Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Nutella Light Cream Cheese

Who doesn't love a good cheese cake? I do! But if I have a choice, I would always go for a light cheese cake rather then the traditional dense NY style cheesecake. Never seem to be able to finish a slice of those. But for light cheese cake, that would be a totally different story. Light, fluffy texture that won't weigh you down or making you feel guilty have a big slice. ;)

Incorporating the egg separation and meringue method, light cheese cake is much like a chiffon cake with extra creaminess and moisture. With the use of steam baking, it kept the cake moist and creamy as well. Though it can be a little more hassle to set up the steam bath, this technique has proven to yield a much nicer texture for cheesecakes. 

This time I have decided to incorporate the household favourite spread in this cheese cake recipe. Nutella! Hazel-nutty, chocolaty goodness to top off the already delicious cheesecake, I say why not?
I am sure many of us has already eaten or even baked a plain or vanilla cheesecake before. But not many of us has ventured to try out different flavours. Yes indeed this Nutella flavour ain't your usual but after trying it, I personally feel it is a keeper since Nutella is such a well loved flavoured. My kids enjoyed this very much. I am definitely okay to serve this to them because it is steam baked, it kind of takes off the edge about serving them heaty bakes during this exam period. ;)

One note about baking this cake is to allow ample time for the cake to chill in the fridge before serving it. Preferably overnight as it will taste much better and the creamy texture will come through.

Ingredients for Nutella Light Cheese Cake (makes an 8" x 2.5" round cake)
175 g cream cheese, room temperature (preferably Philadelphia brand ) 
75g Nutella
5 egg yolks
60g castor sugar
50g butter
150 g full cream milk
60 g cake flour
20g cornflour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp Vanilla extract
5 egg whites
60g castor sugar
  • Preheat the oven to 155C. Prepare a tray with water for steam baking the cake. Grease and line the base of a 8" by 3" round cake pan with parchment.
  • In a sauce pan, add in the Nutella, cream cheese, caster sugar, butter and milk. Heat the saucepan over low medium fire. Stirring it constantly all the ingredients melt and combines well together into a silky smooth mixture.

  • Remove the saucepan away from the fire. Let it cool before use. 
  • Add in the egg yolks and whisk in well to combine.

  • Now sift the cake and cornflour into the cooled egg yolk batter. Whisk well making sure there is no lumps.
  • In the meantime, beat your egg whites in a large mixing bowl. When the egg white is foamy, gradually add in the caster sugar. Continue to beat till the whites reaches stiff peaks.
  • In 3 separate portions, fold in the egg white batter into the egg yolk batter till everything is well combined.

  • Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Use a tooth pick to do a quick run through the batter to remove any air pockets trapped inside.

  • Wrap the base of the cake pan with thick aluminium foil to prevent any water leakage if your cake pan is those removable base pan.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 58-60 minutes or till the cake tester comes out clean.

  • Remove the pan from the oven and let cool on the rack. Once cooled, gently remove the cake from the pan and let cool completely.
  • Then chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight before slicing or serving it. 
My cake came out a little too toasty on the top. So do take note, if you find your cake browning too fast, remember to cover it with aluminium foil. But do not touch the top of the cake. 

Luckily the cake was baked evenly and it sliced out nicely. :) Wheee! 
The cake was light, moist and perfect sweetness the way I like it. But feel free to reduce the sugar a little more if you are on a low sugar diet. However, less sugar can also affect the texture, so try to keep it to a minimal reduction.

And how to make it even more awesome then it already is? How about some gooey warm Nutella right over the top?

Recipe is versatile enough to substitute the Nutella with creamy PB or sweetened Black Sesame paste or even fruit compote. The sugar level will have to be adjusted as per needed depending of the ingredient you use. 
If you do try this recipe out, let me know how it worked out for you! 

And all the very best to the students that are still sitting for examinations these few days. 加油!Maybe a big slice of this Nutella light cheesecake can be the "fuel" to motivate you on haha!

Do what you love and enjoy every moment of it!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

One Pot Chicken Casserole

The haze coming from Indonesia has gotten bad to worst. Most of the families are trying not to be outdoors and that would means more home cooking. :P So I can totally understand when someone (like me) having to think what to cook 3 meals for a few days in a  row at home, it can get a little draining. A simple one pot dish is definitely a good idea. Less mess and less washing for sure! Plus I have been meaning to put up this Chicken casserole / Chicken stew recipe for the longest time. An easy dish that I always go back to every now and then. You can twig parts of the recipe by substituting some of the ingredients, but the "base" ingredients and technique are pretty much the same. 
Toast up some good baguette and you can mop up that delicious gravy from the dish. And this time I used Le Creuset's 26 cm Cool Mint Buffet casserole pot to cook this dish. Yes, all the cooking done in this casserole pot itself, brilliant isn't it!

Personally I love this buffet casserole pot. 26 cm diameter pot seems like the perfect size for my 4 pax family needs. It is approximately 3 inches tall, not your usual cast-iron pot height, but still deep enough for frying too. Easier to store and the wide flat cooking surface is good for cooking dishes like risotto or even pan searing two steaks at one go. Hopefully I can get to work on these recipes as well soon! 

In the meantime....Chicken casserole! Let's have a run down what are the required ingredients for this dish. ;)

Ingredients for One Pot Chicken Casserole  (serves 3-4 adults)

2 whole chicken legs
2 whole chicken wings
3-4 smoked sausages or any sausage link of your preference
1 large onion, diced
3 garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 cup thawed frozen green peas
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into bite size
2-3 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
4 stalks celery sticks, cut into bite size
8-10 cremini mushrooms, cut into 4 sections 

Thickening rue : (not shown in pic)
3 tbsp unsalted butter
4 tbsp plain flour
400 ml homemade / store bought chicken stock (not shown)

Salt, pepper and sugar to taste.

  • After you have rinsed the chicken pieces, drain them dry and season well with salt and pepper.

  • Add about 1 cup of cooking oil in the buffet casserole over medium low fire. Prepare some plain flour + 1 tsp baking powder to coat the chicken pieces for frying. Mix the flour well then coat the chicken pieces and dust off extra. Gently drop them in the preheated cooking oil to fry.

  • Repeat till all the chicken pieces are coated and placed into the cooking oil to fry. Fry at medium low temperature and making sure you do not burnt them.

  • Remember to turn the chicken pieces and fry on both sides. Each sides takes about 6-8 minutes to fry up till golden brown. No worries if some of the blood oozes out, usually happens when you uses frozen chicken pieces. Remove the chicken pieces and drain over paper towels for use later. Personally I feel this frying of the chicken pieces is quite an important step, so do not skip it. It helps seal the juices and flavours of the chicken.

  • Drain away the frying oil. It is okay that bits of the meat is "stuck" at the base of the casserole. Once you add in your next ingredient (onions), it will slowly render off. Those bits are gonna help flavour your dish, so please DO NOT scrap them away. Add in the chopped onion and 1 tsp of olive oil over medium low fire and stir to cook.

  • Cook till the onions starts to soften. Give the base a slight scrap to release the bits of meat. Next add in the sausages or bacon, whichever you fancy. These salty flavourful meats will boost that extra depth in flavour in the chicken casserole. 

  • Cook the sausages for a couple minutes. Add in the chopped vegetables ; potato, celery and carrots. Cook for 5-6 minutes till the vegetables are half cooked, stirring constantly.

  • Add salt and fresh ground pepper to the vegetables. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add in the cremini mushrooms and sweet peas in. Cover the casserole and leave it to cook for 2 minutes. The mushroom will cook down on its own. 
  • After 2-3 minutes, open the cover and give it a quick stir. Now you can start making the rue which will thicken the whole dish. Place the cold butter right in the center of the hot casserole and let it melt down.

  • Once the butter is melted, add in the 3 tbsp of plain flour and cook over that "Pool" of melted  butter. Stir to cook the flour and butter mixture. Make sure the fire level is at low, and do not burnt your ingredients. 
  • The flour butter mixture will start ti bubble a little. At this point, stir in the chicken stock. Slowly drizzle in and stir as you pour to mix well.

  • Bring the whole casserole to a gently boil. At this point, you can season a little more. Salt, sugar, pepper, then stir well. Lastly, add in the fried chicken pieces.

  • Cover the pot and let it simmer for a good 13-15 minutes at low fire. Till all the ingredients "marinate" each other's flavour and taste. Off the fire and let sit covered for a good 30 minutes. Yes marinate further with the heat retained by the casserole pot itself. 

Well if this doesn't spell comfort, I don't know what does. Thick flavourful gravy coating the tender soft chicken. And those soft vegetables are just irresistible too! Whether you prefer to have this chicken casserole with steam rice or toasted bread or just plain alone on it's own, I can guarantee you will enjoy every bite of it.

The buffet casserole did make this dish an ease to prepare. Everything done with in it, no fuss no hassle, easy peasy. And that cast iron pot did retained the heat super well. Reason  said that is after I cooked it for 1.5hrs, it was still warm and nice.

Hope you guys love this simple chicken casserole one pot meal. If you decided to try this out, do drop me a comment as well, either here or at IG @Honeybeesweets.sg, appreciate it. Happy cooking!

Do what you love!