“A Mentor’s Meal”
To see the entire seven course meal menu please click on the menu bar on the main blog page and click on the title of the menu -“A Mentor’s Meal”
These beautiful little treats were my favorite part of the meal. And I served it with a special drink, Yuanyang tea (adapted from woksoflife.com). Ill throw that recipe in here too as a bonus. Since our guest is used to Cantonese cuisine and I wanted to throw in obvious forms of dim sum throughout the meal, I had to create little bites of desserts to help bring the meal to an end. The Chinese Egg Cakes (courtesy of chinasichuanfood.com) are a personal favorite of mine from the Asian bakeries here in Chicago. Its just so spongy and never too sweet. I prefer it to pound cake and it seems to just melt in your mouth with a good cup of coffee. Although it is best if you have a standing mixer to make them. I don’t know if this a Chinese Grandma recipe because you would have to have massive forearms to beat the batter to the consistency that it requires. Maybe some Grandma did and maybe many do (I want to be like them). I tried it with a hand mixer and now I have arthritis for the rest of my life. And yes the cake was worth it. The almond shortbread was a slight variation on the shortbread I usually make for every occasion since it’s so easy to make and can be molded into those gorgeous patterned cookies with my awesome moon cake stamp. I also wanted to give a wink and a nod to the almond cookies you get at some Chinese restaurants AND moon cakes which I adore and remind me of your Auntie Sarah. These desserts are big hits in our house. Platters have vanished while I had them safely stored in the dining room. As for that tea, I actually had it in Singapore and thought that it was invented just for me. A combination of tea and coffee?!? With cream?!? Yes please. Everyday…and now.
Chinese Egg Cake
Makes 18-20 mini cakes
2 Medium Size Eggs at Room Temperature
3 Tbsp + 1 Tsp Powdered Sugar
1/2 Cup Cake Flour
3/4 Tsp Vegetable Oil
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Line a mini muffin tin with liners (I’ve managed to fill a 24 cavity mini muffin pan). Now using a stand mixer mix the eggs and the powdered sugar for what seems like forever if you’re not using a stand mixer. It should be about 12-13 minutes. Mix on medium speed until its light and fluffy and kind of resembles a hollandaise sauce. Then mix it on low speed for a few minutes to make sure there are no bubbles in the mixture. It should have a ribbon like consistency. Sift the flour into the batter and fold it in gently. Then fold in the oil. You don’t want to over mix this batter. Pour it into the liners until they’re 2/3rds full. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Mine took close to 16. Let them cool for about five minutes before you start sampling them. This isn’t a complicated recipe. Its a complicated technique. Try it a few times. Do it right and you’ll have delicate little sponge cakes. Get it wrong and you’ll get crispy little cakes that stick to the wrapper but your kids still eat anyways.
Makes about two dozen cookies
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
Pinch of Salt
1 Cup Unsalted Butter Softened at Room Temperature
1/2 Powdered Sugar
1 Tsp Almond Extract
Mix together the flour with the salt and put aside. Cream together the butter, sugar and almond extract until its light and fluffy. Stir in the flour mixture. It will be a loose dough. Put it in the refrigerator for an hour. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper. Take the dough out and roll it into one inch balls. Here is where I took my moon cake mold that is like a cookie stamp. If you’ve got a stamp, Great! Dip it into a bowl of powdered sugar and gently press down the balls of dough and lift carefully to reveal a nice pattern. If you don’t have that then just use a fork and press it down on the balls. The cookies should be about two inches apart because they will spread a bit. Bake for 15 minutes. When you see the bottoms of the cookies turn a golden brown they’re ready to take out. You must let them cool! They have to cool for about ten minutes. These cookies are buttery and flaky. Don’t lose all that hard work by being impatient and trying to eat them hot. Trust me. It’ll just be a crumbly mess.
Makes about 6-8 servings
4 1/2 Cups Water
1/4 Cup Black Tea Leaves
4 1/2 Cups Brewed Coffee
1/3 Cup of Sweetened Condensed Milk (more if you decide you want it sweeter)
3/4 Cup of Half and Half
Boil the water and add the tea leaves. Remove it from the heat and allow it to steep for five minutes. Strain the tea into a large heat proof jug and pour in the brewed coffee. Add the sweetened condensed milk and the half and half. Stir everything until well combined. Serve hot.