November 12, 2015

Thai Milk Tea Crepe Cake

A crepe cake for my husband's birthday.Yay, finally made one. It was an impromptu attempt. I had no idea of what to bake for him this year. Made him a croquembouche tower last year, and had to find something to beat that, yikes. I finally settled with a crepe cake minutes before midnight, hoping the whole crepe-making process would bring me the same challenge. I know, to some, this is not a cake. Having those layers made it half into being a cake. But who cares. As long as I can stick a candle on it, a cake it is then. Well, I happened to sample a nice crepe cake in Japan. In Shin-Yokohama, to be exact. Somewhere near the Ramen Museum. Perfect weather; a slice of chocolate crepe cake partnered with a heart-shaped latte, and a well-behaved boy next to me, enjoying his hot chocolate.*wink* I gave chocolate some break this time, and pursued this cake with Southeast Asian twist-Thai Milk Tea. Stood up 30 minutes for that thin crepes. Love the quite joy I had while preparing those layers; drop a ladle of batter, quickly swirl the pan, let it dry, flip, remove and repeat. Without that particular kid's screaming, it was heaven and yeah, I'd probably do it again. As for the pastry cream, I'm not quite happy on how it turned out; it was me, not the recipe. Some of the ingredients were poorly substituted, resulting a bit lumpy texture, rather runny than my usual cream. But it escaped the bin and made it as a cake. The topping was crème de la crème! I can't even... It was so tasty I couldn't keep my finger off of it. Assembling the cake was easy. Made a time-lapse video of it. Watch it below. 

Thai Milk Tea Crepe Cake
Adapted from Iron Chef Shellie-Thai Milk Tea Crepe Cake

4 large eggs
360ml milk
240ml water
300g plain flour
6tbs melted butter
Butter, for coating the pan

Pastry Cream
3 Thai Milk Tea tea bags
120ml boiling water
420ml milk
6 egg yolks
150g caster sugar
55g corn-flour
1 vanilla bean split (or 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste)
pinch salt
1 leaf gold strength gelatine

Drizzle Sauce
3 Thai Milk Tea tea bags
120ml boiling water
420ml milk
6 egg yolks
150g caster sugar
55g corn-flour
1 vanilla bean split (or 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste)
pinch salt

Assembly and To Serve
400g whipped cream
fresh mint, to serve

For the crepes:
In a blender, combine all of the ingredients and pulse for 10 seconds. Place the crepe batter in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. (This allows the bubbles to subside so the crepes will be less likely to tear during cooking.) The batter will keep for up to 48 hours.

Heat a small non-stick pan. Add butter to coat. Pour 2-3 tbs of batter into the center of the pan and swirl to spread evenly. Cook for 30 seconds and flip. Cook for another 10 seconds and remove to the cutting board. Lay them out flat so they can cool, you can stack the crepes, they will not stick to each other.

Continue until all batter is gone. After they have cooled you can store the crepes in sealable plastic bags in the refrigerator for several days or in the freezer for up to two months.

For the Thai milk tea pastry cream:

In medium bowl, whisk together 120ml Thai milk tea, egg yolks, 75g sugar, and cornstarch.

Transfer the remaining Thai milk tea to heavy medium saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean and the seed and the pod to the pan and add the salt. Sprinkle the remaining sugar over, letting sugar sink undisturbed to bottom. Set pan over moderate heat and bring to simmer without stirring.

Whisk hot milk mixture, then gradually whisk into egg yolk mixture (this is called tempering). You want to do this slowly or you will have scrambled eggs.

Return to saucepan over moderate heat and cook, whisking constantly, until pastry cream simmers and thickens, about 1 minute. Remove from heat, discard vanilla pod, and whisk cream until smooth. Transfer to bowl and press plastic wrap or parchment directly onto surface. Chill until cold, about 4 hours. (Pastry cream can be made ahead and refrigerated, wrapped well with plastic wrap or parchment on surface, up to 3 days.)

For the Thai milk tea drizzle sauce:
Follow the steps as above for the pastry cream, except cook for a little longer to make it thicker. Be sure to keep whisking to ensure you don’t end up with lumpy bits down the bottom. I found whisking then transferring to a large mixing bowl, then back into the saucepan a few times to be really helpful.

Assemble the cake:
Soak gelatine leave in cold water for about 15 minutes.
Use the base of an 18cm cake tin as a template to trim the crepes to size. Then line the base and sides of the tin, ready for assembly.
Place one crepe in the cake tin. Spread one tablespoon of pastry cream evenly over the crepe. Lay your next crepe on the bench or a plate and spread evenly with one tablespoon of whipped cream. 

Carefully pick it up and lay it over the crepe in the cake tin, cream side down. Continue with pastry cream and whipped cream until the final crepe has been added. Or until around 13 layers high.
Squeeze excess water from the gelatine leaves, add to the remaining pastry cream and gently heat and stir over a stove until gelatine is dissolved. Pour this on top of the crepe cake and smooth the top.
Chill the cake for 2 hours or overnight to firm up.

The recipe is copied from Iron Chef Shellie's blog. Her Thai Milk Tea Crepe cake is seriously impressive. Click the link for more exciting recipes from her blog. :)

A video posted by Faizah {Ribbon&Circus} (@ribboncircus) on

October 6, 2015

Sambal Ikan Bilis Buns ( using Tangzhong Method)

I'm not happy this week photos.  Note the out of focus, bad lighting photos-yes, three almost similar photos up there. The buns are relatively good, despite the after-baked meh look. Soft. They are pillowy-soft. And who can say no to sambal ikan bilis? Sweet, salty and spicy. Reminds me times I had in Bintulu where Gardenia's Ikan Bilis bun were the most sought-after souvenirs from the Peninsular. I never bought one for my colleagues though. Sorry guys, I couldn't find them. Which part of KLIA is selling it again? Anyway, most of the recipes I googled call for bread improver. I couldn't find a halal one here, so I pursued with the Tangzhong method. Result as discussed above. Pillowy-soft. I believe everyone is already familiar with this method. No further explanation needed. This will be my go-to sambal ikan bilis bun. Might have to repair the looks somehow. 

Sambal Ikan Bilis Buns. 
Soft Buns recipe is taken from Kokken69's Yukone Method Sweet Soft Buns

Water Roux
50g Bread Flour 
75g Boiling water 

Mix water roux ingredients together in a bowl. 
Cover bowl with cling wrap and store in fridge for 12 hours.

Bread Dough
6g Active Dry East 
160g Bread Flour 
40g Plain Flour 
50g Sugar 
2g Salt
50g Water 
1 Egg 
40g Butter 

In a mixer fitted with a bread hook, add flour, yeast, sugar, egg and water. Start mixing at slow speed for 2 mins. Add salt and continue to knead until dough lifts from the wall of the mixing bowl. 

Add water roux mix and continue to knead for 3 mins. (speed 2)

Add butter and increasing kneading speed to speed 4.

Continue kneading for 15 mins on speed 4 until dough is no longer sticky and does not break when pulled to perform window test. 

Place dough in a slightly oiled bowl. Cover with cling wrap and leave to proof in a warm area for 45mins.

With lightly floured hands and table top, knead (6) to form a smooth round ball. Divide dough into 12 balls – about 40g each.

Roll each small ball into a round ball and leave to proof for 10mins.

Flatten each ball and roll out to a circle with a rolling pin. Place sambal ikan bilis filling in the center of the dough and wrap and seal the edges of the dough to form a ball. 

Leave to proof for 1 hour. 

Brush with egg white and decorate.

Bake at 185C for 8-10mins until brown.

Leave to cool.

September 5, 2015

Fig Galette

Dear A, 

The Turkish figs are back. They show up only once or twice a year as far as I can remember. My dream ritual of picking it myself-choose one, pretend to smell, and put it in basket-is so not going to happen here. Yes, they're imported, and they come in box, which I bought two. I have eight plump and purplish figs in my fridge, lie idling for almost a week. Hubs even made a complaint of having too many fruits in the fridge. Well, I’m hopeless when it comes to beautiful produce. I'm a whatever-nice-in-the-grocery hoarder. I buy and store them in my fridge/pantry and wait for the right moment to use it a.k.a near expiry date. Get some tips to make them last longer here. Anyway, I have nothing sprang on my mind for these figs. I turned them into tart few years ago, blogged, and that's about it. I think I prefer to have them as it is nowadays. Couple it with my oatmeals, or slice them up and threw it in my salad. Our house was due for HIP (House Improvement Project) inspection and some electrical work that day, and I wanted the house to smell nice when the guys come. Not the right guest but why not. I need something quick, and a galette is perfect. I'd like to think galette as a free-form of tart/pie. It's less tedious obviously, provided that the dough you're working with is not temperamental. The hot breeze of September would give me no help if I were to stick with my go-to pastry recipe. So I searched for a new one. And ended up with Deb’s site-Blueberry Galette recipe. I choose hers for its sour cream call (she used ricotta, but suggested to subs with yogurt/sour cream). I have about half tub of it, left from my last use. Her recipe is quick and that's one thing I love about it. Very easy to 'handle'. I froze it for merely 10 mins and it harden. Had to left it on my counter while searching for my rolling pin. Adam used it for his kitchen-play last week and didn’t put it back in the drawer. I searched and searched as the hot ambiance started to soften up my dough. I gave up and used a cup instead. And it worked. The dough was nearly back into its initial state, but it didn't stick on my fingers. Great. We have an hour of no fans, no wifi, no TV, etc. Yes, they shut down the main power off. As they did their job, I sat on my dining table, guiding Adam on his English exercise, while working out a piece of galette. Adam loves the crust but not so much on the filling. He's excited for the blueberries tho-I threw in a few just to get that pretty purple bursts. Refused for more when he bit just a tiny piece of fig. Hmmm. More for mommy then.  

More soon. 




1 1/4 cups (160 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
Zest of half a lemon
8 tablespoons (4 ounces or 113 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons cold water


11/2 cups fig cuts
Few blueberries
3 to 4 tablespoons granulated sugar (use the lower amount if your fruit is especially sweet)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Pinch of salt


1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon water
1 heaped teaspoon coarse sugar for sprinkling

Make dough: 
Whisk the flour, salt, sugar and zest together in the bottom of a large bowl. Work the butter into the flour with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles a coarse meal and the largest bits of butter are the size of tiny peas. Stir sour cream and 3 tablespoons water together in a small dish and pour into butter-flour mixture. Stir together with a flexible spatula as best as you can, then use your hands to knead the mixture into a rough, craggy ball. Wrap in plastic and flatten into a disc. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour or up to 48 hours, or you can quick-firm this in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Assemble galette: Heat oven to 200 C. On a floured counter, roll the dough out into a large round-ish shape, about 14 to 15 inches across. Download and print Deb's star shape template here. Cut the dough according to the template. Carefully stir together all of the filling ingredients and spread them in the center of the dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Fold each of the 5 corners into the center. Pinch the outer corners closed, to seal in the filling and the shape. Whisk egg yolk and water together and brush over exposed crust. Sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Bake galette: For 30 minutes, or golden all over. Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes, then slide the galette onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm or at room temperature. Serve it with ice cream.

August 19, 2015

Buttermilk Cherry Smoothie

Dear A, 

I love buttermilk. I think it's a clever use of leftovers. You probably already know, but in case you don't, buttermilk is a milk-leftover after making butter. And contrary to its name, buttermilk is actually lower in fat than regular milk. And some says, lower than yogurt. There are two types of buttermilk, traditional and cultured. Traditional buttermilk refers to the by-product from churned butter while cultured buttermilk is a cow's milk fermented using lactic acid bacteria. That is what lined in most grocery shelves nowadays. Frankly, I never knew its existence until I moved here. That was 6 years ago. That long eh. It now graces my Sunday mornings, being the most loyal companion to my eggs, flour and sugar, and end up as fluffy pancakes on my plates. Adam loves them. I never knew buttermilk can be drunk straight as it is. I We only do yogurt drinks. Yes, I remember. They both are actually two different dairy products. Similar in taste, tangy, but buttermilk has this bitter after taste. As for the cherries, I wanted to make something with them, by something I mean galettes, tarts or a pound cake (high hopes!) but I simply had little time to make any bakings this week. No regrets though. The smoothie tastes so good. The sweetness of the cherries combined with the tang of the buttermilk made me had it in seconds. While the banana make it rich and satisfying. The recipe is from Bon Appetit, which requires only three ingredients-buttermilk, cherries and banana. Just combine 1/2 cup buttermilk, 1 cup pitted cherries, and 1 peeled ripe banana in a blender. Purée until smooth. Give it a try, will you?



August 5, 2015

Green Goddess Smoothie

Dear A, 

I have been planning to write you a letter for years now, but, the right moment never came for me to just sit down and write. Well, different case this morning though. A lovely grey weather outdoors, such a fine day to work at my new workspace and start typing. It's such a long time since we'd last spoken. I try to forget and go beyond those upsetting words to come to this. Life has many different chapters. One bad chapter in life, doesn't mean it's the end of the book. I really hope we could pick up right as we left off. Like nothing ever happen. Let's start with Raya. We went back to Penang for Raya this year. Tried catching up with our relatives there, went to every single Mami's house (we're busy with the kids, they're really getting old), had the best Mamak food 24 hrs a day, it's been food, food food...can you imagine? Exactly the same Penang routine we had when we were small. I gained like 4 kilos in few days time. Oh well. That explains the green smoothie. I shall have this every morning, and I shall be punished if I ever skip one. #mantra Hopefully I could lose those unwanted kilos by end of the month (or year?). Not if I keep on eating like a mad cow! I have been consuming this drink for almost two years now, on and off, unfortunately. It's called Green Glowing Green by Kimberly Synder, but I prefer to call it Green Goddess Smoothie or GGS. It was a major trend in Instagram years back. It was shared by my IG friend, whom I had a chance to meet during my Germany trip with mom last year. I'm not a big fan of following what's trend or not, but this one's definitely a good trend, so I succumbed. Verdict: probably one of the factor that successfully lowered down my cholesterol level. 

Here's the recipe in case you feel like trying.



1 1/2 cups water
1 head organic romaine lettuce, chopped
3 to 4 stalks organic celery
1/2 head of a large bunch or 3/4 of a small bunch of spinach
1 organic apple, cored and chopped
1 organic pear, cored and chopped
1 organic banana
Juice of 1/2 fresh organic lemon
Optional: 1/3 bunch organic cilantro (stems OK) and 1/3 bunch organic parsley (stems OK)


1. Add water and chopped head of romaine to blender. Blend at a low speed until smooth.
2. Add spinach, celery, apple, and pear, and blend at high speed.
3. Add cilantro and parsley (which help chelate heavy metals from your body).
4. Finish with banana and lemon.

I must go now. The kitchen floor is waiting to be mopped, the dish is still piling in the sink, and I got lunch to cook. More letters soon. 

With much love,