Wednesday, October 22, 2014

22 Oct 14 (Wed - Deepavali) - Pumpkin Walnut Ice Cream (金瓜核桃雪糕)

Still in the midst of the Halloween fun mood and because I so love the Fall (Autumn) season hence wanted to make a dish or dessert using... what else but the pumpkin! I have tried making pumpkin soup (both sweet and savory), pumpkin paste and pumpkin mochi cake so what's next? I have long toyed with the idea of using pumpkin as an ingredient in ice cream. I searched the Internet about pumpkin ice cream but the results were usually those of custard base or using heavy cream or banana or adding a lot of spices such as cloves and nutmegs.

I just wanted a simple pumpkin ice cream recipe but... but... So in the end, I decided to adopt the mango ice cream recipe that I have and just swapped the mango puree with pumpkin puree. Went to NTUC Finest and saw a few types of pumpkins: the real Japanese pumpkin at $7/kg; the Japanese pumpkin from Australia at $5.50/kg; the blue pumpkin from Australia at $5.50/kg; the orange pumpkin from Indonesia at $2.50/kg and also the butternut squash at I can't remember the price. I think I spent at good 15 minutes deciding which type to get and how big a slice to get then finally settled on a slice of 300+ gram of Japanese pumpkin from Australia.

Since I wanted this recipe to be a success, I went online to search if I should boil or steam the pumpkin and I found out that it is better to use the steaming method so as to avoid letting the pumpkin absorb too much water. I went a step further to search on how to store leftover puree and found out that it can last a few weeks in the freezer. Sounds good!

While some of the Internet recipes included pecans as part of the ingredients or as topping, I thought maybe I can add crushed walnuts instead since I didn't have pecans. The result? A golden color ice cream with fairly strong pumpkin fragrant. Yum! To add on to the Halloween fun, attempted my very first dessert plating by drawing a spiderweb with a tiny spider.

Packed some to bring to office for my close group of food buddies to try. Wonder what their comments will be. Looking forward!

200g to 250g pumpkin slice
20g to 25g castor sugar
200ml whipping cream
80g icing sugar
some crushed walnuts

1.  Cut the pumpkin into small pieces and arrange them upright on a plate
2.  Steam the pumpkin pieces for about 10 minutes or till soften
3.  Remove the skin of the cooked pumpkin pieces and set aside
4.  Whisk whipping cream till foamy for about 3 mins
5.  Add icing sugar in three batches, whisk the mixture after every addition and set aside
6.  Measure 160g of pumpkin pieces and place them in a blender together with the castor sugar
7.  Blend till smooth, add to the whipping cream-icing sugar mixture and whisk till well combined
8.  Pour mixture into a container of your choice and put into the freezer
9.  Remove from freezer after 2 hours to churn* with a fork
10.  Repeat step (9) for another two times** before freezing it overnight

* Try to churn the mixture in a whisking manner to try to incorporate as much air into the mixture as possible

** Mix in the crushed walnuts on the second churning

Note #1: The leftover pumpkin piece can be drained, blitzed and stored in the freezer. Good for a few weeks.

Note #2: This recipe incorporated the making of the pumpkin puree because it is best to make the puree just before using it so that any excess water absorbed during the steaming can be drained off before blitzing.

---------------- Edited on 23 October 2014 ----------------

The comments for the ice cream were all very positive. TYY said that she can smell the pumpkin fragrant as the ice cream melts. Looks like the ice cream is a successful attempt!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

19 Oct 14 (Sun) - Eyeball Osmanthus Jelly

Been very busy since last month and only felt happier after crossing the mid of this month. Partly because the worse part of my busy schedule is over, partly because this month is Halloween month and partly because next month I will be traveling to Melbourne for holidays!

I don't really celebrate Halloween but love the mood of it with all the pumpkins and scary decorations all around. So since I am making osmanthus jelly to treat my colleagues, I decided to add a twist to it by making it Halloween themed.

After some brain-storming, the idea of having an eyeball in jelly came to mind. I was contemplating of having eyeball in blue / red / purple colored jelly but in the end decided to just stick with yellow since it was supposed to be osmanthus flavor. Then came the decision whether to leave the osmanthus flowers in the jelly as usual or out. In the end, I left them in because it seemed a bit boring to have just an eyeball in plain jelly.

 Here's staring at'ya!

Eyeball Osmanthus Jelly in Martini Glass

Started off by making the eyeballs using canned longan, lingonberry jam and blueberries. It was fun seeing the eyeballs all lined up on the plate. Then went on to cook the jelly using the usual method and finally assembled the eyeballs and jelly in the 3¼ oz plastic cups I bought from SKP. It was really fun to see the final product take shape. Now to see how my colleagues react tomorrow when they see the jelly.

Happy Halloween!

Ingredients (Makes 20 cups):
20 longans
20 blueberries
some lingonberry jam*
2.5 tsp dried osmanthus flowers
10g konnyaku jelly power
210g sugar
950ml water

1.  Fill longan with some jam before inserting a blueberry into the opening (scrape away excess jam, if any)
2.  Bring water to a boil in a pot, lower heat, add osmanthus flowers and simmer for roughly 2mins
3.  Add konnyaku jelly powder and sugar. Stir until powder and sugar are fully dissolved then off the flame
4.  Place one "eyeball" into one plastic cup then pour enough jelly solution to cover the eyeball
5.  Let the jelly cool down a bit in room temperature and chill in fridge till the jelly is set

* You can use any jam that is red in color

---------------- Edited on 20 October 2014 ----------------

Packed 20 cups to office for colleagues to try but only my usual group of food buddies ate. I guessed the rest were either too busy to eat or they had forgotten about the jelly or they just don't have sweet-tooth. Anyway, those who ate loved the jelly because this flavor seems to be their favorite (and have since sort of became my specialty in the department). CC saw my post on FB the day before and told me that initially she thought longan plus jam plus blueberry will be grouse but turned out they complimented one and another. She was very excited about the idea of making some herself. Hahaha... Hope I get to see her masterpiece.