13 January 2008

CNY Special: Baked Treats & Plated Desserts

Lunar New Year is certainly round the corner. Everywhere you go, you'll see seas of red decorations and hear familiar Lunar New Year songs in the background to usher the most important festive celebration for us Chinese.
I remember I loved Lunar New Year as a kid because we get to wear new clothes (often in red which is the auspicious colour), visit friends and relatives, receive "Ang Bao 红包" or red packets, play Blackjack and Mahjong (with money from the red packets), eat lots of goodies that are only available during Lunar New Year like "Nian Gao 年糕", "Yu Sheng 鱼生" and savoury snacks like almond cookies, pineapple tarts, love letters etc.
These days, I received Lunar New Year with much less enthusiasm. Reason is of course not that I'm married and have to give Ang Bao instead of receiving them. Just seems that the festive mood isn't as strong as before. Nevertheless, I still look forward to meeting up with relatives and friends for some catching up and not to forget the gambling :p Hey, it's all in the name of fun ya, not that I'm a compulsive gambler.
With my ignited interest in baking, I naturally contemplated baking some of my own new year goodies. So have been watching out for classes at Shermay's Cooking School ever since Christmas.
This CNY Special: Baked Treats & Plated Desserts Class is by Joycelyn. With her impeccable taste and talent, we trust she would once again plan something exquisite that wows. Themed MOD CHINOISERIE, she demonstrated 4 Chinese-Inspired Petits Fours where each recipe can be served as is or as the core component of a plated dessert when paired with accompaniments.

1) Jasmine Tea Macarons with Jasmine-Infused White Chocolate Ganache
2) Mandarin Orange Friand
3) Sesame Financier
4) Ultimate Almond Shortbread

A) Jasmine Tea Panna Cotta
B) Star Anise Mousse
C) Mandarin Compote
D) Valrhona Milk Chocolate Chantilly
E) Lychee & Rose Sorbet

Joycelyn even thoughfully mapped a Flavour Pairing Chart and hand-drew an Illustrated Plating Guide for us!
During class, we sampled the Lychee & Rose sorbet which was light and refreshing as well as the Sesame Financier with Milk Chocolate Chantilly which I love very much! I like Financiers a lot because of it's buttery and dense but light texture with tinge of almond. The Milk Chocolate Chantilly was smooth and not too heavy on the palate.

Our takeaway treats are the Mandarin Orange Friand, Jasmine Macaron and Almond Shortbread. The Mandarin Orange Friand packs punch full of orange aroma, though I find it tad too sweet. The Jasmine Macaron is crunchy on the outside and chewy inside and the jasmine infusion is really unique and apt for the festive celebration. The Almond Shortbread looks plain but is certainly savoury and literally melts in the mouth!

I guess I have a long list of CNY goodies to bake and I ought to plan the bakes now. Wish me luck!


  1. Daydreamer, thanks for answering my question in a previous post. I always use the French Meringue nowadays because the Italian one always gave me grief and always appeared to be too sweet. I'm so glad I found your blog , though I cannot attend the Joycelyn's classes, I can see it through your blog :).

  2. the jasmine macaroons sound and look delicious