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  Dutch Apple Tart (Appeltaart)  

Oh dear, my last post was more than one year ago! We have relocated to New Jersey, US since end of last December, in two months time, it would be our first full year here. Do I like it or not, there are plus and minus wherever you live. Here the plus sign are that I get to cook less as there are so many options to eat out. Clothings and the basic necessities here are cheaper and have more choices. My son is enjoying his school here, first months in first grade may be harder on him as every thing was new to him, new school rules, expectations and routines. Now in second grade, he is very happy and said many things to learn here.

Here in NJ, I have easy access to chinese food but hubby doesn’t get to have his Dutch comfort food easily. And yesterday for the real first time, I finally baked and I baked Dutch Apple Tart from scratch. I was a bit skeptical if the shortcrust dough is going to work as it was a bit like playing playdoh, you won’t be expected to be able to lift up the whole crust, you just stick them together and P said that is the way it was supposed to be.

This Dutch Apple Tart recipe from Baking Sense I found was translated from Dutch, since it worked fabulously , it’s a keeper for future use. 2 things I altered was I use 2 cups of self raising flour and 1 cup all purpose flour instead of all 3 cups all purpose flour.

Apples season here and I got to learn new types of apple here. And on Saturday, I came across Winesap apples and they told me that they are very good for baking. The apple still tasted a little crunchy after baking, no sogginess on the base at all, I even skipped lining breadcrumbs on the crust.

One little improvement I can try next time is to let the dough rest in the fridge for a bit longer. The recipe didn’t call for chilling the dough but I think I would do it. I chilled the dough for 40” , it may be better if I chill for 1.5hrs next time to see if the dough is easier to lift.


I don’t have a food processor here in US, so used the old fashioned Rubbing-in method, and then I used the handheld mixer when add in the beaten egg.

  How to master perfect Chinese steamed eggs (蒸水蛋)  

Not sure how many of you are familiar with Chinese Steamed Eggs, but if you are Chinese, this surely will not be strange to you. Steamed eggs was one of my all time favorite childhood dishes. It is a simple and delicate dish which goes well with steamed rice and I find it suitable when you don’t have much appetite or just want something light and simple. Having said that it is simple, yet it took me a long time to master it perfectly, we have a Chinese saying “易學難精” which means easy to learn but difficult to master it perfectly.

When I was studying abroad in the UK, I needed to cook for myself. So steamed eggs came to my head, as it is supposed to be easy. Whisk eggs, add water, mix and steam, how difficult could that be?! But I failed for the first time. I asked my mom, she told me the instructions, after some time I tried again, the eggs solidified and was edible but the appearance was not smooth and pretty. Then I have not tried again for years until I came to Basel. Made occasionally, results were better but not quite consistent until these last 2 times. I don’t even need to measure the water required or sieve the egg mixture to get rid it of air bubbles as some people suggest nor I need to turn the heat from high heat to medium high. And I do not need to worry that it may be overcooked, exactly like how my mom does it. Every time I told my mom that it didn’t work perfectly, she teased me that I cannot master this simple dish. When I was in Hong Kong a few months ago in last November, she showed me that she didn’t even need to cover the plate anymore and the steamed eggs would still come out smooth with no bubbles. I suppose this is really a matter of practice, experience, and experiments with trials and errors.

So these last 2 times, with an interval of 6 months, I am able to repeat the perfect steamed eggs. I posted an iPhone photo in Facebook, unexpectedly that has generated a lot of comments and a lot of time asked me how to do it. It’s really no secret, so I take the chance to share my experience with you.

The above picture is the most basic version which contains only normal eggs.

As I grew up,  my mom has made us many other versions namely:

  • Steamed egg with salted egg (咸蛋蒸蛋)
  • Tricolor steamed eggs (三色蒸蛋) which consists of normal eggs, salted egg and thousand years egg
  • Steamed eggs with dried scallops (瑤柱蒸蛋)
  • Steamed egg with minced pork or beef (肉碎蒸蛋)
  • Steamed egg with fresh fish (魚片蒸蛋)
  • Steamed egg white (蒸蛋白), mom’s latest version, to minimize the cholesterol intake.

 

Luxury version :

  • Steamed egg white with crab leg or whole crab (花雕蛋白蒸蟹鉗), latest luxurious version. This is much more challenging, better leave the restaurants to prepare for us, haha.

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