second floor of our bakery (shophouse awesomeness and nightmare all at the same time!) and it was sooooo convenient to have all the equipment and ingredients readily available on hand every time I wanted to try a new recipe! Now that we have moved into a cosy little space we call home (till our shoebox BTO is ready), I often find myself missing out essential ingredients and even equipment needed to try out new recipes!

"Oh crap I'm missing the chocolate for the brownies I want to bake"

"Oh shoooot! This recipe calls for a mixer!"

Sigh, really took things for granted there, didn't I? Yes, somewhere, somehow along the way after all that packing and moving, this baker chose to buy pretty things like a marble kitchen towel dispenser and a geometric metal fruit bowl but doesn't have a mixer at home. GASP! THE IRONY OF IT ALL! But not to worry, mixers galore back at the bakery and I am saving up to buy that dream mixer for home use really soon. (Spent too much on home decor and holidays lah guys.)

For you guys who do not own a mixer OR an oven (I FEEEEL YOUUU!), fret not, this recipe is for you. It's chocolatey, crunchy and nutty all at the same time! It has a crunchy base with a smoooooooth and melt-in-your-mouth ganache sitting on top of it. And just to make it like a gazillion times more enticing and pretty, let's sprinkle some crushed hazelnut brittle on top of it! I like to use dark chocolate for this as the addition of Nutella and the brittle adds on to the sweetness of the bars and the dark chocolate beautifully balances the whole thing. However, you can use milk chocolate or mix both together if you prefer a sweeter and milkier bar.

 

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It uses one of my favourite crunch ingredients of all time- feuilletine. It's essentially delicately fragile and paper thin bits of toasted crepe-like biscuit that has a one of a kind texture that I find totally addictive! We use this in the bakery for our ever popular sea salt feuilletine chocolate tart. If you live in Singapore, you can find it at baking supply stores such as Sun Lik ($5 for a packet) or Kitchen Capers. Unfortunately, your neighborhood Phoon Huat or NTUC does not stock this amazing ingredient. And oh! Bonus! If you have leftover feuilletine, PLEASE POUR SOME MILK OVER IT AND EAT IT IMMEDIATELY FOR AN IMMENSELY PLEASURABLE CEREAL EXPERIENCE! Feuilletine turns to mush pretty fast when mixed with liquids so my advice is to inhale it all as fast as you can. If you can't get your hands on feuilletine, you can always substitute it for cornflakes BUT, the texture will not be the same.

 

After its assembled, you can cut it into bars or squares or you know, heart shaped ones if you are talented at sculpting (I don't have the patience). I like them in small kit-kat sized bars as these babies are rich (woah chocolate hitting you in every direction!) and I feel that having them in bars makes just a nice serving of chocolatey goodness. But hey, chocolate lovers, no one will judge you for not cutting it at all and just picking up the whole slab and eating all at one go with your fingers!

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CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT FEUILLETINE JEWEL BARS. Adapted from: www.thekitchn.com

makes one 9X13 tray

 

for the crust:

170g dark chocolate, melted

283g nutella

141g feuilletine

 

For the filling:

226g dark chocolate, chopped into smaller pieces

1 tsp salt

1 cup cream

56g unsalted butter, room temp, cut into small pieces

 

For the brittle topping:

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts

 

For the crust,  line a 9X13 pan with greaseproof paper, with sides overhanging to act as handles.

Stir the melted chocolate and Nutella in a large bowl till smooth. Pour feuilletine into the bowl and fold in till combined. Scoop out the mixture onto the paper lined pan and use a rubber spatula or even a spoon to press in and smoothen out the mixture into an even and smooth layer. Chill the pan in the fridge while you make the filling.

For the filling, place the dark chocolate and salt in a bowl that is heatproof. Bring cream to a boil in a small pot over the stove or in the microwave (in a microwave-able bowl of course!). Immediately pour it into the bowl of chopped dark chocolate. Let it sit for a minute or two to allow the chocolate to melt. Add the butter and whisk till smooth. For you pros who want to make the ganache super smooth and sexy, you may use an immersion blender.

Take the crust out of the fridge and pour the chocolate ganache mixture over it. Smooth it out into an even layer with a spatula. Transfer to the fridge for 2 hours until set. 

In the meantime, make a dry caramel. Line a baking tray/ sheet pan with greaseproof paper. Heat the sugar in a small pot/ saucepan over medium high heat. As soon as the sugar starts to melt, use a heatproof spatula to constantly move it around the pan- you want it all to melt and caramelise evenly. Cook and stir until the colour is a deep, dark amber, about 3-5 mins. Once it has reached your target colour, stir in the hazelnuts and make sure the nuts are coated with the caramel. Quickly dump the contents of the pot onto the prepared pan and spread it out as thinly as possible. Let cool completely.

In a ziplock bag (with a heavy rolling pin) or food processor, break the brittle up into tiny little pieces. You don't want them too big coz you won't want anyone to chip a tooth! You can store the brittle in an air tight container in a cool dark place. 

Once the chocolate is set, take it out of the fridge and cut them into small bars with a hot knife (torched or dipped in hot water). Sprinkle hazelnut brittle on top and slightly press down on it so it will stick to the surface of the chocolate. Keep stored in the fridge and serve chilled!

Here we goooooo!

Well, hello! This has been a long time coming. 

More than 2 years to be exact! 

Our quaint little bakery at 4 Jalan Pisang

Our quaint little bakery at 4 Jalan Pisang

When Ashraf and I first opened Fluff Bakery at Jalan Pisang back in November of 2013, I envisioned a swanky, cool (is the word cool even cool anymore?), kitschy website with an equally swanky, cool and kitschy blog containing recipes and all things sweet rainbow sprinkles! And here we are, in 2016, it has finally come to life! Not difficult for you to tell how much of a procrastinator I am eyy!!

 

SO, WHO WANTS FREE STUFF worth $200?? Let's get this cool, swanky and kitschy blog started with a GIVEAWAAAAYYY!

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Stand a chance to win:

1 X Crate and Barrel cake stand

1 X Jala springform pan

1 X Masterclass bundt pan 

1 X Cuisipro whisk

1 X Le Creuset wide spatula

12 X Fluff Bakery cupcakes of the week

 

All you have to do is comment "PLEASE PICK ME I WANT TO BE A WINNER!" below and leave an email address where we can contact you should you be the oh so lucky winner!

Contest ends at 11.59pm, Sunday, 6 March 2016. Contest only open to those residing in Singapore. The winner will be picked at random and our decision is final.

 

Well, good luck guys and comment awaaaaaay!!!

 

P.S: The next post will feature a very simple recipe you can make at home WITHOUT a mixer or an oven! Keep your eyes wide open for it!

 

xoxo, 

Syaira