Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Fruit lasagna: 4th chapter

24/3/2011: Today we enter the 4th week of our experimentation and so far, the results of our work have been bearing fruit (pun unintended). Today we're using the same fruits as yesterday and the same underliner but with a few changes, of course.

Task implementation

Before the task
The ingredients we are using today are not much different than the ones we used last week. The difference lie in the end product, a double portion of the sweet dough ingredients and an extra ingredient: grapes. But first things first, mise en place.


Pineapple 2, peeled and chopped
mangoes 3, peeled and diced
brown sugar to taste

Custard cream
1cup custard powder
1cup castor sugar
7cups milk

Sweet dough pastry
500g all purpose flour
220g butter
150g icing sugar
2 eggs
10g salt

Popiah skin (as much as needed)
806g red grapes
sugar to taste

During the task
1. Mix the flour, butter and icing sugar in a large porcelain bowl until the mixture becomes crumbles. After that, add in the eggs and salt. Keep mixing until the mixture clumps together and does not stick to the bowl. And then cover the dough with a clean wet towel and let it rest for half an hour.

2. Peel and chop/dice the pineapples and mangoes and then cook them in a pan with sugar until they turn golden brown

3. Cook the milk in a pot over a low heat and stir. Add the custard powder and sugar into the milk and keep stirring. Keep stirring until the custard becomes thicker. Once it has reached proper thickness, remove from heat and keep stirring for a few minutes before stopping.

4. Boil the popiah skins in water and collect in a bowl

5. After the dough is done resting, flatten it and cut the dough into rectangular shapes (any basic shapes will do)

6. Blind bake the shaped dough in an oven set at 150 degrees celcius top and 170 degrees celcius bottom until they develop a brownish color. P/S: You can make them in pie tins if you want.

7. While waiting for the dough to bake, seed the grapes and then blend them in a food processor

8. Mix the blended grapes with sugar and then cook the mixture in a pot until it becomes a viscous sauce

9. Mix a bit of the mango and pineapple with a bit of custard in a small bowl
10. Once the dough is done baking, take one piece and spread the mixture on step 9 on top of the piece of dough.
11. Place some boiled popiah skin on the mixture (on step 9, mentioned in step 10)
12. Take another piece of sweet dough (of the same shape as step 10) and place on top of the mixture (so that the mixture will be sandwiched between the dough pieces)
13. Decorate with the grape sauce.
14. Serve

After the task
We didn't use the pie tins (except for when shaping the dough) and yet we're still able to make it hold it's shape.
As for the taste, the Chef says that it should have a bit of acidity in order for it to be delicious. Otherwise it is just straightforward sweet.

Try to find a way to increase acidity

It seems we've run into another success but the chef thinks it still has room for improvement. It is important that we keep looking for new ways to improve the dish anyway for we have still not found the right combination. We just hope that in the future we will find the perfect combo of ingredients.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Fruit lasagna: episode 3

17/03/2011: We've entered the third phase of our experiment today and thankfully, we finally have some positive results which we can cheer to.

Task implementation
Before the task
Today we've decided to do things differently from the weeks before. We're replacing the apples, bananas and avocadoes with pineapples and mangoes. And for the underliner, we've decided to use sweet dough pastry.

Pineapple slices 1bowl, diced
Mango 2, diced
Brown sugar, to taste

Custard cream:
Custard powder 1/2cup
Milk 1/2cup x 7
Sugar 1/2cup

Sweet dough pastry:
All purpose flour 250g
Icing sugar 75g
Butter 110g
Egg 1
Salt 5g

Popiah skin, as much as needed

During the task
1. First things first, we made the sweet dough pastry by sifting the flour and sugar into a bowl and then mix thoroughly, by hand, with the butter until the mixture becomes fine crumbles. After that, add the egg and salt and mix until the dough does not stick to the bowl

2. Cover the dough with a wet, clean towel and let it rest for 30 minutes

3. The pineapple and mango dices are cooked with brown sugar until golden brown

4. Make the custard using the same ratio and method as the previous two experiments

5. Boil the popiah skins and put them in a container for later use

6. After the dough is done resting, flatten it on a smooth, clean surface and use the baking tins that are supposed to be used for baking to measure how much dough is needed for one tin

7. Cover the surface of the baking tin with a thin layer of butter and then place the dough on the tin
8. Blind-bake the dough in an oven set at 150 degrees celcius top and 170 degrees celcius bottom until brown before we put in the filling

9. Mix some of the pineapple with some of the mango and some custard cream together and then use the mixture for the bottom layer

10. Add the popiah skin on top of the bottom layer as the underliner for the second layer and then add the second layer (the same fruit and custard mixture as the bottom layer)

11. After that, either refridgerate the whole thing until the custard coagulates or cover the top with some more sweet dough pastry and then bake it in the oven to cook it a little more (we did both)

After the task
As it turns out, the sweet dough pastry and the new fruits was the right way to go. The sweetness of the filling and the taste of the crusty dough really complemented each other well.
As for the popiah skin, since popiah skin is naturally flavourless, it was not detriminal at all to the lasagna and quite plausible to be used as an underliner for the second layer
Texturewise, the hot lasagna still couldn't hold much of it's shape on a spoon, but nether can "Secret Recipe's" lasagna. However, the cold lasagna can hold most of it's shape

1. Popiah skin was great but try to find a way to make the popiah skin hold it's shape for use so that we won't have to paste huge chunks between the layers like this one

Thank God that we finally found a correct combination of ingredients. We've had drawbacks before but this time, we've finally got it. We just hope that in the future, we'll find another ingredient combo that is as tasty as this one.

Fruit lasagna: 2nd week

10/03/2011: Since we didn't have most of the ingredients last week, we brought some from home.

Task implementation
Before the task
As usual, we made sure all the ingredients are available and then prepare them. Today, we had to work with these:

Apples 5, diced
Oranges 3, peeled & wedge
Sugar, to taste

Custard cream:
Custard powder 1/4cup
Milk 1/4cup x 7
Sugar 1/4cup

Avocado 1, grated/sliced
Bananas 3, grated/siced
Sliced bread, as much as needed
Orange zest, from the oranges earlier

During the task
1.Like the previous recipe, we cook the apples in a pan or pot with sugar until golden brown

 2. The custard is also made the same way as the previous recipe

3. This time we have the bread and we're gonna give the slices a little bit of toasting so that they can be used as the underliner for the layers

4. Like the previous recipe, add the apples and custard for the bottom layer and top off with bread for the second layer

5. Once the second layer is done, slice or grate the avocado and bananas (we made three lasagnas. Two of us chose sliced and one of us chose grate for our respective lasagnas) and garnish the tops of the lasagnas with the avocado and bananas and then sprinkle the very top with orange zest. Afterwards, cook the lasagnas in the oven until the top browns.

After the task
Even with the chosen ingredients, the texture still didn't come out right. It still couldn't hold it's shape on a spoon. Though for the lasagnas that used sliced fruit to garnish the top, the appearance was quite nice and the taste was okay as long as people avoid the avocado, but for the lasagna that used the grated fruit, we can honestly say that it tasted as good as it looked:

1. No more avocado....
2. Bread didn't seem plausible. Use something else

It seems our experiment boat has hit yet another iceberg of fail. We still haven't found the right stuff for this experiment but such things matter little to us. We will still try, as the British would say, to get back on the horse and keep moving forward until we have found the right combination of ingredients.