November 30, 2007

A day of bentos and tartlets

A lovely Saturday morning, lovely weather, off we girls went to the....ZOO! LOL yeah you are not seeing wrongly. We 4 'big' girls actually went to the zoo. Somehow got this idea from so and so..(I forgot whose friend), and decided to head outdoors. Yeah! I love outdoors..what i'm only worried about is the effect on my skin colour...No wonder people are saying I'm getting more and more tanned..:(

See the super thick crust??

As usual, the task of preparing for the day's picnic food would have to leave it to me and xian. We were already happily shopping for cute bento boxes, cutters etc at Daiso the week before. Knowing that xian would definitely be preparing quite an amount of food for the bento, so I baked some mini tartlets...
I find myself often being too ambitious. I would often be brainstorming in my head ...hmmm what am I going to bake, the different variations, favours, colours etc in order to try out everything. More often than not, it was not possible, of cos' unless I don't need to sleep. I'm a late night owl..hehe like to do my things at night..cos' in the daytime, would either be out or working. Just like this tart venture, had planned to make fruits, cheese, chocolate, apple crumble tartlets. In the end, I gave up on cheese and apple crumble as I thought it would be too much of a hassle to have to beat cream cheese; and that apple crumble only taste nice when it's piping hot. Lucky I was realistic enough. Haha...I was right; cos' after making chocolate and fruit tarts; I was already exhausted; it was already late at night. I had planned to bake this the night before so that I can chilled it for next morning.

For the tart shell, I used the recipe from Aunty Yochana's blueberry cheese tart. I had much difficulty pressing into these mini tarts shells, especially the mini muffin tray as I did not have enough mini shells. I made a total of 24, but i guess I could make much more cos' you see, my shell was so thick! For the custard and glazing, I used the recipe from Jodelibakery - go to fruit tarts. However, I wasn't too fond of such custard. I would probably use another type made from milk, egg yolks and cream next time.

Ingredient for tart shell:

100 g butter, softened
60 g icing sugar
30 g beaten egg
200 g plain flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla essence


Cream butter and sugar until soft
Add in beaten egg, salt and vanilla
Fold in flour and mix until a dough is formed
Chill the dough in the fridge for at least at least 30 minutes.
Roll the dough onto a work surface - about 3 to 4 mm thick. Use a round cutter and cut into rounds. Press in into the tart shell. Trim the edges
Poke the tart shell with a fock evenly.
Bake in preheated oven at 180°C for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Leave it to cool.

Method for custard:

Pour 250 ml of milk into a saucepan.
Dissolve 30 g of custard powder and keep stirring until no lumps are found.
Add 35 sugar and cook over slow heat. Keep stirring until soft lumps are formed. Let it cook.

(Note: I chilled it in the fridge as what the recipe says and ended up having thick solidfied custard which could not be piped onto the shell. So I would recommend not to chill it).

Method for glazing (optional):

Dissolve 1 1/2 tsp of instant jelly into 80 g of water. Bring to a boil. Let it cool a little and used it to glaze the tarts after fruits are added.

To assemble, after the tarts are cooled, pour cooled custard into the shell, add fruits as desired and glaze with glazing shell. I added some nutella into the shell before the custard. :)

Ok, now I'll introduce the chocolate ganache tartlet. I modified the chocolate ganache from my previous chocolate truffle recipe.


20 g of conveture milk chocolate
30g of dark chocolate (72% cocoa) - If you prefer sweet chocolate, may use all milk chocolate cos' dark chocolate gives a bitter taste
50ml of whipping cream
10g of almond meal (Optional)

Whole almonds


Melt chocolate over double boiler and set aside.
Heat cream till simmer.Stir cream into melted chocolate and stir in widening concentric circles.
Add almond meal and stir gently.

Scoop into the tart shell, decorate with an almond on top. dada...finish!

Okok let's see what xian have in store for us.....

Fruits Bento...........

Potato Salad....

Colourful Bento...consisting of egg mayo /luncheon meat sandwich, taiwan sausage, meat /sotong balls, crab meat, cucumber, carrots and chicken nuggets.

I tried asking xian for the recipe ...Haha according to her, most of them were based on 'instinct'. Just fried the ready-made food, boil and potatoes and eggs and add mayo / bacon bits accordingly. "colour combi is impt in bento-making.. cos makes the bento very appealing!.. the food arrangement...must think and plan...use cute cutters for carrot, cute mini food cups (refer to the red and yellow paper cups) and cute food divider (refer to 'happy animals')..." Quoted by Kexian...LOL!
Well..anyway I think we were not so interested in the animals, :P rather we were more interested in eating, chatting, taking photos....relaxing outdoors.

I guess age is catching up on us..hee..felt tired after a whole day's walk. But the movie 'Enchanted" wake us up! It's so funny and sweet...definitely a must watch movie....

And this is my favourite animal for the day..They would turn to the same direction all at the same instant the moment wherever there's food..So CUTE!


Anne said...

Everything looks delicious! The tarts are so cute :)

Happy Homebaker said...

hmmm, they look so delicious! Did you pack the bento boxes in any cooler bag?? I have always wanted to pack lunch boxes during our outings...but I am concerned that our weather here may make the food turn bad?

Aimei said...

Thanks Anne and HHB!

HHB, we didnt pack them in cooler bags. But so far this is the second time we bring bentos and it was okay...Hehe...and we usually clear it by latest afternoon time. I think depends on the type of food also. Things like fried food, sandwiches..should be fine. Hee..that's all I know. Hope it helps.

esther said...

Wow Aimei!

Your tartlets made me drool ......
So cute and so "seductive" .....

I will try out your recipe for fruit tarts ...


Small Small Baker said...

Hi Aimei, it's so nice to see u and your friends taking the effort to prepare food for an outing like this. For me, we will always eat out. Very pretty tartlets!

Happy Homebaker said...

Thanks Aimei! I will probably try it during our next outing. Hope I can come up with something that is good as yours :)

Aimei said...

Thanks Esther and small small baker!

Happy Homebaker, yeah I'm sure you can do much better! ;)

emily said...

Hi Aimei,
Your tarts looks very pretty. Wow...looking at your food photos, you are really good.

Aimei said...

Hi Emily,

Thanks for your compliments. :) But I'm still a novice at baking! Still got lots more to learn and experiment with. :)