The awesome foursom…more cupcakes–strawberry, milk poached banana, French apricot and rhubarb bavarois
It’s another busy day in the kitchen developing new flavors, and for the first time, I got four different kinds of cupcakes in one day! Such a happy thing!
On top of that, a little experiment doing sugar iced flower petals too, they went beautifully on those airy delights!
French vanilla chiffon with strawberry and cream bavarian
Passion fruit chiffon with orange-passion fruit poached apricot bavarian
Passion fruit chiffon with rhubarb bavarian
French vanilla chiffon with milk poached banana bavarian
Have you ever put bananas into your savory soup? I’ve got my bold try on the other day, when I have literally nothing to cook with except two left over celery stalks, one banana that’s almost gone bad, (but you know, truth is that’s at its peak flavor actually) and one avocado. I know what you’re thinking: what the …?? banana? No, it’s not gonna taste banana-y, it just gives a wonderfully mellow sweetness to the soup, and makes it more creamy.
So same idea taken from the raw cream of celery soup, I put the celery stalks, half avocado, maybe 2/3 of a medium banana (of course I ate the other one third, you know how much I reply on bananas=)) Add water to barely cover everything, then add a splash of Champaign vinegar (cuz I ran out of lemon also), one heaping table spoon of olive oil, good pinch of dried tarragon, small handful of Italian parsley, two heaping teaspoon of creme fraiche, Fluer De Sel and lots of fresh ground pepper . (I basically just eyeballed everything, doesn’t need to be exact.) Whiz all together until smooth, serve in a pretty soup bowl, float two tiny quenelle of artichoke heart pate in center, drizzle more olive oil to finish off. Fancy soup in ten minutes.
Make yourself a little avocado salad with the other half avocado, spiced up with diced French shallot, olive oil, juice of half lime, (yes, I found one last lime after making the soup… and touch of Cayan pepper, fry up an organic egg–along with the soup, it’s your light lunch already. Neat, uh?=)
This is probably the best banana bread ever! You just got to put it into your ’soon to be made’ list! I made it last night during the Earth Hour 2009, so it was made in complete darkness…I still can’t figure out why I had to do this–weighed everything with my eyes almost got stick to the little screen of the digital scale, trying to get the numbers right…maybe we just want to do something life usually doesn’t give us the chance to do. But then, it came the biggest disaster in my kitchen, my second batch of banana cake was dropped upside down onto the floor while I tried to relocate it to lower rack to avoid over browning on top…and that’s the end of this poor cake. It should have turned out great with the variation on different proportion of different flour used–yes, the one I call it ‘the best banana bread ever’ is made out of regular cake flour, and the batch that’s ruined half way baking consists 25g cake flour, 80g organic oat flour and 25g almond meal…it sounds great already, yeah? And guess what, we actually tried some of the disaster, it still tasted darn good. I’ll definitely make this one again.
I’m not a big fan of banana-whatever nuts bread, I don’t particularly like biting into large chunk of nuts in tender cakes, but I do love the aroma nuts can deliver to the sensation, so I toasted up some pecans to the point where all the nutty flavor’s brought out, then chopped them really fine, almost powder like, and folded into the batter at the last stage.
Here’s the banana-pecan recipe, which once you tried, you’ll never bother trying other recipes again.
(Note: with simple recipes like this, the flavor of the final product largely depends on the quality of your ingredients…well, this actually applies to everything you make in the kitchen. So grab the best fresh ingredients you can get to get great flavor started.)
Ingredients: Make one small loaf
90g unsalted sweet butter, room temperature
80g caster sugar
1 large egg , room temperature (cold egg will have the tendency seize the batter)
1 large ripe banana, half mashed, half cut into around half-inch-cubes (of course you want to do this right before you need the banana to be incorporated into the batter, yes, you may say, I can just use some lemon juice to prevent the banana getting browned. But I don’t want the acidity from lemon for this recipe even it’s just small amount.)
(note: the banana needs to be really ripe, preferably black spotted, it’s gonna contribute to a full rich flavor.)
130g cake flour (sifted)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. fine sea salt (you can use any salt, I just prefer my Fleur De Sel for everything, both savory and sweet)
40g pecan, toasted at 180C (350F) for about 8 minutes, or until the nutty aroma starts to fill your house. Cool completely. Reserve 5 best looking pecan halves for garnish, hand chop your toasted pecans very fine. Set aside.
1. Turn your oven nob down to 160C (320F) after toasting the pecans.
2. grease a 21 x 10 x 7 loaf pan, and line with parchment paper.
1. Cream the butter until it’s creamy and fluffy, add the sugar, continue to cream until pale and creamy again.
2. Add the egg, beat really well until the egg is completely incorporated, and it’s thick and creamy.
3. Add the just-mashed banana, beat well.
4. Add the sifted flour in two additions, I keep using my hand mixer for this task, it works better than folding in this case, just don’t over beat your batter, mix till everything just incorporated together.
5. Now, fold in your finely chopped toasted pecan.
6. Spoon the batter into the lined loaf pan, scatter the cubed banana (which should be done the very last minute) into the batter, (reserve 4 pieces for garnish,) lightly press them down to be immersed, use a rubber spatula to smooth out the surface. Arrange the reserved pecan and banana pieces on the cake surface, lightly press in. You can arrange them the way you like, I snuggled them nicely in the center.
7. Bake for about 40 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool briefly in the loaf pan on cooling rack, then take it out and let it cool completely.
It’s optional to make it look even more temping–but the glaze gives a really nice sheen to the cake, especially gives the glittering for the pecan and banana pieces floating on top.
To make the glaze, simply warm 2 tsp. of good apricot preserve with drops of water, brush the cake with a pastry brush.
How good is the cake? Really, you wouldn’t know until you make it and eat it. But let me tell you, as soon as the cake’s coated with the sheer glaze, which was almost one in the morning, my mom and brother rushed down stairs to the dining room saying they can’t take the buttery, banana-y and nutty smell anymore. And three quarters of the cake was gone in ten minutes, considering they’re extremely conscious about eating late.