21 January 2008

CNY Test Bakes - Mandarin Friands, Sesame Financiers, Almond Shortbread, Pineapple Tarts

I have a rather ambitious plan for this coming Lunar New Year. Instead of buying the usual goodies off the shelf, perhaps I should bake my own since I've attended a number of baking classes since last year :) This is to be my first time doing Lunar New Year bakes, reckon a test bake now would be good to gauge the timing and effort required; and to decide whether I should really bake my own goodies.
Anyway, been raring to bake as I was on vacation the most of December and early January. Now that I'm back to office -_-, stressed over all the work and grouchy with post holiday blues, really in need of some therapy. Baking does just the trick!
Selected 4 recipes - Mandarin Friands, Sesame Financiers & Almond Shortbread from Chef Joycelyn's CNY Special Class and Pineapple Tarts from Chef Christopher's cookbook, Shiok!

Looks not too bad for a first trial? I named this My Lunar New Year Four Treasures 大四喜. Just like mahjong, haha. (Yes, mahjong would also help me de-stress!)

Quite unsure over the pineapple tarts as I heard about how tedious the process is. Followed Chef Christopher's recipe religiously, especially the pineapple jam where I painstakingly blended the pineapple and cooked it for 2 hrs, stirring constantly. Well, the results turned out not too bad, especially in terms of presentation. Hubby commented that the pineapple jam is too sweet and wet and not enough of the pineapple texture. Hmmm, perhaps I over-blended the pineapple. Noted.

One of my fav recipe from Joycelyn's class, although I found it a tad too sweet when I tasted it during the class. So for this test bake, I reduced the amount of sugar. It seemed to do the trick as the French-inspired tea cake turned out quite nice with a tangy aroma. The presentation is also very suitable for Lunar New Year!

Similar as the Friand, the Jap-French-inspired Sesame Financier turned out fine but I found the sesame taste and smell too strong for my liking. Perhaps I should reduce the amount of toasted white sesame oil or try just a simple butter financier.

This Almond Shortbread may look plain but it certainly has an almost melt-in-the-mouth texture :)
After 1 whole day of baking, washing, baking and washing again, my test bakes turned out pretty successful and I'm all inspired to actually bake and serve them to friends and family. Time to start planning my bakes and stock up on all the ingredients!


  1. Hi Dreamer,
    Wow, your Treasures look just like Jocelyn's. I also made my Mandarin Friands last weekend. Can I check with you, did you use orange juice in the recipe? If so, at which stage?


  2. Hi Emily,
    Thanks :) I followed Joycelyn's recipe quite closely, except that I reduced the sugar amount by 30%. Not really orange juice, should be considered orange puree :)