Monday, June 2, 2008

So fluffy and light, you'd think it's a cloud!

I was in the mood to make something simple this week. Something that does not require a massive amount of concentration or dexterity. Something I know that I can pull together without any difficulty or dramas. But even then, I am too idealistic to regurgitate items I have made successfully in the past. Where's the fun in that?

I encountered these little darlings among the delicious pages of the Australian Women's Weekly Sweets book, looking so innocently out of their confining prison of glossy paper. I knew I had some rescuing to do, and immediately set to business.

These powder puffs (yes, that's what they call them; I would have preferred to call them 'Little Clouds', but no matter) are idiot-proof and super fast to make. I could've baked off the entire batch of 36 and cleaned up my mess in less than an hour, if not for the fact that I only had one 12-hole patty pan.

On a side note, I have been reading a lot on how to customize my layout and my header, with lots of help from the generous and kind Basma of Bakerette. (Thank you for pointing me towards the right direction!) So I hope you will forgive me if I seem less inclined to post anything new over the next few days. I will be simultaneously trying to work out the blogger system, create a new header, read up food photography techniques on Still Life With (thank you Lara for sparing a great deal of time and effort to share your knowledge with millions others; it is very much appreciated), get my life together while attempting to sneak in precious few baking time.

I decided to put in my little twist on these little treats, by way of adding maple syrup into one batch of cream and balsamic vinegar and black pepper into another. They both work really well, but my preference lies with the maple syrup variety; the maple syrup helps imparts the right amount of sweetness and depth, in my opinion. But the balsamic vinegar-black pepper variety, too, has its unique appeal---the result has none of the pungency of balsamic vinegar nor the obtrusive kick of black pepper---just a lingering subtle taste on your tongue that makes you wonder about its origins.

Strawberry Powder Puffs

makes 36 individual cakes, and 18 sandwiches
(adapted from The Australian Women's Weekly Sweets)

2 eggs
1/3 cup caster sugar
2 Tablespoons corn flour
2 Tablespoons plain flour
2 Tablespoons self-raising flour

Preheat oven to 180C (or 160C fan forced). Grease and flour two 12-hole shallow round-based patty pans. Beat eggs and sugar in a small bowl with electric mixer for about 4 min., or until mixture is thick and pale. Triple-sift flours, and fold into egg mixture. Place mixture in a piping bag and fill holes to about 2/3 full (or you can spoon the mixture into the holes). Bake about 10 min., turn immediately to cool. Wash, grease and flour pans again and repeat with the remaining mixture.

Strawberry Cream

1/2 cup thickened cream (35% fat)
1 Tablespoon icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
1/2 cup finely chopped strawberries, plus extra for garnish

Beat cream and the sifted icing sugar until it forms firm peaks. Fold in strawberries.

For maple syrup variation: Beat cream and sifted icing sugar with 1 Tablespoon of maple syrup until it forms firm peaks. Fold in strawberries.

For balsamic vinegar-black pepper variation: Beat cream and sifted icing sugar with 1 Teaspoon of balsamic vinegar until it forms firm peaks. Combine chopped strawberries with 1/4 Teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and fold into cream mixture.

Note: You can increase/decrease the amount of black pepper/balsamic vinegar/maple syrup to suit your liking. Just be careful of not adding too much liquid as the whipped cream will not hold its shape.

To assemble: Sandwich puffs with strawberry cream just prior to serving. Dust with sifted icing sugar.


Tartelette said...

It's like a better version of the traditional American strawberry it!

Vera said...

They look delicious! Thank you for the recipe.

Aran said...

yes, just like a strawberry shortcake! i love it!

Sophie said...

I'm Sophie, Key Ingredient's Chief Blogger. We would like to feature this adapted recipe on our blog. Please email if interested. Thanks :)


Christy said...

Helen, Vera, Aran--thank you!

Sophie--Sorry I still haven't found time to upload the recipe. I'll do it soon.