Sunday, January 21, 2018

chickie chinese diakon pastries (lo bo si bing) for chinese new year



Last year for Chinese New Year, we went to my mom's house, where we celebrated with a chinese feast, including my mom's homemade potstickers! (For those of you who have never had a potsticker, it's a dumpling filled with meat and veggies, that is both steamed and pan fried on the stove). For my contribution to the feast, I decided to make one of my favorite chinese pastries, lo bo si bing, which features a flakey pastry crust filled with seasoned daikon (asian turnip or radish). I've been making these for a few years now, but with a crust recipe that I made up, which is much simpler than the traditional complicated chinese pastry dough (which features an inner and outer dough!).

The daikon filling is very simple, it's just peeled shredded diakon (I like to shred it in the food processor with the grater attachment), which is sauteed with minced garlic, salt, white pepper, soy sauce, and chopped green onions. Then be sure to let it cool before filling your pastry.







For the pastry dough recipe, you're going to flip when I tell you what it is. It's basically my all-butter pie crust recipe, except you use vegetable oil instead of butter. Yes, I know it sounds weird. But it works! When my mother-in-law first told me about a similar crust that her friend made for a japanese ube (purple sweet potato) filled pastry, I didn't believe that the crust would come together. But I tried it, mainly because my best friend's daughter is allergic to dairy, and I thought one day I could make her an apple pie that she could actually eat! I didn't have a recipe, so I just tried out my own recipe. And I couldn't believe that it worked!

You basically add vegetable oil to your flour, sugar, and salt, and then the magic is to add ice cold water, which somehow causes the vegetable oil to seize up and turn the mixture into a crust-like consistency! Amazing, right? But the caveat is that you can't roll it out like regular pie crust. You have to kind of pat it into place with your hands. And sometimes it falls apart, but no worries because it's super easy to patch up.


So anyway, back to the diakon pastries :) After making my vegetable oil crust, I used a small ice cream scoop to portion out the dough. With each portion, I rolled it into my hand until it turned into a smooth ball, then flattened it out, and then filled it with my daikon filling before pinching it together and then setting it on my sheet pan with the seam side down.


I brushed the tops with a bit of egg wash, and then sprinkled on some black sesame seeds before baking them at 350F until they turned golden brown.







Aren't they pretty? And so delicious too, you wouldn't think the combination of sauteed diakon and pastry flakey would taste so good!



Since we were celebrating the year of the Rooster, I thought I'd make some of them in the shape of a chickie! So I decorated some of them with black sesame seed eyes, yellow heart beaks, and red heart combs.



I thought they turned out pretty cute!





Here are a few photos of our celebration with the kids, my mom, her sisters, and my cousin and her kids. (And of Miss Melodie helping us wrap homemade potstickers! She did a great job!)

Stay tuned to see what I make this year! Happy Chinese New Year!







Sunday, January 14, 2018

chocolate cheesecake with dark chocolate ganache drizzle


In addition to the mini pumpkin pies that I made for Thanksgiving last year, I also made this luscious chocolate cheesecake! I had just seen it on America's Test Kitchen (before they got rid of Christopher Kimball 😭) and I was dying to make it!

Instead of using traditional graham crackers for the crust, this recipe used smashed Oreo cookies (my mouth is watering already) which are ground in the food processor and then mixed with melted butter, pressed into a springform pan, and then baked until set.


For the filling, it's your basic cheesecake recipe, but amped up with cocoa powder and melted chocolate (YUM).



Once the filling is poured on top of the cooled crust, the method is to cover the cheesecake with foil and bake at a low temperature halfway, and then remove the foil and bake for the remaning half. And best of all, no water bath is required! Yippee!


Here it is right out of the oven, all puffy and creamy delicious looking.


But we're not done yet. The final touch is to drizzle chocolate ganache...  All. Over. The. Top.


Delicious!


I know it's way past Thanksgiving at this point, but hope you had a happy one!



Sunday, January 7, 2018

mini pumpkin pies for thanksgiving


Still enamored with the flower-shaped tart crusts from my two previous posts (see mini blueberry cheesecake tarts and mini chocolate cream tarts). for Thanksgiving last year I decided to make little mini pumpkin pies with the same shaped tart crusts, except this time with pie crust dough instead of chocolate wafer cookie dough. We were planning on driving down to LA to spend Thanksgiving with my mom's side of the family, so I thought these little portable mini pies would be perfect to make ahead and transport!


For the crust I used my go-to all butter pie crust recipe (recipe in my book, The Hello Kitty Baking Book!), which I chilled and then rolled out to about 1/8 inch thick. Then I used a flower-shaped cookie cutter to stamp out each mini crust.


Then I fit them into my ungreased cupcake tins, and put them in the fridge to chill.


While the crusts were chilling, I start on the pumpkin pie filling, which included canned pumpkin pie, evaporated milk, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, salt, and eggs.




Then I filled my chilled mini crusts and then baked them at 350F until the crust was golden brown and the filling was just set and still a little bit jiggly.


I let them cool before removing them from the cupcake tins and then chilling them overnight to let the filling set even more.



I just love the way the little flower-shaped crusts look, plus they fit into the cupcake tins perfectly!


Thanksgiving with my family was super fun, we ate under an outdoor gazebo and we stuffed ourselves until our stomachs were uncomfortably full! The evening ended with a kids dance-off and lots of goofy selfies! Happy Thanksgiving!







Sunday, November 5, 2017

mini blueberry cheesecake tarts


I was so enamored with the little chocolate cookie crusts from my previous post, I made them again for my second day of Thanksgiving "Harvest Potluck" at my kids' school last year. (The first day was for my oldest son, the second day was for my daughter, as they have their potlucks on different days). This time, instead of using the cookie crusts for mini chocolate cream pies, I turned them into mini blueberry cheesecake tarts! 


You can check out my previous post on how I made the cookie crusts, but for this filling I made a no-bake cheesecake type of filling. I've made it before for large tarts (such as this flag tart and this father's day tart), and the filling worked just as well for mini tarts. (You can find the recipe at Martha Stewart's website.)


After using a disposable pastry bag to pipe the filling into each cookie crust, I topped them with fresh blueberries. So simple and easy!


The final step was a light dusting of powdered sugar.





This cookie crust and filling combo is so versatile, you could top them with any fresh fruit, or even a drizzle of salted caramel or chocolate ganache instead of fruit would be delicious!


These little tarts are the perfect portable dessert for potlucks or picnis, and elegant enough to serve at dinner parties as well! Enjoy!