Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Amazing Caramel Corn and Eggy Tarts

Caramel Corn

Ta-dah! I finally made caramel corn. It's been on my 'must-do' list since god knows when. I do like caramel. I guess it's second nature, since i have such a sweet tooth. I didn't know caramel corn was this easy to make. I do have The Amateur Gourmet to thank of course. I read about his 8 caramel corn failures on one of his posts and well, just a few days ago, he finally found the perfect caramel corn recipe from a certain Christine who had a recipe that actually worked! and Viola, he got his caramel corn right for once! and i got so inspired that I knew I had to make some for myself. And there you have it, some delightful crunchy caramel pop corn.

I love how the butter mixes so well with the sugary goodness. It's a mix of sweet and salty i guess. You can never go wrong with butter... it's one of the best things on earth... there'll be less delicious cookies and cakes around if there was no butter! so ya...

oh boy, i do know that this isn't the last time i'll be using this caramel corn recipe. Thanks Christine and Adam! haha you guys rock... at least now, i can have lovely caramel corn anytime, anywhere... especially it's not found that easily in Singapore.

Okay, enough about corn, next up, something yellow, something a little custard-y and delicious!....

Egg Tarts

Egg Tarts! Yes yes, I know, I FINALLY got down to making them. I've been wanting to make these ever since Fat Fingers made hers. But I didn't use her recipe though... I found this other one from Trisha which looked simpler. Thing is, I don't have any custard powder and was rather lazy to buy some, so I used Trish's recipe which only asked for eggs, milk and sugar for the custard filling. And as you can see from the picture, it turned out fine and dandy.

Yay... I've finally learnt how to make egg tarts after procrastinating for so long. Thing is, i enjoy egg tarts very much especially those with a thick crust and lovely gelled custard. Now that I know how to make them, I can tweak the recipe and have it made just the way i like it. Now how cool is that?

Haha... i think i'm on a baker's high. i feel a sense of achievement... lol... okay, maybe it's not much of an achievement but still, i am happy. Real achievement is when i master the art of making puff pastry or phyllo dough, i tell ya.. that's a real feat. maybe i'll get to learn it properly when i go to culinary school in future? we'll see..

anyhow, here are the recipes for your ease:


Caramel Corn

1 cup butter
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
6 quarts of Popped corn (use the kind labelled Mushroom popcorn)

Heat your oven to 250C. Melt the butter, stir in the corn syrup, sugar and salt. Bring the misture to a boil stirring constantly. Boil without stirring for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the soda and vanilla (Careful! it foams!). Pour over the popped corn and mix well. Spread the coated corn into large cake pans and bake for 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Let it cool and eat! You can add peanuts or any other nuts if you like.

Taken from Christine of Pookie Fat Cat


Egg Tarts
(makes about 20)

For the pastry
1 1/2 cups (225g) plain flour
2 tbsps icing sugar mixture
170g cold butter, chopped
1 egg yolk
2 tbsps iced water, approximately

For the custard filling
3/4 cup (165g) sugar
1 1/4 cups (310ml) water
5 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup (125ml) milk

Custard Filling
Combine sugar and water in pan, stir over heat, without boiling, until sugar is dissolved; let it cool. When cooled combine the sugar syrup, egs and milk in bowl, stir till well combined.

Sift flour and icing sugar into bowl, rub in butter, add egg yolk and enough water to make ingredients cling together; wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 mins.

Divide dough into 2 portions, roll each portion to 2mm thickness. Cut pastry into 8cm rounds. Line greased deep fluted tart tins (1/4 cup (60ml) capacity) with pastry rounds.

Pour custard carefully into pastry cases until custard comes three-quarters of the way up the sides of pastry. Bake in hot oven for 10 mins, reduce heat to moderately hot, bake further 10 mins or until custard is set.

Note: You can use disposable aluminium tart casings if you don't have deep fluted tart tins. It works just as well.

If the pastry is too sticky or difficult to roll, wrap it again in the cling-wrap and refrigate for another 10 mins. It is much easier to work on a cool pastry.

Hot oven is approx 220-230C or 450-475F or Gas Mark 6.
Moderately hot oven is approx 200-210C or 400-425F or Gas Mark 5.

Taken from Trisha of Treats by Trisharatna


Anonymous said...

Hey there!

I stumbled onto your blog a few days ago from (I think) and I am so totally impressed at your cooking/ baking prowess - at such a young age at that!

I guess the passion comes from the genes - with dad being a chef and all!

Your custard tart looks scrumptious! I tried pecan pie from scratch, but my pastry stuffed up pretty bad - turned very biscuity.

I'm also eyeing your pistachio cake, it looks amazing, and it looks like it tastes even better!

How on earth do you find time to bake?? By the time I'm done, I don't even feel like eating my own goodies.

So far I've made multi-flavoured muffins (banana & walnut being my fave), choc chip cookies, creme brulee (which I didn't have a blow torch for :(), baked cheesecake, pretty much all regular un-interesting stuff.

ANYWAY, being a new fan and all, I just wanted to wish you good luck, and keep those beautiful pictures coming (and recipes)!

PS> You ought to start up your own kinda "Bengawan Solo" or "Bread Talk".

PPS> Ooh, would love to see some traditional kueh-kueh or desserts :)

Colin said...

Cheryl, your father is a chef?

Congratulations on putting up another post that has made me try to lick my monitor. Your caramel corn looks unhealthily yummy.

Butter is god's gift to humanity, it really is.

Like persephone asked, where do you find time to bake? I can only manage time on weekends.

Were I not so wary of baking I'd be more inspired by you.

the baker said...

hi persephone!

haha, yes I do have a great passion for baking/cooking. ya, you're right.. it really must be in my genes! all my 7 aunts from my maternal side can bake and cook darn well! i do remember helping them knead dough and measure ingredients when I was much younger.. haha of course I loved eating the baked goods even more =)

my dad is one heck of a chef i gotta admit. hats off to him! he's peranakan and he can really cook a mean devil curry and ayam buah keluah... whatever he cooks turns out great and delicious...

i guess that makes up for my mum's distaste for cooking. sadly, she doesn't share the same passion as me... she cooks for us only because she has to and sorry to say but most of the time, her food is bland and she hates trying out new recipes... so it's always the same dishes over and over again... lol ... so now you know why I bake/cook so often =)

honestly, I really don't know how i find the time to even bake! well i usually do it in the evenings when i come home from work. i know i know, i should be too tired to lift a finger right? heh but me being an avid baker, i just have to have my baker's fix. i enjoy the process of baking as much as i do eating it.

ahhh yes, the pastry is a very tricky thing... did you refrigerate it for about half hour first? it's easier to manage if you do. ya the pistachio cake tasted so good that i couldn't just stop at one =p

ah creme brulee! i have always wanted to make that... actually you don't have to have a blowtorch.. you can use the oven.. but of course the results won't be as perfect.

thanks for your support! let me know if you have any questions about any of the recipes and what not, i'll be more than happy to help!

haha yes one of my goals is to actually open a bakery of sorts, something unique and off the wall. i'll be sure to inform you when i do.. hah

speaking of traditional kueh... i was thinking of making onde-onde... okay, that is on my next to do list! =) anyway thanks for dropping by!

the baker said...

heya colin,

ya my dad was a chef, but not anymore. he's too old for it. in fact, i just asked him recently whether he could consider going back to being one, and he said it was simply too tiring... but he does hope to have his own peranakan restaurant next time. i know that's his biggest dream.

he was in the police force before he became a chef actually... he started out late (around late forties) so i guess the energy level isn't has high as that of a younger chap.

but he was cooking darn good food even way back before he worked at places like tony roma's and blue ginger. he was also a wee commis cook at mandarin hotel. i'm very proud of him actuallY! and my siblings are always all too happy when he cooks at home because it's never short of fantastic!

i hope to cook as well as he does... that reminds me, i have to bug him to teach me his delicious ayam buah keluah!

oh, i'm a night owl and am used to sleeping very late, so i guess that's where i find my time to bake! most of my family would be asleep and i'll still be in the kitchen. that's just how avid a baker i am. but no choice, that's my only free time, weekends i'm usually out.

i do think baking and cooking is in my blood! time is not an issue for me.. =)

Anonymous said...

Hey Cheryl,

Guess what! My mum was a police officer too, but that was sometime in the 70s.

My family's hopeless at cooking. In fact, the kitchen is just about the last place they wanna be. Mum cooks once a year. Lunch ends up being dinner coz that's how long she takes. My whole life, I've eaten hawker food (except when I'm at my granny's).

And I know what Colin means when says he has the urge to lick his monitor. I really ought not to view your blog times I haven't eaten yet.

As for my shortcrust pastry, I did the crumbing method (I remembered that vaguely from Home Ec in Sec 2), then once it all came together, I balled it up, wrapped it and refrigerated it. Took it out and started rolling it out to fit the dish. But you realise how it warms up quite quickly coz of all that touching. Should I have baked it blind? Coz I did. Then I added in the pecan filling. Or maybe I shouldn't have baked it blind. I don't know. Argh.

As for ondeh-ondeh. Ooh, that's pretty easy, you'll find no problem at all. I did it some years back. Make it with sweet potato. Yumm.

As for my creme brulee, I used the top grill of the oven. But my creme brulee warmed up and got soggy? The sugar didn't caramelize very quickly.

By the way, when you roasted your vege, did you do it sans any herb or olive oil? Coz it really tastes yum with olive oil drizzled on it.

In case you wanna try creme brulee, my bf makes yummy ones with strawberry & other variations of it. Because you use alot of egg yolks for it, don't throw away the whites. Save it when you need to make souffles. He makes chocolate ones yummy. HOW CAN I HAVE A BF THAT COOKS BETTER THAN ME???


As soon as my exam's over, I'm gonna try out your pistachio cake. It looks so pretty - I couldn't bear to eat it though.

the baker said...

hey persephone,

haha.. then you should cook more often! hawker food isn't all too healthy you know =) i usually prefer to have a home cooked meal...then you can control the ingredients and add more of what you like and less of what you don't! haha...

ahh... i think you shouldn't have baked it blind. but what did the recipe say? for this egg tarts, i didn't bake it blind. but maybe it's because the custard cooks pretty quickly? Or maybe you should try a different short crust recipe. there are so many variations - some require eggs, some don't, but i just found this one which sounds good, a.k.a pate brisee. going to try it out the next time i bake a tart.. i'll post it up then and maybe you can use it ya?

ya onde-onde's a breeze to make. i've made it a couple of times. i just love kuehs.. the stickiness of it and what not. i love eating the green & white one. is it called kueh salat? the bottom is made out of glutinious rice i think... hey! maybe i should try making that...

ya for creme brulee, if you're using your oven to caramelise the sugar, i think the temperature has to be high? so that it heats the top layer quick enough before the brulee heats up too much..

yes i did put some olive oil and herbs on my peppers and egg plants before roasting - lots of it! i love olive oil and am a sucker for herbs... i have a habit of using them when i grill fish espeically. delicious, the aroma and taste! just too bad i don't have a fresh herb garden.. or else, i can just pluck all the rosemary, thyme, basil and oregano i need!

speaking of souffles, i was just thinking of trying them out. i just bought this Donna Hay magazine from Times book shop. I couldn't resist buying it whilst browsing the food mag section during lunch. it's got lots of lovely recipes from fuss-free meals to pies, cakes, souffles and the works. i can't wait to try those recipes out.

well you're one lucky girl then! ask him to help you out next time? strawberry creme brulee sounds wicked. yumm.. i can imagine how a chocolate one would taste like.

speaking of desserts, have you eaten at Bakerzin? their desserts are to die for. and the cupcakes at marmalade pantry! superb. i love making cupcakes... cos it's so cute and you can have one all to yourself. it's fun.

pls do let me know when you've tried out the pistachio cake and if you liked eating it! =) well i'm sure you will...

Some person said...

Hi Cheryl!

I am so glad that the caramel corn works for everyone. I love it and make triple batches each Christmas to give away. Grandma would be so happy!

Colin said...

Persephone, you have to make sure your grill is absolutely scorching hot, then place your creme brulees as close to them as possible, and watch them very closely. Michael Chu of Cooking For Engineers details how to do this.

I have nearly an ice tray full of forzen egg whites waiting to be used, left over from creme brulee and chocolate cakes. Thinking of making either meringue or souffle soon.

Any recommendations

Anonymous said...

Hey Cheryl (and Colin)

I turned the dial for temperature to the maximum(est), and the sugar was taking it's own sweet time to caramelize. I still don't understand it.

OMG Colin, you put your egg whites in ice-trays?! Haha, imagine if someone actually thought they were really ice and plopped them into Coke. Ewww..

Thanks for that link by the way!

And ya, next time I bake pies I won't bake them blind. I just assumed if I didn't, then the dough would stay "raw".

As for the pistachio cake, that's surely the very next thing I bake. Whether or not it turns out as nicely as yours is a different story altogether. I'm quite the idiot in the kitchen sometimes.

And you know how certain people have the "hand" for it - the way persons A & B could follow the very same recipe, but both dishes could turn out very different? "Knack" doesn't quite describe what I mean though.

No, I haven't been to Bakerzin. In fact I've been so out of touch with Singapore. But I'm coming down in about a month after EONS, so if you could recommend me some places for good food, that'd be sweet!

Those kueh-kuehs! Me & granny used to go down to Geylang Wet Market sometimes and buy all kinds of kueh. Yes I know that half green half white glutinous rice one. Yeahhh I think that's what it's called - kueh salat. As a kid I preferred the green bit coz it was sweet, and I would ditch the white bit (granny ate whatever I rejected. Sweet ole woman). But now I realise it's gotta be eaten TOGETHER.

Then there's kueh kasui, kueh keria, kueh lopes, kueh nagasari and of course kueh lapis and jemput-jemput.

I am so gonna eat myself to death when I get my butt in Singapore.

And Colin, I'm impressed with you too! I guess you could make one of those meringue pies? Or just plain pavlova. Multi-flavoured souffles. Yum yum.

You guys over there should have a bake party or something. Like a potluck. One savoury and one dessert from each person.

Jennifer said...

I just wanted to stop in and say hi as I stumbled onto your blogger. Your recipes sound amazing and I am looking forward to trying your egg tarts. I too love to cook and bake when time permits and have recently started to post favourite recipes. Not sure if you have rhubarb over there but I have a recipe posted for an amazing rhubarb pie. ;)

Colin said...

Persephone, luckily no one in my house uses ice trays; we all use the dispenser. I freeze the whites to make them last longer, otherwise they'd just go bad.

Anyway I'm not much of a baker like Cheryl. But I need to use up those whites!

Haha, what, like a foodblog con? That might be an idea, heh.

the baker said...

hey christine,

yes, caramel corn makes for a perfect gift! i just packed some to give to a friend actually. your grandma rocks! =p

hey hey persephone,

i love pies. but i much prefer those with short crust pastry than the puff pastry ones. i just love how buttery it is and how it crumbles like a cookie! ya know what i mean? hahaa... and yes.. tarts are lovely too. man, actually i love all baked goods. =p

ya i know what you mean, following a recipe is one thing, but getting the technique right is another. dont' worry too much... just follow the steps slowly and don't rush. i'm sure your cake will turn out just fine! let me know if you need any help.

but seriously, like with anything, practise makes perfect... i've been baking since dunno when.. so i guess it becomes second nature. but baking is rather tricky, so you got to know how each ingredient works so you can utilise it fully. ie, adding cornflour/starch to your cookie dough makes for a chewy cookie. it's a craft in itself. a little work of alchemy!

you've never been to bakerzin? then you must, when you come here soon. anyway, where are you from? you know what, if you like, i could bring you around if you want. haha i do know all the places for good eats. we could have a makan fest! what say you?
let me know?

haha a potluck sounds good actually.

hey colin...

how long would frozen eggwhites last? funny i never thought of freezing mine before. but i shall now. hey you could use them to make angel cake too. as for meringue, i do think they're so trickY! overbeat them and you get mush. i tried baking macaroons before too, but they didn't turn out as supposed to. i think it's also due to the humidity here in singapore. affects the baking.

a foodblog con sounds good actually! hey we could actually gather some of the sg food bloggers and have a get together or makan session. i'm sure it'll be great fun. we could do potluck too and actually taste the food instead of looking at the pixels on the screeN! it's do-able i think. what do u think?

Hey jennifer...

yes, do try those egg tarts... they're rather easy to make. i'm sure you'll love them! as for rhubarb, i've actually hard alot about it but i don't know if it's available in singapore. haven't seen it myself. maybe i'll go scout around and try out your gram's recipe! thanks for dropping by... =)

Colin said...

Haha, I freeze everything I can't finish using. Don't waste food, you know.

A sg food blog con would be a very good idea, I'm thinking. A pot luck's probably the best way. It could even be our own local IMBB theme - pot luck!

the baker said...

yes... imagine, all the good food! and it'll be cool for us devout foodies to gather and just talk endlessly about food!

speaking of food. i just went to phoon huat to get me some ingredients and baking stuff and yay guess what i found! vanilla pods! i'm so happy. haha i went there a couple of times but there was no stock, i think these ones just came in. excellent. i'm thinking of making vanilla creme brulee with them. do you have any good recipe?
man, i need to get some ramekins too.. i just realised i don't have any!

Colin said...

Oh well done. Finding vanilla pods is always like discovering buried treasure.

See my creme brulee post for a workable recipe (3, counting the other two I listed) or try one of the many I came across in your food blog links!

You should have bought the ramekins at Phoon Huat as well, though. Would have saved you a trip.

Anonymous said...

Hey Cheryl!

I was watching TV today, channel-surfing, and caught this cooking show. The chef was slicing up eggplants, and immediately it reminded me of you!!

You like eggplants so much, you could make Moussaka! :)

the baker said...

hey colin,

yes indeed, it's actually my first time seeing an actual vanilla pod. that's why i had to buy it!

phoon huat sells ramekins? i didn't see any when i was there... i was searching but thought they didn't sell any. i went to the one at bencoolen.

i think the best way to fully utilise the rare vanilla pods is to make creme brulee ya? cos i don't want to use it in some recipe that masks the vanilla totally. then it'll be such a waste!

hey persephone,

what channel was that? is it discovery travel and living? haha i'm hooked on that channel. just too bad I don't have cable tv. i usually am tuned in to that whenever i go to my aunt's place cos she's got cable! i love watching any show that has to do with food. esp. A Cook's Tour by Anthony Bourdain, and of course, Jamie Oliver. he's just so charming. and he has such skilled hands! amazing.

what's moussaka? which country is it from? the weird thing is, i never liked eggplants before. used to avoid them when i was much younger, but i've grown accustomed to them over time. maybe it's because of the colour! haha yes, my fav colour's purple... =)

Anonymous said...

Hey sweety,

Unfortunately, I doubt you can catch the show I watched coz I'm in Melbourne, and it's an Aussie programme. And it wasn't a show all about cooking anyway. The programme is called Better Homes & Gardens.

Anyway, Moussaka is a Greek dish. I've only had it once at some sidewalk cafe over here, so I can't say if that is what typical Moussaka tastes like. But I like the general idea of it!

It involves sliced eggplant, roasted in olive oil (haha I know this you like!!), and I think some recipes involve roasting sliced potatoes too. And basically it's like an eggplant lasagna of sorts, coz you layer the eggplant with bechamel/ white sauce with what seems to be minced lamb (or is it beef?)done ala bolognaise style.

I can imagine what a tedious task this would be!

I'm not sure if these sites give you authentic recipes, one calls it Eggplant and Lamb casserole, while the other says its the Greek version of shepherd's pie. Whatever it's called, we know it has eggplant! ;)

I like the taste of eggplant too; it has this sweetness to it. And like it mushy too.

Ooh, my aunt makes amazing fried eggplant with onions and honey. It's so amazing! One day I'll get the recipe off her. She hates making it only coz itz a pain frying the slices of eggplant. I like how the "meat" of the eggplant slides off its skin.

One vegetable I've never liked since the beginning is LADIES FINGER. I think it's the yuckiest vegetable on earth. I think the fact that it's called ladies finger should make one suspicious already. Ooh, and olives. *shudder*

Haha, about Jamie Oliver, there are these aunties here that are disgusted with how unsanitary his cooking methods are. LOL.

And you gotta come to Melbourne sometime. It's such a cosmopolitan city; all kinds of restaurants - Greek, Lebanese, Turkish, Italian etc. And it's all owned and cooked by natives themselves! Ooh, and you gotta try the emu and kangaroo too!


the baker said...


oh so you're in melbourne! are you studying there? Sadly, I've never been to melbourne... only to brisbane once. but i got to stay there for 2 months during an overseas attachment prg thing with UQ.

girl, moussaka really does sound good and you're definitely making me hungry right now. wow eggplant with bechamel sauce.. that i must try. sure does sound like a lasagna albeit a healthier one. thanks for the links! maybe i'll try making moussaka one of these days. wow eggplants with honey and onions? sounds really good. ya i know what you mean about the flesh coming off the skins. that's why the fuss-free way is simply to roast them. it ensures that the pieces remain as one piece!

haha ladies finger can be really slimey I guess. that's why I only like the ones cooked lightly... ensuring less saliva-like secretions from the plant. if cooked the right way, ladies finger (a.k.a okra) can be quite yummy - i like those done crispy.. and with sambal belacan with dried shrimps! actually i love all veggies. =)

yes jamie oliver does need to learn a thing or 2 about hygiene. i've also noticed plenty of times where he'll just take his finger, dip it in the food, lick it and continue cooking without ever washing his hands. but then again, it's a cooking show.. and he's a fast chef. maybe he doesn't want to waste any time by reaching for a spoon, and washing it.. etc. i still like him anyway! he was my first fav. chef back in those days when he was much slimmer. but he's still as cute as ever! in his own 'jamie oliver' way.

man, i love Turkish food and all. in fact, i dig mediterrean food. i want to go to spain, morocco and all! i love trying out new cuisines. I think i have to get down to Melbourne soon! i'm salivating now. btw, you are a singaporean,no? so you're at melb. for work or studies? if you don't mind me asking =)

Anonymous said...
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the baker said...
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Vera said...

wah the egg tarts looks good. i will try your recipe soon! hehehe

alex said...

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Anonymous said...

My friend gave me your website.

I find it hard to put the pastry into the tart tin. The shape of my egg tarts doesn't turn out as pretty as those in the shop. Is there any mould (like mould for biscuits) which can press the dough into the shape of a tart?

Anonymous said...

By the way, do you have any durian cake recipes?

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