July 29, 2017

baking with less sugar

It's been quite some time since I've done a book update, and today I'm back with a post on a recipe book! This is part of a collaboration with National Library Board (NLB) of Singapore for the National Reading Movement

What is the National Reading Movement (NRM)?
It is a 5-year campaign by NLB to get the lovely folks residing in Singapore to Read More, Read Widely and Read Together. In 2016, they encouraged us to Read More by reading a little. This year, they are taking it a step further by getting people to Read Widely across different genres and reading formats, as well as reading in Mother Tongue Languages! 

As part of this movement, I'll be featuring a series of bakes related to my read of the month on my Instagram (#SumopockyReads). The first of the series is a recipe book, Baking with Less Sugar by Joanne Chang. I borrowed this book because it's been on my to-do list to bake healthier-choice desserts. Naturally, the title drew me in.

baking with less sugar

I borrowed the eBook version, but NLB also has it on loan at their libraries. I'm pretty slow to discover that NLB now loans out eBooks! *throws confetti!* That makes it so much more convenient to browse and borrow books. You don't need a Kindle or tablet to read the eBooks; Simply read them on your phone or computer in the comfort of your home or on the go. It's especially useful if you are looking for baking inspiration, as you can browse through countless recipes on the spot, and return them once done. 

baking with less sugar

Anyway, There's a wide range of low-sugar recipes in this book that shows how to use delicious ingredients and natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup and fruit juice. Some of the mouthwatering recipes that caught my eyes are Blueberry Nectarine Pie, Chocolate Mousse, Coconut Chiffon Cake and Mint Chocolate Ice Cream. The one that made me really really want to eat on the spot, is the recipe for Bittersweet Chocolate Pots de Crème. While this chocolate custard has under 14 grams of sugar per serving, it is still simply delicious. 

To quote Joanne, 
"I adore bittersweet chocolate. I love how it hits you deep and sharp on your tongue with little relief from the sweetness of sugar and how it lingers faintly smoky in your mouth." This recipe is "Rich and powerful, and not for those who shy away from strong, assertive flavours. (...) Serve it to true chocolate aficionados or people who enjoy examining the various subtleties in coffee or wine - or both! - as you'll be able to taste all of the different flavours within the chocolate her." 

If you're interested in baking with less sugar, borrow the eBook from NLB, or visit your nearest library. Stay tuned for more #SumopockyReads!

by Joanne Chang (Baking With Less Sugar)

Makes 4 Custards

480g of Whole Milk
140g of Bittersweet Chocolate
1 Large Egg, 2 Egg Yolks
3/4 tsp of Kosher Salt (or half the amount of regular salt)
1/2 tbsp of Vanilla extract
50g of Unsweetened heavy cream
Shaved chocolate for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 165°C (325°F).
2. Heat the milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat until scalded - that is, small bubbles form on the edges of the milk and it almost, but not quite, comes to a boil. Turn off the heat.
3. Meanwhile, melt chocolate in a metal bowl over a water bath, stirring occasionally. Alternatively, microwave the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl in 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval, until melted and smooth.
4. Set a fine-mesh strainer over the melted chocolate, and pour the milk. Let sit for 2-3 minutes and whisk well again to ensure that the chocolate and milk are completely blended. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and egg yolks and slowly whisk the hot milk-chocolate mixture into the eggs.
5. Strain the mixture through a sieve. Stir in salt and vanilla.
6. Arrange four 180ml ramekins in a roasting pan with deep sides. Pour the custard mixture evenly into the ramekins. Carefully move the roasting pan to the oven. Fill the pan with hot water halfway up the sides of the ramekins to prevent over-baking. Cover the pan loosely with aluminium foil. Bake for 35 - 45 mins or until just set. Be sure to start checking early; baking time will depend on the thickness and depth of your ramekins and roasting pan. The pots de crème will wiggle stiffly like firm Jell-O when they are done.
7. Carefully remove the roasting pan from the oven and let the ramekins cool. Once cooled, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 2 days.
8. To serve, whip heavy cream to soft peaks. Serve the pots de crème, completely chilled, in their ramekins with a little dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of chocolate shavings.

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