Galleries

Traditional Hong Kong street food – ‘Bubble Waffle’ (雞蛋仔)


Bubble waffle, HK street food

Of all the things I miss of Hong Kong since moving to NZ, 8 out of 10 things are food related. Some of them I have been able to recreate, like the desserts, claypot rice, combination coffee and tea ‘Yin Yeung’ and appetisers such as barbecue pork and cold cuts. One special dish, has eluded me thus far and that is the Bubble Waffle, also known as eggettes. I needed both the tools and the recipe in order to make it and I have not been able to acquire them until this year. Perhaps this is the reason why everytime I returned to HK I needed to frequent the tiny stall for my Bubble Waffle fix. Luckily this establishment is in my neighbourhood, so I am always close to it should I need to satisfy my craving. It also received an honorary mention in the 2016 Michelin Guide to Hong Kong and Macau so I was fully expecting to see queues and hiked up prices. When I went today, queues were present but prices had not gone up one cent. What a gem!

In case you are wondering what the fuss is all about – after all, aren’t these just plain old waffles? What makes these bubble waffles so special?

Bubble waffle, HK street food

  • Extra crunchy bite
  • Soft waffle centre with an air pocket
  • Melted fillings (if you chose one other than the original flavour) and lots of it

I have tried and tested many waffle recipes and this below is the closest I have got to recreating the bubble waffle taste, texture and flavour. I hope you find this authentic enough and will enjoy it.

Ingredients:
(The following quantity is sufficient for making quite a few pieces but it really depends on the size of mould that you use and the success rate of making good ones.)

  • 110g plain flour
  • 40g corn flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 60g eggs (About 1 size 8 egg)
  • 120g white sugar
  • 60ml evaporated milk
  • 120ml milk
  • small quantity of vegetable oil, for greasing the mould

Method:

  1. Firstly mix and sieve the plain flour, cornflour and baking powder. Set aside.
  2. Beat the eggs and mix in the white sugar using a small whisk. Add in the evaporated milk and milk. Mix thoroughly. I use a large measuring jug for this.
  3. Add the sieved flour mixture (1) into the egg mixture (2) in the measuring jug. Stir thoroughly until the batter is smooth without any lumps.
  4. Cover the batter and refrigerate for at least an hour (this ensures you have crunchy eggettes). Give it a stir when it’s time to cook.
  5. Warm up the mould, and brush a thin layer of oil on each side.
  6. Add in any fillings you wish to the batter just before you pour onto the mould.
  7. Pour the batter into the mould, be careful not to overfill, just to the top of each hole. Close the mould and count to 5. Then flip and turn the closed mould over so that the batter fills the other side of the mould. Leave it to cook for 3 minutes and then flip the mould again to cook the other side for a further 1 to 2 minutes until the bubble waffle is cooked.
  8. Use silicone tongs to remove the waffle from the mould and place it on a cake cooling rack to cool. You can also fold it up slightly so that it curves up. Using a plastic lid or plate, fan the cooked waffle for a minute for extra crispiness.
  9. Repeat until all of the batter is used up.

Flavour combinations: You can make many other flavours by adding these to the batter:

  • Dark chocolate (1 tbsp of cocoa powder and chocolate chips) 
  • Shredded coconuts
  • Black sesame
  • Green tea powder 
  • Red bean (cooked – you can use the canned ones found in Asian grocery stores)
  • Chestnut purée or pieces
  • Coffee (powder mixed in with batter)
  • Mocha (coffee and chocolate)
  • Cheese for a savoury twist (grated cheese)
  • Honey
  • Taro purée

Bubble waffle, HK street food

A tale of two tarts: salted caramel or hazelnut?


1. Chocolate mousse, hazelnut and nutella tart 2. Salted caramel, chocolate mousse and strawberries tart

It’s the school holidays and J wanted to make chocolate mousse, while I wanted to test out my newly purchased Gobel tart rings. I usually make tarts with ganache but thought hey I could use mousse! We discussed the elements and J came up with a plan, a cross-sectional drawing of her mousse design.

After a bit of debate, we had two ideas:

  1. Chocolate mousse, hazelnut, Nutella tart
  2. Salted caramel, chocolate mousse and strawberries tart

For the hazelnut tart, a thin layer of Nutella (you can of course use chocolate ganache) was spread on the base of the tart, then a thin layer of roasted hazelnut paste and then topped with the chocolate mousse.

For the salted caramel tart, a thin layer of salted caramel was first spread on the base of the tart, then topped with chocolate mousse. Some freeze dried strawberries were added to give a contrasting taste to the sweet and salty caramel.

For both, cocoa nibs, crunchy chocolate pearls and feuilletine shards were added for texture.

I like how I can do the components separately (to fit in with school holiday activities) and then assemble right before serving.

Hope you will enjoy these!

Sweet almond tart base
Makes 10 x 9″ ring tart bases
DSC_6794
200g all-purpose (plain) flour
40g ground almonds
100g icing sugar
100g butter, cold and cubed
1 egg (I use size 8)

  1. Sift and combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Add the butter and ‘rub in’, working the butter into the dry ingredients with your fingertips until it resemble small crumbs
  3. Add the egg and incorporate it into the dry ingredients.
  4. Work the dough lightly by gathering the dough with your fingertips and folding it over with a downward push of your palm. Work quickly and lightly, till it comes together.
  5. Wrap up the dough inside a folded sheet of baking paper, gently roll flat with a rolling pin and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
  6. While the dough is resting, prepare the tart rings by buttering them.
  7. When the dough is ready, lightly sprinkle some flour on your bench or chopping board.
  8. Roll out the dough on the board with a rolling pin to a thickness of 2-3mm. You may need to add more flour to keep it from sticking as it is a very soft dough.
  9. Cut out a circle of dough larger than your ring and place onto the buttered tart ring or mould.
  10. Press well onto the sides. Use a glass to flatten the bottom and sides to ensure you have straight edges.
  11. Cut off excess dough by going over the top of the tart ring with the rolling pin.
  12. Pinch the edges up slightly.
  13. Prick holes at the base with a fork.
  14. Rest in the fridge for 30 – 60 minutes to stop it from shrinking.
  15. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  16. Using ceramic baking beads or rice, blind bake at 180 degrees C for 15-20 minutes or when browned all over. Set aside to cool completely

1. Chocolate mousse, hazelnut and nutella tart 2. Salted caramel, chocolate mousse and strawberries tart

Putting it all together
Chocolate mousse, hazelnut, Nutella tart

  • Cooled tart base
  • Nutella (or melted chocolate)
  • Roasted hazelnut paste (Equagold)
  • Chocolate mousse (Mousse recipe)
  • On the top – Chocolate crunchy shards, pearls, cocoa nibs

Salted caramel, chocolate mousse and strawberries tart

1. Chocolate mousse, hazelnut and nutella tart 2. Salted caramel, chocolate mousse and strawberries tart

These turn out more rustic than elegant 😉 still delicious regardless!

Glorious Tiramisu with Bailey’s


This is how I make Tiramisu – for as long as I can remember.
Trouble with making Tiramisu is what do you do with the left overs. I’ve learnt that if I used a narrow based bowl that opens up to a wider top, while aesthetically pleasing, I would have half-used packets of lady fingers and left over mascarpone cheese filling yet wouldn’t quite be enough to make another! I’ve found that if I use a straight edged rectangular bowl (20cm by 15 cm straight edged Pyrex bowl) it would be close to perfect, with just enough left to also make some cute little deconstructed pots of Tiramisu.
This also won me the top prize at my previous job’s departmental cooking competition so it has truly been tasted and approved by many. My current colleagues love it. My point of difference is the use of Bailey’s – lots of recipes call for rum or brandy but I love Bailey’s and have always preferred Tiramisu made with Baileys. Airy and pillowy; velvety and light; a glorious pick-me-up dessert.

Ingredients

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 400g mascarpone cheese (I use Tatua Mascarpone cheese)
  • 350ml cream, whipped
  • 22 Italian Lady fingers
  • 250ml cold coffee (Nespresso or use instant Moccona)
  • ½ cup Baileys
  • 1 tbsp of your best cocoa for dusting

Instructions

  1. Combine egg yolks and sugar in the top of a double boiler, over boiling water. Reduce heat to low, and cook for about 10 minutes, whisking constantly. This is your sabayon, remove from the heat and whip yolks until thick and lemon colored.
  2. Add Mascarpone to whipped yolks, beat until combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, whip cream to stiff peaks.
  4. Gently fold the whipped cream in the mascarpone sabayon mixture and set aside.
  5. Mix the cold espresso with the Baileys and dip the lady fingers into the mixture just long enough to get them wet, do not soak them! Do only several at a time.
  6. Arrange the lady fingers in the bottom of your bowl.
  7. Spoon half the mascarpone cream filling over the lady fingers.
  8. Repeat process with another layer of lady fingers and mascarpone cream.
  9. Dust with cocoa.
  10. Refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. It tastes better the next day.

If there are any leftovers, I often make up small individual servings, as shown here.

(Styled by J)

Mini cookies and cream cheesecake with salted caramel cream


The beauty of this treat lies in the speed and output – minimal time and effort with a large number of serves. This is great for parties or any ‘bring-a-plate’ situations. Instead of bashing biscuits for the base, a single Oreo biscuit is used. The mixer does most of the job for you and it doesn’t take long to bake at all. Since I almost always have a jar of salted caramel in the fridge, it didn’t require any extra time to make. You can leave out the caramel and use whipped cream by itself if you wish.

The mini Oreo is the cherry on the top – you can leave it out if you feel the mini dessert is rich enough. However it does provide a crunchy element as the bottom Oreo would be soft to the bite as you eat it. Since it is already portioned as individual serves, there’s no fussing about with cutting or slicing. Sit back and enjoy!

Mini cookies and cream cheesecake with salted caramel cream
Makes 32 plus

Ingredients for the cheesecake:

  • 3 blocks of cream cheese (750g) softened at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup cream, lightly whipped
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
  • 2 eggs, size 8
  • 32 paper muffin cups
  • 40 standard size Oreo cookies (reserving 8 to be blitzed)
  • 32 mini Oreo Cookies

For the salted caramel cream

  • 1 cup cream
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp salted caramel

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees Celsius.
  2. Prepare your 12 cup muffin tins with paper lining. Place a standard sized Oreo on the bottom of each one and set aside. I only have one of this pan, so to prepare I lined up the filled cases on a cookie tray to let them hold each other up. Prepare 32 of these.
  3. Lightly whip the cream.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix cream cheese and sugar together on low speed.
  5. Mix in sour cream, your whipped cream and vanilla paste until smooth.
  6. Mix eggs in, one at a time.
  7. Blitz the remaining 8 standard size Oreo cookies till it breaks up, but not powdery, and then add them to the cream cheese batter and mix to incorporate.
  8. Fill each case with the mixture. I find it easiest to use an ice cream scoop with a spring mechanism that pushes the mixture out. Fill each right up to the brim of the case.
  9. Bake for 23-25 minutes, aiming for a slightly wobbly center. Remove from the oven and let cool for 1 hour at room temperature. Then refrigerate for at least 4 hours, best overnight. (You can also do up to the piping of the salted caramel cream step below and then refrigerate.)

For the salted caramel cream

  1. Whip cream and icing sugar until it is combined.
  2. Add the salted caramel and whip till you have stiff peaks.
  3. Fill it in a piping bag fitted with a large star tip (I used the Wilton 2A tip) and pipe the cream onto the top of each cheesecake.
  4. Press a mini Oreo on top just before you serve (or else the cookie will go soggy.)

Peanut butter Macarons


This one has been a long time coming. I have been saving my best peanut butter for these and finally it was time to open the jar of Pic’s Really Good Peanut Butter. These are made in Nelson, New Zealand with only two ingredients: Peanuts, salt. Yes no added sugar! The nuttiness of the peanut butter matched nicely with the dark chocolate.

You can pair them with any colour shells of your choosing, but I’m particularly drawn to the purple and blue combination.

Macarons shell ingredients
150 g icing sugar
150 g almond meal
110 g egg whites, split into 2 bowls of 55g each
150 g caster sugar
38 ml water
1 g meringue powder
a few drops of violet and blue gel colouring, separately.

Follow my basic recipe to make the shells.

I paired these with a peanut butter flavoured dark chocolate ganache.

Filling Ingredients:
100g whittaker’s dark chocolate
100ml full cream
4 tbsp good quality peanut butter

Instructions:
Break up chocolate into small chunks. Bring cream up to a boil in a pan, and pour over the chocolate. Let it sit for a minute before stirring. Stir until you have a thickish ganache and add peanut butter in. Stir and let it cool and thicken in the fridge. Spread or pipe a teaspoon of ganache on half of your shells and top them with the remaining half of your shells.

The filled macarons need to be kept in the fridge for 24 hours for the filling to flavour the shells. These freeze well too (up to 3 months).