It’s been pretty bumpy this week. There are so many things going on, and for the most part, they’re pretty disappointing. Didn’t mean to let the pessimist in me bug you, but I’ve been haunted by technical issues with my darling laptop.
The situation is kind of funny, which isn’t making any sense to me. Or, am I too retarded to grasp it!? (Oh, dammit!) Plain oxymora. First, I can use neither Chrome nor Internet Explorer; I can’t sign in to MSN, can’t listen to my favorite station on Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) and can’t upload photos onto my Flickr page. (Thank, goodness! Luckily, there’s more than one computer within my reach.) But, I still can tweet and be tweeted on Twitter; I still can receive updates on Flickr; I still can check my mails with Gmail; I still can surf the Net with Mozilla Firefox; and, I STILL CAN blog with Blogger. Geez, I hope I’m not counting my chickens before they’re hatched … I’m still in the midst of penning down my thoughts. *Crossing fingers*
On top of being an addict for bakeware, cookware, cookbooks, food, cameras, props, music and any books that catch my fancy, I’m not ashamed of labeling myself an Internet junkie. I can survive without TV – but not without my computer and the Internet. Now that I’m using a malfunctioning computer, my life has turned topsy-turvy. And, I never ever expect myself to excel in everything; otherwise, that will sound a little too ambitious. Ah, I’m still patiently waiting for my technology-savvy brother to be back this weekend to help fix this damn problem!
This may seem like a minor blow. (OK, maybe it ain’t really nothin’ for me after all … I’m literally paralyzed! *Sob*) Nevertheless, through this incident, I’ve gradually come to realize I can get insecure pretty easily. I can get crippled by financial insecurity; I can get irritated by little details. To top it off, I’m an impatient person, too. However, there’s this funny thing about me. I can patiently let my bread dough rise to proof for 1 to 2 hours. I can let my cakes and cookies cool off after baking – but once they’re completely cooled, I can’t stop my itchy hands from inching out to sample a few just to satisfy the nosy parker in me. Hahaha …! Oxymora again! So, another new lesson learned: I’m a person of both contrasts and unpredictability. I do sound scary, eh?
Whilst I can’t do much about the situation with my shallow computer science knowledge, I’ll just have to wait for my savior to be back this weekend to resurrect my computer. So, pardon me for being "less active" lately in visiting food blogs. In the meantime, I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve been featured on this spanking-new foodie site that’s dedicated to baking, and it’s aptly named “Baking is Hot.” Do hop over there to check out other really cool food blogs and recipes!
To cap it all, here’s another recipe devoted to my love for MANGO and VERRINES. (Oh, did I tell you I’m a verrine aficionado, too?) And since the mango season will be concluding soon, why not?
The story started out with this cookbook I spotted at the Hong Kong book fair organized by Kinokuniya, my favorite bookstore in town. All books displayed were made in Hong Kong, literally. Growing up in Asia and having lived in the States for close to 3 years, my palate is truly East-meets-West. (Is that a lame one or what? Ha!) One way to prove that is compared to almost everyone I’ve met back home in Malaysia, I have an unusually sweet tooth, which is very typical of American and something I’ve acquired during my stay there. (Most Asians have what I'd call “savory tooth.” *LOL* Hope it makes sense to you; otherwise, forget it. Maybe my sense of humor just sucks. *Tsk, tsk*)
My observation tells me that the Asian cookbook publishing industry is getting TOO commercialized. I personally prefer cookbooks published in the West for their detail and meticulousness anytime – though they’re probably a tad too sweet for many “Asia-grown Asian” taste buds. Sorry, no offense. This is just my two cents. For recipes that are supposed to be lengthy at where deemed appropriate, e.g. because they’re formulated for an elaborate dish or cake (l’Opera is a great example), they’re in fact overly brief and summarized. The authors and editors probably assume that most of us cookbook readers are way past the intermediate levels!? Or it’s just another means to be cost- and “energy-efficient!?” This is just sad …
Luckily, this recipe didn’t take me too long to figure out that some things were missing … So, I had to fix it somehow. Boy, glad that I did.
Don’t be put off by the length of the recipe, yea? It’s long simply because it’s VERRINE! Verrine is made up of several components, with each contributing to the symphony orchestra of the end product. Can be either sweet or savory, too! So, the recipe is lengthy but simple! The result is remarkable.
The symphony orchestra turned out to be phenomenally scrumptious! This mango-mascarpone trifle won applause from the humble audience of taste testers and me. The enticing sweetness and fruity aroma of juicy mango complement perfectly with the mild tang and luscious softness of Italian mascarpone. This heavenly couple gives off a toothsome experience that simply lingers on your tongue and captures your senses. Finishing up with almond génoise renders the glassed dessert fresh nuttiness. Oh, it’s a glass of sweet memories made with love and passion! Pure enjoyment!
Mango-Mascarpone Trifle 芒果芭菲
Adapted from "Dessert for You," by Rachel Yau 摘自《為您做甜品》。丘桂玲 著
* The number of glasses of verrine you can get out of this recipe varies as it really depends on the size of the serving vessels used. *
For the almond génoise:
110 g almonds
* I used whole almonds, with skin on. *
40 g powdered sugar
124 g egg whites, at room temperature
50 g caster sugar
124 g egg whites, at room temperature
50 g caster sugar
- To toast the almonds, bake the nuts at 150C for 10~15 minutes; remove them from the oven and set aside to let cool completely before using
- To get pulverized almonds: place the cooled toasted almonds and powdered sugar together in the food processor, then give the sugar-coated nuts quick and short pulses till you get fine pulverized almonds. Sift the sugar-pulverized almond mixture twice; set aside
* Sugar helps with absorbing the oil from the nuts and prevents the nuts from clumping together as you pulverize the nuts. *
** Alternatively, you can use store-bought almond meal, which will work just as good. But, I think commercial one lacks the fresh nutty flavor that I love. Still, It really is up to you. If you opt for store-bought one, simply combine it together with the powdered sugar, then sift twice and set aside for use in step #4. **
- To get the meringue: in a clean grease-free metal mixing bowl, whip the egg whites till they get foamy, then gradually beat in the 50 g caster sugar as you keep whipping the egg whites; keep whipping them up till they have attained stiff peaks and look glossy
- Gently fold the almond-powdered sugar mixture to the meringue, in 2~3 batches, till just incorporated -- DON'T overdo this lest deflating the meringue by forcing out the air within
- Transfer the batter into a piping bag that's fitted with a plain-tip nozzle. Next, pipe the batter out in a circular motion -- beginning from the center -- to get a big circle, on a parchment-lined baking tray
* If you're frugal, just spread the batter on a parchment-lined baking tray with help from a rubber spatula -- just gotta make sure that the batter is spread till about 1-inch thick. *
- Bake at 180C for 15 minutes or till it looks slightly browned and the toothpick comes out clean once taken out after inserting into the center of the cake
- Remove the cake from the oven; transfer the cake onto a cooling rack to let cool completely before using
For the mango purée:
500 g mango flesh, puréed
4 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
80 g caster sugar
1 vanilla bean, split
- Combine (B) together in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat over low heat till the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has barely thickened -- keep stirring at all times to prevent burning at the bottom
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the mixture cool completely aside
Remember to pick out and discard the vanilla bean before using. (Or, you may keep it for some other uses.)
For the vanilla mascarpone:
3 egg yolks, at room temperature
25 g caster sugar
1 vanilla bean, split
125 mL milk
250 g mascarpone
250 mL heavy cream, chilled
6 g powdered gelatine
70 mL water -- at room temperature will do
- Heat (D) together in a heavy-bottomed saucepan to bring to a boil OR microwave (D) together in a microwaveable vessel on HIGH till they start to boil -- monitor at all times while doing this
Cover and set the mixture aside to let the flavors infuse for about 1 hour
- Meanwhile, cream (C) together till pale, sticky and thick (i.e. the ribbon stage)
- Reheat the vanilla milk from step #1 to bring it to a boil again. Next, remove from the heat once the milk starts to boil and discard the vanilla bean (or you can reserve it for some other purposes)
- Gradually temper the hot vanilla milk into the beaten yolks, then set the whole deal aside to cool slightly till it's less hot -- well, not too cool either. In the meantime, sprinkle the powdered gelatine from (E) over the 70 mL water to bloom (i.e. soften) it, which should just take around 5 minutes
- Once the yolk-milk mixture has gotten slightly cooler, blend in the gelatine and stir to make sure that the gelatine gets dissolved into the warm mixture completely. Next, set the whole deal aside to cool completely
- Once the yolk-milk mixture has cooled off, gradually blend it into the mascarpone -- a few tablespoons at a time -- to incorporate them altogether. If this were done all at once, the mixtures will separate!
- Now whip the chilled heavy cream till it's looks mousse-like (70-percent stiff); fold the semi-whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture gently till just incorporated, in 2~3 batches
- Depending on your serving vessels, use a suitable cookie cutter to cut out the almond génoise so that the cut-out cake fits each serving vessel
- Place the cut-out cake at the bottom of the glasses that you're planning to use, then pour over the mango purée till about 1-centimeter thick. Next, pour over some of the mascarpone mixture till about 2-cm thick.
Repeat step #2 to each of the serving vessels that you're planning to use. After that, send all the glasses to chill in the fridge till the mixtures have set completely
* But seriously, how you want to divide the mixtures among your serving vessels is clearly a matter of preference. *
- Once the first layers of the three components have fully set, repeat the layering and chilling instructions in step #2 to each of the serving vessels -- stop filling them once each is 80-percent full
- Once the whole deal has set completely, you may serve the dessert. Garnish as desired; served chilled.