The year has gone by in a flash and the month of October is here again. Yes, my friends, the month of Pink is here, when people from all over the world come together and raise awareness about the disease that is breast cancer, a disease that has hit closer to home in recent years, a disease that has been fought with strength, courage, and love, a disease that has thankfully not taken my loved one away from me.
Yet, the disease continues to plague many women, creeping into their unsuspecting lives, and sometimes, claiming some. I feel strongly about this, having witnessed the heartache, pain and struggles that are inflicted on the sufferer and loved ones when fighting this disease, and it is with the memory of almost losing a loved one to the disease that I urge you to tell your mother, sister, aunt, daughter, wife, girlfriend, and your friends about breast cancer.
Last year, I did this by creating Pink Lychee Mascarpone & Emperor’s Treasures Macarons for the month of October. A few of you have gone on to spread the word. This year, I hope to raise more awareness in the smallest but hopefully still a significant way, with double doses of Rose & Lychee, in the form a chiffon cake and crème brûlée.
Please, tell people you love about breast cancer awareness. Encourage them to go for mammograms, to perform self-examinations, encourage them to tell others about this disease. The more we know about breast cancer, the more we can fight it, and the more lives we can save. As for me, I pray that breast cancer will never again taint the lives of the people I care about, and I continue to pray for the recovery of the fighters of this disease.
If you have a blog, and would like to help raise awareness about breast cancer – join me by creating a simple pink recipe of your own and linking it back to this post. You could also use any of these pictures in this post to spread the word and link it back to this post. Let me know when you’ve done so, and I’ll create a list over here so we can all hop over, read your personal stories, share your voice and raise more awareness.
For everyone else, here are the recipes if you would like to recreate these desserts. The rose & lychee chiffon cake is perfect in texture, very moist, soft and fluffy. Taste-wise, my only complaint was the rose flavour wasn’t strong enough and was overpowered by the coconut milk, I’ve indicated what you should change to tweak this). The crème brûlée was a real winner though, boasting silky smooth cream and rich lychee and rose-scents. [Note 18.11.2011: I have recently served a lychee chiffon cake at the Plusixfive supperclub, and that was the precious darling of much experimentation - you can have a look at the photo on the link. I will be posting the recipe soon too, which gives a far more pronounced lychee flavour than the one below]
Rose & Lychee Chiffon Cake
(for a 21cm chiffon cake tube pan)
70g plain flour
20g corn flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 egg yolks
50g caster sugar
100ml coconut milk
80ml sunflower oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon essence of rose water (you can use rose syrup which is stronger in flavour, I found that the rose flavour of my chiffon wasn’t strong enough and was overpowered by the coconut milk)
1 teaspoon lychee liquor
Few drops of red food colouring (cake batter should eventually be a very light pink)
6 egg whites
50g caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
10g rice flour
1. Preheat the oven (fan-assisted) to 160 degrees Celsius.
2. Sift ingredients in A together, twice. Set aside.
3. Using ingredients in D, beat egg whites till frothy, add cream of tartar and beat to combine until the mixture turns a little more opaque than the frothy state. Meanwhile, combine the caster sugar and rice flour in a bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of this mixture to the egg white mixture, and beat till you get soft peaks. Then add the remaining caster sugar-rice flour mixture gradually and beat till stiff peaks form. Set aside.
4. Using the ingredients in B, beat the egg yolks and sugar together till volume triples and mixture turns pale. Meanwhile, combine ingredients from C in a bowl. Beat in the combined ingredients from C to the egg yolk mixture. Next, add the flour mixture from Step 2 and beat well to combine.
5. Fold 1/3 of the meringue (from Step 3) to the batter from Step 4. Then gently fold in the remaining meringue until well-incorporated.
6. Pour the batter into the chiffon cake tube pan, use one chopstick to swirl round the batter to get rid of some bubbles. Smooth out the surface with a spatula to remove the ripples created by the chopstick.
7. Bake the cake at 160 degrees Celsius for 16 min, then turn the temperature down to 145 degrees Celsius and bake for 29 min. The times and temperatures may differ, depending on the oven.
8. Remove the cake pan from the oven and invert it immediately. Let stand to cool.
9. Unmould the cake when it is completely cooled, by running a knife along the surfaces that the cake makes contact with the pan (including the tube itself).
Rose & Lychee Crème Brûlée
Makes four ramekins, each 4.5cm in diameter
300ml whipping cream
1 tablespoon lychee liquor
2 teaspoons essence of rose water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 egg yolks
30g caster sugar
Sprinkle of demerara sugar
1. Pre-heat oven (fan-assisted) to 150 degree Celsius.
2. Beat yolks and caster sugar till pale and fluffy.
3. Scald cream, liquor and flavours in a saucepan over medium heat. Do not let mixture come to boil. Once it’s barely simmering, remove the saucepan from heat.
4. Pour half of the hot cream in a stream-like fashion to yolk mixture, and whisk continously. Do not pour the cream too quickly or the heat will scramble the eggs.
5. Add this mixture to the remaining cream mixture in the saucepan, and scald this again without allowing it to come to a boil.
6. Pour the cream into ramekins, place them in a deep oven tray. Fill up the oven tray with some water (to a depth of one inch) to create a water bath and bake for 25 minutes. Crème brûlée should jiggle but should not be wet to touch. Note that the times and temperatures may differ, depending on the oven.
7. Let the ramekins cool on a cooling rack and refrigerate till crème brûlée is set.
8. Add demerara sugar to the top of each portion of crème brûlée, and use a blow torch to caramelise the sugar. Alternatively, caramelise the sugar under the broiler for 5 minutes at 230 degrees Celsius. For best results however, use the blow torch.