My birthday thought and an unusual dessert.
I am officially one year older tomorrow (11 Aug). Initially, I wanted to prepare an “about me” post, and tell you how I feel about this occasion. Nevertheless, the fact is that I am left wordless. Perhaps it´s because birthday is no longer a really joyful occasion as you get older? So instead of thinking about my own birthday, I redirect my thought to some of my loved ones whose birthdays are in this very month. It might be strange but most of my best friends were born in the same month as me. Back to the time when I was at school, August used to be the month of presents and birthday parties. I want to send the warmest birthday wishes and hugs to all of them. However, these three individuals are in my heart.
My father: need I say more? Happy birthday, daddy!
Sister NHA: Her name is exactly like mine and our birthdays are only a few days apart. We have never met in person, but we have shared a lot of our thought in life, together with the girly love for makeup and nail polishes. She´s like an older sister to me.
Thuc Hien: This girl has been my best buddy since year 7. We have seen each other grow up, shared the laughter and tears. Recently she has become a mother! I cannot be happier for her.
As for myself, I think those photos will tell you exactly who I am and what I want (essentially)!
I have never baked a proper cake for my birthday. I just don´t feel special if I do. But this year, I do manage to create something unusual for the occasion. Sort of a tartlet with the crust is a sugar nest. The filling is creamy yoghurt and raspberry sauce. It´s kind of fun to break the crust at the table and mix them with the yoghurt. The flavour is clean and refreshing. The texture is creamy and crunchy. Presentation wise, it has the `wow´ factor´, too. Simple yet fun, elegant and flavourful. I like it that way.
I come up with this sugar nest after a failed experiment a while back. It´s not hard, but require a bit of patience and practice. The nest is extremely fragile and easy to break. Step 1-2 can be done ahead, but the final baking and moulding should be done on the day.
Instruction for the sugar nest – I made 6 tartlets (and broke a few more) and still had quite a bit of sugar powder left. I would not recommend reducing the amount here though. Left-over sugar powder can be stored nicely until required.
Ingredients: 100g fondant, 150g glucose
1. In a saucepan, melt the fondant and glucose over medium low heat. Continue to boil until the mixture registers 150C with a candy thermometer. Pour over a baking tray which has been lined with baking paper. Cool.
2. Break the sugar mixture and put in a food processor. Process until you get fine powder. Set aside.
3. Preheat oven to 150C.
4. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Use a template to get a circle around 15cm in diameter. Generously sift the sugar onto the baking paper. Lift the template out, bake the sugar until set but not burnt (1 min). Take out, and quickly “peel” the sugar nest and mould it using the bottom of a thin glass/bottle (see pic). (To peel the sugar, it´s best to use a knife to lift off the edge a bit before carefully peeling out).
5. Store the case apart from each other until ready to serve.
Filling: Thick yoghurt, mixed with a few tbps of heavy cream. Add some raspberry source/jam and fresh fruit on top. Serve immediately.